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"The IRAs should cover us for the 18 months until DH hits 55 and can access his 401k and start getting his pension. At 55, I'll receive the same.

You may need to re-think this and start putting money into taxable accounts to cover the time until you reach 59 1/2.

To be able to access your 401(k) without using 72(t)/SEPP withdrawals and not be hit with the 10% penalties, you need to remain an employee until the year in which you turn 55 (50 for qualified public safety employees).

If you are not qualified public safety employees, retiring at 50 or 53 means you need to take 72(t)/SEPP withdrawals if you don't want to get hit with the penalty.

From IRS Pub 575 on exceptions to the 10% penalty:

Additional exceptions for qualified retirement plans. The tax does not apply to distributions that are:

· From a qualified retirement plan (other than an IRA) after your separation from service in or after the year you reached age 55 (age 50 for qualified public safety employees),

AJ "


Right now I am looking into this issue - and it appears that the
interpretation is to allow access to 401K funds with no tax penalty
if you are over 55 and are "separated" from the employer.
The funds can't be rolled over into an IRA but if left in the 401K
the individual may access the funds. I am not clear yet on whether
the funds have to be taken over a five year period (i.e. if you start
at 55 you have to continue to 60 and cannot roll over the 401K
funds until you pass 60).
The folks that are supposed to know this stuff are not clear and so
far tend to say "Read the IRS regs". Interpretation seems to be
less thn clear though.

I'll have more info in a week maybe.

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