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If what my mother said is true then I really think it may be wise for us to have some money in a taxable account even if we don't fully max all the retirement accounts we have access to. We're not sure if we will retire early but I'd be upset if say in 20yrs we wanted to BUT had to pay penalties becuase our money was in retirement accounts. That just doesn't seem fair to me.

There *are* age requirements, but I recall that there is a strategy to avoid penalties if you take "substantially equal payments" from your retirement plan.

People on the "Retire Early Home Page" message board will be able to help you:

In any case, even with penalties, the tax deferral will make it worthwhile.
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