Retirement raiders: More tap 401(k) early

An emergency situation
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An emergency situation

For some readers, the best-laid retirement plans can get tripped up by unpredictable expenses, like health care spending. Demetrius from Chicago says he "finally broke down and made an early withdrawal from my 401(k) to pay some credit card debts due to medical bills" and to assist with his mortgage.

Medical bills aren't the only malady that can afflict retirement accounts. When her car's transmission failed, a reader named Brenda, who lives in the Sacramento, Calif., area, had to abruptly take out a 401(k) loan.

"It was a have-to thing," she says. "It was going to cost me more than the car was worth to get it fixed."

She sees it as having a positive outcome. "This way, I am paying myself back (at) a lower interest rate, and the payment comes right out of my paycheck," she says.




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