Is There A Way To Protect A 401K Balance In The Event Of An Economic Crash?

I have searched the internet, and even spoke with a representitive of my 401k plan for over an hour trying to get this answer, but I am just unable to get an answer to this question regarding 401k options. My question is this: is there any way that a person can quickly save their current 401k balance in the event

I have searched the internet, and even spoke with a representitive of my 401k plan for over an hour trying to get this answer, but I am just unable to get an answer to this question regarding 401k options. My question is this: is there any way that a person can quickly save their current 401k balance in the event they felt an economic crash was coming in a matter of days? I am in no way suggesting or assuming that one is about to occur, but if one was to occur before I retire, I just do not want to be like many of my co-workers in the past who were about to retire and lost everything in their 401k due to economic downturns several years ago. As a result, they are still working when they should now be retired and I find it sickening to be honest. So if someone were to somehow be able to see the future (I certanly cannot unfortuantly) and knew an economic crash was to occur in a matter of days, is there a type of holding account where the money can be transfered to quickly and then become untouchable from any economic crash? I am basicaly trying to figure out my options during a worst case scenario to save my 401k balance without pulling all of the money out and being penalized for doing so. I therefore am hoping that there is some sort of safe holding-account where one can tranfer their balance quickly and have it remain unharmed by a worst case economic situation. Do I have any such option? If not, is there any option better than just pulling my money out and taking the lose via penalty and taxes? I do not want to be nearing retirement age and then suddenly lose my 401k balance like I have to so many others in the past. That was tremendously depressing for them, and I do not ever wish to experiance the same. Any suggestions or advice would be GREATLY appreciated. THANKS!!

Best Answer:

Keith: A 401K has a variety of investment options within the 401K from very conversation (low growth, low risk) to high growth (high risk, high growth).

If you had a crystal ball and knew an economic disaster was coming in a few days = you could transfer the money into the low growth, low risk option within your 401K which will be more like a saving account than mutual fund investment.

You wouldn't pull the money out of your 401K = you would change the type of investments that your money is in within the 401K to the low risk / low growth option.

The big problem is that you don't have a crystal ball, so it's hard to know when to move the money to the conservative investment option. And if the crash has already come, you don't want to move that money then because when the market begins to increase, you want to make sure you don't miss the ride back up.

Other answer:

Keith:
those people who lost their retirement money some years back probably retained their actual investment in the fund, the earnings it had generated were probably lost
to be able to understand what money is actually protected you probably need to talk with someone other than an agent with the company holding the 401(k), this would be determined at a higher level and may depend on the insurance the company maintains for losses
Stan:
Just call your 401k and just ask what's the smallist risk is. It might only pay 1 to 2%, but it's the safest way for the time being
efflandt:
As mentioned your 401k should have various investment options from stock funds to cash. But there are other ways to potentially make money in a down market in a different account to offset some of the potential drop of your 401k investments. I just wish that I had studied that before the Democrats took over congress and then the presidency and the bottom dropped out of the markets almost 10 years ago.

I lost my job Nov 2015 and cashed out my 401k at the worst possible time Feb 2016 (lost $40,000) to transfer it to my IRA. But even though I missed some of the rally back up, made some mistakes learning, and made withdrawals, the total of my IRA and Roth IRA is more then they were Jan 2016, over 5 quarters ago. So my goal is to make enough investing my IRAs to live on for the next 5 years (while converting some to the Roth) before starting to collect maximum social security at age 70.

DEBS:
401k plans offer different investment options. Some are higher risk than others. Some even have a cash account available. Putting your money in the lowest risk option protects you the most from market crashes. It also gives you the least chance of the money growing.
tro:
those people who lost their retirement money some years back probably retained their actual investment in the fund, the earnings it had generated were probably lost
to be able to understand what money is actually protected you probably need to talk with someone other than an agent with the company holding the 401(K), this would be determined at a higher level and may depend on the insurance the company maintains for losses
Michael:
Any 401k plan worth a darn is going to have stock funds, bond funds and cash funds. If you've got your 401k in stock funds and think stocks are about to crash, just move your money out of stock funds into something else.
curtisports2:
Look at the choices your plan offers. See if there is a money market option, and if there is, find out if it's FDIC insured. If not, see if there is a fund that invests only in governmen6t-backed securities.

My work plan is the federal TSP. The choices in that plan are extremely limited, but there is the 'G' fund, government-backed securities. That fund is a safe place to put funds if you expect a market downturn is coming. But in a true economic crisis, no financial investment is safe. You may want some physical precious metals, but you are also going to want stores of food, water, over the counter meds that you use, firearms and the ammo for them. I'm not one of those prepper fanatics, but you will need those things if the government fails.

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