BIG 

RETURNS

 BIG 

RETURNS

AVOIDING BAD LOANS

There’s nothing wrong with borrowing. In fact, 

timely loans make it possible to achieve some 

important goals, including buying a home or  

car or paying for college—things you couldn’t 

ordinarily afford to pay out of your personal  

savings. Borrowing may also be helpful in other 

circumstances, such as when you’re starting a 

new business, transitioning between jobs, or  

coping with unexpected expenses.

What you want to avoid are problem loans  

that cost much more than they’re worth. For 

example, advance-fee loans, vehicle-title loans, 

and payday loans are promoted as providing 

immediate cash if you find yourself short, no 

credit check required. In reality, they’re traps  

for extracting fees and finance charges  

that easily could drive you deeper 

into debt. Remember, as a  

veteran, you no longer enjoy  

the protection of the Federal 

Military Lending Act, which 

restricts some of the worst  

abuses of these predatory lenders.

Be wary of loan collectors 

who try to collect on debts you 

never incurred or those you have 

already paid off. Their tactics may 

be aggressive in the extreme. The 

Federal Trade Commission has a 

wealth of helpful information at 

www.consumer.ftc.gov. Almost  

as dangerous as outright scams are loan doctors 

who offer to fix your credit standing for a fee. 

You’re throwing your money away.

INVESTOR BEWARE

One way to avoid investment fraud is to ignore  

any online or telephone pitches for can’t-fail 

investments that promise big returns. But you 

also need to guard against legitimate but inap-

propriate investments, such as over-the-counter 

stocks and callable certificates of deposit, which 

are often served up at free-lunch investment 

seminars. One safe bet: Never buy any investment, 

especially one offering a high return, without fully 

understanding how it works and what its risks are. 

LOANS TO CONSIDER

If you need money to start a business, 

loans may be available through the  

Small Business Administration (SBA)  

Office of Veterans Business Development 

(www.sba.gov/vets), from your state’s 

office of veterans affairs, and from some 

private-sector lenders, such as credit 

unions. As a veteran you have preference 

on loans or guarantees available from  

the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

for buying, improving, or renovating  

farm property.

veterans HanDBOOK