And on The Early Show Tuesday, financial author and radio host Dave Ramsey raised caution flags about three such options.
He gets plenty of snail-mailed and e-mailed questions about money, and the three Ramsey answered Tuesday all involved options he says people should skip.
Home Equity Loans
"I'm always going to take people away from debt," Ramsey told co-anchor Julie Chen. "The 'HEL,' the home equity loan, sometimes it just means they left off the 'L.' These things are bad news. A lot of home equity loans have calls, or balloons in them, so you have to re-qualify, so if you have a car wreck, or lose your job, you could be up the creek. You could really be in a mess. Most of them have variable rates and most have high interest rates. They're really a poorly designed product and a lot of people are taking them out to pay off debts and things like that. It's a bad plan. Stay away from them.
"(If you already have one), get it paid off as fast as you can.
"If you need a long-term loan, take out a good quality mortgage, where you get that (rate) locked in for 15 years with the great interest rates we still have, and you're not all over the map, at the bank's whim, on the interest rates."