Best Way To Withdraw From 401k After Retirement


Rmds Smaller For Some Married Couples

How to Withdraw from 401k after age 60 – How to Withdraw from 401ks after Age 60

If you have a significantly younger spouse who is expected to inherit your IRA, you may be able to reduce your required distributions, thereby trimming taxes and making your retirement funds last longer.

Remember that RMDs are calculated using factors that include your life expectancy as determined by the IRS. But if youve named a spouse as the sole beneficiary of your IRA and he or she is at least 10 years younger than you, then your RMD is computed using a joint-life expectancy table. That will reduce the amount you need to distribute in any given year.

For example, a single retiree who turns age 72 in the current year and who would have to take their first RMD by April 1 of the following year would have a life expectancy of 25.6 more years in the eyes of the IRS. So if that persons IRA was worth $200,000, their first RMD would be $7,812.50 .

But lets say this person designates their 56-year-old married partner to be the sole beneficiary of that retirement account. In that case, their joint life expectancy would be 30.0 years. So the first RMD would be trimmed to $6,666.67. The IRS provides a table for this situation in its Publication 590-B.

Your Retirement Money Is Safe From Creditors

Did you know that money saved in a retirement account is safe from creditors? If you are sued by debt collectors or declare bankruptcy, your 401k and IRAs cannot be liquidated by creditors to satisfy bills you owe. If youre having problems managing your debt, its better to seek alternatives other than an early withdrawal, which will also come with a high penalty.

Can I Take All My Money Out Of My 401 When I Retire

You are free to empty your 401 as soon as you reach age 59½or 55, in some cases. Its also possible to cash out before, although doing so would normally trigger a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

If you want to cash out everything, you can opt for a lump-sum payment. Think carefully before taking this approach, though. Withdrawing your savings all at once could result in a hefty tax bill and, if not managed wisely, leave you living in severe poverty later on in retirement.

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How To Take Money Out Of Your 401

Can I Withdraw Money from My 401(k) Before I Retire?

There are many different ways to take money out of a 401, including:

  • Withdrawing money when you retire: These are withdrawals made after age 59 1/2.
  • Making an early withdrawal: These are withdrawals made prior to age 59 1/2. You may be subject to a 10% penalty unless your situation qualifies as an exception.
  • Making a hardship withdrawal: These are early withdrawals made because of immediate financial need. You may be still be penalized for them.
  • Taking out a 401 loan: You can borrow against your 401 and will not incur penalties as long as you repay the loan on schedule.
  • Rolling over a 401: If you leave your job, you can move your 401 into another 401 or IRA without penalty as long as the funds are moved over within 60 days of your distribution.

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Borrowing Money From My 401k

It may seem like an easy way to get out of debt to borrow from your retirement accounts for DIY debt consolidation, but you can only borrow $50,000 or half the vested balance in your account, if its less than $50,000. You wont face a tax penalty for doing so, like you would with an out-right withdrawal, but youll still have to pay the money back.

And unlike a home equity loan where payments can be drawn out over a 10-to-30-year period, most 401k loans need to be paid back on a shorter time table like five years. This can take a huge chunk out of your paycheck, causing you even further financial distress. Borrowing money from your 401k also limits the ability of your invested dollars to grow.

Paying off some of your debt with a 401k loan could help improve your debt-to-income ratio, a calculation lenders make to determine how much debt you can handle. If youre almost able to qualify for a consolidation or home equity loan, but your DTI ratio is too high, a small loan from your retirement account, amortized over 5 years at a low interest rate may make the difference.

When Should You Make A 401 Early Withdrawal

Considering the 10% penalty, financial planners often advise taking an early withdrawal from your 401 as a last resort. Since penalty-free withdrawals are available for a number of financial hardships and situations, plan participants who take an early withdrawal with a penalty are often in serious financial straits.

Ive seen people take withdrawals for a number of reasons, Stiger says. Everything from a childs tuition to a spouses burial expenses the hope is that distributions are used for larger, more unexpected expenses like medical emergencies, keeping a home out of foreclosure or eviction, and in a down period, putting food on the table.

Taking an early withdrawal can make sense if you are able to take advantage of a penalty-free exception, use the Rule of 55 or the SEPP exemption. But might make sense to exhaust other options firstcheck out these 10 ways to get cash now. And keep in mind, contributions to a Roth IRA can always be withdrawn without penalty if youre truly in a bind.

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Ways To Withdraw Money In Retirement

It’s official: You’re retired. That probably means no more regular paycheck, and you may need to turn to your investments for income. But remember: The impact of taxes is just as important to consider now as it was when saving for retirement.

