No. of Recommendations: 7
You will suffer severe penalties if you withdraw from a tax-deferred account prior to the age of 59-1/2. I suggest you (1) pay off your debt; (2) start an emergency fund; (3) begin your retirement program, at least to the point that you receive an equal match from your employer and (4) begin your home purchase savings (all in that order). One must remember that upon purchasing a home, there are other expenses, i.e., maintenance, emergency repairs, etc.

Good Luck,



I will offer another perspective.

I would fund the 401K first. At least up to the max dollar for dollar match. That is a 100% return right there and will far exceed any interest paid on debt not retired. Getting out of debt is a good thing for sure. If you have the free cash flow then do both. but if it comes down to either/or, I would take the 100% return.

No question that an emergency fund is a good and necessary thing. But consider that a Roth can serve that purpose. Recall that you can withdraw your contributions at any time with no tax consequences. So if you need it in an emergency, it is there. If not, then it stays in the Roth and grows tax free. Just don't invest it in anything risky to the extent it must be there in an emergency, but you would do that anyway in a regular account that was your emergency fund.
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