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An Atlantic article in May, 2016 caused quite a bit of buzz by claiming: “Nearly half of Americans would have a hard time finding $400 to pay for an emergency.” The article, entitled, “The Secret Shame of the Middle Class” went on to explain that The Federal Reserve Board, in its annual survey of the financial condition of the American populace, found:
“ . . . 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover [a $400 emergency] expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all.”
Many turn to pawn shops when they have a financial emergency. The number of U.S. pawn shops has grown from 6,400 in 2007, at the start of the Great Recession, to more than 10,000 today. Before trading in your treasures or family heirlooms, consider that pawn shops may not be your best option.
Of course, there’s also the option of giving your valuables to the pawnbroker for a loan. Typically, people come in at the end of the month, once their paycheck hasn’t stretched far enough and they need to buy food or pay the gas bill. The pawn shop manager makes a loan against the item and puts the it in storage. Many come back at the beginning of the month, once they’ve gotten their paycheck to get the item. Still, they have to turn over the legally-capped 22 percent interest rate in addition to the monies borrowed. So if the pawn shop values your diamond necklace at $500, you can get it back, but pay $610 (500 + 110) for the privilege. If you don’t come back that month or the next, the pawn shop manager is legally entitled to sell the necklace. A third way is to “roll over” the loan, where you pay just the interest or $110 and leave the necklace at the shop. The next month, you’ll have to pay $720 to get the necklace back.
Keep in mind that pawn shops make their bread and butter from “repeat” customers who come in every month and pay only the interest.
Pawn Shops Have the Power
The desperate need on the individual seller’s side means that pawn shops make very low offers. Generally, pawn shops have strict pricing rules dictating that they won’t pay more than half of what they think they can get for an item. One exception is higher priced guns and jewelry, which provide them more profit. With sales goals they need to meet every month, pawn shop managers know they need to keep cost of goods low in order to keep their jobs or even win a bonus. When they negotiate price with you, they’re considering their own survival. It’s not unusual to get $5 for a chainsaw, $50 for a bicycle or $25 for an SLR camera . . . and all must be in good working condition.
Your Treasures’ Value Are Subject to the Whim of the Markets
Like real estate and stocks, jewelry, gadgets and old silver fall victim to market gyrations. For example, the value of pearl necklaces and earrings has plummeted because suppliers have flooded the market. No matter how lustrous and lovely the piece, its value on the market is constantly checked by pawn brokers. Similarly, diamond shapes go in and out of fashion. Where ten years ago, the marquis cut was all the rage, now the pear-shaped diamond wins the highest prices. Buyers consider the marquis cut out-of-date.
Instead of selling something that may not be all the rage right now, why not wait until its value returns? A cash advance on your paycheck keeps your valuables at home until market conditions return to your favor.
The cash advance, money fronted to you based on the value of your paycheck, works differently from the sale to or loan from the pawn shop. First, cash advances typically stick to $500 or $1000, based on your proven income. The cash advance lender doesn’t negotiate with you on the value of your paycheck. It is what it is.
The advantage here is that the $500 you get for your diamond necklace can end up costing you. If you first look at eBay and see that similar necklaces are getting $2,000 and the pawn broker only offers $500, time pressure could push you into selling it for $1,500 less than you could get if you just had more time. In addition, you end up paying that $110 in interest. Your eventual money loss amounts to $1,610 just because you had to have $500 in a day or two.
The cash advance, on the other hand, gives you the time to find a better buyer on any number of websites or local estate jewelry shops.
When you need to:
• avoid getting low offers for your heirlooms
• avoid bounced checks or credit impacts due to non-payment
• keep cars and computers running so you can get to work
• avoid expensive late fees
. . . turn to Better Business Bureau A+ rated First Financial for a cash advance. America’s leading source of short-term personal loans for people with low or bad credit scores, First Financial makes sure customers can transact all cash advances from the comfort of home. Just upload some documentation and once you’ve filled out the final page of the form and submitted, you’re cash lands in your bank account that evening. Apply here to find out how much you qualify for!
