I Have $18,000 in credit card debt & APR is high – Use IRA $$ to pay off?
I am 30 years old and I have $ 18,000 or so in credit card debt. I started a small law practice a year ago and it’s going well, but I am scraping by. One major reason I am scraping by is because the interest rates on the $ 18,000 in debt went from 0% (when times were great) to now between 15% and 25%. My student loans total $ 145,000 and are eligible for a long-term, fairly low interest-rate payment plan. Only 1 group is currently in repayment and the remaining groups will be in repayment starting 12/15/09. HOWEVER, I also have $ 35,000 in a Roth IRA (down from only $ 40,000.00 at its peak). I am told I can take a distribution up to the total amount of principal without paying a tax on it and without a penalty. The principal amount is $ 23,000.00. My questions are 1) should I withdrawal enough funds to pay off my credit card debt from the Roth IRA? and 2) if I get into trouble paying off the student loan next spring, shoud I dip into the Roth IRA for that too? My thinking is that I’m paying OUT way more in interest on the debt I’m carrying than I’m MAKING on the money in my Roth IRA, I’m young and have plenty of time to rebuilt it prior to retirement, and the lack of debt will improve my credit score and thus my ability to obtain mroe favorable car loan terms, student loan consolidation terms, mortgage, etc. Please HELP me decide what to do here. Thanks