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These days, while you can still get personal loans from banks and credit unions, there are generally lower-rate options, such as the ones we have been discussing.

The rates are better when the loan is secured, and you’ve been a bank customer for years than when the loan is unsecured and given solely against your good name. Remember, don’t hesitate to ask your bank or credit union to give you a better deal if they want to keep your business.

If you were to withdraw retirement funds early instead, from your 401K, for example, you’d have to pay taxes and a 10% penalty.

While you have them on the phone, ask about these three options: This raises many issues worthy of your consideration.

Not paying creditors will also show up as a negative transaction on your credit report that makes it harder to borrow more money.

And then there’s the risk of increasing your debt if you fail to make your payments under a debt settlement program.

If you’ve built up some equity and interest rates seem favorable, it may make sense to refinance your home and use the additional cash you can borrow to pay off more expensive debts.

Or you might be better off taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a fixed-rate home equity loan.

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