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the problem with cleaning out the money is he pays taxes when he dumps it

If he will end up paying less in taxes by taking it out earlier, then it can be a benefit to take it out now. Given that he is early in his career, in combination with the current tax law, it is likely that the marginal rate he pays on the withdrawals will rise from here. Depending on when he retires, he still likely has 20+ years to pay those higher marginal rates while he's working.

i hope he doesn't blow it!

Given that at 31, he has no debt (compared to the average ~$30k for his age, after excluding mortgage debt ) has a paid off car, has already bought and sold one house, and will likely be buying another soon, I kind of doubt he's the type to 'blow it' - but if he wants to spend the money on something that he values, then that's his choice.

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