In today’s uncertain financial times, many people are looking for ways to grow their money. There are numerous investment opportunities ranging from all types of stocks, bonds and mutual funds to unique and even obscure vehicles. It all depends on how much you want to invest, how comfortable you are with risk and what your anticipated outcomes are.
One of the surest bets to growing your money for the future is by investing in a retirement plan. For example, a 401K plan allows you to defer money from your paycheck into a 401(k) account and invest it. The idea is that the value of the stocks and bonds you invest in will increase in value over the years you spend working.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in a 401K was common practice among many American employees, but now millions of American workers have had to file for unemployment benefits for various reasons. Today, many people who have lost their jobs are finding themselves in desperate need of cash flow, and some are turning to their savings or 401K accounts just to stay financially afloat.
While it may be tempting to take money out of your retirement plan, you should probably think twice before accessing your funds, or you could trigger a host of unintended financial consequences.
Financial strategist J.P. Maroney, Founder and CEO of Harbor City Capital Corp ., reviews  that the current health crisis has actually made it easier to take out a 401K loan, with factors like the economic downturn and new government legislation in the CARES act all contributing to the ease of withdrawal. Maroney’s company, Harbor City Capital, a global alternative investment group specializing in buying, building and monetizing digital assets, is always reviewing ways to help keep investors achieve safe, high yield returns in this and every other environment.
JP Maroney urges people to consider these things before dipping into their retirement savings.
How much tax will you pay?
Although times are tough and some people don’t have a choice, Maroney says taking money out of their retirement savings should be a last resort.
“People have got to do whatever they have to be able to survive and I would look first to other things. Do you have anything that you could liquidate quickly? Maybe there’s a vehicle,” JP Maroney suggests .
One of the reasons it’s probably not a good idea to withdraw early from your 401K is because there is a hefty tax penalty if you take money out before the age of 59 ½. In fact, you will need to pay a 10%  early withdrawal penalty, in addition to income tax, on the distribution.
If you have to dip into your retirement account, make sure you know how much and which bills you need to pay immediately. Don’t use the funds on discretionary spending.
Find other ways to access money
Even if you are going through a rough financial period, it is best to find other ways to access cash rather than withdraw from your 401K. Perhaps you could look into refinancing your home mortgage, take out a loan or borrow money from family. If these are not viable options, consider only taking out the exact amount you’ll need to cover expenses.
If you must take money from your retirement plan, only cash out the amount you will need to cover the emergency and keep the rest invested.
Talk to an expert
Making a financial decision that can affect your future and is not always straightforward can be worrisome. Review your options, first. Compare the urgency of your current situation with the ability to achieve your long term savings goals. You may want to seek the services of a financial advisor who can help you go over your available options, like boosting your income in other areas or taking on a side job to cover any immediate expenses.
Whatever the reasons may be for wanting to withdraw from your 401K plan early, it pays to be prepared and educated yourself for the financial consequences that could result from your decision.
“Let’s say you’re a millennial so in the last few years to start up a 401k, it’s a different mindset isn’t it? I would be less concerned about the immediacy of decisions right, but I think that everyone still needs to try to educate themselves,” says  Maroney.Google+