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Study Shows More Americans Are Raiding 401(k) Accounts To Pay Bills

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By Lynne Adkins

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A new national study shows that too many of us are cashing out 401(k) accounts to pay bills. If that retirement account is calling your name, a financial expert advises you to stop listening.

When the bills pile up and money is tight, many people turn to their 401(k) accounts to help ease the bind.

Downingtown, Pa. CPA Jacquelyn Basso says it’s not a good idea to raid your retirement; you’re getting money now that you’ll need to live on when you’re older.

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“You can borrow from your 401(k) and pay back yourself and maybe not incur a penalty. But if you lose your job or leave your job, you have to pay it all back and if you can’t pay it back, you’ll be subject to the penalties and the taxes,” Basso explained.

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She says if you’re thinking of taking cash out of your 401(k), remember you’ll have to pay a 10-percent penalty and income taxes now, so you actually lose some of your savings paying those off.

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