A personal loan can help you cover a variety of expenses. You can use it to pay for car repairs, medical bills, a home improvement project, and everything else. If you decide to take one out, you may wonder how much you can afford to spend on it. It all depends on several factors, which we’ll explain below.
Whether you work a traditional full-time job, are a freelancer or self-employed, or receive alimony, retirement, or Social Security benefits, your income is an important factor to consider when shopping for a personal loan. A general rule of thumb is to spend no more than 35% to 43% of your income on mortgages, car loans, and personal loan payments.
Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. The lower your ratio, the better. If it’s on the high side, you might not be able to afford a large loan because you’re already spending a lot of your income on debt payments. On the flipside, a lower debt-to-income ratio may indicate you can repay a larger loan.
Your budget is essentially a spending plan based on your income and expenses. Take a close look at your budget and figure out how much money you have to put toward a loan. Also, consider your other financial priorities like your emergency fund and retirement savings. Ask yourself if you’d rather take out a loan or pad your savings accounts.
Just because a lender approves you for a specific personal loan doesn’t mean you can afford it and continue to live the life you want. Consider your lifestyle before you move forward with one. If you like to have a lot of disposable income at the end of every month, you may be better off with a smaller loan.
Use A Personal Loan Calculator
To find out what you can afford to spend on a personal loan, you may want to use a personal loan calculator. Once you plug in information like your desired loan amount and annual percentage rate (APR), you’ll be able to explore monthly payment options and get an idea of how they might fit into your budget.
The Bottom Line
While it may be tempting to go with the largest loan you get approved for, doing so can lead to financial hardship and stress. By analyzing your personal financial situation, goals, and preferences, you’ll be able to determine how much you can and want to afford to spend on a loan.
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