Life happens. Emergencies and unexpected expenses can pop up at any time. But few people are financially prepared for the worst of them. Approximately 51% of Americans have $5,000 or less in their savings accounts.
This isn't much to cover major emergencies and living expenses if someone's regular income stops. For instance, taking FMLA leave means you keep your job but don't get paid. As a result, using credit cards or taking out loans is a way for people to get by.
But when an emergency happens, you don't have time to wait for a bunch of paperwork to go through the approval process.
If you've had to take a leave of absence from your job due to an injury, you can apply for short-term disability loans. Examples of short-term disabilities include broken limbs and less severe head injuries.
While some people have short-term disability benefits, these rarely pay an employee's total salary or earnings. Short-term disability loans can make the difference or cover all expenses if you don't have benefits.
One of the advantages of short-term disability loans is the lower cost of borrowing. You're also eligible to apply for short-term disability loans if you're on FMLA leave. These loans can keep the bills paid when an emergency or crisis strikes.
You can start paying those loans when you return to work and get your full salary back. Short-term disability loans are an immediate solution for a temporary crisis. They're not like mortgages that you could get stuck with for 15 or 30 years.
Nonprofit organizations and charities sometimes offer short-term loans to people in need. These loans are different from grants or other forms of assistance because you have to pay them back. However, it doesn't cost you more than what you borrow.
For example, the local nonprofit offers short-term loans of up to $2,500 for those facing a one-time emergency. This could be due to a family member becoming ill or a high medical bill. You borrow what you need to cover your expenses and then pay it back once you recover.
If you borrow $1,000, all you have to pay back is $1,000. These loans will vary according to the organization or charity that issues them. However, this gets the money you need fast, perhaps without going through a traditional approval process.
Seeking a loan from a nonprofit organization or charity can also be a viable option for people with poor credit. Again, this may not be a factor when you apply for assistance. But it's important to remember these loans work best to catch up on a couple of major bills or expenses.
Installment loans are another option if you need money as soon as possible. Banks and online lenders like Simple Fast Loans issue these under various terms. For example, say you need $3,000 to cover emergency medical expenses. You can apply online and get approved within minutes.
Your repayment period is also flexible. So, you might be able to negotiate a one-year repayment term or less. You can adjust the terms to work in your favor depending on your needs. The application requirements for online installment loans may also be more lenient.
For instance, people with less-than-perfect credit can still get an installment loan. You don't necessarily need a FICO score of 750 or above. Applying for an online installment loan is seamless, as long as you have the required documents, such as a valid photo ID.
Installment loans are unsecured, meaning you don't have to offer or put up any collateral. So, you won't have to worry about tying your car, a home, or another asset to the money you borrow. Loan amounts typically range from small ($200) to more significant amounts like $3,000.
If you already have a credit card, you can use it to pay for just about any bill and expense. You also don't have to worry about applying and getting approved for a separate loan. Existing lines of credit are something you already have access to, whether they're secured or unsecured.
You can borrow what you need up to your existing credit line. If you have a good payment history, you might also get your card issuer to increase your limit temporarily. You could charge the necessities during an emergency or crisis with an increased limit.
Easy and flexible access are the main benefits of using major credit cards. However, you do need to watch the costs of borrowing. Be sure to at least make minimum payments on time and then increase those when you get back on your feet.
If you don't have an existing credit card, you can apply for one or a line of credit. A line of credit is similar, but it doesn't necessarily come with a card. Instead, it's more like on-demand credit you can use at merchants and organizations that accept payments from the creditor.
People often use these loans as a last resort due to their potentially high borrowing costs. However, if you're still working and facing a one-time emergency, payday loans are a fast way to get money. The way these loans work is also a little different.
You can usually only borrow up to what your next paycheck will be. Payday loans are a way to essentially "float" until your next check. So, if you're short on cash until then, you can get what's equivalent to an advance.
Once you get paid, you're typically obligated to pay back the loan. The borrowing costs and potential penalties can get expensive if you don't. Then, you tend to start the cycle again since now you've spent all or a good portion of your latest check to pay off the loan.
Still, if you're sure you can pay back a payday loan without stretching yourself too thin, you can cover emergencies quickly.
When you need money quickly, you don't have time to wait for conventional loans. Whether you're facing a temporary loss of income or a medical emergency, you need quick and easy access to funds. Short-term disability and installment loans are ways to get relief.
Other flexible and quick options include credit cards, same-as-cash, and payday loans. All these solutions work for people with various credit scores and histories. However, check out the repayment terms and borrowing costs before you sign on the dotted line.