What is money for? An evening with Vicki Robin


Your Money or Your LifeWhen I was a boy, my heroes were athletes and astronauts. I dreamed of playing pro football one day. Or, better yet, walking on the moon.

As an adult, my heroes are more mundane. They’re the people who make personal finance accessible to average people. Long-time readers know that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is one of my heroes. So too is Dave Ramsey, who has helped countless people — including me — get out of debt.

But perhaps my biggest hero is an unassuming 73-year-old woman in cat-eye glasses who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington’s Puget Sound.

In 1992, Vicki Robin (and her partner, Joe Dominguez) published Your Money or Your Life, a book designed to help readers transform their relationship with money. In 2004, the book transformed my relationship with money. It rocked my world. It inspired me to seek financial independence, which the book defines as “no longer having to work for money”.

Fast-forward fifteen years.

Today, in 2019, I’m awe-struck to actually be exchanging email with Vicki Robin, discussing the past, present, and future of financial independence. And this week, when she came to Portland, I not only got to hear her speak in person, but also got to treat her to dinner.

Your Money or Your Life

Last night, Douglas Tsoi, founder of the Portland Underground Graduate School and the School of Financial Freedom, hosted a talk from Vicki Robin. A few dozen money nerds — including some GRS readers (Hi, Scott! Hi, Brandon!) — gathered to hear Robin’s thoughts about financial independence.

For the sake of clarity, I’ve taken some liberties in what follows. I haven’t changed any of Robin’s ideas, but I’ve shifted some topics and quotes in order to create a smoother, more coherent flow for the blog. I’ve treated Robin’s Q&A responses, for instance, as if they’re part of the main talk. A real journalist would be mortified. I am not a real journalist.

Some folks in the audience were unfamiliar with Your Money or Your Life, so Robin started by briefly recapping the book’s message.

The goal of Your Money or Your Life, Robin says, is to transform your relationship with money in order to liberate your most precious resource, time. The book’s nine-step program is meant to help readers track the flow of money and stuff in their lives, guided by both self-interest (“does it work for me?”) and higher values (“does it work for the world?”).

It’s natural that we act in our own self-interest. If we aren’t right with ourselves, it’s tough be of service to others. But Robin worries that too many people get stuck in the self-interest side of things and never move beyond that, never see how achieving financial independence gives them the freedom to leave a lasting, positive impression on the world.

Like me, she wants people to “live on purpose”.

Interlude
After Robin’s talk, a GRS reader named Brandon introduced himself to me. “Thanks for the work you do,” he said. “Especially what you share about mission and purpose.”

“Has that been useful for you?” I asked. “I feel it’s important, but sometimes I feel like I’m writing into a vacuum. I don’t know if it actually helps anybody.”

“Yes, absolutely,” Brandon said. “My wife and I have both done your personal mission statement exercise. It’s helped to give our lives direction. It’s very useful.”

A Story of Money

“In the western world, we live in a story of money,” Robin says. “On a personal level, this usually means that more is better. Whatever you have, a little bit more is better.” Our society is built around this narrative, which is pushed on us from all sides. (Even minimalism turns out to be about having more: “I have more less.”)

We’re all living this story together.

While the definition of financial independence in Your Money or Your Life is “no longer having to work for money”, Robin stresses that being FI isn’t about not working. Financial independence doesn’t mean leaving your job. It doesn’t mean seeking a life of idleness. Financial independence is about being independent from consumer culture, from the default ideology of the western world.

“There’s an ongoing campaign to convince people that they need more than they have. We’ve been persuaded we need more stuff. We’re constantly bombarded by messages of more.”

Robin isn’t immune to these messages. She recently considered buying a laptop case for when she travels.

“A useful question for me when I’m in the presence of something I must have is: Who wins if I buy this? Do I win? Or does somebody else win? Maybe I win a teeny bit by getting a computer case, but the company that sells it is the real winner.”

She smiled. “Besides, I’d probably just misplace the new case in my office. I’d be better off wrapping my computer in a towel!”

A New Story

Your Money or Your Life is meant to help readers see the world through different eyes. It’s meant to help people escape Plato’s Cave, to free themselves from the Matrix. When you reject the standard narrative, you’re able to define what’s valuable to you, what is enough for you.

