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I don't intend to be honest with the lender with what I plan to do, but I seek to borrow ~$250,000.00 with zero collateral and use that in high-yield investing to bank around 10-12% back a year, which is up to roughly 20K. I will use 10% of this 20K to pay the loan back on an annual basis agreement, and keep around 18K for myself and reinvest most of this into the 250K account, which will expand and increase my annual returns proportionately until I can pay off the loan quicker and quicker and improve my quality of life. I was thinking of some ways this can work, but may be difficult.

Anyways, is this sustainable/safe? I proven how this can work above. What are the concerns?

Basically, the goal is to get a handle on a quarter million dollars to jumpstart my investing and returns to better my quality of life. I don't make big money so I can't better my life with normal income.

It's not fair and it is lieing to the lender, but it's needed to make my life to the way I want.

What is the consensus of this idea of mine and is this overal sustainable and wokring?

  • In what way are you lying to the lender? – DJohnM Jun 12 '17 at 6:30
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    If this was sustainable/safe, everyone would be doing it (especially the people from whom you originally borrow the money). Since nobody (sensible) is doing it, one can conclude it is not sustainable/safe. – TripeHound Jun 12 '17 at 10:13
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    You "don't make big money" yet someone is going to loan you 250K? You should really engage in a study of personal finance. Your ignorance is overwhelming but can be corrected through study. – Pete B. Jun 12 '17 at 11:40
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    I've downvoted on reading "I don't intend to be honest with the lender about what I intend to do." That is in no way an appropriate action. If the lender asks and you lie, then you are committing fraud. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jun 12 '17 at 14:49
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    I'm afraid everything here ... is a fantasy. – Fattie Jun 12 '17 at 22:04
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The biggest concern is how you get $250,000 in unsecured credit. It's unlikely that you will be loaned that amount at a percentage lower than what you expect to earn. Unsecured credit lines are rarely lower than 10% and usually approach 20%.

On top of that, for a bank to approve you for that credit line, you have to have a high credit score and an income to support the payments on that credit line. But lets suspend disbelief and assume that you can get the money you want on loan.

You would then be expected to pay back that 10%, but investments don't go up uniformly. Some years they go up 15-20% and other years they go down 10%. What do you do if you have to sell some of your investments in a down year? That money is no longer invested, and you can't recover it with the following up year because you had to take too much out to cover the loan payments. You'll be out of money long before the loan is repaid because you can expect there will be bad years in the stock market that will eat away at your investment.

There were a lot of people who took their money out of the market after the crash of 2008. If they had left their money in through 2009, they would have made all that money back, but if you have a loan to pay you have to pull money out in the bad years as well as the good years. Unless you have a lucky streak of all good years, you're doomed.

  • In fact, some years they (investment returns) go up 15-20% and other years they go down 30% or even more. The chance that anyone can reliably gain 10-12% per year, every year, is very, very low. – chili555 Jun 12 '17 at 21:41
  • While getting the loan would be his FIRST problem, I don't think it would be his biggest. If somehow he did get the loan, he would then have to figure out how to pay it back with interest, which would be a much bigger problem. :-) – Jay Jun 12 '17 at 21:54
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I will use 10% of this 20K to pay the loan back on an annual basis agreement

An annual payment of 0.8% ($2,000 / $250,000) is nowhere near large enough. The interest alone is going to be well over $10,000 (and probably closer to $20,000 on an unsecured loan), so you need to plan for at least a $20,000 - $30,000 annual payment, depending on the terms (length and interest rate) on the loan.

But in general...

is this sustainable/safe?

Essentially what you are doing is using leverage to increase the amount you can invest. While this is fantastic when the market rises, it can go horribly wrong when the market goes down. Generally it is unwise to fund a risky (meaning there are large swings in return) investment with a risk-free (meaning you'll always make a payment) loan.

If you want to see what could happen, forecast a 20% market drop and see what you are left with (obviously you'll need to make the loan payment out of your balance since you won't have any gains to pull from). An average of 10-12% over a long period of time is reasonable, but the variance can cause the return to be anywhere from -40% to +40% in one year. Can you afford those losses?

Here's an actual example:

If you were to invest $250,000 in the S&P 500 in January 2000 with an 8% interest-only loan, your next three years' returns would be:

2000: -9.10%
2001: -11.89%
2002: -22.1%

After three years, assuming an interest-only payment of $20,000, your balance would be just over $100,000, you'd still owe $250,000, and you'd still be making $20,000 in interest payments. If your loan interest rate was 25% (which is not unreasonable for an unsecured loan), you'd be bankrupt after 3 years - you'd still owe $250K but could not make the interest payment.

No, this is not a good idea. The only time you should borrow money to invest in when you have control over the returns. So if you wanted to start your own business, had a stable business plan, and had much more certainty over the returns, the borrowing money might be plausible.

But borrowing money to do passive investment is a huge mistake.

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Theory of Levered Investing

Borrowing in order to increase investment exposure is a time-honored and legitimate activity. It's the optimal way to increase your exposure, according to finance theory (which assumes you get a good interest rate...more on this later). In your case it may or may not be a good idea. Based on the information in your post, I believe that in your case it is not a good idea. Consider the following concerns.

