The major coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress in March included provisions to allow Americans affected by the crisis special dispensation to withdraw from their retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs, without incurring the standard early withdrawal penalty. Eligibility is limited to those who are directly affected by the illness — those who have been diagnosed or have a spouse or dependent diagnosed with the illness, as well as those who have been furloughed, laid off, or have had hours reduced.
However, withdrawing funds early from a retirement account, even without incurring a penalty, may not be advisable if it can be avoided. The COVID-19 crisis has presented most Americans with challenges related to their retirement savings and plans, and especially so to those closest to retirement or already in retirement. The stock market plunge, potential extra health care costs, furloughs and more have left many wondering what they can do now to ensure they will be able to retire comfortably in these uncertain times.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed some of the challenges and opportunities people should consider as they move into retirement. The strategies listed below offer different ways to approach retirement plans according to one’s needs at this time of great upheaval and insecurity.
Some questions about retirement have not changed entirely. At what age should people take Social Security? Is it time to sell risky stocks and move money into bonds? Should people move to warmer climates, particularly in states with low costs of living? Should future retirees withdraw funds from their 401(k)?