You Have Options But Some May Be Better Than Others
After you leave your job, there are several options for your 401. You may be able to leave your account where it is. Alternatively, you may roll over the money from the old 401 into either your new employers plan or an individual retirement account . You can also take out some or all of the money, but there can be serious tax consequences.
Make sure to understand the particulars of the options available to you before deciding which route to take.
If You Are 59 1/2 Or Older
Once you are six months away from your 60th birthday, you can begin making withdrawals from your Fidelity 401k without having to worry about any additional tax penalties. Your 401k is now money thats there for you to start preparing for the next stage of your life as you put the finishing touches on your career and prepare to start drawing Social Security benefits.
However, that doesnt mean you dont have to worry at all about taxes. Money withdrawn from your 401k is taxable income, so you should be careful to consider just how much you need to withdraw in any given tax year to ensure youre not hitting a higher tax bracket and seeing more of your hard-earned money lost to taxes. If you have a Roth IRA or Roth 401k, though, you can make tax-free withdrawals from those, so you can balance withdrawals to minimize the tax impact.
Your Fidelity 401k comes with the option to schedule regular withdrawals so that you can do the paperwork for your withdrawal once and then set up a recurring payment. With structured, regular withdrawals, you can set up a budget that will limit your withdrawals to what you need, and youll be able to have checks showing up on a set schedule.
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Leave It With Your Former Employer
If you have more than $5,000 invested in your 401, most plans allow you to leave it where it is after you separate from your employer. If it is under $1,000, the company can force out the money by issuing you a check, says Bonnie Yam, CFA, CFP, CLU, ChFC, RICP, EA, CVA, and CEPA for Pension Maxima Investment Advisory Inc. in White Plains, N.Y. If it is between $1,000 and $5,000, the company must help you set up an IRA to host the money if they are forcing you out.
If you have a substantial amount saved and like your plan portfolio, then leaving your 401 with a previous employer may be a good idea. If you are likely to forget about the account or are not particularly impressed with the plans investment options or fees, consider some of the other options.
When you leave your job and you have a 401 plan which is administered by your employer, you have the default option of doing nothing and continuing to manage the money as you had been doing previously, says Steven Jon Kaplan, CEO of True Contrarian Investments LLC in Kearny, N.J. However, this is usually not a good idea, because these plans have very limited choices as compared with the IRA offerings available with most brokers.
If you leave your 401 with your old employer, you will no longer be allowed to make contributions to the plan.
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When You Can Borrow
Once you pull money out of your plan, those dollars no longer benefit from long-term market returns.
Even your boss wants you to keep your hands off your retirement plan savings.
That said, here are three extreme cases that may warrant a 401 loan.
You have an immediate emergency.“Say that you need to meet the deductible on your high-deductible health-care plan, and you have no money in your health savings account,” said Aaron Pottichen, president of retirement services at CLS Partners in Austin, Texas.
He is referring to the tax-advantaged health savings account that individuals may use to cover qualified medical expenses. It’s also known as an HSA.
You have an urgent cash need, but your credit precludes you from obtaining a competitive interest rate. Ask yourself what you can repay in five years.
You need to pay off high-interest debt that’s hampering your long-term financial goals. This is the case if the interest rate on your 401 is lower than what your creditor is offering you.
“If you’re in ‘pay down debt mode,’ it’s all about what’s your cheapest interest rate and how fast can you get the debt down,” said Pottichen.
Withdrawing After Age 595
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The Costs Of Early 401k Withdrawals
Early withdrawals from an IRA or 401k account can be an expensive proposition because of the hefty penalties they carry under many circumstances.
The IRS allows penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts after age 59 ½ and requires withdrawals after age 72 . There are some exceptions to these rules for 401ks and other qualified plans.
Try to think of your retirement savings accounts like a pension. People working towards a pension tend to forget about it until they retire. There is no way they can access it before retirement. While that money is locked up until later in life, it becomes a hugely powerful resource in retirement. The 401k can be a boon to your retirement plan. It gives you flexibility to change jobs without losing your savings. But that all starts to fall apart if you use it like a bank account in the years preceding retirement. Your best bet is usually to consciously avoid tapping any retirement money until youve at least reached the age of 59 ½.
