While financial experts say most Americans are not saving enough for retirement, a new survey suggests a lot of us are heading in wrong direction.
A recent survey by a financial services company finds 26 percent of people with retirement accounts have borrowed some of that money to pay their bills. 19 percent have taken 'all' the cash.
While federal rules do allow for cashing out, or taking loans and hardship withdrawals, there are huge penalties attached to such transactions.
Even if the money is paid back, investors lose the earning potential of keeping that money in their tax-deferred accounts.
"I think maybe once or twice, I've heard someone talk about having too much money in their retirement plan. The problem is we look to the current and we don't save enough. So make this the last resort, taking money out of your retirement plan," says Houston Certified Public Accountant Bob Martin.
Financial experts say the time to plan for emergencies is before they strike, by finding ways to save up to several months worth of expenses rather than tapping into retirement accounts.