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<<< But, what do I live on if I want to retire at age
50? Should I start a non-IRA savings account instead of the Roth or just live with the 10% early withdral penalty? Are there other options? Thanks>>>

You can withdraw from an IRA before age 59 1/2 without penalty if you withdraw amounts "that are part of a series of subtantially equal payments over your life". You must continue this withdrawal schedule for five years or until you reach age 59 1/2, whichever is longer. You should get IRS Publication 590, "Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)". It has everything you need to know about IRAs.

Regards, Jim
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