‘Who knows if I’ll live until retirement?’ I have $10K in credit-card debt and $4.5K in student loans. Should I tap my $24K 401(k)?

Pricey Quentin,

I’m 41 years outdated, father to 2 pretty teenage daughters, and married to my second spouse for slightly over a yr. I’m sitting on about $10,000 of credit-card debt, and I’ve nonetheless received about $4,500 to repay for my scholar mortgage. Our mixed revenue is nearly $100,000 a yr.  

I’ve received an arguably small sum of money invested in a 401(ok), at the moment sitting at about $24,000. I preserve having this thought that issues could be a LOT extra comfy if I simply paid off my debt with a chunk of that retirement fund.

I do know there are penalties and taxes, however the concept of this cash simply sitting there, doing nothing in any respect for me is simply actually making me itchy. I’ve no less than one other 25 years of labor forward of me. I do know it is a actually darkish factor to acknowledge, however who is aware of if I’ll dwell till retirement? Who is aware of how a lot my high quality of life may enhance by eliminating this debt?

It looks as if an answer to an issue, nevertheless it looks as if universally, everyone seems to be like, “DON’T TOUCH YOUR RETIREMENT!”

One other darkish apart is that I’ve a grandmother in declining well being in her late 90s. She will likely be leaving some cash to me, and my 73-year-old mother and father even have a completely paid-for home and inheritance willed to me that inevitably will come sooner or later previous to my retirement. 

Don’t get me incorrect, I’m not banking on these deaths, however simply portray an image of the circumstances during which I imagine I’d be capable of “pay myself again” with these inevitabilities.

What’s the draw back to this concept? Future me won’t want this cash as a lot as present me appears like he does.

Thanks a lot.

401(ok) Questioning

You possibly can electronic mail The Moneyist with any monetary and moral questions associated to coronavirus at, and comply with Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Pricey 401(ok) Questioning,

When you withdrew that cash out of your 401(ok), your future self would look again at your current self and say, “Thanks for nothing, mate.”

You should take a look at how you bought into $10,000 credit-card debt, ask your self some robust questions, and work out a plan along with your second spouse — congratulations, by the way in which — on easy methods to get out of it. This it is best to each do collectively as a result of it’s holding you each again and, hopefully, you possibly can reimburse your spouse at a later date. 

The rate of interest is a killer. I’ve written about individuals who have had $89,000 on 11 credit cards. They took further jobs, ate grits and lower their cable. They did the whole lot they may to slash their bills and make a plan to repay their debt aggressively. However robbing your 401(ok) to pay your bank card is just not the reply.

When you have been to withdraw that $24,000 early out of your 401(ok) earlier than age 59½, you’d be charged revenue taxes on the withdrawal along with a ten% early withdrawal penalty. The quantity you withdraw will likely be added to your 2021 revenue tax return. You might be creating extra issues so as to take the “straightforward” approach out.

However as Bryson Roof, CFP, funding adviser at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, told MarketWatch: “The largest value related to taking a 401(ok) distribution is just not taxes, it’s the chance value of lacking out on the expansion of these funds that would have compounded over 20, 30 or 40 years.”

We live in the midst of a worldwide pandemic when persons are taking downtime, and you’ve got a job. You don’t have to take lavish holidays or eat out in fancy eating places. We will all take that recommendation. You’re not the one one tempted to spend their approach out of an emotional and public-health disaster. We’re human.

However the satisfaction you get from breaking the again of this $10,000 credit-card debt will likely be value it.

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Extra from Quentin Fottrell: plan-11628124697?rss=1&siteid=rss | ‘Who is aware of if I’ll dwell till retirement?’ I’ve $10K in credit-card debt and $4.5K in scholar loans. Ought to I faucet my $24K 401(ok)?


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