Can You Borrow From Your Retirement Fund


Annuitize Or Withdraw Over Time

Borrowing from your retirement

Your variable annuity value is exchanged for an income stream from the insurance company, which might be set or fluctuate in line with investment performance, when you annuitize. These payments may be made to your surviving spouse or beneficiary for a set period of time or for the duration of your life or for a set number of years. There may be a survivorship option available with these payments.

If you plan to live longer than your projected lifespan, annuitization may be a viable alternative.

There is a bit of a misunderstanding when it comes to the term lifetime income used by many annuity firms. This is because the income you receive may not surpass the amount of money you originally paid for your annuity.

If you decide to annuitize, you may forfeit the right to withdraw more than your monthly income and may lose any linked death benefit as well, so its important to remember that.

Systematic withdrawals from the annuity rather than annuitization may be an option depending on the value and guarantees of the annuity.

Several annuities include a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit rider, which allows you to take periodic withdrawals of a certain sum from your account.

Although the annual cost of these riders is normally high, the income base may be worth more than the contract value if the value of the underlying investments has performed poorly.

If the annuity cant be cashed out or exchanged, taking methodical withdrawals each year may be a viable option.

Never Pull Money From Your 401 Except In These 3 Cases

  • Average account balances have hit a high of $92,500.
  • If you leave your job, the loan may become due.
  • Make sure you can handle the repayments.

Here’s a personal finance rule you can break with reservations: Taking a loan from your 401 plan.

Aside from your house, your workplace retirement plan likely makes up the largest chunk of your overall wealth. The average 401 balance in the fourth quarter of 2016 hit an all-time high of $92,500, according to data from Fidelity Investments.

In a perfect world, you’d want to let your account ride as long as it can, taking advantage of market cycles over time and steady deferrals from your pay each week.

However, certain emergencies and long-term planning goals call for the more drastic step of borrowing from your 401, as was the case for Greg Walton.

The 32-year-old IT support engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology borrowed $7,000 from his 401 in order to pay off a student loan with a higher interest rate and which had gone into default at one point.

Walton is repaying the loan directly from his paycheck.

“Plan participants understand that the money is sacrosanct, but they may find themselves in a situation where the 401 is the largest source of capital they have,” said James A. Cox, financial advisor at Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia.

Here’s how to borrow from your 401 without ending up with a big tax bill.

How Long Do You Have To Repay A 401 Loan

Generally, you have up to five years to repay a 401 loan, although the term may be longer if youre using the money to buy your principal residence. IRS guidance says that loans should be repaid in substantially equal payments that include principal and interest and that are paid at least quarterly. Your plan may also allow you to repay your loan through payroll deductions.

The CARES Act allows plan sponsors to provide qualified borrowers with up to an additional year to pay off their 401 loans.

The interest rate youll pay on the loan is typically determined by the plan administrator based on the current prime rate, but it and the repayment schedule should be similar to what you might expect to receive from a bank loan. Also, the interest isnt paid to a lender since youre borrowing your own money, the interest you pay is added to your own 401 account.

Recommended Reading: When Can I Take Early Retirement

What Are Some Alternatives To A 401 Loan

When cash is tight, borrowing from your 401 plan and paying yourself interest may seem like a good idea. But before you borrow, weigh all your options. Here are a few.

  • Consider a home equity loan. If you have equity in your home, a home equity loan may allow you to tap your homes equity to qualify for a loan. This may be a good option when you need the loan funds for home repairs and improvements, as the interest on a home equity loan could be tax deductible.
  • Consider a taxable withdrawal. If you need cash because of a financial hardship, consider a hardship withdrawal rather than a loan . Youll likely have to pay income taxes on the distribution, but you may qualify for an exception that allows you to avoid a 10% early-withdrawal penalty. There are disadvantages to hardship withdrawals, too, so make sure to do your research first. If your distribution is related to financial hardship from coronavirus, you may also be eligible to have the 10% penalty waived.
  • Consider a personal loan. If your credit is good, you may be able to qualify for a personal loan with favorable terms. You can use the funds from a personal loan to pay for virtually anything. And since theyre typically unsecured, you dont need to risk collateral to secure the loan.
  • How To Use A 401 Loan To Buy A House

    How to use your pension fund to help grow your business

    A 401 loan is the preferredmethod if you need to cash out some of your 401 retirementfunds tobuy a house. Thats because theres a much lower cost associated with a 401loan comparedto a 401 withdrawal.

    You should also know:

    • A 401 loan is usually not counted in your debt-to-income ratio, so it wont hurt your chances of mortgage qualifying
    • 401 loans are not reported to credit bureaus, so applying for one wont harm your credit score

    Can I use my 401k to buy a house without penalty?

