May 7, 2015
MainStreet.com quoted me in Dipping Into Your 401(k) to Finance the Purchase of a Home is a Tricky Decision. It reads, in part,
Dipping into the funds she had amassed in her 401(k) account to make up the remaining difference for her down payment was not a decision that Alyson O’Mahoney embarked on lightly.
After contemplating the benefits and disadvantages of borrowing $40,000 from her retirement account to use for a down payment on her mortgage, the marketing executive for Robin Leedy & Associates in Mount Kisco, N.Y. was certain that she making the right choice.
O’Mahoney was undaunted by the prospect of having another bill each month, even though she opted out of discussing this critical decision with her financial advisor — as she knew he would discourage her.
“It all fit into my debt and income ratio and the bank was fine with it,” she said. “I pay it back automatically with each paycheck and the 5% interest goes to me. It was the easiest process.”
Many financial advisors steer their clients away from borrowing from their retirement, because employers will typically demand that you repay the loan within a short period if you leave your job or get fired. If you can’t pay it back from your savings, then the loan will be treated as a distribution that is subject to federal and state income tax, as well as an early withdrawal penalty of 10% if you’re under the age of 59.5, said Shomari Hearn, a certified financial planner and vice president at Palisades Hudson Financial Group in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. office.
“If you’re contemplating leaving your company within the next few years or are concerned about job security, I would advise against taking out a loan from your 401(k),” he said.
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If you accept another job offer, refinancing your mortgage may be difficult when you are facing a time crunch, said David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School.
“If you leave your job, the loan will come due, and you will have to figure out how to repay it – potentially just at the time it would be hardest to do so,” he said. “Given that it might be hard to refinance the property on such short notice, you might find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.”| Permalink