personal finance

Should I take out my pension early?

Before I quit my job to go back to business school, I became fully vested in my company’s retirement plan. Besides my 401(k) plan, which I rolled over to an IRA with Fidelity, I also have a Cash Balance benefit plan. Today, I have a little less than $10K in this pension account. However, I’m currently debating if it’s a good idea to collect the whole lump sum and reinvest the amount in stocks or mutual funds instead. If I do that though, I’ll take an immediate hit in the amount of a 10% early withdrawal penalty + taxes. What do you guys think? Is it wise to withdraw my pension early and invest that amount?

Like many Millennials, I always assume that my financial situation is acceptable, although it can be much improved. But in fact, I need a reality check: I don’t have an income right now and there’s barely $5K total in my checking and savings. Besides about $500 in credit card bills, I have almost $30K in student loans…towards which I’m paying ~$400 per month. So yeah, this is not what we called a sustainable situation!! My God ~ I’m in bad shape!!!

So, should I collect my pension now? I have to consider the fact that raiding my pension plan is no guarantee that I can make money off of it. There’s absolutely a chance you’ll lose money when you play the market. My #1 goal (besides getting a job) is to pay off my student loans ASAP. Given this situation, what should I do?

P.S. I actually have a low 6-figure amount in retirement funds (not including my pension) right now. This puts me ahead of peers my age but still…doesn’t help me buy makeup or tacos right now. Welp!