A plugged-in “Stu” seeks some ideas for a friend:
I have a friend who’s…in this scenario: ~150K combined income, 5% down on a 700K peninsula condo bought in late 2005. Interest only on a 5% first mortgage and 3% second (company sponsored, 5/1) mortgage. The monthly cost of owning was probably about equal to renting with the low rates. I think they might have had some trouble refinancing in a few years, but I bet they would have been able to make it work out. Recently, however, my friend decided to change careers, move out of state, and take a substantial (combined 1/2 current salary) paycut. Perhaps a poor financial decision but apparently there’s more to life than money.
So after 4 months on the market they’ve had one offer that fell through due to financing. Now they have a solid offer at 10% below what they paid and the buyers want a fast close. My friend is planning on taking the deal and liquidating the entirety of both of their 401K’s (between 100-150K I estimate from what I’ve been told) to make up the loan balance and pay the sales commission. This should get them free and clear with a few thousand dollars in the bank to start their new life.
What other options are available to them? I hate to see them use 401k money to get out of this jam, because of the taxes and 10% penalty, not to mention the time value (present stock market conditions notwithstanding…) of that money. Being in your late 20s / early 30s with no retirement savings isn’t the end of the world I guess. They have no other substantial assets besides the condo (i.e. cars are leased). The best I could think of was to somehow wait until 2009 to liquidate the 401K to lessen the tax hit in their new (3% ) state and presumably lower fed tax bracket. That and to talk to a financial professional.
Any ideas would be appreciated.
It’s not a “friend” as far as we know (not that we’d care). We’ve moved a couple of early responses to get things started. And please try to add value (or back away from the keyboard).
UPDATE (8/22): Stu responds (and thanks).
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