Individuals who retire or must leave a job before age 59½ have several options for avoiding the 10% withdrawal penalty for tapping a retirement account, Joe Udo writes. He suggests turning first to other assets such as a home-equity loan or making a penalty-free withdrawal from a Roth IRA or, for those older than 55, from a current 401(k) plan. Taking 72(t) distributions from an IRA is a more complicated option that requires the advice of a tax professional, he writes.

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