Although plan holders can make withdrawals from a 401(k) any time, a tax tip from the Internal Revenue Service warns that disbursements from a 401(k) before the age of 59 1/2 are subject to a 10-percent penalty. Nolo advises plan terms that require waiting until age 62 or 65.
U.S. News & World Report lists important ages for retirees, noting that those who leave their job during the calendar year they turn 55 or later can withdraw money from their 401(k) without a 10-percent early withdrawal penalty. At age 62, only the terms of an employer's specific 401(k) plan can preempt federal rules on disbursements. Some plans might require waiting until age 62 or 65, while others may have an option to take a once-yearly distribution.