I'm 23, transitioning jobs, and I make $32,000 a year. I have $11,000 in a 401(k), and about $15,000 in debt. Should I cash out the 401(k) to pay down my debt?
I don't think so. When you take money out of a 401(k) they charge you a 10 percent penalty, plus your tax rate. Your tax rate is about 20 percent, so that means you're going to take a 30 percent hit. While I love dumping debt, your idea would be kind of like saying, "I want to borrow $11,000 at 30 percent interest to pay off my debt." That doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?
I never tell folks to cash out a 401(k) or IRA to pay off debt, unless it's the only way to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy. You're not facing either one of those situations, Cody. So my answer is no.