The good news is that in retirement there may be more options to increase after-tax income, especially when savings span multiple account types, such as traditional retirement accounts, Roth accounts, and taxable savings like brokerage or savings accounts. The not-so-good news is that choosing which accounts to draw from and when can be a complicated decision.

“Many people are seeking ways to help reduce the taxes that they will pay over the course of their retirement,” says Andrey Lyalko, vice president of Fidelity financial solutions. “Timing is critical. So, how and when you choose to withdraw from various accounts401s, Roth accounts, and other accountscan impact your taxes in different ways.”

Taxes matter: How different accounts are taxed

0% long-term capital gains rate if ordinary taxable income is within applicable ranges
  • Taxed at ordinary income tax rates
  • Potentially higher tax rates the more you withdraw
  • Part of calculation to determine Social Security tax and Medicare premiums
Has no impact on any tax calculation

Other Options If You Need Cash

Withdrawing From a 401(K) During Retirement

If you are experiencing financial hurdles because of the recent coronavirus outbreak, Ellis recommends exhausting other resources before tapping into your retirement plan balance.

First, consider using any emergency savings you may have. “We recommend our clients keep three to six months’ worth of living expenses in cash for emergencies, which this would definitely fall under,” Ellis says.

If you own a home, you could look into getting a home equity line of credit since housing values have been on the rise and interest rates are low. “You may have the ability to utilize the equity in your home at a low carrying cost,” Ellis says.

If you need cash and don’t have any emergency savings or home equity on hand, consider applying for a personal loan from your bank, which is generally used to consolidate debt or make a big purchase. The average interest rate for a two-year personal loan was about 10.2% in November 2019, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve.

Keep in mind that the rate depends on both your credit and on the length of the loan, as shorter loans tend to have lower APRs. If you have bad credit, you may be facing an interest rate of up to 36%.

If those options don’t work, you could also tap into a Roth IRA if you have one. With these accounts, you can withdraw any money you’ve invested at any time, without taxes or penalties. But again, remember there’s an opportunity cost to using that money.

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Withdraw From Accounts In The Right Order

If you need retirement savings to get by and youre wondering whether to take them from an IRA, 401 or a Roth account, dont be tempted by instant gratification. Sure, a Roth IRA withdrawal will be tax-free, but you may wind up paying more in lost opportunity.

Instead, withdraw from taxable retirement accounts first and leave Roth IRAs alone for as long as possible.

Skeptical? Consider what happens if a 72-year-old person takes $18,000 out of a traditional IRA, while sitting in the 24 percent tax bracket: Theyll owe $4,320 in taxes. If they withdraw the same amount from a Roth, they wont pay a dime. But if this person doesnt have to take an RMD from a Roth IRA, and instead earns 7 percent annually on the account for another 10 years, it would grow to $35,409. Those earnings would also be tax-free when withdrawn from the Roth, whether by the person holding the account or their beneficiary.

Making A Hardship Withdrawal

  • 1Determine if you meet the criteria for hardship withdrawal. In the event of an emergency, some plans allow participants to receive early distributions from a 401 plan without being subject to the standard 10% early withdrawal penalty . This is known as a hardship withdrawal. It is important to note that taxes will still be due on any early distribution, and it is necessary to prove that the emergency situation is valid. Criteria for qualification include:XResearch source
  • You or a member of your immediate family has exceptionally high medical expenses.
  • You are buying a principal home.
  • You are paying college tuition for yourself or family.
  • You need the money to stay out of foreclosure.
  • You need it for the cost of a funeral.
  • If there are necessary home improvements to be made on your principal home.
  • 2Determine if you qualify for penalty-free withdrawals. In some retirement packages, there are a limited number of specific criteria which allow you to take money out of your 401 without having to pay the 10% penalty. Note that if you do not meet these criteria and are not 59.5 or older, you will be required to pay the penalty. The criteria for exemption include:XResearch source
  • Becoming totally disabled.
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    What Are The Disadvantages Of 401s

    Here are a few cons for 401s:

    • Not all employers offer a 401 retirement plan.
    • You typically cant tap a 401 before age 59½ without paying an early withdrawal penalty.
    • You may pay higher investment fees compared to other types of retirement accounts, such as an IRA.
    • You may have fewer investment options than with an IRA .

    QUICK TIP! Use a Compound Interest Calculator to see how much your 401 could grow!

    What questions do you have about 401s and other retirement accounts? Let me know by leaving me a voicemail at 302-364-0308. Want to keep in touch? Follow me on or sign up for my weekly newsletter at


    Roll Money Into An Ira

    401(k): The Best Easiest Way to Save for Retirement

    If you are not satisfied with the 401 investment options, you can rollover the money into an IRA since the latter has more investment options and offers greater control. You can reallocate your portfolio of investments to help you grow your investments further in years to come.

