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Are there penalties for pulling money from my 401k plan to help pay for my aging mother's care?

My mother is to the point where the family is discussing putting her in a full time car facility or hiring help to make sure she is safe. Would I be able to pull money from my retirement account to help pay for her needs without paying a penalty?

Feb 22, 2012 by Ken from Fort Bragg, NC in  |  Flag
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Hi Ken, You need to confirm with HR what the rules are for hardship withdrawals. It would be a pity if you need to take money from your retirement account since it's hard to rebuild your much-needed retirement savings once you've tapped funds. Are you able to pool support costs with any other family members? If you end up providing more than 50% of her care, you can list her as a dependent on your tax return. If you and other family members collectively provide over 50%, you can rotate this benefit.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 22, 2012 from Berkeley Heights, NJ

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Ken - You also should look into the possibility of a loan against your 401k. This may be suitable for your needs, especially if your liquidity needs are short-term. If your plan offers this option, you should be able to borrow up to 50% of the account value. You will pay interest on the loan, but the interest is paid to your own account, so it's like the left hand paying the right. Good luck to you.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 23, 2012 from San Francisco, CA

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