When can I get access to the money?

Typically you need to keep the money invested in the retirement account until you reach age 59 ½. Withdraw money before then and you'll be hit with a 10% early withdrawal penalty, on top of the income taxes you'll pay on the withdrawal.

There are a few exceptions to the early withdrawal rule. Each plan's rules vary, but you may be able take money out of your retirement account penalty-free before age 59 ½ if you use it for:

  • Purchasing a home
  • Higher education expenses
  • Payments you make to prevent eviction or foreclosure
  • Certain medical expenses

However, there are options for getting at the money if you really need to.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.