Debt Relief Without Closing My 401k
Before borrowing money from your retirement account, consider other options like nonprofit credit counseling or a home equity loan. You may be able to access a nonprofit debt management plan where your payments are consolidated, without having to take out a new loan. A credit counselor can review your income and expenses and see if you qualify for debt consolidation without taking out a new loan.
The Age 55 Exemption Applies Only To The Date Employment Endednot When You Begin Taking Distributions
This is important for those entering retirement early. For example, if you retired from Company ABC at age 50, you would still be subject to the penalty tax if you take distributions at age 55. Since your employment ended before the year in which you turned 55, youd have to wait until age 59 ½ for penalty-free withdrawals.
To Keep Your Living Arrangements Intact
Being at risk of eviction or foreclosure is a serious emergency for you and your family, in which case using retirement funds can be a viable option. If your landlord or mortgage lender hasn’t provided any options or assistance during this difficult time, you may consider paying your rent or mortgage with this money.
Also Check: How To Recover 401k From Old Job
Can You Gift Money From An Ira Without Paying Taxes
Let your children inherit your IRA. While you are alive, you have no tax benefit to gifting an IRA. Rather, consider passing it on as part of your estate plan. If your kids inherit your traditional IRA, you get to avoid the taxes while they benefit from the funds you have saved for years. However, they need to pay income tax on the amount they withdraw. A Roth may be a great way to leave your money to your kids without them paying the tax because you have already paid it.
Tax rules involved in the gifting your retirement money to your family or loved ones can be confusing. If you need more information, call 639-0066 for expert guidance.
Request A Hardship Withdrawal
In certain circumstances you may qualify for whats known as a hardship withdrawal and avoid paying the 10% early distribution tax. While the IRS defines a hardship as an immediate and heavy financial need, your 401 plan will ultimately decide whether you are eligible for a hardship withdrawal and not all plans will offer one. According to the IRS, you may qualify for a hardship withdrawal to pay for the following:
- Medical care for yourself, your spouse, dependents or a beneficiary
- Costs directly related to the purchase of your principal residence
- Tuition, related educational fees and room and board expenses for the next 12 months of postsecondary education for you, your spouse, children, dependents or beneficiary
- Payments necessary to prevent eviction from your principal residence or foreclosure on the mortgage on that home
- Funeral expenses for you, your spouse, children or dependents
- Some expenses to repair damage to your primary residence
Although a hardship withdrawal is exempt from the 10% penalty, income tax is owed on these distributions. The amount withdrawn from a 401 is also limited to what is necessary to satisfy the need. In other words, if you have $5,000 in medical bills to pay, you may not withdraw $30,000 from your 401 and use the difference to buy a boat. You might also be required to prove that you cannot reasonably obtain the funds from another source.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Take Money Out Of 401k
How Long Does It Take To Cash Out A 401
While the amount of time it takes to receive money differs by plan, administrator and employer, you can often expect to wait several weeks minimum to receive your funds. Some plans may also be bound by rules that prohibit them from distributing these funds more than once a quarter or year, extending this time horizon to 30 90 days or more.
As 401 plans are highly regulated, and subject to strict governance, it can often take a considerable amount of time to ensure that proper guidelines are followed. Complete paperwork must also be in hand in order for requests to process. Noting that any funds withdrawn are unlikely to become immediately available, be sure to consult your summary plan description document to learn more about the rules of your plan, and how long it can take to receive disbursements.
Disadvantages Of Closing Your 401k
Whether you should cash out your 401k before turning 59 ½ is another story. The biggest disadvantage is the penalty the IRS applies on early withdrawals.
First, you must pay an immediate 10% penalty on the amount withdrawn. Later, you must include the amount withdrawn as income when you file taxes. Even further down the road, there is severe damage on the long-term earning potential of your 401k account.
So, lets say at age 40, you have $50,000 in your 401k and decide you want to cash out $25,000 of it. For starters, the 10% early withdrawal penalty of $2,500 means you only get $22,500.
Later, the $25,000 is added to your taxable income for that year. If you were single and making $75,000, you would be in the 22% tax bracket. Add $25,000 to that and now youre being taxed on $100,000 income, which means youre in the 24% tax bracket. That means youre paying an extra $6,000 in taxes.
