Insights + Resources

401(k) Loan Repayment

Dec 30, 2019

Man holding a gold bag named 401K
A longer repayment time can be an advantage.

The conventional wisdom about taking a loan from your 401(k) plan is often boiled down to: not unless absolutely necessary. That said, it isn’t always avoidable for everyone or in every situation. In a true emergency, if you had no alternative, the rules do allow for a loan, but they also require a fast repayment if your employment were to end. Recent changes have changed that deadline, offering some flexibility to those taking the loan. (Distributions from 401(k) plans and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.)

The New Rules.

In the past, the requirement for repaying a loan taken from your 401(k)-retirement account after leaving a job was 60 days to avoid paying taxes or the penalty when you file your income taxes. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed that rule – now, the deadline for loan repayment is the tax return due date for the year in which you leave your job. This also factors in extensions.

So, as an example: if you were to end your employment today, the due date to repay the loan would be the tax filing deadline, which is April 15 most years or October 15 if you file an extension.

What Hasn’t Changed?

Most of what transpires after a 401(k) loan still applies. Your repayment plan involves a deduction from your paycheck over a period of five years. The exception would be if you are using the loan to make a down payment on your primary residence, in which case you may have much longer to repay, provided that you are still with the same employer.

 You aren’t just repaying the amount you borrow, but also the interest on the loan. Depending on the plan, you may see a prime interest rate, plus 1%.*

*This can vary as the interest rate for loan repayment is generally      determined by the plan administrator

If you do take the loan, a good practice may be to continue making contributions to your 401(k) account, even as you repay the loan. Why? First, to continue building your savings. Second, to continue to take advantage of any employer matching that your workplace might offer. While taking the loan may hamper your ability to build potential gains toward your retirement, you can still take advantage of the account, and that employer match is a great opportunity.

Tags: ,

More Insights

May 12, 2021

The San Diego Padres signed infielder Fernando Tatis, Jr., to a 14-year, $340 million contract roughly one year after the Los Angeles Dodgers inked outfielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million deal. That brings the total to 8 baseball players who have signed long-term, $300+ million contracts. Think he needs estate planning?

May 10, 2021

What does it mean when two of the most powerful voices in American financial life seem to be saying two different things? In one corner, we have the “Oracle of Omaha,” investor Warren Buffett. As one of the nation’s richest people and most frequently sought opinions on business matters, he’s a voice that gets a … Continue reading “Buffett and Powell Talk Inflation”

May 7, 2021

How can you help cover your child’s future college costs? Saving early (and often) may be key for most families. Here are some college savings vehicles to consider

May 5, 2021

Will your retirement dreams match your reality? That’s perhaps the most critical question to ask people who are currently retired. Was your retirement what you expected, or was it something else?

May 3, 2021

A recent survey charting investor sentiment shows that 63% of investors are more interested in protecting their financial assets and planning for uncertainty in the future than anything else.1 There are many reasons for this change, but here are a few of the most impactful to keep in mind.

Insights + Resources >