“Moderating your consumption is resisting the dominant narrative,” Robin says. “It’s a sort of independence, a sort of freedom. It’s opting out of the idea that growth is good.”

When Robin and Dominguez wrote Your Money or Your Life, their aim was to help readers “liberate their life energy” so that they could use that energy to pursue what brings them (and the world around them) value.

“If everyone could do what they’re called to do, the world would be a better place,” Robin says.

Robin thinks it’s time for society to create a new shared narrative. She believes it’s time to set aside the story of money, to adopt a story that works toward the common good, not just the individual good.

How do we do this? She’s been thinking about this for years (and it’s the subject of her next book). Her advice reminds me of Action Girl’s guide to living, which I shared in 2006 when Get Rich Slowly was a baby blog.

In short:

  • Find others who are doing work of value. Work with them.
  • Help them bring forth something the makes life better for everybody.
  • Allow them to help you.

Financial independence isn’t an ultimate purpose. It’s a means to an end. It allows us to put ourselves in a position to contribute to society, to take care of others (children, elders, whomever).

What Is Money For?

Vicki RobinIn 1989, when they started writing the book, Robin and Dominguez had been teaching their financial freedom workshop for ten years. They’d seen that, on average, attendees were able to decrease their spending between 20% and 25%. What’s more, folks were happier. And they were consuming less.

When they decided to write Your Money or Your Life, they had two objectives.

  • They wanted to liberate people to be of service.
  • They wanted to liberate the planet from consumerism.

When Robin updated the book 25 years later, she felt discouraged. Instead of a reduction in consumerism, it seemed like the world had “gone further down the path of degradation”. Her goal with her revisions was to reach a new generation of readers.

As she worked on the new edition, she was pleased and humbled to discover that — unbeknownst to her — she’d helped inspire an entire movement: the FIRE movement. (FIRE is a clumsy acronym for Financial Independence and Early Retirement.)

But she was saddened to see that many of the folks pursuing financial independence were motivated purely by self-interest. They had no desire to be of service. They weren’t pursuing a higher aim.

“People are using FIRE as a way to escape something,” Robin says, “not as a way to pursue something bigger.” She wishes more folks would use financial independence as a platform to pursue large goals, to change their communities — and the world.

“What is freedom for?” she asked the audience last night. “What is FIRE for? Once money is no longer your story, what is your story? Who am I? What makes my life worth living? Who are my people?”

Life After Work

Robin says we don’t talk about these ideas as a society. We don’t talk about what a post-work “story” would look like. “If money is our religion,” Robin says, “then our jobs are the central rituals. Work is what we do from the time we’re born until the time we die.”

She believes we’re all meant for more than work. We want to apply our life energy to things that we think are valuable.

“We are born to contribute,” she says. We’re born to be useful, to be a meaningful part of our communities. “To say that work is only to get income is to befuddle the mind. I’ve left paid employment but I haven’t left work.”

Now, she works on improving herself and on improving society. “I work for the benefit of all every moment of my life.”

Robin spent some time talking about the difference between work and play. She says: “I aspire, as I do my work in the world, to do it with a spirit of play. To do it with a spirit of curiosity. To not make anybody an enemy. I think that’s something to aspire to.” I agree whole-heartedly!

Robin’s talk — and the Q&A that followed — was dense with information. I’ve only summarized the main points. For my own reference (and the reference of those who attended), here are are two interesting concepts that she referred to in passing:

Robin concluded her talk by sharing some of the new ideas she’s been exploring over the past few years. “What if we could have financial independence for everyone?” she asked. What would that look like? Is it even possible?

She’s still hashing out these ideas as she writes her next book.

Dinner with Vicki Robin

As much as I enjoyed Robin’s talk last night, I enjoyed taking her to Thai food on Monday even more.

Sometimes when we meet our heroes, we’re disappointed. I was not disappointed. I was impressed with Robin’s quick mind. I also liked how she’d ask questions without hesitation, trying to dig deeper into my motives and meaning.

For example, I shared how I struggle when I’m put in a position of authority. I don’t like being treated like a money expert because I don’t feel like a money expert. As a result, I’m reluctant to speak in front of large audiences. And I’m dragging my feet when it comes to setting up the Get Rich Slowly channel on YouTube.

