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The Hard Truth About Hardship Withdrawals

Workers are putting a crimp in retirement savings by dipping into 401(k) plans early.

More workers are raiding their retirement nest eggs as high unemployment and a sluggish economy continue to take a toll on the financial health of Americans. A recent Fidelity survey found a sharp rise in hardship withdrawals from 401(k) plans. The top reasons cited for the withdrawals were to prevent foreclosure, pay for college and purchase a home.

A hardship withdrawal should be considered a last resort, assuming the option is available at all. Not all 401(k), 403(b) and 457 retirement plans permit hardship withdrawals. Those that do require evidence of an immediate and heavy financial need, such as a medical emergency or imminent eviction. … Back to Article

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