Retirement raiders: More tap 401(k) early

Retiring from retirement
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Retiring from retirement

For some readers, the economic situation and their dwindling 401(k) plans mean they must retire the notion of waiting until the penalty-free age of 59½ to use their 401(k). Gina from Texas recently borrowed $14,000 from her 401(k). She says she "can't worry about retirement when the economy and job market (are) so iffy. You do what you must do to meet your financial obligations and to keep a roof over your head. It's a changed world we live in now."

Mike from Maryland has been unsuccessful at finding work after his position was downsized. He has several 401(k) accounts assembled from various employers. He cashed in one and paid off everything but his mortgage. Now 53, he plans to use what's left over "to trade the stock market for a living" until he can access his remaining accounts penalty-free at 59½.




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