If youre not sure you should take a withdrawal, you can use this calculator to determine how much other people your age have saved.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Withdrawal Vs A 401 Loan
A withdrawal is a permanent hit to your retirement savings. By pulling out money early, youll miss out on the long-term growth that a larger sum of money in your 401 would have yielded.
Though you wont have to pay the money back, you will have to pay the income taxes due, along with a 10% penalty if the money does not meet the IRS rules for a hardship or an exception.
A loan against your 401 has to be paid back. If it is paid back in a timely manner, you at least wont lose much of that long-term growth in your retirement account.
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Taking Money Out While Still Employed
If you still work for the organization that handles your 401, it may be more difficult to get your money. Some of the most common approaches for pulling funds out of a 401 are listed below.
Before using those options, its worth a reminder that you should do everything you can to avoid dipping into your 401 before retirement. Its hard to rebuild your retirement nest egg, and 401 plans have benefits that other investments might not offer. For example, your 401 assets might be protected from creditors, but cashing out means you lose that protection.
Finally, talk with your Plan administrator about your options and read through your disclosures carefully. This page provides only enough information to get you started. Find out about any fees, tax consequences, and other effects of using these options.
Ways To Withdraw Money From Your 401k Without Penalty
This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
When hard times befall you, you may wonder if there is a way withdraw money from your 401k plan. In some cases you can get to the funds for a hardship withdrawal, but if youre under age 59½ you will likely owe the 10% early withdrawal penalty. The term 401k is used throughout this article, but these options apply to all qualified plans, including 403b, 457, etc.. These rules are not for IRA withdrawals see the article at this link for 19 Ways to Withdraw IRA Funds Without Penalty.
Generally its difficult to withdraw money from your 401k, thats part of the value of a 401k plan a sort of forced discipline that requires you to leave your savings alone until retirement or face some significant penalties. Many 401k plans have options available to get your hands on the money , but most have substantial qualifications that are tough to meet.
Your withdrawal of money from the 401k plan will result in taxation of the withdrawal, and if you do not meet one of the exceptions, a penalty as well. See the article Taxes and the 401k Withdrawal for more details about how the taxation works.
The list below is not all-inclusive, and each 401k plan administrator may have different restrictions or may not allow the option at all.
Well start with the obvious methods, all of which generally require the plan participant to leave employment:
1. Normal Begin after age 59½ after leaving employment at any age
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Tax On A 401k Withdrawal After 65 Varies
Whatever you take out of your 401k account is taxable income, just as a regular paycheck would be when you contributed to the 401k, your contributions were pre-tax, and so you are taxed on withdrawals. On your Form 1040, you combine your 401k withdrawal income with all your other taxable income. Your tax depends on how much you withdraw and how much other income you have. If you have a $200,000 account, you could legally withdraw it all the year you turn 70. The amount of a 401k or IRA distribution tax will depend on your marginal tax rate for the tax year, as set forth below the tax rate on a 401k at age 65 or any other age above 59 1/2 is the same as your regular income tax rate.
Take An Early Withdrawal
Perhaps youre met with an unplanned expense or an investment opportunity outside of your retirement plan. Whatever the reason for needing the money, withdrawing from your 401 before age 59½ is an option, but consider it a last resort. Thats because early withdrawals incur a 10% penalty on top of normal income taxes.
While an early withdrawal will cost you an extra 10%, it will also diminish your 401s future returns. Consider the consequences of a 30-year-old withdrawing just $5,000 from his 401. Had the money been left in the account, it alone would have been worth over $33,000 by the time he turns 60. By withdrawing it early, the investor would forfeit the compound interest the money would accumulate in the years that follow.
