There are rules which can be followed to allow pre-mature access to your 401(k) account. A 401(k) was created by congress to allow workers to accumulate funds for retirement on a pre-tax basis. Eventually he taxes will need to be paid on your 401(k) retirement plan. Accessing the funds should be done with planning and with the goal of using them for retirement income. Life being full of uncertainty, the funds in your 401(k) can be assessed for other reasons; with that access can come unwanted or excessive taxation and penalty. Make sure you fully understand your options before taking action.