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At what point can one take contributions out of a Roth without penalty? Is this where the five year rule comes in, or does that only apply to situations like first-time home-buyer?

Thanks for taking the time to answer something so basic. There is so much here to learn - it's slowly coming together!

jennifer
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I'm pretty sure contributions can be taken out at anytime, and that it is when you're dealing with earnings that these issues of 5-year and some other condition be met.

Check page 44 of this publication if you want a few examples to help you out:

http://ftp.fedworld.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p590.pdf

JB
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