Is Borrowing from Your 401(k) a Good Idea? Weighing the Pros and Cons

By Charisse Mackenzie It’s nice to have a 401(k), but how helpful or damaging is it to dip into your retirement savings to cover an unexpected expense, to pay down a deluge of debt, or to make a major purchase? Some people borrow from their 401(k) for those reasons and others, such as helping a family member, paying for large medical expenses, funding a business startup or going on vacation. There are pros and cons, and those considering the option need to balance long-term impacts with their immediate needs for tapping into what should be a long-term retirement savings account. “Most financial experts caution against borrowing from your 401(k),” says Charisse Mackenzie (, a financial advisor. “But they also concede that a loan may be a more appropriate alternative to an outright distribution, if the funds are absolutely needed.” Mackenzie lists a few  of the advantages and the disadvantages of borrowing from a 401(k): PROS No credit c…
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