Ask The Planner
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I'm having a hard time making ends meet. Can I withdraw money from my 401k plan?
It depends on your plan's rules and if you are still employed there or not. Many 401k plans allow some kind of withdrawal option, in the form of a loan or hardship withdrawal if you are still employed. But plans do not have to allow these options. If you no longer work at the company where you had the 401k, and have officially terminated your employment, then yes, usually you can pull money from that account. There are rules that you must be aware of no matter which withdrawal option you use. Be aware, there is almost always a fee to withdrawal, maybe $75, it can take several weeks to get your money, you may be liable for taxes or penalties, and you may be restricted in your future participation in the plan. Talk to your 401k plan administrator for withdrawal options and rules that pertain to your 401k plan.
A better option is to try to find other money instead of your 401k money. If creditors are a problem, offer to work with them to set up a payment schedule, if cash flow is the issue, get a second job or cut back on monthly expenses. 401k money is money you will need for ordinary living expenses in the future. Ask yourself, is it worth it to shortchange your future life for your life today?