According to a recent study by the Treasury Department and the Joint Commission on Taxation, for every dollar that Americans under the age of 47 save for retirement, they withdraw 20 cents before reaching age 55. That may not sound like much, but that a fifth of a dollar. Furthermore, a 2019 report by the Government Accountability Office found that Americans during their prime working years withdrew almost $70 billion annually from retirement accounts–that is, before they reach retirement age. That’s a lot of money. I get it though, that retirement money can be tempting, especially if times are a bit tough. As the studies point out, many people don’t have the self control necessary to avoid tapping into their retirement accounts early. However, I strongly urge you to not be one of the people that fits within those studies and taps your retirement accounts too early. Ideally, you have some sort of emergency fund or financial plans to cover an emergency. I understand, though, that life can be unpredictable and an emergency can be costly, especially a medical emergency. Thus, tapping into your retirement savings should be an absolute last resort. Furthermore, there are penalties associated with early withdrawals if they do not fit within certain exceptions, which is even more of an incentive to not touch your retirement savings before you absolutely need to. If you need help with planning for a potential emergency or you want to avoid tapping into your retirement savings too early, you should speak with a certified financial planner or wealth manager.