We can help you manage market uncertainty.

Resources to help you understand market swings, the economy, and your money

Retirement and investments FAQ

Market swings may have you questioning what to do with your accounts. We’ve got answers.

If you’re not permanently let go from your job, you may be eligible to take either a loan or another qualified plan withdrawal.* If you’ve lost your job, you may be eligible for withdrawals.* Each retirement plan is different, so log in to your account to see what’s available. If you have issues, our Participant Contact Center can help.

Tip: Looking for some emergency cash to get you through this hard time? Read “6 better options for emergency cash than an early 401(k) withdrawal.”

* If allowed by your plan.

Due to the CARES Act, you may be eligible for a penalty-free withdrawal from your retirement plan (if allowed in your plan) or individual retirement account (IRA) if you, your spouse, or a dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19 or you've experienced “adverse financial consequences” as a result of the pandemic.

You also qualify if you experience adverse financial consequences as a result of:

  • having a reduction in pay (or self-employment income) due to COVID-19 or having a job offer rescinded or start date for a job delayed due to COVID-19.
  • your spouse or a member of your household being quarantined, furloughed or laid off, having work hours reduced due to COVID-19, being unable to work due to lack of childcare due to COVID-19, having a reduction in pay (or self-employment income) due to COVID-19, or having a job offer rescinded or start date for a job delayed due to COVID-19.
  • closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by your spouse or a member of your household due to COVID-19.

The CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty on retirement account distributions. This applies to IRAs, 401(k)s, and certain qualified retirement plans and annuities.

The maximum you can withdraw collectively from your accounts is $100,000 in 2020, depending on what the plan allows. The usual mandatory 20% withholding for qualified plan distributions doesn't apply, but the income from these distributions would be subject to taxes over three years or one year, depending on what you decide. These distributions can be rolled over to a qualified plan or IRA within three years from the distribution.

Tip: Need cash to help you get through a transition period after being affected by COVID-19? Read “4 options to consider if you need emergency cash."

It depends on your retirement plan. If loans are allowed and your employer has agreed to it, the loan cap increases to $100,000 or 100% of your vested account balance, whichever is less. This is for loans taken within 180 days after the CARES Act was passed (March 27, 2020 – December 31, 2020). Log in to your account to see if your plan allows it and if you're eligible.

Learn more so you can worry less.

Use these resources to help you plan for today and the future.

The election and economic outlook

There's a lot to watch for in November. Use these clues to know what's important.

Read our economic and election commentary.

Emergency cash options

Need immediate access to cash due to COVID-19 or economic stress?

Learn about four emergency options.

Retirement fund withdrawals

Rule changes may affect your required minimum distributions (RMDs) on your 401(k) and other retirement funds.

Find out before you withdraw.

Market fluctuations

You may feel unsure about staying invested when the markets go up and down. Imagine you invested $100,000 on January 1, 2008. But the markets went down. Your balance dropped to $64,388 in one year.1

Move money into a CD

What would've happened if you’d moved your money to a CD with a guaranteed 2% return

Stay in the market

What would've happened if you kept your money invested in the market

But if you stayed in the market five years, it would have meant 74% more.2 The bottom line? Staying invested during volatility may pay off.

Whatever you need, we're here to help.

What our customer experts think about market volatility

  • Market volatility is normal.

  • It’s more about time in the market, than timing the market.

  • Make sure you have a well-diversified portfolio.

1 Example for illustrative purposes. Based on S&P Index returns as of December 31, 2007 through December 31, 2008. 

2 Example for illustrative purposes. Returns related to a 2 percent interest-bearing CD. Market returns based on S&P index returns as of December 31, 2008 through December 31, 2013. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.