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Calculating The Required Minimum Distribution
The required minimum distribution for any year is the account balance as of the end of the immediately preceding calendar year divided by a distribution period from the IRSs Uniform Lifetime Table. A separate table is used if the sole beneficiary is the owners spouse who is ten or more years younger than the owner. In this regard, the following materials will be useful to you in determining required distribution amounts and payout periods:
- worksheets to calculate the required amount
- tables to calculate the RMD during the participant or IRA owners life:
- Uniform Lifetime Table -for all unmarried IRA owners calculating their own withdrawals, married owners whose spouses arent more than 10 years younger, and married owners whose spouses arent the sole beneficiaries of their IRAs
- Table I is used for beneficiaries who are not the spouse of the IRA owner
- Table II is used for owners whose spouses are more than 10 years younger and are the IRAs sole beneficiaries
Inherited IRAs if your IRA or retirement plan account was inherited from the original owner, see required minimum distributions after the account owner dies, below.
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How To Cash Out Your 401k And What To Consider
4-minute readMay 18, 2021
One of the surest ways to create a comfortable retirement for yourself is to begin saving early on in your career. A 401 plan a type of financial contribution plan which allows you to put a percentage of your salary into an account whose investment gains remain tax-free until funds are withdrawn presents one of the most popular vehicles for doing so. Even better, employers will often match the amount of money set aside up to a certain amount, effectively guaranteeing you free income.
However, in the event that access to money is needed, especially in the wake of a large or unexpected expense, its not uncommon to wonder how to cash out your 401 as well. Here, well take a closer look at the process of cashing out a 401 early, how long it takes to get access to money, and the pros and cons of doing so, including how much early withdrawal before retirement may cost you.
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Reinvest Extra Money In An Indexed Fund
You can provide an additional layer of protection by automatically reinvesting extra cash in an indexed fund.
For instance, you can invest dividends or bank account interest in an S& P 500 indexed fund. Thus, you could lock in a 10% growth rate for at least part of your money.
Therefore, you can make compound interest part of your 401K and ensure that some of your money is growing. Moreover, you can enhance compound interest by combining it with the S& P 500, which has a long history of growth.
Handling A Previous 401k
You usually have a few options when it comes to handling a 401k from a former employer. These include leaving the 401k where it is, rolling it into a taxable or nontaxable Individual Retirement Account or transferring it to a 401k with your current employer and cashing it out. Of all your options, cashing out will cost you the most now and in the future. You will have to pay income taxes on the withdrawal along with a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. You’ll also lose the tax benefits offered by the 401k as a qualified retirement plan.
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Roll It Over To Your New Employer
If youve switched jobs, see if your new employer offers a 401, when you are eligible to participate, and if it allows rollovers. Many employers require new employees to put in a certain number of days of service before they can enroll in a retirement savings plan. Make sure that your new 401 account is active and ready to receive contributions before you roll over your old account.
Once you are enrolled in a plan with your new employer, its simple to roll over your old 401. You can elect to have the administrator of the old plan deposit the balance of your account directly into the new plan by simply filling out some paperwork. This is called a direct transfer, made from custodian to custodian, and it saves you any risk of owing taxes or missing a deadline.
Alternatively, you can elect to have the balance of your old account distributed to you in the form of a check, which is called an indirect rollover. You must deposit the funds into your new 401 within 60 days to avoid paying income tax on the entire balance and an additional 10% penalty for early withdrawal if youre younger than age 59½. A major drawback of an indirect rollover is that your old employer is required to withhold 20% of it for federal income tax purposesand possibly state taxes as well.
Protecting Your 401 From A Stock Market Crash
Any time you put your money in the stock market or other investments, you always run the risk of losses. While you can make largely educated decisions, things dont always go to plan. Also, because youre talking about something as important as your retirement, emotional decision-making can come into play.
Despite the above, there are many strategies, simple and complex, you can use to mitigate risk. For instance, spreading your assets across multiple types of investments and areas of the market can allow you to avoid the volatility that comes with stock-picking and concentrated investment positions.
Everyone has short-term expenses that periodically arise. For example, you might need to repair your car, replace a broken household appliance or pay for a medical procedure. Long-term expenses are even more prevalent, including student loans and mortgages. However, the best thing you can do is treat your retirement savings just as importantly as all of your other needs. This will ensure your pool of retirement funds will continue to grow over time.
Below are some of the most influential strategies you can use to minimize losses in your portfolio, even if a stock market crash comes around. Just remember that you can never fully avoid risk, though.
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