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Are there penalties if I withdraw some of my money from a Roth earlier than a certain age?

I'm asking because I'm in college and want to start investing for the long-term. I've realized that, with the amount of money I have now, an index fund would be the best way to go until I have enough capital built up to keep fees under 2% in an individual stock portfolio.

I knwo that a Roth is tax-free, so I think that would be the best way to go. But, I will also be saving for a house, car, etc. which I will buy before retirment age. This is why I'm wondering if I can withdraw early from a Roth (I'm guessing I can, but I figured I'd ask). If not, then I think an index fund with a discount broker would be the best thing for me.

-tdx
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