I want to retire at age 55. I contribute to several retirement savings plans but worry I’ll be penalized for withdrawing should i invest in stocks 2017 savings early.

I want to invest additional money somewhere else. But for some people, it can seem like an impossible goal. Saving enough to retire early is hard enough, but many retirement accounts will punish you for withdrawing your savings too soon. Here are three steps to becoming financially independent so that you can quit the rat race long before the Social Security checks start to arrive. The first step is to make sure you’ll actually have enough money to retire early. If you’re following the standard retirement route, you should aim to save six times your annual income by age 50 and ten times your income by age 60.

When you retire at age 65, you should have about 13-15 times your income stashed away, says Ulin. But in order to retire by age 55, you may need to save 33 times your annual salary. Not sure if you’re on track? Try using a retirement savings calculator or work with a financial adviser to map out a plan. Send us your money questions for a chance to be featured in the next Broke No More column. But there are ways to avoid taking such a hit.

If you plan to use the money before reaching retirement age, your best option is to start with a Roth IRA. A Roth lets you withdraw your contributions at any time, penalty-free. 118,000 per year are eligible for a Roth. While these accounts do charge an early withdrawal fee, there are still some ways to avoid the penalties. This IRS exception, sometimes called the “Rule of 55,” doesn’t work on IRA accounts. If you plan to retire earlier than 55, consider using the 72t rule. You could be penalized if you deviate from SEPP, so consider speaking with a financial professional before deciding if it’s the right strategy for you.

And of course, you’ll still need to pay regular income taxes on the money you withdraw. To increase your chances of retiring early, consider supplementing your retirement savings account with a brokerage account, says Dana Anspach, a CFP and CEO at Sensible Money. These after-tax accounts allow you to buy and sell stocks, bonds, currencies and more. Unlike many retirement accounts, they also allow you to invest as much money as you want and withdraw money at any time. Another place to stash extra money is a health savings account, says Christopher Balcerowiak, a CFP at Ameriprise Financial Services. While that money can only be used for qualified health care expenses in order to avoid penalty, we all have more substantial health care costs as we age.

And those costs can really start to add up in your golden years. 275,000 to cover health care costs in retirement, according to Fidelity. Got a money question for Broke No More? Ask us here to be included in a future column. Does Your Bank Pay as Little as 0. Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

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