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Reader Question: Patrick from Florida recently wrote us with a question, “Can I get a loan at 17? I need money for a car.”

Yes and no. You cannot get an individual loan at age 17. Minors (those under age 18) are not old enough to enter into a legally binding contract because they are not considered adults. Most minors do not have steady jobs because they are still in high school. They also don’t have credit.  Lenders view this age group as “too young” and “unable to pay back their loans.”

It is illegal to try to apply for an individual loan as a minor. If you have family or friends willing to lend you money, and you can convince them that you will pay them back over a certain period of time, that is the best way to go!

It’s understandable that getting a loan might seem like a much easier option than quickly trying to figure out how to make 5000 dollars fast for something you want or need, so here’s what you can do if you need a good bit of money: If you are a minor, you can apply to get a loan with a co-signer, preferably someone with good credit. A co-signer is someone who will sign the loan with you to help you build credit. Keep in mind that having a co-signer won’t necessarily ensure you’ll get approval for a $50000 personal loan, but it’s likely that you could get approved for a smaller, more reasonable amount.

You don’t just have to be a minor to get a loan with a co-signer. If you don’t have a solid job history or income level, this may be the best option for you. After a while, you will be able to build your credit on your own. If you are looking for a school loan, talking with a financial advisor at your local bank would be a good idea. These advisors are knowledgeable about different types of loans and may be able to help you decide which type of loan you need. Student loans for unemployed people may also be something for you to look into if are currently without a job.

Therefore, you MUST BE at least 18 years of age to apply for a loan. You’ve waited this long…what’s another year?