Liquidating your 401k


Accessing your retirement funds comes with different rules, depending on whether it’s a 401(k) or an IRA.

Based on your company’s rules, you can often borrow up to ,000 (or half your vested balance) from a 401(k) and repay it within five years —unless you leave the company sooner, in which case you have 60 days to repay or face tax consequences and possible penalties. The money you receive is an actual withdrawal, albeit a temporary one: You have only 60 days to re-deposit it, either into the same IRA or put a new one before it is considered a permanent withdrawal, with tax and potential penalty consequences.

However, a Roth IRA (see below) offers special opportunities to escape taxes and penalties that aren’t available when you withdraw funds from a Traditional IRA.

Knowing all this, let’s look at the pros and cons of taking funds from your Roth—beyond staying out of the clutches of a bank or other lender.

I’m 28 years old and I have two 401(k) accounts, both with about ,000 in them.

At the same time, I have about ,000 in credit card debt because I made some very stupid moves a few years ago.

You may be able to tap into your 401(k) plan assets during a financial emergency.

First, you might pay 0 for federal income tax if you're in the 15 percent tax bracket.

An early withdrawal can help you escape from having to borrow the money needed for these items.


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