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What are 401k Distributions?

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  • Written By: Luke Arthur
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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401k distributions occur when an individual with a 401k takes money out of the account. Distributions can be taken without penalty after the age of 59 1/2. If the account holder takes out any money before this age, an early distribution penalty will apply. Once 401k distributions are taken, the money will be treated as regular income and the individual will have to pay income taxes on the amount distributed. Individuals get to choose how much money they take out and it can be difficult to decide how much to take out of the account at any one time.

The 401k account allows individuals to set money aside on a pre-tax basis. The money is allowed to be invested and the returns from the investments are not taxed. This allows retirement savers to set aside more money than they would ordinarily be able to.

Once an account holder reaches the age of 59 1/2, he or she can begin to take 401k distributions. At that point, the money that is taken out of the account is viewed as income by the IRS. The amount of money taken out will contribute to which tax bracket the individual fits into. The tax bracket will decide how much money has to be paid to the government in taxes.

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If an individual decides to take money out of the account before reaching the age of 59 1/2, an early distribution penalty will be assessed. This amounts to a 10% penalty of the amount that was withdrawn. The individual also has to pay taxes on the money that was withdrawn.

Deciding how much money to take out in the form of 401k distributions can be difficult. Individuals will need to consider several different factors before deciding how much money to withdraw in 401k distributions. The individual should try to determine how much longer he or she will need the money. Retirees should try to leave enough money in the account so something will be left to grow.

Another factor that should be considered is which tax bracket the individual will go into based on how much money is withdrawn from the account. Many people will take out just enough money to stay within a certain tax bracket so more taxes will not be due. Retirees should also consider the impact of Social Security and when these payments will begin.

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