- Some lenders allow you to get a loan without a job, though you’ll likely need some form of income.
- Understand your personal loan’s interest rate, term length, and fees before accepting its terms.
- Instead of taking out a loan, you could ask family and friends for help or dip into your savings.
If you’ve lost your job, a personal loan is one option that could help you pay your bills. It is possible to get a loan when you’re unemployed, though more difficult than it would be if you had steady work. Your chances approval depend on the lender and your overall financial situation.
Lenders look at many factors when considering your application, including credit score, payment history, debt-to-income ratio, and your annual income. While this may seem disconcerting if you’re jobless, many lenders are willing to consider other sources of income. This may include alimony, disability payments, pensions, and more.
You may also be able to find an alternative source of income from a side gig, get a cosigner, or provide collateral to increase your chances of getting approved.
Know exactly what you’re getting into with a personal loan
Before you sign for a loan, thoroughly read through all the terms. Understand the interest rate the lender is charging you, the payment schedule, and associated fees. Comprehensively examining the details up front will help you avoid problems down the road.
When deciding whether to take out a loan or not, Andrew Latham, a Certified Financial Planner® and the managing editor of SuperMoney, says you should primarily consider the purpose of the loan and whether you’ll have the income to repay it. It’s less important if you do or do not have a job.
“Getting a loan without a job can be a smart move if you are investing in your education or starting a business,” Latham says. “It is also possible to be financially responsible and get a personal loan without a job as long as you have an alternative source of income, such as interest and dividends, social security, long-term disability, alimony, or a pension.”
What are the risks of taking out a loan without a job?
You need to have a solid plan to repay your loan. Falling behind on your payments can do you significant financial harm. Without a consistent source of income, this might require a little more creativity. For example, you may choose to pick up a side gig or sell some extra items you have in your home.
Falling behind on your payments may cause you to lose your collateral (in the case of a secured loan) or end up paying thousands of dollars in extra interest. Additionally, you can severely damage your credit score with missed or late payments.
You may have to pay higher interest rates or origination fees because lenders see you as a riskier borrower without a job.
“If you don’t have a job, taking out a loan is something that you should avoid as much as possible because of the possibility of missed or late payments and a high interest rate,” says Forrest McCall, personal finance expert and founder of PassiveIncomeFreak.com. “If you do take out a loan, be sure to fully understand the terms of the loan, so you can pay it back without racking up significant interest charges.”
What are other options besides getting a loan without a job?
If you don’t qualify for a loan, consider the following alternatives:
- Reducing expenses. Look over your budget and see where you can reduce costs. This might include switching to a less expensive cell phone plan or cutting back on eating out.
- Picking up extra work. There are many options available to get work in the gig economy, including food delivery apps like Postmates and Grubhub or ride sharing options like Uber or Lyft. You can also search the web for odd jobs that may supplement your income enough to cover your necessary expenses.
- Seek out other forms of aid. This may include friends and family, local nonprofits, or federal programs. You’ll never know what you may qualify for unless you actively look for help and ask for it.
- Consider using savings or your emergency fund. If you have money tucked away for a rainy day or an urgent financial situation, a time to use it is when you lose your job. This might not be practical for some would-be borrowers, but it is a helpful reminder that while many experts say to never touch your savings, there are scenarios that call for it.