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When is borrowing from your 401K account a good idea?

Posted on | November 23, 2011 | 1 Comment

Your 401K retirement account is something that is very important to your future retirement. However, like many other people you may be considering borrowing money from your 401K account to fund something that is important to you such as starting up a business. It goes without saying that you should never make a rash decision with regards to borrowing from your 401K account, as you could potentially be risking a comfortable retirement by doing this. However, there is sometimes occasions when it can be fine or even advisable to borrow from your 401K account as opposed to looking at other options.

Of course, it is important to always consider what other options are available to you when you are in need of funds, as you may find that there is something that is more suited to your needs and financially viable than using your 401K account. You should bear in mind that, other than under certain circumstances, you may end up paying hefty withdrawal fees/penalties for taking money from your 401K fund early. However, if you repay what you borrow within sixty days you can avoid these charges.

With this is mind, borrowing from your 401K retirement account on a temporary short term basis is often a good idea, as you will not be hit with the penalty fees. This is an ideal solution if you have a short term cash flow problem and know that you can repay the money within sixty days.

If you have a lot of high interest debt that is financially crippling you then you may also find that tapping into your 401K for a loan could be a good idea, as you can ease the financial strain. You will also find that borrowing from your 401K at a really low interest rate to repay a debt such as a credit card debt with a really high interest rate makes financial sense. However, you need to make sure that you do not get carried away and borrow only the amount that you actually need rather than being tempted to take a little extra – after all, it is your retirement money that you will be taking!

Essentially, borrowing from your 401K is something that would be considered ok if it is for a necessity such as medical expenses or something that is going to ultimately save you or make you more money, such as paying off high interest debt or investing in your own business. What you should never do is risk your future by taking money from your 401K simply to splash out on luxuries such as holidays.

Andrew writes frequently about personal finance as well as issues effecting both consumers and small businesses, covering everything from savings to mortgages to
business insurance cover.


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