Common and Costly Ways You Can Screw Up With an IRA

3. Touching the money too early

Man's Hand Cracking and pouring an Egg into a Bowl.
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Raiding your IRA too soon can get very expensive. If you're younger than age 59 1/2 and you withdraw investment earnings from a Roth IRA or any money from a traditional IRA, you'll owe taxes — plus a 10% penalty. (Ouch!)

So, if you seriously need money, think very carefully about whether it would be worth it to tap your IRA.

Note that there are several exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty. You might not have to pay it if you're disabled, have high out-of-pocket medical expenses, want to use the money for higher education, or are buying your first home.