Risk

In finance, reward comes with risk and in no other way. Investing borrowed money means there is a good (not small) chance that you will lose enough money that you will need to pull significant wealth from your own savings in order to make up the difference. If you are in a position to do this and OK with that possibility, then proceed to to the next concern. If losing a lot of money means financial calamity for you, then this is a bad idea. You haven't described your financial situation so I don't know in which camp you fall. If the idea of losing, say, $100K means complete financial failure for you, then the strategy you have described simply has too much risk.

Make no mistake, just because the market makes money on average does not mean it will make money, or as much money as you expect, over your horizon. It may lose money, perhaps a lot of money. Make sure this idea is very clear in your mind before taking action.

Rewards

Your post implies that you think you can reliably get 10%-12% on an investment. This is not the case. There are many years in which a reasonable portfolio makes this much or more, but on average you will earn less. No ones knows the true long-term market risk premium, but it is definitely less than 10%. A better guess would be 6.5% plus whatever the risk-free rate is (currently about 0%). Buying "riskier" investments means deviating from the optimal portfolio, meaning you took on more risk than is justified by how much extra money you expect to make. I never encourage people to invest based on optimistic or unrealistic goals. If anything, you should be conservative about how you expect things to go. And remember, these are averages. Any portfolio that earns 10%-12% also has a very good chance of losing 25% or more.

People who sell or give advice on investments frequently get you charged up by pointing at times and investments that have done very well. Unfortunately, we never know whether the investments and time period in which we are investing will be a good one, a bad one, or an unexciting one. The reality of investing is...well, more realistic than what you have described.

Costs

I can't imagine how you could borrow that much money and only have an annual payment of $2000 as you imply--that must be a mistake. No individual borrows at a rate significantly below 1%. It sounds like it's not a collateralized loan of any kind, so unless you are some kind of prime-loan customer, your interest rate will be significant. Subtract whatever rate you actually pay from 6.5% to get a rough idea of how much you will make if things go as well as they do on average. You will pay the interest whether times are good or bad.

If your rate is typical of noncollateralized personal loans, there's a good chance you will lose money on average using the strategy you have described. If you are OK with taking risk with a negative expected return, consider a trip to Las Vegas. It's more exciting.

Ethics

I'm not one to make people feel guilty for doing things that are legal but of questionable morality. If that's the case and you are OK with it, more power to you. I'm not sure under what pretense you expect to obtain the money, but it sounds like you might be crossing legal lines and committing actual crimes (like fraud). Make sure to check on whether what you intend is a white lie or something that can get you thrown in prison.

For example, if you are proposing obtaining a subsidized education loan and using it for speculation, I could easily see you spending serious time in prison and permanently ruining your life, even if your plan works out. A judge and 12 of your peers are not going to think welfare fraud is a harmless twist of the truth.

Summary

I've said a lot of negative things here. This is because I have to guess about your financial situation and it sounds like you may have unrealistic expectations of the safety and generosity of investing. Quite frankly, people for whom borrowing $250K is no big deal don't normally come and ask about it on StackExchange and they definitely don't tend to lie in order to get loans. Also $18K a year doesn't change their quality of life. However, I don't know. If $250K is small relative to your wealth and you need a good way to increase your exposure to the market risk premium, then borrowing and investing may well be a good idea.

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There are two fundamental flaws to your plan:

  1. Supposing that you can get a loan with an interest rate that is less than the profit you are likely to get from an investment. Historically, the U.S. stock market goes up by 6 to 7% per year. I just did a quick check and found rates for unsecured loans of 10 to 15%. Of course interest rates vary depending on your credit rating and all sorts of other factors, but that's probably a reasonable ball park. Borrowing money at 15% so you can invest it at 6% is not a good plan. Of course you could invest in things that promise higher returns, but such investments have higher risks. If there was a super safe investment that was virtually guaranteed to give 20% profit, the bank wouldn't loan you money at 10 or 15%: they'd put their money in this 20% investment.

  2. I don't know what your income is, but unless it's substantial, no one is going to give you an unsecured loan for $250,000.

In your question you say you'll use $2,000 of your profits to make payments on the loan. That's less than 0.8% of the loan amount. If you really know a bank that will loan money at 0.8%, I'm sure we'd all like to hear about it. That would be an awesome rate for a fully secured loan, never mind for a signature loan. $250,000 for 10 years at 10% would mean payments of $3,300 per MONTH, and that's about the most optimistic terms I can imagine for a signature loan.

You say you plan to lie to the bank. What are you going to tell them? A person doesn't get to be a bank loan officer with authority to make $250,000 loans if he's a complete idiot. They're going to want to know what you intend to do with the money and how you plan to pay it back. If you're making a million dollars a year, sure, they'll probably loan you that kind of money. But if you were making a million dollars a year I doubt you'd be considering this scheme.

As TripeHound said in the comments, if it was really possible to get bigger returns on an investment than you would have to pay in interest on an unsecured loan, then everybody would be doing it all the time. Sorry, if you want to be rich, the realistic choices are, (a) arrange to be born to rich parents; (b) win the lottery; (c) get a good job and work hard.

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It's incredibly foolish because it fails to use the investments as collateral to secure the loan. So instead of paying 5% or less for a loan secured by liquid assets, you'll be paying 10% or more for an unsecured loan.

I do leveraged investments all the time and make a reasonable amount of money doing it (at high risk, I concede). I always use the investment to secure the loan and, as a result, pay a very low interest rate (since the lender can sell of my investments if I fail to repay the loan, reducing their risk dramatically). An unsecured loan would cost several times more.

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