The Cold Truth Behind Personal Loans and Unemployment

When you couple unemployment with the financial demands of an emergency expense, it can feel like a double whammy to your bank account. And the worst part is, joblessness only perpetuates the need for extra cash.

The Associated Press reports that the unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.7 percent in November. But with fiscal cliff uncertainties looming on the horizon, the National Association for Business Economics expects unemployment rates to remain steady in 2023.

If you anticipate being saddled into this jobless rut while contending with bills you can’t pay all on your own, there are a few things you should know about personal loans with unemployment. Without the right preparation or borrowing savvy, you risk going down a treacherous debt path.
Personal Loans and Unemployment: Know Your Limitations
The Cold Truth Behind Personal Loans and Unemployment
Unfortunately, lenders tend to view unemployment as an added liability when looking at your qualifications.

“Lenders decide what is required to underwrite their loans and require a source of regular income or assets as collateral,” says Gregory Grier, CEO of USALoansNearMe. “Employment is almost always required to evidence ability to pay and affordability.”

Grier adds that these requirements also extend to lenders who deal with higher risk borrowers on a daily basis. While short-term and car title lenders may look past a credit check, even they won’t ignore the need for an income.
Dealing with Financial Strain During Unemployment

A lack of income may be a huge roadblock, but something like a leaky roof or medical bill won’t stop for anything. Before you start to look for any sort of high interest personal loan that skirts around unemployment, it’s important to exhaust the alternatives in the throes of financial uncertainty.

Jon Snyder of SHM Financial asserts that unemployed individuals can still approach borrowing—just from a different perspective.

Don’t be afraid to consider the “family and friends” route.

“Be honest with loved ones about your financial stress,” says Snyder. “Don’t live a financial lie or buy gifts you can’t afford. Loved ones will appreciate your honesty, and the financial pressure will ease.”

If anyone is willing to give you a break during a rough patch, it’s likely to be friends and family. What’s more is they may be more lenient about how much interest they charge and allow you more time to pay it back.

Approach a loan from loved ones like a traditional bank loan.

“Write down the terms and insist on a nominal interest rate,” says Snyder. “This keeps personal feelings at bay and will encourage the borrower to repay in a timely manner.”

It’s important not to take any generosity for granted; otherwise it may become all too easy to fall into bad payment patterns. It may even diminish the incentive to look for employment to help you secure another traditional loan in the future.

Part-time income is better than no income.

“Many of the unemployed today are being much more open minded,” says Grier. “Not giving up their goals or aspirations, but they are taking part-time positions to learn new, basic skills and developing relationships.”

Taking a less than desirable job now doesn’t mean you have to be stuck there for good. Using it as a springboard for gaining experience will not only keep you at least partially afloat financially, but it may also afford you the ability to borrow when the emergency need arises.
Considerations for All Borrowers

Whether you’re secure in your career, worried about potential unemployment, or dealing with it front and center, all consumers should heed the same personal finance advice.

“Like all loans, both secured and unsecured, you must consider how you will repay your lenders,” says Wilson Hanson.

Coleman advises to take a look at your personal situation to determine your borrowing needs: can you use your unemployment benefits instead? Do you have solid job prospects and simply need a loan to bridge a financial gap?

Before you bank on hunches, determine the budget you’re working with. A short-term personal loan not only requires repayment of the principal amount, but interest based on how much you borrow. A quick personal loan may help you face the uncertainty of financial emergencies, but don’t add to the burden by borrowing unemployed without understanding the long-term implications.…

Simple Ways To Cut Your Food Budget

Although food is essential to everyday life, the cost of it can get expensive. Cutting down on this cost can help you avoid having to dip into your emergency fund to cover other essential expenses in the event of an unexpected expenditure.

Become A Vegetarian
If vegetables are a favorite dish of yours and you could do without meat, becoming a vegetarian could help save you money on food, contributor Gail Cephas wrote for Forbes. Meat is one of the most expensive items at a grocery store, so cutting it out of your budget can help reduce expenses, she notes. However, you’ll want to be sure that you know plenty of vegetarian dishes that you enjoy before making this decision.

Reduce Alcohol Intake
In addition to meat, alcohol is another expensive item in your food budget. Reducing the amount you buy can not only save you money but it can improve your health as well.

Don’t Buy Pre-made Dishes
While buying pre-made dishes is much easier to do than cooking, they are much more expensive. Nearly every pre-made item at the grocery store can be made for a fraction of the price at home, according to Cephas.

Food BudgePlan Your Menus In Advance
Another great way to lower your food budget is to plan out your menus far in advance. Simply taking 30 minutes to plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks can help you save money. This can allow you to check what you already have so you don’t end up buying things at the store you don’t need. It also can enable you to make a list of only the items you need, so you don’t stray and end up overspending.

Use Your Loyalty Card And Keep It Current
No matter where you shop, it is important to have that stores loyalty card. This can ensure you will be able to take advantage of all the stores best sales. According to WiseBread, you will also want to keep your card current with up to date mail and email addresses. If this is not done you may be missing out on special offers that are for members only. Some stores will want you to register the card online to receive exclusive offers, so don’t skip that step.

