When should you use retirement funds to pay off credit card debt?

As credit card balances rise, more Americans may consider using their 401(k) plan savings to pay down debt.

Many people have the majority of their savings in these plans because their employer enrolled them in them automatically.

You can withdraw from your 401(k), borrow from it, or temporarily stop contributing and redirect the extra funds to your credit card.

Withdrawals from 401(k) plans before the age of 59½ are subject to a 10% penalty and taxes.

That means that if you needed $15,000, you'd have to take out nearly $24,000 after fees, according to Fidelity.

Of course, the money you withdraw from the account will miss out on any market gains.

Over the last century or so, stocks have produced an average annual return of more than 10%.