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The Roth IRA also has some other good things going for it. I especially like the fact that after 5 years, you could withdraw the money you put in (not the profits) without penalty -- so you could have this pot of money that is being saved towards your retirement, but it could also act as part of your emergency savings (after the 5 years at least).

OK, I have a dumb question. I know you can withdraw money from a Roth after 5 years for, among other things, a first time home purchase.

But here's where I don't get. I opened my Roth in 2000 with $2k. Then I contribute $2k per year until 2005. Am I eligible to withdraw the whole $10k that I contributed...or just the $2k that has been in there 5 years>

Clarification welcome ...

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