On the other hand, I love meeting people one on one. I enjoy talking with readers about their financial situations, asking questions about their choices, trying to find solutions to their problems.

After listening for a few moments, Robin cut to the core: “You’re preferred mode is relational,” she said, “not informational.”

It was a simple statement, but it made a big impression on me. She’s right. (My therapist once told me I’m a “relationship guy”.) I need to consider this when choosing how to proceed with projects. Maybe I’m struggling with the YouTube channel because I don’t want to be a talking head. Maybe instead I need to film myself in conversation with others.

“Maybe you should let people pay you to do coaching calls,” Robin suggested. “And you might want to consider doing more partnerships. You should work with Douglas Tsoi on his School of Financial Freedom.” I think she’s right.

Anyhow, the past couple of days have made me feel like a boy again. But instead of dreaming about my heroes, I actually got to meet and talk with one. Isn’t life crazy? (And I have high hopes that I’ll get to meet and talk with Vicki Robin again in the not-so-distant future.)

Author: J.D. Roth

In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he’s managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.



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5 Things You Should Stop Buying This Year


Skeptical woman with cleaning brushSTUDIO GRAND WEB / Shutterstock.com

Behind the attractive labeling and advertising, there’s a dizzying array of chemicals that go into many items we buy.

These chemicals make products smell good, help fight grease and dirt, and make our busy lives easier. But some of them also have drawbacks — like the potential to harm you or the environment, if not also a higher price tag than safer alternatives.

Following is a sampling of household products that you might not have given much thought to before but might want to stop buying in 2019.



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17 New York First-Time Home Buyer Grants


First-time home buyer grant programs are one way to make buying a house in New York more affordable. Rather than saving up the cash all on your own, first-time home buyer grant programs provide money you can use for a down payment and closing costs, among other things.

What is a first-time home buyer grant?

First-time home buyer grants are available through a variety of entities, including city and county governments, community development organizations and nonprofits. In many cases, the money doesn’t have to be repaid.

Each grant program has its own terms, conditions and eligibility requirements, but in general, applicants must:

  • Be a first-time home buyer.
  • Take a home buyer education course.
  • Satisfy income requirements.
  • Satisfy purchase price requirements.
  • Occupy the house as your primary residence.
  • Purchase in an approved location.

Grants aren’t the only programs for first-time home buyers in New York, of course. The State of New York Mortgage Agency, or SONYMA, offers affordable mortgages and other assistance options you may find helpful.

» MORE: Explore New York first-time home buyer programs


First-time home buyer grants available across NY

1. Housing Opportunities Foundation grant (statewide)

Offered through the New York State Association of Realtors and the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, this grant program provides $2,000 to help first-time home buyers cover their down payment and closing costs. The grant is a gift, and if awarded, there’s no obligation to repay it. The grant is available only to buyers in New York state who are working with a real estate agent. Grants are awarded through a monthly lottery of qualified applicants. Those who are denied can apply again the next month.

» MORE: Tips for first-time home buyers


Grant programs in NYC boroughs

2. HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance (all NYC boroughs)

The HomeFirst program offers up to $40,000 in assistance for down payment or closing costs. Assistance is provided in the form of a forgivable loan, meaning no payment is due as long as buyers occupy the home for 10 consecutive years. The property can be a one- to four-unit family home, condominium, or a cooperative, and it must be located in one of New York City’s five boroughs. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must be able to contribute some of their own funds toward the purchase.

3. NeighborhoodLIFT program (Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens)

The NeighborhoodLIFT Program offers up to $20,000 in down payment assistance. Funds are provided in the form of a five-year forgivable loan, and a portion is forgiven each year the buyer occupies the home. The remaining balance is due immediately if the buyer moves before five years have passed. Although the NeighborhoodLIFT program isn’t limited to first-time home buyers, all applicants must attend an approved home buyer education course. The property must be located in Brooklyn, Bronx or Queens.

4. “HOME” grant (Brooklyn)

Offered through Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn, this grant program provides up to $20,000 in assistance for prospective home buyers. Funds are provided by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) agency. Only homes in Brooklyn are eligible.


