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January 8, 2024

Whether a 401(k) loan or personal loan is the right option.

If you need funding for a major life event, home improvement project, or other major expense, you might be considering borrowing from your 401(k), or retirement savings, or taking out a personal loan. While both options have their benefits and drawbacks, this article explores three distinct reasons why opting for a personal loan might be beneficial.

What is a 401(k) loan?

With a 401(k) loan, you can borrow money from a 401(k) account or qualifying retirement plans. Essentially, it’s a type of loan where you borrow money from yourself. The IRS allows you to borrow up to 50% of your vested 401(k) retirement savings, with a cap of $50,000. In some cases, 401(k) loans have lower interest rates and don’t require a credit check.

However, there may be drawbacks to tapping into your retirement savings. Compare personal loan and 401(k) loan options to see which is right for you.

  1. Protect Your Retirement Savings

One of the main advantages to choosing a personal loan over a 401(k) loan is protecting your hard-earned retirement savings. When you borrow from your 401(k), you are essentially dipping into your future nest egg, potentially jeopardizing the compounding growth of your investments. On the other hand, a personal loan allows you to access the funds you need without impacting the money in your retirement account. By keeping your 401(k) intact, you ensure a more secure financial future.

  1. Avoid Tax Implications

Another compelling reason to choose personal loan funding is to avoid the tax implications associated with 401(k) loans. When you borrow from your 401(k), you may be taxed on the withdrawn amount if you fail to repay the loan according to the specified terms. Additionally, if you leave your job before repaying the 401(k) loan, you might be required to repay the entire outstanding balance within a short timeframe. In contrast, personal loans do not carry these tax burdens, providing a more straightforward and predictable repayment structure.

  1. Flexible Terms and Conditions

Personal loans offer greater flexibility in terms and conditions compared to 401(k) loans. With a personal loan, borrowers can often choose from a variety of repayment terms, interest rates, and loan amounts tailored to their specific financial needs. This flexibility empowers individuals to select a loan structure that aligns with their budget and goals. In contrast, 401(k) loans often come with rigid terms and limitations, limiting your ability to customize the loan to suit your unique financial circumstances.


While both personal loans and 401(k) loans can serve as valuable tools to address major expenses, they each have advantages and disadvantages. Taking out a personal loan allows you to preserve your retirement savings, avoid the tax implications associated with 401(k) loans, and you can benefit from more flexible terms and conditions. Before making any financial decisions, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate your individual circumstances and consult with a financial advisor to determine the best approach for your specific needs.

If you need funding for a major expense, Uprova can help with up to $5,000 in funding if approved. You can get started for free online.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website constitutes financial or professional advice. Consult a professional for advice suitable to your personal circumstances.

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