What are the penalties for withdrawing from your 401(k)?
Hate to say it, but if it's not for medical care, prepare to pay an extra 10 percent tax. Then add your regular income tax rate, which you escaped when you socked this money away for retirement. The tax rate varies, but the government takes a big chunk of its cut up front and also requires your investment company to immediately send it 20 percent of the withdrawal amount—ouch. At tax time, you could be entitled to a refund, but you could also owe more. Even if you're in the lowest tax bracket, you'll still be taxed some 20 percent. Remember: This is the money that, if left untouched until your golden years, would've been a tax-free treasure chest.