So, youre net for early withdrawal is just $16,500. In other words, it cost you $8,500 to withdraw $25,000.
Beyond that, you reduced the earning potential of your 401k account by $25,000. Measured over 25 years, the cost to your bottom line would be around $100,000. That is an even bigger disadvantage.
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.
The Basics Of 401 Withdrawals
The IRS mandates that you leave your money in your 401 until you reach the minimum retirement age of 59 1/2, become permanently disabled, have a specific financial hardship, the plan dissolves or you leave your job. If you meet any of these conditions, you may be able to take funds from your 401, but the amount may be limited and in some cases, you can still be refused. Its also important to be aware that you may or may not be eligible for any additional funds that the company has contributed to your account, depending on the details of your plan and how long you have participated in it.
K Hardship Withdrawal Rules
Jeff Rose, CFP® | September 02, 2021
For many Americans struggling to make ends meet, a 401k hardship withdrawal appears to be a viable option.
When job loss, unexpected health issues, or recession hit, you may find yourself in dire need of help.
House or rent payment. Utility bills. Late credit cards notices. Debt collectors calling you every hour on the hour.
Read on to decide whether or not to pursue a 401k hardship withdrawal to alleviate the burden.
Taking Money Out Of A 401 Once You Leave Your Job
If you no longer work for the company that sponsored your 401 plan, first contact your 401 plan administrator or call the number on your 401 plan statement. Ask them how to take money out of the plan.
Since you no longer work there, you cannot borrow your money in the form of a 401 loan or take a hardship withdrawal. You must either take a distribution or roll your 401 over to an IRA.
Any money you take out of your 401 plan will fall into one of the following three categories, each with different tax rules.
Medical Expenses Or Insurance
If you incur unreimbursed medical expenses that are greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income in that year, you are able to pay for them out of an IRA without incurring a penalty.
For a 401k withdrawal, if your unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year then the penalty will likely be waived.
Should You Take A Distribution From Your 401 Or Ira
Like the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act allows you to withdraw funds from both a 401 and an IRA, as long as the amount is up to $100,000 across all accounts. If you are deciding whether to take a distribution from either your IRA or a 401, think about factors such as each of the account’s typical rules around penalties and taxes. F
Withdrawing Money Early From Your 401
The method and process of withdrawing money from your 401 will depend on your employer, and which type of withdrawal you choose. As noted above, the decision to remove funds early from a retirement plan should not be made lightly, as it can come with financial penalties attached. However, should you wish to proceed, the process is as follows.
Step 1: Check with your human resources department to see if the option to withdraw funds early is available. Not every employer allows you to cash in a 401 before retirement. If they do, be sure to check the fine print contained in plan documents to determine what type of withdrawals are available, and which you are eligible for.
Step 2: Contact your 401 plan provider and request that they send you the information and paperwork needed to cash out your plan, which should be promptly completed. Select providers may be able to facilitate these requests online or via phone as well.
Step 3: Obtain any necessary signatures from plan administrators or HR representatives at your former employer affirming that you have filed the necessary paperwork, executed the option to cash in your 401 early, and are authorized to proceed with doing so. Note that depending on the size of the company, this may take some time, and you may need to follow up directly with corporate representatives or plan administrators at regular intervals.
Making A Large Purchase
Now, this one really gets me riled up. Ive talked to way too many folks who drained their 401 or IRA just so they could renovate a kitchen or pay for a weddingonly to regret it later.
In fact, a recent survey found that two out of ten Millennials planning to buy a home expect to dip into their retirement accounts to fund their purchase. Even worse, almost a third of Millennials who are currently homeowners borrowed money from their nest egg to buy their house.6 That is a bad idea, people!
For example: Paula who, at 35, already has $100,000 in her 401 account. She comes down with a severe case of house fever and borrows $50,000 from her 401 for a down payment on a new home thats way out of her price range.
Itll take Paula eight years to pay back the loan with interest, and shell have to stop her contributions during that time. How much does it cost her?
Paula could lose more than a million dollars. Let that sink in. Do you really want your house to be the thing that keeps you from becoming an everyday millionaire?
Not only did she forfeit the compound growth that $50,000 wouldve earned her, but she also missed out on eight years of contributing to her 401 while she was paying back the loan. Ouch!
