If you know financial expert Dave Ramsey, you probably already know that he doesn’t like to borrow. In fact, he suggests avoiding most types of financing. And, there’s a particular kind of debt he said not to take on because it’s “like trying to get out of a sinking boat with a bucket full of holes.”
What debt is he talking about — and is he right to recommend avoiding it?
Dave Ramsey is against personal loans
On his blog, Ramsey explained the common reasons why people get personal loans: consolidate debt at a lower interest rate; building credit; and buy things you can’t afford to pay for outright. And he said none of those reasons are valid for borrowing.
“We know it can seem like taking out a loan will help you get ahead or even just relieve you in the middle of a crisis,” Ramsey said. “But trust us, the loans only leave you a few steps back from where you started.”
Ramsey warned that taking out a personal loan can be “a lot of work”, to “achieve absolutely nothing”. And he warned that “the burden of personal loans (plus the interest that is automatically added) prevents you from making real progress with your money”. He also suggested that if you take out a personal loan, you could find yourself stuck in debt for life, so you should just say no.
Is Ramsey right?
Ramsey is on hand certain types of debt, like store credit cards and installment loans, is bad news. But when it comes to personal loans, it falls far short of the basics.
First, personal loans won’t lock you into debt because unlike credit cards, which let you keep charging them as you pay down your balance, personal loans don’t work that way. You borrow a fixed amount of money and you have a limited time to repay it. This is a huge advantage of using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt because you can stick to a set schedule and know exactly when you are going to be debt free.
Second, personal loans can have much lower interest rates than most other types of debt, such as credit cards and payday loans. Therefore, using them to consolidate and pay off debts can make paying off what you owe much easier and more affordable. If you can pay off several other debts with a personal loan at a lower rate, there is absolutely no reason not to as long as you can count on yourself not to charge your credit cards once you refinanced them into the personal loan. .
There are also circumstances where you really have no choice but to borrow. While Ramsey says you can avoid doing this by saving for what you want and sticking to your budget, it does take time. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund saved up and an essential purchase you can’t afford, a personal loan might be one of the cheapest ways to borrow to pay for it.
Ultimately, taking out a personal loan is not about using a faulty bucket to try to save yourself. It is a very good tool to use in certain circumstances and not at all to hesitate.
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