Read This Before You Make The Leap To Homeownership
Buying your first home is a big deal. Excitement aside, there is lots of preparation to do and many things to consider before you make the transition from renter to homeowner. Keep reading for tips and advice on how to walk this road without wandering astray.
Before you reach out to a real estate agent, it’s best to ask yourself if you are really ready for homeownership. Architectural Digest asserts that your best bet is to pursue a home purchase only if you plan to be at the same place for at least five years. You’ll also want to take an in-depth look at your finances to make sure you can afford the expense.
Owning a home costs more than just the monthly mortgage — you have to pay to maintain it and keep the lights on, too. And, like when you apply for rent, your mortgage lender will want to know that you can comfortably afford your mortgage payment. To do this, they look at many factors, including your income, debt-to-income ratio, and credit history, which can quickly get your mortgage application rejected, and the property itself.
Just as your lender will look at the value of the home, you also have to consider the type of property you plan to purchase. This is because some loans are better suited to certain properties and buyers. A rural housing loan, for example, may be used by low-income buyers to purchase a certain type of dwelling in a rural area. First-time buyers with little money down may want to opt for an FHA loan, which requires a lower credit score than a conventional loan.
A Narrow Path
Once you have answered the questions of whether you are ready to own a home, and if you can afford it, you can start the house hunting process. Get ready, because this can actually get overwhelming quickly. You can reduce stress and anxiety by narrowing down your selections based on your finances and needs.
In addition to price, The House Designers says to keep your search focused on homes that have the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. If you like to cook, avoid houses with tiny kitchens. Pay close attention to location, and get familiar with local school zone maps – never assume that your house is zoned for the school you desire just because it’s close.
As you filter your search, there will be fewer homes to choose from, but that means you can focus your attention on properties that are more likely to work. Another tip: talk to your spouse or partner before making your priorities list. You may find that you have wildly different ideas on the type of house you want, and it’s best to come to a compromise before you drive yourself crazy taking turns looking at houses that one of you despises.
In Order And Ready To Sign
Now you’ve found a house that everyone loves, the hard work can begin. With your down payment in-hand, it’s time to make an offer. The real estate climate can help you determine whether you want to offer asking price, less, or more. Your realtor can also help you look at the home and comparable properties to make a fair and objective offer.
When your offer is accepted, things will move quickly. You’ll have a home inspection, appraisal, and will be in constant touch with your mortgage lender. There may be some back and forth, especially if issues are found with the property or if it appraises for less than you’ve offered.
It usually takes between four and eight weeks to get to closing day, which is when you pay your part of closing costs and take possession of your new home.
Your realtor is the best person to help you through the process, which may be smooth sailing or a bumpy road, depending on your credit and homes available in your area. Careful preparation is the key to success. The above advice can get you started and will hopefully give you a few things to think about before you take the plunge.
Image via Pexels
While the prospect of a personal loan can be intimidating, trepidation didn’t stop Donald Trump, the founders of Starbucks or flamboyant Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson when they needed funds. A short-term loan goes a long way in providing a better quality of life and setting up a flush future.
In our blog post, “When the Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card,” we explain that the personal loan can:
• raise a credit score
• save a borrower half in monthly interest charges when compared to credit card rates
• help borrowers plan (because the monthly payment is fixed.)
The personal loan can actually brighten your financial picture. Considered an installment loan rather than revolving credit, when you use it to consolidate credit card debt, banks see it as your dedication to paying it off rather than defaulting or going into bankruptcy in order to escape it. Experian and TransUnion often raise your credit score within a month or so. See? The personal loan isn’t so bad!
While you will be in debt with a personal loan, the regular payments (often sent automatically from your account through bill pay), help you budget better for the month. Knowing a set amount will come out of your bank account keeps your urge to splurge under control.
Now that you know the personal loan is a common way people pay for purchases and/or emergency expenses, read the following most common scenarios where people use personal loans.
1. You are paying credit card debt at the average rate of 15% or more (23%? 29%) when you can most likely get an unsecured personal loan for 7 to 10%.
