Jean is taking your calls and answering your most burning money questions! First, she addresses the question of whether or not you should withdraw funds from a 401(k) before retirement. Then, Jean shows a mom-to-be how to decide if she can afford to stay at home with her baby.
One woman whose 26-year-old son has $42,000 in his 401(k) asks Jean if it's a smart idea for him to take out some of the money in order to invest in land. Jean explains that if it's possible, it's best not to touch money in a 401(k) before retirement. When you do, that money gets taxed and penalized, and you can easily lose 40 percent of it to those two factors.
If Linda's son is looking to buy land, Jean says he should take the excess money that he'd otherwise be saving and put it toward that investment. Jean suggests he look at his budget and figure out how else he can come up with a down payment, rather than raiding his 401(k). Then, if he's researched it and he thinks it's a good buy, he should go ahead and do it.
People will argue about whether a home is an investment or a liability—Jean thinks it's a little bit of both. That $42,000 will continue to grow and be worth a bundle by retirement—it's a fantastic down payment on his retirement, Jean says, and if he raids it, it'll be a big mistake.
Another caller who is pregnant with her first child says she'd like to consider staying at home after her baby is born. Shannon asks Jean how she and her husband can determine if this would be a sound financial decision.
Jean says the easiest and best way to make the decision is for this couple to test drive living on a single income now. Live on his salary and bank yours, Jean says, as this will let you know if you're able to survive on his salary alone. It will also give you all of your income in savings, which is a tremendous cushion to have going into the first year of having a baby. Jean thinks this is a great exercise for any couple considering having a baby, which comes with a lot of different expenses.