    Unlike a 401 withdrawal, a401 loan is not subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty from the IRS. Andthe money you receive will not be taxed as income.

    The rules for using a 401 loanto buy a house are as follows:

    • Your employer must allow 401loans as part of its retirement plan
    • The maximum loan amount is 50% ofyour 401svested balance or $50,000, whichever is less
    • The loan must be paid back withinterest , on a schedule agreed to by youand your 401 provider
    • Typically,you cannot make 401 contributions while you have an outstanding 401 loan

    401 loans typically need to bepaid back over five years.

    However, when the money is used topurchase a home, youre usually allowed to pay it back over a longer period oftime. Rules vary by 401 company, so check with yours to learn more.

    Drawbacks to 401 loans for home buying

    While youre paying back the 401 loan, you usually cant make new contributions to your retirement account. And that means your employer wont be matching contributions, either.

    Also Check: How Much Does A Couple Need To Retire At 62

    I Don’t Have Enough Savings For A Down Payment On A House Should I Borrow From My 401 Plan

    Borrowing from your retirement plan to fund a down payment isn’t a terrible strategy, especially if you want to lock in today’s superlow mortgage rates . Now that no-down-payment loans are a thing of the past, borrowing from a 401 has become a popular option. Some 9% of recent home buyers used funds from a 401 plan or pension for a down payment, according to a 2012 report by the National Association of Realtors.

    When you borrow from your 401 plan, you pay interest to yourself. The rate is typically one or two percentage points above the prime rate, which is currently 3.25%, and you can usually borrow up to half of your balance, or a maximum of $50,000. Most loans must be repaid within five years, although some employers will give you up to 15 years if the money is used to buy a home.

    Unlike some other types of debt, a 401 loan won’t count in your debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a mortgage, says Frank Donnelly, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington. That’s because the loan is secured by the money in your 401 plan, he says. Also, 401 loans aren’t reported to the credit bureaus, so the debt wont hurt your credit score.

    If You Default On Your 401 Loan You’ll Owe A Penalty

    If you do not pay your 401 loan back as required, the defaulted loan is considered a withdrawal or distribution and thus is subject to a 10% penalty applicable to early withdrawals made before age 59 1/2. That’s potentially a huge cost, especially when you also consider the loss of the potential gains your money would have made had you left it invested.

    Recommended Reading: What Is Tax Rate On 401k At Retirement

    What Happens If You Leave Your Job

    When you take out a loan from a 401, you may have no intention of leaving your current employer. But if you receive a better job offer, or are laid off or otherwise leave, you could be required to pay the loan back in full or face some serious tax consequences.

    Employees who leave their jobs with an outstanding 401 loan have until the tax-return-filing due date for that tax year, including any extensions, to repay the outstanding balance of the loan, or to roll it over into another eligible retirement account. That means if you left your job in January 2020, you would have until April 15, 2021 when your 2020 federal tax return is due to roll over or repay the loan amount. Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the deadline was 60 days.

    If you cant repay the loan, your employer will treat the remaining unpaid balance as a distribution and issue Form 1099-R to the IRS. That amount is typically considered taxable income and may be subject to a 10% penalty on the amount of the distribution for early withdrawal if youre younger than 59½ or dont otherwise qualify for an exemption.

    Unfortunately, this worst-case scenario isnt rare. A 2014 study from the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that 86% of workers in the sample who left their jobs with a loan outstanding eventually defaulted on the loan.

    Those Who Can Stomach The Loss In Stock Value

    How to borrow from your retirement account | recession 2020

    Because a 401 is an investment account, you should also consider the trade-off of missing the market rebound if you withdraw funds right now. Any money that you borrow from your 401 now wont be there when the market turns around, Renfro says. This would compound the adverse effects of an early 401 withdrawal if you dont truly need one.

    Echoing that, Levine says many 401 balances have been hit hard, and taking a loan while theyre down essentially locks in the losses.

    Taking an early withdrawal from your 401 can have long-term adverse effects on your financial health. However, so can the ramifications of COVID-19, especially if youve been particularly affected by the disease. The CARES Act gives options to those who need it most. Theres no right answer, but in times of uncertainty and struggle, those options can be a life raft.

    Also Check: Does Pennsylvania Tax Retirement Income

    What Is A 401 Loan

    A 401 loan allows you to borrow money youve saved up in your retirement account with the intent to pay yourself back. Even though youre lending money to yourself, its still treated like a normal loan by charging interest that youre on the hook for.

