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Don't Forget Your 'Other Options' For Financing

Although what I'm about to suggest may not be feasible for everybody who reads this story, these other traditional sources of funding shouldn't be overlooked either when casting about for certification financing. This is especially true if you're concerned about being able to qualify for conventional financing or looking for especially friendly terms for repayment or interest charges:

  • Friends and family—Although you may not be able to raise as much money from these sources as you could from a bank or a specialty loan company, you can usually get more favorable terms—like the ability to skip the occasional payment—and pay lower interest than for a "purely financial" loan.

  • Savings or retirement money—If you have money in the bank, or a retirement plan that allows you to borrow against your balance, you can borrow from yourself on whatever terms you care to establish. Just be sure to make regular payments and charge yourself a fair rate of interest (failing to do so can invite unwelcome scrutiny from the IRS where retirement money is involved). If you don't pay yourself back, you'll lose two ways, not just one!

  • Your local bank or credit union—Although most financial institutions offer education loans, not all of them are enlightened enough to recognize certification training or expenses as a valid form of education. But if you can make a case for your needs on purely economic terms, you may be able to get financing from the same people who handle your money for other purposes. It never hurts to ask!

Remember, the idea is to land the financing deal that costs you the least and gives the most flexibility and comfort in being able to repay it without undue stress or strain.

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