Personal loans for 8 big life events


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Ask a Lender
June 6, 2017 | Updated September 25, 2017


Key Points

Life happens: these big events may require a personal loan

  1. Engagment rings
  2. Weddings
  3. Adoptions
  4. Vacations
  5. Divorces
  6. Medical bills
  7. Vet bills
  8. Funeral bills

Life happens. And when life gets expensive, financing can save the day — with the caveat that you ultimately will end up paying more money, thanks to interest.

Here are eight common life events, with some information on finding financing for each one.

Engagement rings

Many jewelry stores offer in-store financing on engagement rings, sometimes offering special deals such as zero interest. You may be required to open a new retail credit card in order to secure the financing, however.

Personal loans for engagement rings are another option. Keep in mind that your interest rate will be based in part on your credit score. If you don’t qualify for a low rate, you may want to explore other options — as difficult as it may be, it may be best to wait until you can save up enough cash to buy an engagement ring outright. You may want to also consider purchasing a less expensive ring than you had originally considered.

Weddings

According to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms conducted by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2016 was $35,329— an all-time high. So it’s no wonder more brides- and grooms-to-be are looking to loans to finance the wedding of their dreams.

A “wedding loan” is actually just an unsecured personal loan. Because the loan is not secured with any real property, such as an automobile or a house, you’ll end up paying a higher interest rate. Many wedding loans are short-term loans, lasting anywhere from three to five years. Longer-term loans have lower monthly payments, but you will end up paying more interest over the life of the loan.

Adoptions

Adoptions can be expensive endeavors. The cost of home studies, adoption-agency fees, and travel for international adoptions can add up.

Funding opportunities to help pay for adoptions include grants, tax credits, government assistance and private fundraisers. Adoption loans are another way to pay for an adoption if you don’t qualify for other forms of financing, or if they come up short.

Some adoption-specific organizations offer interest-free loans for people who meet certain criteria. Low-interest personal loans or credit cards are other options, but be sure to read the fine print and calculate how much interest you’ll end up paying.

Vacations

Financial advisers hesitate to recommend financing a vacation with a loan or credit card — with interest charges, it can make the vacation 50 to 100 percent more expensive. Savings accounts that automatically transfer money into your vacation fund each month are a safer bet. That being said, if you’ve made up your mind that the only way you’re ever going to take that trip to Disneyland or the Bahamas is by borrowing money, proceed with caution.

Financing a vacation with a credit card is perhaps the simplest option. Yet, with higher interest rates and a potential dip in your credit score if you use a large portion of the available credit, this option can be more costly in the long run than a personal loan.

Personal loans for vacations are another possibility, and while the interest rates may be lower than a credit card’s rates, you’ll pay more than if you’d saved up the money for the trip yourself.

Divorces

Nobody likes a divorce, except, perhaps, attorneys — and they’ll be especially pleased once they hand you a massive legal bill.

In the past couple of years, niche firms have popped up offering to finance high-cost divorces, usually for a percentage of the settlement. Such firms can be helpful if your spouse has control of more monetary assets than you do. Such funding is usually only available for very expensive cases in which the couple is fighting over millions of dollars, however, so unless you fit that bill, you may need to look into other options, such as credit cards or unsecured personal loans.

Medical expenses

Accidents happen. And whether it’s an accident, disease, or even something joyful like childbirth that racks up your medical bills, it may be difficult to get things squared away with the hospital. Even if you have health insurance, it may not cover everything.

Before you look to financing to cover your medical debt, speak with your medical provider and see if you can make an arrangement such as a payment plan. Such plans may come with low, or even no interest.

If other arrangements can’t be made you may have to look to credit cards or loans, but keep in mind that you’ll likely end up paying more in interest. Some credit cards are designed specifically to help cover health care expenses.

Veterinary expenses

For many people, the dog or cat is a part of the family, and they would do anything to ensure their pet is in optimal health.

Unfortunately, unexpected medical events can hit animals as often as humans, and veterinary bills can add up to a lot of money.

Before you take out a loan or put your vet bills on a credit card, check to see if a charitable organization is willing to help out.

If you still need help, credit cards may be an option. Some credit cards designed to cover health care costs cover pets in additional to humans, so it’s worth looking into.

Funeral expenses

The last thing people want to think of when tragedy strikes is money, but it’s an important part of planning a funeral.

Funeral homes may offer payment plans that spread the cost of a funeral over several payments. Funeral homes also may advertise loans that will pay for the cost of a funeral, but then need to be paid back with interest. Loans for funeral expenses can be expensive and difficult to obtain, however, so they probably work best as a last resort. If you decide a funeral loan is right for you, make sure you carefully look over the terms of the loan.


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