An Early Withdrawal Penalty is a fee that you may incur if you withdraw funds from certain types of long-term savings accounts, such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and 401(k) plans, before a specific age or time frame. The goal of these penalties is to discourage individuals from using their retirement savings before they retire.
For example, in both traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, if you withdraw funds before you are 59.5 years old, you will typically face an early withdrawal penalty. The standard penalty for early withdrawal is 10% of the amount withdrawn, in addition to the income tax you will owe on the withdrawal if the funds were contributed pre-tax.
There are some exceptions to these penalties. For instance, under certain circumstances like buying a first home, paying for certain education expenses, or certain medical expenses, you may be able to withdraw funds from an IRA without penalty. For 401(k) plans, similar exceptions may apply, but they are often more restrictive.
It’s worth noting that rules and penalties can vary significantly between different types of accounts and between different countries. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a financial advisor or accountant before making any decisions about withdrawing from retirement savings.