12 of 17
12. Tap your IRA
Pros: If you're younger than 591/2 and you've had the Individual Retirement Account for more than five years, you may be able to make a penalty-free withdrawal to pay for certain things (such as a home or medical expenses).

To see if you qualify, go to irs.gov and search for Publication 590. Also, there's a little-known provision that allows you to withdraw money from an IRA so long as you roll it over into a new IRA or redeposit it in the same account within 60 days.

Cons: You'll lose the potential for investment gains, just as you do when you borrow from a 401(k). You can take advantage of the 60-day window only once a year. And if the money doesn't find its way back into an IRA within 60 days, you'll owe taxes and a bruising 10% penalty if you're younger than 591/2, warns Miami financial planner Ellen R. Siegel.

NEXT: Do a reverse mortgage
Last updated August 22 2008: 12:36 PM ET
Millionaires in the making Only 27 years old, prodigious savers Gina and John Rodrigues are determined to retire with a million-dollar nest egg by the time they turn 40. (more)
21 ways to stomach a sour market Feel like you're getting nothing but lemons from the stock market? Allow us to introduce nearly two dozen recipes for lemonade. (more)
5 money mistakes to avoid ou don't have to wait for new laws based on behavioral economists to save you from the money mistakes you're hardwired to make. You can implement your own fixes using their techniques. (more)
Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.