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Anyway - currently we have 401K, Roth and 403B - but none of these are available (without heavy penalty) until we reach 59 1/2 (with the exception of the principal in the Roth).


Under certain circumstances, the 401K and the 403B can be rolled over into a conventional IRA. This usually becomes a possibility beginning when your employer either terminates the plan or becomes your FORMER employer.

Money in a conventional IRA can be converted to a Roth IRA - pay the income taxes from some other source - and then, after a five-year wait, can be withdrawn as principle.

Money in either a conventional IRA or a Roth IRA, whether principle or earnings, can be withdrawn under 72(t) "Substantially Equal Periodic Payments" rules. This may (I don't know) also be an option for 401K-like accounts.
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