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Jewish World Review
Bookmark These: Get informed on 401(k) rules
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
Named for section 401, subsection k, of the Internal Revenue Code, a 401(k) is an account where millions of people now squirrel away their retirement savings by having money deducted from their pay. Some employers add to the account with a "match." Avoid the pitfalls of a 401(k) — such as the temptation to spend it too soon — by reviewing these sites.
IT'S COMPLICATED. Managing a 401(k) can be complex. But this item breaks it down for us. Bankrate.com's article called "3 ways to build a secure retirement plan" is about the three basic things you need to do to make the most of your account. You must find out, first, how much you should be stashing away from each paycheck — and that depends primarily on your age bracket. Then you have to sift through all the available funds to decide which ones you'll be comfortable keeping your money in. And, last, you have to rebalance the fund allocations every year or so to stay on track.
HANDS OFF. Many people give in to the temptation to tap their 401(k) funds before retirement to pay off debts or for other expenses. Advice on this move, in general, is to never do it. Women's Finance explains the abundant reasons not to cash out early — including a description of the growth potential that you'll never earn on that money, the income tax you'll likely pay on the cash, and the additional 10 percent penalty for an early withdrawal.
BE YOUR OWN BANKER. A less costly alternative is to borrow from your own 401(k). But MSN's MoneyCentral warns that that is not a great idea, either. You'll lose interest on the borrowed funds, and you'll have to pay it back with non-tax-sheltered money.
IRS DETAILS. The Internal Revenue Service, whose bureaucratic code lends the 401(k) its weird name, has articles explaining, for employers and workers, how to handle contributions on tax forms and how to set up and terminate an account, and listing the rules for withdrawals.
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