The rule of 55 is an IRS guideline that allows you to avoid paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty on 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts if you leave your job during or after the calendar year you turn 55.
For example, say that just after your 55th birthday, your company decides to downsize and eliminates your position. The rule of 55 would allow you to take money from your 401(k) or 403(b) without having to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, you don't have to be downsized or fired to apply the rule of 55.
The rule of 55 can benefit workers with an employer-sponsored retirement account such as a 401(k) who are looking to retire early or need access to the funds if they've lost their job near the end of their career. It can be a lifeline for those workers who need cash flow and don't have other good alternatives.
Answer: The age 55 exception is one of the exceptions to the 10% early distribution penalty for retirement plan distributions taken prior to 59 1/2. It allows certain individuals to take distributions from their retirement plans at 55 or later (instead of 59 ½) without being subject to the 10% penalty.
How Much Money Do I Need To Retire At 55? If your goal is to retire at age 55, Fidelity recommends that you save at least seven times your annual income. That means if your annual income is $70,000 a year, you need to save $490,000.
Under the terms of this rule, you can withdraw funds from your current job's 401(k) or 403(b) plan with no 10% tax penalty if you leave that job in or after the year you turn 55. (Qualified public safety workers can start even earlier, at 50.) It doesn't matter whether you were laid off, fired, or just quit.
The rule of 55 only allows for penalty-free early withdrawals from an employer retirement account such as a 401(k) or 403(b). If you roll the money over to an IRA, you will need to wait until age 59 1/2 to avoid the early withdrawal penalty.
The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960, until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.
After you become 59 ½ years old, you can take your money out without needing to pay an early withdrawal penalty. You can choose a traditional or a Roth 401(k) plan. Traditional 401(k)s offer tax-deferred savings, but you'll still have to pay taxes when you take the money out.
Experts say to have at least seven times your salary saved at age 55. That means if you make $55,000 a year, you should have at least $385,000 saved for retirement. Keep in mind that life is unpredictable–economic factors, medical care, and how long you live will also impact your retirement expenses.
In the case of early retirement, a benefit is reduced 5/9 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month.
If You Stop Work Before You Start Receiving Benefits
Years with no earnings reduces your retirement benefit amount. Even if you have 35 years of earnings when you stopped working, some of those years may be low-earning years.
The age 59½ distribution rule says any 401k participant may begin to withdraw money from his or her plan after reaching the age of 59½ without having to pay a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty.
But if you can supplement your retirement income with other savings or sources of income, then $6,000 a month could be a good starting point for a comfortable retirement.
A: Your Social Security payment is based on your best 35 years of work. And, whether we like it or not, if you don't have 35 years of work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) still uses 35 years and posts zeros for the missing years, says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story, 2016 Edition.
Using some basic rules of thumb can help you come up with an answer. For example, a commonly accepted piece of retirement planning advice suggests have seven times your annual income saved by age 55. So if you make $100,000 a year, you'd need $700,000 saved by your 55th birthday.
Cashing out Your 401k while Still Employed
If you resign or get fired, you can withdraw the money in your account, but again, there are penalties for doing so that should cause you to reconsider. You will be subject to 10% early withdrawal penalty and the money will be taxed as regular income.
Once you have attained 59 ½, you can transfer funds from a 401(k) to your bank account without paying the 10% penalty. However, you must still pay income on the withdrawn amount. If you have already retired, you can elect to receive monthly or periodic transfers to your bank account to help pay your living costs.
If you remove funds from your 401(k) before you turn age 59 1⁄2 , you will get hit with a penalty tax of 10% on top of the taxes you will owe to the IRS.