Something unusual is happening in financial markets and it could mean more gains lie ahead for stocks, if history is any indication.Marketsread more
Tesla is working on new battery cell designs, and a way to make their own cells, with R&D teams in a lab near its car plant in Fremont, California.Technologyread more
Underneath the impressive market rally is a trend that doesn't seem quite right, according to J.P. Morgan.Marketsread more
Ten 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will take the debate stage Wednesday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.2020 Electionsread more
See which stocks are posting big moves after the bell on June 26.Market Insiderread more
These attacks have given the public the opportunity to examine the problems associated with ransomware, where corporations -- not obligated to disclose these attacks -- have...Technologyread more
JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon says student lending "is a disgrace and it's hurting America."Economyread more
Online home goods retailer Wayfair sold roughly 1,600 mattresses and 100 bunk beds to Baptist Child and Family Services, a nonprofit that works as a federal contractor...Retailread more
Bitcoin jumped to its highest price since January 2018 on Wednesday.Bitcoinread more
In a strategy to draw attention away from Wednesday's Democratic debate, President Donald Trump's reelection campaign bought out YouTube's "masthead," the leading...2020 Electionsread more
The Federal Reserve and the market are miles apart on interest rate expectations, and the disparity could cost the stock market a 7%-10% drop, economists say.Economyread more
Like many others, Nik Doner, 33, struggled with growing credit card debt and interest charges of up to 30 percent.
"I was going paycheck to paycheck, and I thought credit cards were my only option, " said Doner, who is single and lives in Seattle.
Instead, Doner, a video producer and an actor, secured a personal loan to pay down his $5,000 credit card tab and start a savings account. He is now paying off that three-year loan at 9.6 percent.
For those with little to no savings like Doner, rainy days are about borrowing money.
And apparently, there have been plenty of those. The number of people taking out unsecured loans jumped close to 30 percent in recent years, to 13.72 million in 2015 from 10.57 million in 2013, according to the latest data available from TransUnion.
Another 24 million Americans are likely to take out a personal loan this year alone, according to a separate report by Bankrate.
"The personal loans market is hot right now," according to Bankrate's personal loans expert Todd Albery.
"It reflects the good state of the economy," explained Jason Laky, a senior vice president at TransUnion. "Consumers are feeling the benefits of four to five years of solid economic growth and strong gains in employment. And as that happens, they are willing to take out loans again."
Personal loans, or unsecured loans, often act as the placeholder for those with a big upcoming expense but little in the way of savings. They do not require borrowing against something of value, such as a house or car, which makes them particularly attractive for those without that kind of equity. However, that generally means the loans are available at a slightly higher interest rate than a home equity loan.
Personal loans are also locked in over shorter terms, like one to five years, and payments are auto-deducted from a checking account, which decreases the odds of missing a payment or defaulting.
"From a financial responsibility standpoint, it feels like a semi-savvy way to take on debt," said Bankrate's Albery.
Personal loans are well suited for smaller loan amounts than a typical home equity loan, but more than one would want to run up on credit cards — generally, anything up to $35,000, Albery said.
Before the Great Recession and the historic housing crash, homeowners used their homes to access as much cash as the bank would allow. But borrowers who were burned by falling housing prices, not to mention today's tighter lending standards, are considerably more wary now when it comes to home equity loans and lines of credit.
"The decline in home values and home lending left consumers with this option, " noted Laky, referring to the rise of unsecured personal loans.
A slew of online lenders, like Lending Club and Prosper, have emerged in recent years to offer these types of loans as the alternative, particularly for millennials that may want to consolidate their debt but don't have the home equity for a secured loan to do it.
In the meantime, the average loan balance on unsecured loans has been creeping higher. In 2015, the average balance was $7,235, up more than 7 percent from the year earlier, according to TransUnion.
The average balance will grow by another 5 percent in 2016, to $7,599, according to TransUnion's personal loan forecast.
The interest rate on a personal loan is 11.3 percent, on average, according to Bankrate, although those with very good credit can get a rate as low as 5.5 percent. That's notably less than the average credit card rate of 15.7 percent.
But despite their current popularity, this type of loan is not for everyone, Albery cautioned.
People with home equity should consider home equity loans and lines of credit, which charge lower rates and have a tax advantage, he explained. Those without that kind of collateral but with good or excellent credit could qualify for a zero percent balance transfer credit card for as long as 21 months, Albery added.