Grant programs in the Capital District

5. Home Acquisition Program (Albany)

Offered through the Albany Community Development Agency, this program provides buyers with a percentage of their home’s purchase price — up to $14,900 — for down payment and closing cost assistance. Funds are provided in the form of a prorated, deferred loan with a maximum term of five years. Buyers are required to repay the grant if they sell or transfer the property, or pass away within the first five years of owning it. The property must be located within the city of Albany.

6. HOME Down Payment Assistance Grant Program (Albany County)

This program is designed to help offset the cost of buying a home in Albany County. The Albany County Rural Housing Alliance, or ACRHA, provides funds in the form of a 10-year forgivable loan. The amount of assistance provided depends on applicant need and income. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must be able to contribute $1,500 of their own funds. The property’s purchase price cannot exceed $190,000, and the home must be located outside the city of Albany.

7. Home Buyer Incentive Program (Troy)

Administered by the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP), this program provides up to $20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must have $1,500 saved in an account for three consecutive months and the property must be located within the city of Troy.

8. Homebuyer Program (Rensselaer County)

This program, administered by the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP), offers up to a $20,000 grant for down payment and closing costs. Applicants must have $1,500 saved in an account for three consecutive months and also meet general eligibility requirements. Only properties within Rensselaer County, but outside the city of Troy, are eligible.

9. First-Time Home Buyer Program (Colonie)

This grant program helps first-time buyers purchase a single-family home, condo or townhouse in the town of Colonie, village of Colonie and village of Menands. “The grant amount ranges between $14,000 and $25,000 depending on income and family size,” Jennifer Kennedy, an aide at the Colonie Community Development Department, said in an email. The buyer will have to repay the grant if they don’t use the home as their primary residence for the period of time decided at closing. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants will need to have a savings account that shows an average balance of $1,500.


Grant programs in western NY

10. Homeownership Program (Lockport)

Funded through the New York State Governor’s Office for Small Cities, this grant program provides up to $19,000 to help cover a down payment, closing costs and other expenses related to buying a house. If the property is sold, transferred, foreclosed on or no longer occupied before the 11th year of ownership, a portion of the grant may have to be repaid. Grant funds can only be used to buy a single or two-family home within the city of Lockport, and the purchase price cannot exceed $80,000.

11. Hometown Housing Program (Hamburg)

Offered through the Hamburg Department of Community Development, this grant program provides first-time home buyers with up to $10,000 in down payment assistance. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must agree to occupy the property for 10 years. If buyers sell the house or change the title in any way before the 10-year mark, the grant must be repaid in full. Applicants must also be able to contribute at least 5% of the total cost of the home. Only single-family homes within the town of Hamburg and the villages of Blasdell and Hamburg are eligible.


Grant programs in central NY

12. Homsite Mortgage Assistance Program (Auburn and Cayuga County)

Offered in cooperation with the city of Auburn, this program provides grants of up to $3,000 to help qualified first-time home buyers cover down payment and closing costs. Funds are provided in the form of a deferred loan, meaning no repayment is required as long as buyers own and occupy the home for five years. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must contribute $500 of their own funds. They’ll also need a signed purchase offer for a home located within the city of Auburn or Cayuga County. The purchase price of the home must be $110,000 or less.

13. Purchase/Rehabilitation Program for First-Time Home Buyers (Cortland County)

Offered through the Cortland Housing Assistance Council and the Empire Development Corporation, this grant program provides funds that first-time home buyers can use to reduce closing costs and fix up their new home after purchase. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, applicants must buy a single-family home located within Cortland County.

14. Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services ‘Due On Sale’ Assistance (Tompkins County)

This grant program provides up to $30,000 for down payment and closing costs. Funds are provided in the form of a no-interest loan, but the full amount must be repaid if the property is sold. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, the property must be located in Tompkins County (but outside the city of Ithaca), cost $165,000 or less and pass an inspection by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services.

15. Home HeadQuarters Closing Cost Assistance (Syracuse)

This grant program provides first-time home buyers with up to $4,000 to pay closing costs. Assistance is in the form of a deferred loan that is forgiven if the buyer lives in the home for at least five years. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, buyers must contribute at least $500 to the purchase. The home must be located in Syracuse and not cost over $120,000.