    When you take out a loan from your 401 plan, youll get terms like you would with any other type of loan: Theres a repayment plan based on how much you borrow and the interest rate you lock in. According to IRS rules, you have five years to pay back the loan, unless the funds are used to buy your main home, in which case you have more time to repay.

    A 401 loan has some key disadvantages, however. While youll pay yourself back, one major drawback is youre still removing money from your retirement account that is growing tax-free. And the less money in your plan, the less money that grows over time. Even when you pay the money back, it has less time to fully grow.

    In addition, if you have a traditional 401 plan, youll be repaying the pre-tax funds in the account with your after-tax earnings, so it takes even more in terms of working hours to repay the loan.

    Replenish Your Account After You Take A Loan

    If you must take a loan from your retirement account, try to continue making contributions and increase the amounts you contribute, where possible. This may be a challenge, as you will also be required to make loan repayments, and those repayments will not be considered contributions to your retirement account. However, it will help you restore your nest egg much faster.

    Most plans will allow you to accelerate your loan repayments, which will help to restore your plan balance more quickly. Be sure to factor your loan repayment into your budget. This will keep you from overspending.

    Recommended Reading: Financial Planning Tools For Retirement

    Should You Borrow From Your Retirement Plan

    Before you decide to take a loan from your retirement account, you should consult with a financial planner, who will help you decide if this is the best option or if you would be better off obtaining a loan from a financial institution or other sources. Below are some factors that would be taken into consideration.

    Is A Deemed Distribution Treated Like An Actual Distribution For All Purposes

    Can I use my CPF for properties with less than 60 years ...

    No, a deemed distribution is treated as an actual distribution for purposes of determining the tax on the distribution, including any early distribution tax. A deemed distribution is not treated as an actual distribution for purposes of determining whether a plan satisfies the restrictions on in-service distributions applicable to certain plans. In addition, a deemed distribution is not eligible to be rolled over into an eligible retirement plan. -1, Q& A-11 and -12)

    Read Also: What Are The Average Retirement Savings By Age

    How Can A Sipp Help

    If you want to use your pension to lend money to your business, you cannot use a SIPP to do this. Money from a SIPP cannot be lent to any individual, or company, who is connected with the SIPP.

    A SIPP can lend money to unconnected third parties though, but only if the loan constitutes a genuine investment of the pension scheme, is granted on commercial terms, and is on a first charge basis.

    You can use a SIPP to help purchase your businesss commercial property. To help facilitate the purchase your SIPP can borrow up to 50% its value from a bank, or other institution.

    The property is then leased back to your business, with rent payable into the pension.

    This tax-efficient investment can have other benefits for your business:

    • Any additional pension contributions made to aid the purchase will likely qualify for tax relief
    • A lease must be put in place and rent must be charged at a commercial rate but is tax-deductible as a business expense
    • No tax is payable on the growth in the value of the property while it is owned by the SIPP
    • The property you buy using your SIPP does not need to be connected to your own business. You can usually buy or invest in any freehold or leasehold commercial property in the UK.

    Weighing Pros And Cons

    Before you determine whether to borrow from your 401 account, consider the following advantages and drawbacks to this decision.

    On the plus side:

    • You usually dont have to explain why you need the money or how you intend to spend it.
    • You may qualify for a lower interest rate than you would at a bank or other lender, especially if you have a low credit score.
    • The interest you repay is paid back into your account.
    • Since youre borrowing rather than withdrawing money, no income tax or potential early withdrawal penalty is due.

    On the negative side:

    • The money you withdraw will not grow if it isnt invested.
    • Repayments are made with after-tax dollars that will be taxed again when you eventually withdraw them from your account.
    • The fees you pay to arrange the loan may be higher than on a conventional loan, depending on the way they are calculated.
    • The interest is never deductible even if you use the money to buy or renovate your home.

    CAUTION: Perhaps the biggest risk you run is leaving your job while you have an outstanding loan balance. If thats the case, youll probably have to repay the entire balance within 90 days of your departure. If you dont repay, youre in default, and the remaining loan balance is considered a withdrawal. Income taxes are due on the full amount. And if youre younger than 59½, you may owe the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty as well. If this should happen, you could find your retirement savings substantially drained.

    Recommended Reading: How To Save For Retirement

    What Can Be Done To Remedy A Default After There Has Been A Deemed Distribution

    If a participant failed to make payments on a plan loan, the missed payments can still be made even after a deemed distribution has occurred. In that case, the participants or beneficiarys tax basis under the plan is increased by the amount of the late repayments. -1, Q& A-21)

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