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Spouse medical bills have led to high cc debt. Is a loan from 401 or 403b possible ?

Sep 22, 2016 in  |  Flag
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Herbert N Glass Level 18

It is legally permissible for both 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans to offer participant loans for any need that a participant may have - however there is no legal requirement that such plans must have a loan feature. In addition, if a plan does make participant loans available, different plans may have different "loan policies" that loan requests from participants must meet in order to qualify for a plan loan. Also, there are legal limits imposed by the law that apply to all participant loans.

If you desire a participant loan from a qualified retirement plan that you participate in, you should contact the Plan Administrator and ask for a copy of its "Loan Policy" and a Loan Application. Fill out the application and return it to the Plan Administrator for further processing. You will be notified of any additional requirements that may be necessary and you will also be notified if your loan request is granted and/or if your request needs to be modified.

If the plan(s) have a loan feature, the process should be easy.

2 Comments   |  Flag   |  Sep 22, 2016 from Franklin, MI
Herbert N Glass

With respect to taking a hardship distribution from a plan that also allows loans, before a participant may receive any hardship amount, a participant must first take the maximum loan amount that the plan and the law permits BEFORE taking any amount of hardship distribution.

Flag |  Sep 23, 2016 near Franklin, MI
Chace Taylor Cannon

Herbert is correct, unless the addition of the loan causes an undue financial hardship then the loan may be skipped and you can apply for the hardship. With this though, you will have to show documentation that it would cause financial stress by taking the loan. Great point Herbert.

Flag |  Sep 23, 2016 near Salt Lake City, UT

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Check with your tax advisor, as most Financial Advisors are not permitted to give tax advice.

Monies in qualified plans (401(k)s and 403(b)s are both qualified plans) are accessible without early distribution penalties for medical reasons. You may have to pay state and / or federal taxes.

This might be an alternative to taking a loan that would have to be repaid.

Again, check with a qualified tax professional.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Sep 22, 2016 from Newport Beach, CA

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Hey Greg-

First off, I want to say I hope that the bills are from a successful medical procedure and that everyone is doing well.

As mentioned there are some retirement plans that allow for you to take a loan from yourself and you can use that money to do whatever you would like to. Each plan has that has a loan has certain policies that you would need to meet to get the loan. Find out what those are. From the little information that you have shared, it would be nice to be able to lock your interest rate in at a lower rate, plus the interest that you pay on the loan goes into your retirement account. So, not only would you be paying a lower interest rate, but the interest that you are paying is going to yourself instead of to a CC company.

The other option that you have is a hardship distribution and it sounds like that since this is from medical bills it would qualify. If you were to take a hardship, and are younger than 59 1/2 you will be charged a 10% penalty for an early withdrawal plus the money, if it is not in a Roth account, will be added to your income for you to pay income taxes on. On top of that, you will be banned from making contributions to your plan for 6 months (probably something you do not want).

Those are the two options of accessing the money. Best of luck on the decisions ahead.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Sep 23, 2016 from Salt Lake City, UT

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