A 401k is meant to be used as a savings tool to put money away for your retirement. In some cases, you may be able to withdraw money before you are 59 1/2 years of age. However, it is usually discouraged, except if you are in dire straits. If this is the case, you may be able to take a Hardship 401k withdrawal. To withdraw money from your 401k, you must be able to show you are in a hardship situation. Situations that would be allowed to take a Hardship 401k withdrawal would be eviction, foreclosure or difficulty in paying for your basic living expenses.