2. Collections agencies are calling you about medical bills. NerdWallet Health’s survey found that 56 million Americans have trouble paying their medical bills. More frightening, 35 million American adults get collections agencies calls for them bills and they cause 17 million Americans to receive a lower credit rating.
3. Moving expenses become overwhelming. U.S. News found the average cost of a move within a state is $1,170, and between states, $5,630. These expenses are most often necessary for family members to earn a living. When a company doesn’t foot the bill, they land on individuals. Putting these expenses on credit cards just sets you up for high interest expenses. The personal loan only calculates interest on the principal amount, not the principal plus the interest the way credit cares do.
4. Your car or computer isn’t running. Unless you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that has reliable public transportation, you’re going to need a car. Even GoCars and ZipCars prices add up, particularly if used regularly. Most important, however, a car adds to your quality of life.
5. Your home equity isn’t sufficient for critical home repair expenses. Failing to qualify for a second mortgage doesn’t mean you have to go without a working water heater, air conditioner or mold remediation. All of these things are critical for your family’s health and well-being. Home prices have remained steady for several years now and chances are your home value will go up if you stay in it long enough.
It’s in these five circumstances that most Americans seek out personal loans.
First Financial has the most competitive rates for high-credit-score borrowers. We even welcome those with fair, poor and bad credit because they make up 56% of the current American population. Use your laptop or tablet to make payments, review statements, and update account information. You can even check your rate without impacting your credit score!
Apply now for a personal loan with First Financial, A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau!
“The market is now comfortable in the 75-month terms.”
– Melinda Zabritski, senior product director of automotive finance at Experian Automotive
If you haven’t bought a car in a while, you may be surprised when the car dealer explains that you can buy more car than you thought possible. It’s not a scam and a wishful-thinking salesperson. The changing nature of both cars and car buyers has prompted auto lenders to extend loan terms, bringing monthly payments down.
Those of us of a certain age will remember that in the 1970s and 1980s, a car with 100,000 miles was destined for the junk yard, a hazard no one dared to drive. While the 100,000 mile end-life of a car has been a tough perception to shake, attitudes are changing rapidly.
Vigorous global competition among auto manufacturers has pushed automobile quality higher over the past 20 years. Today, the classified ads are full of Volvo’s, Honda and more with 200,000 miles and cab drivers brag of getting their Toyota Prius to 600,000 miles . . . with their original batteries, no less!
Not only are cars being designed for longer life, advances in science and engineering have helped created more durable materials. Carbon finishes on parts now approach the strength of diamonds, ensuring that each part remains intact far longer. Hyundai and Kia now include 100,000-mile/10-year warranties on all of their cars’ powertrains.
Increased longevity means that a car’s value as an asset has increased. It only follows then that banks feel more comfortable lending for a longer term. The average car on the road in 1977 was 5.5. By 2014, it was 11.4, a change that indicates not only improved car quality, but a shift in the American mindset.
Where once, buying or leasing a new car every two years indicated success and wealth, now it just seems foolish. Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by an ethic of value and sustainability, and car buyers are looking to stretch their dollars by keeping their cars for as long as they can. Banks, therefore, not only have more confidence in the long-term value of the car, but in the trustworthiness of the buyer. Millennials are far more willing to buy a used car than their parents were.
With longer loan terms, buyers are making bigger, better purchases. The car buyer with a $300 monthly budget may be able to buy new rather than used. He or she may also choose the certified pre-owned car rather than the questionable auto obtained through private sale. While the loan will last longer, the ability to buy a better car provides more value to the buyer. Down the line, as a trade-in or sale, the car will win the buyer more cash. The average subprime loan amount as of August 2016 was $29,359 for a new car and $16,120 for a used car.These figures are up 3% and 1.3% respectively from the same time last year.
If it’s time for a new or new, used car for you, make sure to check out our loans for all credit types, even bad credit! Those with bankruptcy still on their credit reports still can get a car loan for a used or even new car. It takes just three minutes to apply here for a new or used car loan at the lowest rates!
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