Should I reduce my 401(k) contribution to pay off my debt?

January 13, 2017
I am 30 years old and am looking to pay down approximately $9,000 of credit card debt (no interest until next April) so that my partner and I can purchase a house. I make $40,000/yr and have about $86,000 in student loans (that said, I work in non profit and am 5 years away from having my loans forgiven under the non profit loan forgiveness...

Advisor answers

A 150% employer match on 8% is a really attractive benefit, so it goes without saying that you should do anything possible to keep maxing out the employer match while still paying down this debt.

Assuming you can't find another method to pay down the credit card debt, you probably should halt your 401(k) contributions for a couple months and aggressively pay down this debt.

I will note, however, that the worst thing you can do is fail to explore the cause of this credit card debt in the first place. If you learn from that experien...

Linda Jacob

Linda Jacob

AFC®, CFP®

Before considering stopping your 401k contribution, see if this route will help.

To start with, make a budget. Total up all your monthly take home pay. Next, start to subtract all of your expenses. You will want to subtract your housing, car, gas, food, entertainment, clothing, insurance just to name a few.

If you aren't sure where your money went, go to your checking account online or in your register. Take a 30 day period and start to categorize your spending. If it's groceries, put the dollar amount under the heading groce...