Shop Alone
While shopping alone may not seem like a good time, it can have many benefits. It could allow you to skip over the extra snacks because you don’t have your kids asking for them. It also allows you to keep an eye on the prices when at checkout. This is important, James A. Pursell of Squalwkfix told the source, as one in every 12 items is scanned incorrectly, she stated.

Shop Weekly
Making a couple trips to the grocery store each week can significantly increase your food budget. That being said, you should try and stick to one shopping trip a week. Try and find out when the stores sale cycle begins and shop early in it to get the most discounted items each week.…

4 Strange Places Identity Theft Lurks

The Washington Post recently covered the story of a woman whose single cocktail at 30,000 feet on a Southwest flight cost her $1,300 in fraudulent charges.

And while it seems fraud can happen anywhere at any time, it’s important to know the odd nooks and crannies where it can be hiding out. Whether on a plane or in your home, a potential threat can be lurking and strike your finances at any time.
Fraud and Technology

The tools that have been marveled as this century’s most magnificent successes are also the very instruments that can turn against consumers. From social media to smartphones, fraudsters have found a way to infiltrate virtually every new age platform used on a daily basis.

According to TechCrunch, there are 700,000 apps available for download on the iOS store with customers using more than 100 apps on average.

While many of these programs help simplify, improve and entertain our lives, it also opens the door to allowing predators into your devices. Skilled hackers with the gumption to steal ID’s and credit card numbers have been known to gain access through the creation of apps.

Tami Nealy, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for LifeLock, suggests one way to help protect yourself from these hackers.

“When downloading apps to your tablet or smartphone, review the privacy policy first in order to determine what information on your device will be shared,” says Nealy.

Consumers can also gain some perspective by observing whether or not the app has ratings and reviews that offer some proof of legitimacy.
Social Media

There are few people who have managed to go untouched by the social media craze and for those carelessly sharing with the world, a major fraud trap is waiting.

The brains behind MyPermissions, an app to help secure mobile devices, found that 95 percent of Facebook profiles have at least one application on it. In many circumstances, these social additions aren’t reviewed and can be used for “malicious and criminal purposes.”

Aside from the problems applications can cause for users, general usage is often extremely dangerous. Javelin Strategy found that:

68 percent of people with public social media profiles revealed the month, day and year of their birthday.
63 percent shared their high school name
18 percent shared their phone number
12 percent shared their pet’s name

While these details may seem innocent enough, consider the security questions that banks, creditors and lenders ask to double up on security. Anyone on social media should be cautious with the information shared and attempt to protect sensitive details with privacy settings.

For the person on the go, a cloud service provides a convenient way to store information across multiple devices. Users can gain access to their documents and data, regardless of location.

But with convenience, comes cost. Your ability to easily access information is the opportunity for others to also access that information.

Pooya Kazerouni believes this is one of the biggest threats to keeping identities safe.

“The beauty of cloud systems is having the data on your mobile devices no matter where you are. But, those mobile devices are the weakest links in the whole system,” says Kazerouni. “Unfortunately, due to our busy lifestyle, we constantly lose or misplace our phones and valuables.”
The Enemy in Your Home

Unfortunately, it isn’t always a faceless hacker that uses consumers’ information fraudulently. Roommates, relatives and guardians have been known to exploit trusting loved ones to gain access to credit cards, Social Security numbers and cash.

Mary Flynn, a public interest litigation attorney, has seen identity theft in some of the most disheartening scenarios.

“One of the saddest places of identity theft I’ve personally seen involved licensed or relative foster parents using a foster child’s identity to incur utility charges and credit card debt. The theft was often done when the child was 8 or 9 years old, and wasn’t discovered until the child was around 18 and had a credit report run by prospective landlords or colleges, “recalls Flynn.

The young, with their unblemished and unchecked credit, are frequently targets of fraud. According to findings by All Clear ID, more than 10 percent of surveyed children had someone else using their Social Security number. But they aren’t the only pinpointed victims of identity theft.

Flynn also acknowledges that older consumers who allow a younger relative or stranger to move in are highly vulnerable to fraud.

Responsible caregivers should take initiative to protect children and the elderly by running credit reports, keeping an eye on open credit activity and reducing information exposure to potential threats.
How to Stay Protected

Regardless of what technology you use or who is exposed to your information, the simplest acts like using Wi-fi or dropping your wallet can result in a massive financial struggle.

Anthony Kirlew of Fiscally Sound suggests three steps consumers can take to better protect themselves from fraud:

Shred all documents with identifying information, including junk mail
Carry a credit card with you rather than a debit card, a debit card gives identity thieves potential access to all of the cash in your bank

“Sometimes we can’t protect against an act of crime, but we can protect against the effects of the crime. If someone gains access to a credit card account, your card might not work, but if they gain access to your bank fund and liquidate that, it could spiral into additional financial mishaps,” says Kirlew.

Get professional identity theft protection

Kirlew goes on to recommend that any ID protection service should be thoroughly researched to ensure it will provide the coverage necessary.

Identity theft may not be 100 percent avoidable at all times, but for those looking to secure their finances to the best of their ability, it is important to know where and when fraud can strike. Protect your money and credit by putting the safeguards in place that can help secure your information.…