Can you borrow from an IRA? – Natural Self Esteem

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Although you may be tempted, borrowing from your IRA is not an option. You may be able to withdraw funds, but there are restrictions. (Shutterstock)

With prices rising and inflation rising, you may consider borrowing from your individual retirement account or IRA. But you can’t borrow against your IRA.

If you need cash, you may be able to withdraw from an IRA in certain circumstances, but doing so can have serious tax consequences. A better bet might be an alternative source of funding, such as a private loan.

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Why You Can’t Borrow With an IRA

The IRS does not allow IRA loans. They also cannot borrow from other IRA-based plans such as a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension Plan). This is mainly because an IRA is a tax-advantaged route save for retirement and is not intended as a source of income or a quick buck before retirement age.

If you choose to borrow from an IRA despite the rules, the IRS will no longer consider the account an IRA – and will require you to report the entire value of the account as income.

Can you withdraw money from an IRA?

Even if you can’t borrow money from an IRA, you can always withdraw money from the account. But there are consequences for taking money from an IRA before a certain age.

If you withdraw money from your IRA before the age of 59 ½, the amount withdrawn is included in your gross income and is subject to federal income tax. You can also pay a 10% penalty fee on top of income tax, but there are exceptions. For example, you may not be fined if you withdrew the money early to pay for health insurance after losing your job.


Normal IRA distributions

After you reach the age of 59 ½, you can withdraw funds from your IRA with impunity. Traditional IRAs are tax-deferred or tax-exempt savings, meaning you don’t pay income tax on money you put into your IRA. However, all withdrawals are included in your taxable income in the year of the withdrawal.

Roth IRA withdrawals

You can withdraw money from your Roth IRA before you retire, at any time and at any age, without having to pay penalties or taxes, but only under certain circumstances. This can include:

  • You only deduct the amount of your original Roth IRA contributions.
  • You have had the Roth for five years or more and you are older than 59 ½.
  • You are under 59½ and have had your Roth for more than five years, but have become disabled, a beneficiary inherits the Roth, or you use the distribution for buy or remodel your first home.

Rather than risk taxes and a penalty for early withdrawal from an IRA, a personal loan may be a better alternative. You can easily and quickly Compare personal loan rates if you use Credible.

What you should know about early withdrawals from an IRA

You can withdraw money from your IRA at any time, and you don’t have to show any hardship. But if you are thinking of withdrawing IRA funds before the age of 59 ½, the IRS will consider it an early distribution.

As mentioned earlier, unless you use the money for certain exceptions, you’ll have to pay state and federal taxes and possibly a penalty. This can include:

  • Expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child
  • A first home purchase
  • Death or Disability of the Account Holder
  • Payment for qualifying educational expenses
  • Pay for health insurance if you lose your job
  • Certain medical expenses

You can pay a 25% prepayment penalty if you make a distribution within the first two years of opening a SIMPLE IRA.

Alternatives to IRA withdrawals

Loans from your retirement plan is never the best idea when you need money. But there are alternatives to IRA withdrawals so you can save for retirement and have more control over your finances later:

  • Private Loan – Personal loans are generally unsecured. This means they are not tied to any collateral. As a result, there is more risk for the lender on personal loans, which could result in higher interest rates if you don’t have good credit. You can use a personal loan for almost anything, and the fixed interest rates make budgeting easier. But fees and penalties can add to the cost of the loan amount, and monthly payments can be higher than many credit cards — even though you generally pay less interest on a personal loan.
  • 401(k) loan — Like an IRA, a 401(k) is a retirement savings account. There is no minimum credit requirement for a 401(k) Loans, and it won’t show up on your credit report. You pay no penalty or income tax on the amount you withdraw, and most of the time you pay back your loan with automatic deductions from your paycheck. But there are limitations. You can lose investment profits on the amount you withdraw, you can only withdraw $50,000 or 50% of your account balance, and if you don’t repay your loan on time, you may have to pay taxes and penalties.
  • Home Loan — home loan Use the equity you have in your home as collateral. Because of this, there is always a risk of losing your home if you default on your primary residence mortgage. Loan interest may be tax deductible, depending on what you use the money for. Home equity loans also offer predictable payments and low interest rates, but come with setup and application fees and often require a home appraisal.
  • Borrow from family or friends Although it’s one of the cheapest ways to get the money you need, a loan from family and friends can sour a relationship if it’s not repaid as promised. Your credit rating doesn’t matter, and if you earn interest on the money, it’s usually much less than other financing options. However, the IRS has established guidelines for lending to family members, including a fixed repayment schedule, a signed written agreement, and a minimum interest rate. Additionally, if you borrow more than $10,000, your family member must report it to their taxes.

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