Grant programs in the North Country/Mohawk Valley

16. Housing Assistance Program of Essex County (Clinton County)

This grant program provides up to 5% of the mortgage principal to be used as a down payment, pay closing costs or correct issues with the property. Although the program name includes Essex County, funding is currently restricted to homes within Clinton County, HAPEC housing counselor Penny Daniels said in an email. Funds from this grant program can also be used to build a house on land the applicant owns.

17. Down Payment Assistance (Utica)

Offered through the HomeOwnership Center, this grant program provides first-time home buyers with $6,500 to use for a down payment or closing costs. Funds are provided in the form of a fully forgivable loan. As long as applicants maintain ownership of the property for five years, no repayment is required. In addition to meeting general eligibility requirements, buyers have to make a personal contribution of $2,000. Only properties in specific parts of Utica are eligible.


Your next step

Think you’re a good fit for one of the New York first-time home buyer grants listed above? Take the next step by contacting the organization that offers the funds. Ask about additional eligibility requirements and make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions before you apply. You may also want to ask for guidance on choosing a mortgage lender that’s known to work with the grant program you’ve chosen.

» MORE:  Browse the best SONYMA mortgage lenders

More from NerdWallet

How much house can you afford?

Compare New York mortgage rates

See all first-time home buyer programs by state



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World economies that are better prepared for the future

With technology increasingly evolving, it is particularly important for countries’ economies to adapt.
People are changing at a fast pace. The past 150 years have been characterized by the most impressive technological development in history. In the coming decades, artificial intelligence, automotive cars and the automation of many of the jobs that do not require special skills are likely to further change the world economy.

In the recent World Economic Forum Global Competition, there is an entire category called “Future Government Orientation”, which examines various indicative elements of the preparation of individual national governments. The questions in this category include: “How quickly does the country’s legislative framework adapt to online business models?”, “To what extent does the government respond effectively to change?” And “To what extent does the government have a long-term vision ? “.

Each score is given a score of one to seven, with seven being the highest, then each score is offset in only one score.

These are, therefore, the countries of the world that are better prepared for the digitized economic future of the planet.

Serious Fitch warning of global growth

Despite these small downgrades, Fitch points out that prospects remain strong as the figures move significantly higher than the historical average. However, growth is now less synchronized and balanced.

This reflects differences in monetary policy, exchange rates and fiscal policy. The latter is particularly aggressive in the US but neutral in Europe. Especially for the eurozone, the company claims that growth seems to have caught a ceiling unlike the US, and now sees it moving at 2% or 0.3% lower than the previous estimate.

Lagarde: Commercial war and financing the two major dangers for the global economy

The head of the IMF sounds the alarm.
“There are two major categories of risk to the global economy,” said IMF chief Christine Lagarde in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“The first is related to trade intensities that continue last year and involve the risk of retaliation. Addressing these risks requires a reduction in tension and a dialogue to reform the rules of international trade and to improve the system in its present form. The second category of risks is about financing, as there will be tighter monetary measures in the US due to the improvement of its economy, but it will have an impact on the economies of the world, “the IMF chief said.

These will be the most powerful economies in the world by 2050

It is also expected to double the growth rate of emerging economies versus advanced economies.
The ranking of the 15 strongest economies is based on PwC’s exposure data, based on long-term projections for the overall economic situation of 32 countries, based on the projected increase in their GDP with their PPP. Numbers are in trillion. US dollars and at constant prices.

It is worth noting that global GDP growth is expected to be at 130% from 2016 to 2050, while the growth rates of emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey) will double compared to advanced economies USA, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan).

Serious warning from Nobel laureate economist Paul Krougman about the global economy

How close to the recession lies the planet, and what we have to do this year to avoid it.
His fears of a possible recession in the global economy in 2019, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman said at a news conference in Dubai, CNBC reported.

“I think there is a fairly good chance that we will enter a recession later this year (or) next year,” Krougman said, arguing that it is unlikely to be just a “big event” that will cause economic recession. Instead, a series of financial exposures will increase the likelihood of slowing down … The main concern has always been that we do not have an effective response when the economy is slowing down. ” Right now, the eurozone is very close to recession. ”

Last week, the European Commission significantly downgraded its projections for euro area economic growth in 2019 and 2020. The Commission said growth will slow down this year to 1.3% from 1.9% in 2018 and is expected to recover 2020 to 1.6%. The estimates were considerably less optimistic than the Commission’s previous forecasts, published in November, when Brussels expected growth in the Eurozone to be around 1.9% this year and 1.7% in 2020. The news intensifies fears that the global economic downturn is spreading in Europe.

