Don't Cash Out

Pink slipped? Ouch. Avoid taking the money from your 401(k). It's tempting but too taxing

Maha Hermes spends a lot of time thinking about her future these days. A casualty of another dotcom debacle, the 33-year-old event planner lost her job last month. She was disappointed, of course, and worried about when she would find another position. But among her first concerns was figuring out what to do with her retirement savings. She has plenty of company: more than 400,000 workers have been fired since the beginning of January, and the layoffs keep piling up.

If you're one of them--and concerned about where your next paycheck will come from--you may be tempted to cash out...

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