Can you cash out a 401k for home improvements?

We need to build a new deck. We do not want to get a second mortgage. The 401k has about 6000.00 in it. Its from a job my husband left 6 years ago. It is also losing about 60.00 a month the last few months. I know you have to pay a 10% penalty and taxes on the money. But to cash it out do you have to tell them what... show more We need to build a new deck. We do not want to get a second mortgage. The 401k has about 6000.00 in it. Its from a job my husband left 6 years ago. It is also losing about 60.00 a month the last few months. I know you have to pay a 10% penalty and taxes on the money. But to cash it out do you have to tell them what you are going to use the money for?
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