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  • Writer's pictureNick T.

Can You Pull Out of Your 401K Early?

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


If you have an employee sponsored 401K plan, you are probably wondering if there’s any way to access your funds early. Under normal circumstances, you cannot withdraw money from your 401K retirement account until you reach the age of 59 and ½. If you do choose to withdraw, you must be willing to pay a 10% fee plus income tax. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. In this guide, we will discuss the various qualifications for pulling out early.

Hardship Withdrawal

Some 401K plans offer early withdrawals in the case of unforeseen financial burdens. For example, if you experience large medical expenses, funeral costs, or are at risk of foreclosure, you may be eligible for a hardship withdrawal. Additionally, you may be qualified for a withdrawal to cover educational costs for yourself or a member of your immediate family. This includes tuition, books, and other related expenses. Did financial hardship destroy your credit? This site can help you obtain a card for poor credit.

Separation from Service

If you set up a 401K with a company that no longer employs you, your plan may allow for a slightly early withdrawal. You need to be at least 55 years old in order to qualify. Keep in mind that this only applies to you if you haven’t rolled your savings into a new 401K or IRA account.


If you have become permanently and completely disabled during your investment period, you should qualify for penalty free withdrawals. If you collect disability through social security or your insurance company, you may be eligible.


Some 401K plans allow you to borrow money from yourself by obtaining a 401K loan. If your terms allow for loans, check how much you are able to borrow. You can usually avoid taxes and fees if your loan does not exceed $50,000 or 50% of your account’s vested value. Unless you use the money to finance the purchase of your primary residence, 401K loans must be repaid within a five-year period.


It’s important to note that regulations vary depending on your employer, so be sure to check the terms of your 401K. If you are pulling out, make sure there’s a good reason. Emergency situations are unavoidable, but early withdrawals can significantly impact your retirement savings. Don’t be afraid to consult with a financial planner if necessary. You can avoid early withdrawals by practicing good financial habits and building an emergency savings fund.

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