Budgets and Money

Consider These Alternatives During Cash Emergencies

Cash advances are high-risk and extreme. Consider other options before going out and getting a payday loan to solve your costly financial emergencies.

3 Options When You Need an Emergency Loan

Before you take drastic, high-risk measures such as getting a cash advance from your credit card or heading down to a payday loan center, consider these three options for getting the quick cash you need to solve for life’s more costly emergencies.

1. Person-to-person loans

Asking your friends or family for loans can be uncomfortable, but it’s the least financially risky option out there. If there’s someone in your life who you feel comfortable asking for a short-term loan, do so. Just be careful not to make promises you can’t keep. If cash flow is a problem for you at present, commit to making small return payments over several months or even years. And be aware that while person-to-person loans are a lot less financially risky, they can be personally risky. For example, be conscientious about how you spend your money in front of the lendee, and keep an open dialogue about when and how you plan to make payments.

2. Personal loans from a bank or credit union

If your credit is in good standing, you can apply for a small personal loan from a local bank or credit union. While the bank or credit union you bank with might provide you with a good interest rate and friendly service, it might be in your best interest to shop around a little because interest rates for personal loans can vary. If you own a home, you could also look into home equity loans or lines of credit, which tend to have lower interest rates, but are notably riskier because you’ve leveraged all or part of your home as collateral.

3. Borrowing from retirement accounts or your 401K

Taking money from your retirement fund is never a good idea and should be your last resort. However, if this is your only option in an emergency, be diligent about paying it back and borrow as little as possible. Borrowing from your 401K has no effect on your credit rating and usually doesn’t cost you anything to withdraw. In fact, many 401(k)s and IRAs have easy repayment options already in place. (It’s important to note that these types of loans usually can’t be taken out immediately, you might have to wait several days or a couple of weeks for the loan to process.) While these loans do usually have low interest rates, you’re essentially repaying the money back to yourself, with interest. The biggest risk associated with 401(k) or retirement account loans is that if you do leave your job before the loan is repaid, you may only have 60 days to repay in full, or you’ll face early withdrawal penalties.

If you need help preparing for the unexpected, let us educate you with our Emergency Fund 101. And if you’re still considering taking out a payday loan to address an urgent financial need, you should find out a bit more about how these types of loans work before going down that road.


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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Emergency Loan

This article explains three different options when it comes to emergency loans. If you find yourself in need of an emergency loan, you have several options available. Options include: payday loans, emergency cash loans, person-to-person loans among many others. However, some resources for an emergency loan can be better than others. Before you consider an emergency loan, get the facts.

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