written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 10/27/2009
If an emergency happens and you need quick cash because your savings account is dry, think carefully before you act. Many ways to get quick cash will backfire in the long run. Let's take a look at them now.
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Taking Out a Life Insurance Policy Loan
Life insurance policies eventually have a cash value to borrow against, provided you have had the policy a while and have consistently paid the premium. While it may seem like a quick and easy way to get cash, the bottom line is that most policies don't build cash value quick enough to help out a lot. If you remove money from the policy through a loan and don't pay the premium, the insurance policy will be canceled, causing you to lose all the money you've vested in it. If you still owe the loan at your death, the loan will be subtracted from the policy amount. Curious to see how much cash value your policy has built? Check your most recent statement. We bet you'll be surprised at how little it really is.
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Taking a Loan From Your Retirement
Thinking a retirement loan may help? It is important to note that not all retirement accounts will allow for loans to be made against them, so check with your account holders before making these plans. Taking a loan from your retirement account will decrease the amount of money you have to retire on, so companies denying your ability to loan yourself money from them are actually doing you a favor.
When you remove money from your retirement account, you are going to miss earnings on the money, so while you're borrowing from yourself, you're also costing yourself even more money in savings. If you decide to move your 401k to another job and still owe the loan, the balance of the loan will be taken from the account before it is moved to the new job.
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Taking a Car Title Loan
These loans entice a lot of people because the are quick, easy, and credit check free. What most people don't realize is that they are going to pay up to a whopping 250% interest on this loan every year. Why pay 2 and a half times what you borrowed, to get out of pinch? Plus, why risk your car if something else happens and you can't make the loan payment? With the title loan, the company has the right to sell your car to compensate for the loan amount, and if they get more from it than what you owe, they can keep it!
If you get a car loan to get out of one situation and find yourself in another pickle, losing your car will cost you your transportation to work, putting you in even more of a bind. Avoid these loans like the plague. Some states are making them illegal now.
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Using a Pay Day Loan Service
These loans alos entice a lot of people because they are quick, easy, and credit check free. As long as you have a job and a checking account, you're good to go, right? Well, yes, but at what cost? The APR on these loans can be up to 500% in some cases, meaning you will pay up to five times more than the amount you borrowed. Making payments on these loans makes it difficult to get back on the right track with your bills. If you borrowed $100 to pay your cable bill but have to pay the $100 back, plus you other bills, and the cable is going to be due again soon, you can see the delimma here. This is how pay day lenders make their buck. You're better off trying to get a friend or family member to lend you the money or getting an extension on a bill if possible.
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Taking Items to a Pawn Shop
Pawn shops make their money by paying you less than what the item is worth, so they can sell the item for what it is worth or less, and still make a profit. Most pawn shops give you 30 days before they will sell your item, to allow you to make payments on it so you can come back and get it whenever you are ready. To get your item back, you will have to pay what they gave you for it, plus interest, so either way it goes, the pawn shop makes money. No matter how you cut it, you're losing money or a valuable item.
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It's good these options exist for those who are really in a do or die situation and cannot get a personal or bank loan for their expenses. However, all of these options are designed to make the providers money, because lenders who lend without credit checks are risking a higher chance of losing their money. To keep lending this way, they need to make sure they make plenty of money. While we hope your financial situation never leads you to this point, we want to remind you the importance of saving money to cover emergency situations. We do not recommend using any of these methods to get a quick cash fix.