There are a few ways to become debt-free without cutting into your 401k. You Should Pay off These Types of Debts First, When Paying off Debt With Your 401(k) Makes Sense, Using Your IRA to Pay Off Credit Card Debt. It is a tax-advantaged plan that is geared to help you save money for retirement. However, if you opened an IRA and saved $6,000 per year for 10 years, you would make up this loss and build another tax-advantaged retirement savings account. In other words: Use the $5,000 to pay off your debt now and save $3,274.48. I agree to receive email updates and promotions. Accessed Dec. 14, 2020. Your future self deserves it! And 401(k) loans can backfire quickly. Tax Penalties for Withdrawing Money Early. Internal Revenue Service. But there are costs to doing so. [2020]. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. Then, since your 401(k) contribution was made tax-free, you now have to pay federal income tax on this withdrawal. A 401(k) plan is a tax-advantaged retirement account offered by many employers. However, if your account balance is $10,000 or less, you can borrow up to the total balance or $10,000, whichever is less. I have over 50k in it presently and have been considering making a withdrawal to take care of debts. Unfortunately, there is little reward or pain associated with retirement savings. If this debt were paid off in 10 years, you could equalize the tax penalty in interest saved on the $45,000 in credit card debt in one year's time. Your money will grow over time and you will pay no taxes on it. Stay motivated and keep contributing to your retirement. However, in many circumstances, you may end up paying a 10% early withdrawal tax penalty on the money you take if you are younger than 59 1/2 years old. After you pay off your debt, it is less likely that you will fall back into your old spending patterns. If you find yourself drowning in debt, using your 401k to pay off debt may seem like a viable option. Loan Aggregator LendingTree is an online marketplace that offers you – the consumer – the opportunity to compare the larger network of lenders out there side-by-side. You will more than likely skip the new vehicle purchase while you are paying off debt because you want to stop the pain. If you have low interest rate loans, and expect higher returns on the investments in your 401(k), it’s a good strategy to contribute to the 401(k) while you are also paying off the debt, making certain to pay off high interest rate debt first. A 401k is an excellent way to secure a financially secure retirement – provided you invest in it. By moving up a tax bracket, your income in the higher bracket will be taxed at a higher rate than you are accustomed to, which may result in you owing money at tax season. Negotiate your interest rate with your credit card company. Pay down: As we said earlier, it makes sense to pay off high-interest debt (private student loans above 8% interest) first, especially if you cannot deduct the interest. You will then be taxed at your regular rate (income tax) on the $4,000 you receive. The purpose of a 401(k) plan is to set aside money for retirement, but if you have debts with high interest rates, you may be tempted to withdraw funds early to pay off the debt… The idea to cash in 401k to pay off debt is a matter that requires a reasonable approach. Remember, you are punishing your future self and your ability to retire comfortably by using it today. If you take a loan on your 401k, you are required to pay the loan back within a specific amount of time – a predetermined interest rate, usually around 7%. However, instead of paying back a bank or other lender, you have to pay back your own 401(k) account. A qualified distribution is a withdrawal that is made from an eligible retirement account and is tax- and penalty-free. This will enable you to save money and pay off that debt! Tax-advantaged means the fund is subjected to different tax rules that generally are geared in favor of the investor. The Lifestyle Challenges Of Borrowing From Your 401k To Pay Off Debt. In that amount of time, if your $40,000 investment made the historical 8% return from the stock market,  it would have grown to $58,773.12. I get it. "Retirement Topics - Exceptions to Tax on Early Distributions." "When you take money from your retirement account, it is easy to duplicate the action in the future. I am considering using one of the 401(k)s to pay off debt. There are many reasons people dip into their retirement funds early to pay off debt but there seems to be several common reasons people are willing to take this action. While not “truly exempt” from all taxes, a Roth pays taxes upfront, but nothing on the gains or withdrawals. 1. Basically, you’ll end up moving that money from one account to another. Make extra payments to reduce the interest charged and loan length. You're thinking about this because of the high interest rate—you're barely able to make the payments—and you're worried about an increase in your interest rate if you miss a payment due to the strain on your budget. A 401k hardship withdrawal is not available for everyone. I am considering using one of the 401(k)s to pay off debt. Force yourself to repay your future self with interest. LendingTree connects you with lenders who offer personal loans from $1000 to $50,000. Whether you pronounce it eye-ruh or you sound out each letter, an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a great tool to build wealth and make sure you retire with dignity. When you invest money in a Roth, you invest after-tax money in this account. In addition, you will suffer significant losses on your investments by not taking advantage of the compound interest. You will be subject to a 10% tax penalty on the funds you withdraw. Traditionally, a 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement plan made available to employees. If you’ve got things like credit card debt, a student loan, or an auto loan and you’re paying a high interest rate on your debt, you might think that taking money out of your 401(k) to pay down debt is a good idea.. After all, you likely feel overwhelmed just trying to get that debt under control. The temptation to take from our retirement to fix our current problems is a strong force. Even if you are able to take a hardship withdrawal you will pay a 10% penalty for early withdrawal, unless you are 591/2. You contemplate taking out $45,000 from your 401(k) to pay off credit cards with an average interest rate of 20%. On the outside, it may seem like a no-brainer to forfeit the 8% a year on your investment instead of paying 16% interest on that debt. Enter your retirement information below to see how you are stacking up. Should I Borrow From My 401k Account To Pay Off Debt? It’s not ideal, especially if you get an employer match, but it likely is better than choosing to cash out your 401(k) or … Accessed Dec. 14, 2020. Before you initiate that loan, make sure you know all the risks. So if you pull $40,000 out to pay a credit card bill, $4,000 of that will be going directly to Uncle Sam as a penalty. Debt. 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