How Many 401k Withdrawals Can You Take

401(k) withdrawals have specific rules and limitations. You can take up to one hardship withdrawal per 12-month period. Early withdrawals before age 59½ may result in a 10% penalty tax, except for certain exceptions such as disability, qualified higher education expenses, or first-time home purchases. Withdrawals after age 59½ are not subject to the penalty tax but may be subject to income tax. One key exception is the 72(t) rule, which allows for penalty-free withdrawals under certain conditions. It’s recommended to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to fully understand withdrawal options and potential tax implications.

401(k) Early Withdrawal Penalty

Withdrawing money from your 401(k) before reaching age 59½ can trigger a 10% premature distribution penalty. This penalty is in addition to any income taxes you may owe on the withdrawal. For example, if you withdraw $10,000 from your 401(k) before age 59½, you will owe a $1,000 penalty in addition to the income taxes on the withdrawal.

There are some exceptions to the 10% early withdrawal penalty. You can avoid the penalty if you are taking the withdrawal for:

  • Medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Higher education expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents
  • A first-time home purchase
  • Disability
  • Death

If you meet one of these exceptions, you will need to certify that you are eligible for the exception on the withdrawal form. You can obtain the withdrawal form from your 401(k) plan administrator.

In addition to the 10% early withdrawal penalty, you may also be subject to state income taxes on the withdrawal. The amount of state income taxes you owe will vary depending on your state of residence.

401(k) Withdrawal Exceptions
Reason for WithdrawalException Applies To
Medical expensesExpenses that exceed 7.5% of your AGI
Higher education expensesYourself, your spouse, or your dependents
First-time home purchaseUp to $10,000
DisabilityYou are unable to work due to a disability
DeathThe account owner has died

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are the minimum amount of money you must withdraw from your 401(k) or other retirement accounts each year after you reach age 72. RMDs are designed to ensure that you are taking your money out of your retirement accounts and paying taxes on it.

  • The amount of your RMD is based on your age and the balance of your retirement accounts.
  • You must take your RMDs by the end of each calendar year.
  • If you fail to take your RMD, you may have to pay a penalty of 50% of the amount that you should have withdrawn.

There are a few exceptions to the RMD rules. For example, you do not have to take RMDs if you are still working and your employer is contributing to your retirement account.

How Many 401k Withdrawals Can You Take?

The number of 401k withdrawals you can take depends on several factors, including your age, employment status, and the type of withdrawal you’re taking.

Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPPs)

SEPPs are a type of withdrawal that allows you to take regular, equal payments from your 401k for five years or until you reach age 59½, whichever is longer. The amount you can withdraw each year is calculated using a formula that takes into account your life expectancy.

The following table shows the maximum percentage of your 401k balance that you can withdraw each year under a SEPP:

AgeMaximum Withdrawal Percentage
59½ to 70½5%
70½ to 756%
75 to 807%
80 to 858%
85 and older9%

If you withdraw more than the maximum amount allowed under a SEPP, you will be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

72(t) Distributions

72(t) distributions are a type of early withdrawal from a 401(k) account that allow you to take penalty-free withdrawals before reaching age 59½. To qualify for a 72(t) distribution, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have reached age 59½.
  • You must have taken substantially equal periodic payments for at least 5 years or until you reach age 59½, whichever comes first.
  • The payments must be made at least annually.

If you meet these requirements, you can take 72(t) distributions until you reach age 59½ without paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, you will still have to pay income taxes on the withdrawals.

There is no limit to the number of 72(t) distributions you can take. However, if you take too many distributions, you may end up paying more taxes than you would if you waited until you reached age 59½ to take withdrawals.

To avoid paying unnecessary taxes, it is important to carefully consider the amount of money you withdraw from your 401(k) account each year. You should also consult with a financial advisor to help you determine the best withdrawal strategy for your individual circumstances.

AgeMaximum Annual Withdrawal

Alright folks, that’s all for our crash course on 401(k) withdrawals. We hope you’ve found this article helpful in navigating the ins and outs of your retirement savings. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a financial advisor to make sure your withdrawal strategy aligns with your overall financial goals. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you back here soon for more retirement wisdom.