    If you have a string of old 401s when you retire, you should consolidate them into an IRA for better management of your retirement savings. Also, you can reduce the administration fees of your retirement money, and even qualify for discounts on sales charges.

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    Guaranteed Income For Life May Not Be As Good As It Seems

    One fairly popular option is to use the money to purchase an annuity, which basically means you’ll receive a steady stream of income for the rest of your life in exchange for a large payment now.

    Obviously, the upside to this is that you’ll have a steady “paycheck” for as long as you live, and there is zero chance that you will outlive your money. There are several options when choosing annuities, including options that guarantee payments to your spouse or heirs if you die before a certain time. Here’s a primer on annuities to help you get started if you want more information.

    The major downside to an annuity is inflation. In other words, the payments you receive from the annuity will be worth less and less as time goes on. For example, if you buy an annuity that pays you $2,000 a month and the inflation rate averages 2%, those checks will have just $1,336 in purchasing power 20 years from now. You can find annuities with payments that increase over time, but this will cut down your initial income significantly.

    What Is A 401 Early Withdrawal

    First, lets recap: A 401 early withdrawal is any money you take out from your retirement account before youve reached federal retirement age, which is currently 59 ½. Youre generally charged a 10% penalty by the Internal Revenue Service on any withdrawals classified as earlyon top of any applicable income taxes.

    If youre making an early withdrawal from a Roth 401, the penalty is usually just 10% of any investment growth withdrawncontributions are not part of the early withdrawal fee calculation for this type of account.

    But the entire account balance counts for calculating the fee if youre making an early withdrawal from a traditional 401. These rules hold true for early distributions from a traditional IRA as well.

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    Medical Expenses Or Insurance

    If you incur unreimbursed medical expenses that are greater than 10% of your adjusted gross income in that year, you are able to pay for them out of an IRA without incurring a penalty.

    For a 401k withdrawal, if your unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year then the penalty will likely be waived.

    Do: Weigh Your Options

    What To Do With 401k After Retirement – What To Do With My 401k After Retirement

    Theres more than one way to withdraw your savings. The most tax-efficient strategy depends on your particular situationyour accounts and assets, other income sources , spending needs, and other factors, says Hayden Adams, CPA, CFP®, and director of tax planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

    With a traditional withdrawal approach, youll take money out of one type of account at a time, starting with taxable accounts, then tax-deferred, and finally tax-free Roths only after your other accounts are depleted. This can reduce taxes in the early and later years of retirement, but may cause a tax spike during the middle years due to RMDs and ordinary income tax on tax-deferred withdrawals.

    To avoid a tax spike, consider a proportional approach. This involves withdrawing money from taxable and tax-deferred accounts each year, in proportion to your overall savings. For example, if you have $600,000 in a 401 and $400,000 in a brokerage account, youd pull 60% of the income you need from your 401 and 40% from your brokerage account. In short, youd draw down your highest-taxed assets along with your lower-taxed assetswhich could help you stay in a lower tax bracket each year and pay less tax in retirement.

    If your risk of being pushed into a higher tax bracket by RMDs is low, the traditional approach could make sense. But its not for everyone, says Hayden. In cases where RMDs boost your tax bracket, a proportional method may be more tax-efficient.

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    Can You Take 401 Withdrawals

    Since the purpose of a 401 is to invest for retirement, there are rules against taking withdrawals before age 59½. If you tap into your 401 early, you typically must pay income tax plus a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

    However, there are penalty exceptions. For instance, the Rule of 55 says that you can take distributions penalty-free if you leave your job after age 55. Thats excellent news if you want to retire early. However, you still must pay income tax on withdrawals that werent previously taxed.

    Additionally, you can skip the early withdrawal penalty for qualified hardships, such as becoming disabled, paying for education expenses, or avoiding foreclosure on your primary residence.

    Once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a 401. The amount depends on the balance in your account and your life expectancy defined by IRS tables. RMDs that weren’t previously taxed get included in your taxable income.

    Related: Should You Take a 401 or 403 Withdrawal?

    In Kind Withdrawals Qualify As Rmds

    Dont want to sell your assets? Its easier to take withdrawals in cash, but that doesnt mean you have to or should. So-called in-kind distributions are taken out in the form of stocks or bonds, and they may make more sense for people who want to keep assets for various reasons. Youll simply move the assets from your IRA into a taxable account. These in-kind withdrawals will be assigned a fair market value on the date they are moved.

    An in-kind withdrawal may be easier and less expensive than triggering fees by selling the securities in the IRA and buying them back in a brokerage account.

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