Q&A: Are retirement savings protected from creditors?

October 3, 2008

I've begun to wonder about the safety of my retirement fund. Are my savings safe from creditors and the government?

Q: I've begun to wonder about the safety of my retirement fund. Are my savings safe from creditors and the government?

A: Generally, funds in 401(k), IRA, and pension accounts are safe from creditors. However, if you've used these funds as security for a loan, creditors can go after them. It's worse if your creditor is a government agency such as the IRS. If that's the case, your retirement accounts are not protected.