Krugman also argued that President Trabp’s stimulus program through a reduction in tax revenue is a matter of concern, calling the program “not very effective”.

“Markets are increasingly concerned about the prospect of a severe economic downturn in the coming months, with the US-China trade war being a challenge for entrepreneurship and the consumer climate. Most economists, as well as some global business elite, agree that economic growth is slowing down, but policy makers have expressed some hope for a “smooth landing” rather than a final recession, “said Krugman.

France wants a minimum corporate tax at a global level

France wants to push during its G7 presidency for a global tax system that includes a minimum corporate tax on a global level, Finance Minister Bruno Le Mer said today.

Le Mer said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that this is necessary to address the imbalances between taxes paid by large and small businesses. He added that he has discussed the idea with the US.

“There is a common understanding among all G7 members that we need a new tax system,” he said.

It is recalled that IMF chief Christine Lagarde has also advocated a new international corporate tax system and today reiterated that the main risk facing the global economy is the trade dispute between China and the US.

“A slowdown in China is OK, it is acceptable,” Lagarde said, adding that “if the deceleration accelerated, that would be a real issue.”

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019


Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Comparing rates — along with monthly payments and total interest — can help you choose the most affordable loan. Here’s a look at average interest rates on personal loans from online lenders, banks and credit unions.

Online personal loan interest rates

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit. Use the calculator below to see estimated rates and payments from online lenders based on your credit score.

The annual percentage rate on a loan is its interest rate plus all fees, including origination fees. When you’re shopping for a loan, always check APRs for the best cost comparison.

In addition to low starting rates, online lenders typically do a soft credit check for pre-qualification, which allows you to compare rates without having an impact on your credit score. Banks and credit unions typically do a hard credit check, which can temporarily shave points off your credit score.

» MORE: 4 steps to pre-qualify for a personal loan

Who has the best online personal loan interest rates?

Loans from online lenders LightStream, SoFi and Marcus carry some of the lowest starting APRs. LightStream’s APR range varies by the reason for a loan, with its lowest starting rate applying to a new or used car purchase.

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

• APR: 3.99% – 16.99% (with autopay).

• Loan amount: $5,000 – $100,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 7 years.

• Minimum credit score: 660.

• Time to funding: As soon as the same day.

• Fees: None.

• Read our review.

• APR: 5.74% – 16.49% (with autopay).

• Loan amount: $5,000 – $100,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 7 years.

• Minimum credit score: 680.

• Time to funding: Typically 7 days.

• Fees: No origination fees, late fees or overdraft fees.

• Read our review.

• APR: 5.99% – 28.99%.

• Loan amount: $3,500 – $40,000.

• Loan terms: 3 to 6 years.

• Minimum credit score: 660.

• Time to funding: Usually 2 days.

• Fees: None.

• Read our review.

» MORE: Personal loans for good to excellent credit

Personal loan interest rates at banks

Large banks that offer personal loans include Citibank and Wells Fargo. Banks may offer competitive rates — and rate discounts if you’re already a customer — but they typically have tougher eligibility requirements and can take longer to fund your loan than online lenders.

Commercial banks charged an average APR of 10.70% on 24-month personal loans in November 2018, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve.

» MORE: Compare banks offering personal loans

Personal loan interest rates at credit unions

Credit union loans may carry lower rates than banks and online lenders, especially for those with bad credit, and loan officers may be more willing to consider your overall financial picture.

The average rate charged by credit unions in December 2018 for a fixed-rate, 3-year loan was 9.37% APR, according to the most recent data from the National Credit Union Administration. Federal credit unions cap the APR on personal loans at 18%.

You have to become a member of a credit union to apply for a loan, and the loan application may result in a hard credit check.

» MORE: Pros of credit union personal loans

How to pre-qualify for a personal loan

Pre-qualifying for an online loan can get you access to potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate. You can pre-qualify with multiple lenders on NerdWallet to compare offers and find the lowest rate.



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