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Swimming In Debt

, , , | Right | August 20, 2018

(I work at a company that processes approvals for people to take money out of their retirement accounts. Typically the IRS only allows someone to take money out if they reach a certain age or are unemployed, but there are certain “hardship” situations where they can withdraw while still working. People have a hard time understanding what a “hardship” is even though they have to select one of the six options on the form they submit.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it looks like we were unable to approve your request to withdraw $3,500 to cover your swimming pool because it does not meet the IRS guidelines for a hardship.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! It’s my money, and who are they to tell me what is and isn’t a hardship?!”

Me: “Well, they are the US Government, and you did sign quite a few papers indicating that you understood the terms of setting up this retirement account. This is not a tax-deferred savings plan; it is to be used for when you retire, which doesn’t look like you will be for quite some time still. The IRS does allow for money to be taken out in emergency situations like evictions, foreclosures, repairs to the home, payment of medical procedures, and funeral expenses for immediate family. It does not cover luxury items, such as swimming pools.”

Customer: “This is bulls***! I live in Arizona; a pool is a necessity. Besides, it has already been installed. I’m a teacher and I don’t get paid during the summer; how am I supposed to pay for this now?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you will have to find another way to finance your pool. You’re more than welcome to call the IRS to verify their requirements.”

Customer: “I’m going to hold you personally responsible if my pool gets repossessed!”

Me: “Enjoy your pool, ma’am.”

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