Skip Nav

Money Emergency? Which Resources to Tap First, and Last

When disaster strikes and your internal panic button ignites, your frazzled instincts might tell you to tap into the first financial resource that comes to mind. Practice damage control by knowing which actions will cause the least harm to your overall financial health, and which will threaten it the most.

CNN Money lists 17 ways to get your hands on cash ranked from the best to worst. I can't say I completely agree with their rankings — it's beyond me why selling hard assets is seen as a worse way to get fast cash than borrowing against your home — but if you want more explanation on any of the following items check out their article.

  1. Tap your emergency fund.
  2. Sell some non-retirement investments.
  3. Ask the folks for a gift.
  4. Bust into a CD early — it's cash you already own.
  5. Cash in your whole life insurance policy.
  6. Borrow from family or friends.
  7. Take out a home-equity line of credit.
  8. Do a cash-out mortgage refinancing.
  9. Borrow from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan.

Discover the other eight progressively worse ways to raise fast cash when you


  1. Borrow against other investment accounts.
  2. Borrow from strangers on sites like
  3. Tap your IRA.
  4. Do a reverse mortgage.
  5. Sell some hard assets like artwork or jewelry.
  6. Take a cash advance on your credit card.
  7. Liquidate your 401(k) or 403(b) account.
  8. Absolute worst: Go to a payday lender.


Latest Career & Money
Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Order our POPSUGAR Must Have box now >>