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There is a solid chance that I will have my retirement goal amount in my 401K well before I turn 59-1/2 (I'm currently 40). However, at this point, I've done almost no investing outside of retirement vehicles. So, how do you bridge the gap between having goal amount in your 401K in your early 50s and being able to use it at 59-1/2.

How early in your 50s?

In addition to the 72(t)/SEPP withdrawals mentioned, you are also allowed to take penalty-free withdrawals from your 401(k) if you leave your employer's service in or after the year you turn 55 - meaning you can access the money sometime when you are 54, depending on when your birthday is. You have to leave the money in the 401(k) (cannot roll it to an IRA) in order to take advantage of this option. Also, your employer's plan may have specifics on how to take the withdrawals (for instance, you may not be able to take withdrawals more ofter than quarterly).

This option is generally more flexible than the 72(t) withdrawals, since you aren't required to continue taking them for a minimum of 5 years, or until you turn 59 1/2, whichever is later.

Also, what about health insurance costs if you aren't working?

The costs themselves should be factored into your goal for retirement. The costs are likely to be expensive. As far as getting the insurance itself, here are some options:

- Does your employer provide retiree health benefits? If so, check into the eligibility requirements for those - it's often something like 'years of service + age > xx' with a minimum for either age or years of service.
- COBRA (up to 18 months)
- Spouse/Domestic Partner benefits
- Part-time work for an employer that offers benefits to part-time employees
- Private insurance offered through a group you are affiliated with
- Private Insurance as an individual
- your state's High Risk insurance coverage (not all states have this - if yours doesn't, and you have no other options, you may want to consider moving to a state that offers this)
- Potentially, healthcare pools being put in place with the Federal healthcare law
- Move to another country that will accept you into their health insurance plan
- Going without (cheap unless you have need of insurance)

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