Tips On 401 Withdrawals
- Talk with a financial advisor about your needs and how you can best meet them. SmartAssets financial advisor matching tool makes it easy to quickly connect with professional advisors in your local area. If youre ready, get started now.
- If youre considering withdrawing money from your 401 early, think about a personal loan instead. SmartAsset has a personal loan calculator to help you figure out payment methods.
Impact Of A 401 Loan Vs Hardship Withdrawal
A 401participant with a $38,000 account balance who borrows $15,000 will have $23,000 left in their account. If that same participant takes a hardship withdrawal for $15,000 instead, they would have to take out $23,810 to cover taxes and penalties, leaving only $14,190 in their account, according to a scenario developed by 401 plan sponsor Fidelity. Also, due to the time value of money and the loss of compounding opportunities, taking out $23,810 now could result in tens of thousands less at retirement, maybe even hundreds of thousands, depending on how long you could let the money compound.
Three Consequences Of A 401 Early Withdrawal Or Cashing Out A 401
Taxes will be withheld. The IRS generally requires automatic withholding of 20% of a 401 early withdrawal for taxes. So if you withdraw $10,000 from your 401 at age 40, you may get only about $8,000. Keep in mind that you might get some of this back in the form of a tax refund at tax time if your withholding exceeds your actual tax liability.
The IRS will penalize you. If you withdraw money from your 401 before youre 59½, the IRS usually assesses a 10% penalty when you file your tax return. That could mean giving the government $1,000 of that $10,000 withdrawal. Between the taxes and penalty, your immediate take-home total could be as low as $7,000 from your original $10,000.
It may mean less money for your future. That may be especially true if the market is down when you make the early withdrawal. If you’re pulling funds out, it can severely impact your ability to participate in a rebound, and then your entire retirement plan is offset, says Adam Harding, a certified financial planner in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Should I Take Out A Loan From My 401
Under the CARES Act, you can take out a 401 loan for up to $100,000, or if lower 100% of the vested account balance for the next six months. Thats up from a prior limit of $50,000, or if lower 50%. Individual retirement accounts dont allow loans.
Typically, you have up to five years to repay a 401 loan. Now the new provision gives Americans an additional year to pay back the loan, raising the time period to six years. Outstanding loans due between March 27 and Dec. 31 will also be extended by a year.
Experts say you could consider taking out a loan to tide you over if youve been furloughed, but are confident that youll be working again in the near future. A 401 withdrawal would make more sense for someone who has been laid off and doesnt have a safety net or enough saved for basic expenses over the next three to six months, they said.
To be sure, if you lose your job, you could be on the hook for taxes for the amount borrowed for a loan.
The loan and withdrawal changes may provide current and future retirees more flexibility, but individuals need to understand the potential long-term financial consequences, experts say.
Gift Money After Reviewing The Gift Tax Rules
Beginning in 2018, you can gift up to $15,000 to a person in a year without IRS interfering with your transaction. If you are gifting more than that amount, you need to file a gift tax return. That doesnt mean that you have to pay a tax on the gift. It means that $15,000 is eligible for lifetime exclusion. This is the amount you can gift away during your lifetime without incurring a gift tax. The total lifetime tax exclusion for gifts is $11.2 million per individual so, gift tax rules are not much of a concern for most people.
See If You Qualify For An Exception To The 10% Tax Penalty
Generally, the IRS will waive it if any of these situations apply to you:
You choose to receive substantially equal periodic payments. Basically, you agree to take a series of equal payments from your account. They begin after you stop working, continue for life and generally have to stay the same for at least five years or until you hit 59½ . A lot of rules apply to this option, so be sure to check with a qualified financial advisor first.
You leave your job. This works only if it happens in the year you turn 55 or later .
You have to divvy up a 401 in a divorce. If the courts qualified domestic relations order in your divorce requires cashing out a 401 to split with your ex, the withdrawal to do that might be penalty-free.
Other exceptions might get you out of the 10% penalty if you’re cashing out a 401 or making a 401 early withdrawal:
You become or are disabled.
You rolled the account over to another retirement plan .
Payments were made to your beneficiary or estate after you died.
You gave birth to a child or adopted a child during the year .
The money paid an IRS levy.
You were a victim of a disaster for which the IRS granted relief.
You overcontributed or were auto-enrolled in a 401 and want out .
You were a military reservist called to active duty.