Monday, September 13, 2010

Personal Loans - Which Type Is Best for You?

When a more formal credit arrangement is necessary for a larger purchase, then possibly your bank should be the first place to go to request a personal loan. Just remember, borrowing money always comes at a price. The more money you borrow, the longer it will take to pay it all back and the more interest you will pay, making your purchase more and more expensive with each passing month. That is why it is so important to understand how interest works, before we begin talking about the different types of loans available to today's consumer.
There are two basic types of loan interest: fixed rate and variable rate. Both offer their own pros and cons and should be considered carefully before any type of loan is considered. Fixed Rate Interest is a set interest rate that does not increase during the life of the loan no matter what! However, should interest rates suddenly nose dive you will be stuck paying the higher rate for the life of the loan.
Variable Rate Interest, on the other hand can fluctuate dramatically depending on the terms of your loan. In most cases, the interest (and your monthly payments) increase to match the current rate. But, in a downturn, they may decrease. This type of loan can see a change in interest rate monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the terms of your loan, which can make it difficult to budget your incoming monies.
Why is it so important to understand the difference between a fixed and adjustable rate loan? Because it can have a dramatic effect your monthly payment now and for the years to come. Certainly, variable rates can be much lower, but they come with a big risk. If you are using that low starter variable rate to either qualify for loan at all, or to simply buy bigger, you may want to reconsider. After all, the odds are those payments will increase over time not decrease, and those increases can add up to hundreds of dollars per month. But, before you decide for or against either type of loan, let's look at their good and not so good points.
Fixed rate loans offer a more controlled way of borrowing money than the adjustable version can. Offering set payments throughout the entire loan term, fixed rates are locked in. Here are the main benefits of a fixed-rate loan:
1. Inflation Protection. Your payments can never increase.
2. Long Term Planning. Knowing what your payments will be allows borrowers to set long-term financial goals more easily.
3. Low Risk. By locking in your interest rate and payment amounts, you do not risk ending up with a loan payment you can not afford in the future. What you pay at the beginning of your loan is what you'll pay at the end of your loan. Do fixed rate loans offer any negative aspects? Certainly! Here are a few to consider:
1.Smaller Loan Capacity. Some borrowers actually qualify for less money since their payments will likely be higher with a fixed rate.
2. Higher Interest. Fixed rate loans traditionally carry a higher interest rate at outset than their adjustable counterparts.
3. Additional Costs. Fixed rate loans (especially mortgages) sometimes carry early-payoff penalty fees and other penalties not seen with other loans.
Variable rate loans are not all bad. In fact, they can offer some solid benefits, including more options and more flexibility. They can also be a great way to pay down a loan's principle more quickly. They also offer some borrowers the chance to borrow more than they otherwise could, since their payments start off lower and increase over time. When used responsibly, adjustable rate loans can help some borrowers get what they need now, even if they can't quite afford those larger payments today. Especially if they reasonably believe that they will be better equipped to handle larger payments later on.
Make sure to get all the information you need and so make an informed decision.

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