Are you considering starting a business when you retire? It’s not as uncommon of a retirement thought as one would think. If you have specific knowledge and experience with a particular industry, maybe you get into consulting–which can be a fun way to be your own boss and work your own hours. Others may be tempted to get into a side hustle such as selling homemade goods on Etsy or on your own website. Whatever you decide to do, you will probably need some money to get your business off the ground. While it can be tempting to tap into your retirement savings to start your business, you should absolutely, positively avoid doing so. Starting a business always involves some risk and it may take a few years to get things off the ground and who knows what might happen in that time? Maybe the demand for your products or services change and suddenly the business idea isn’t viable. Or maybe a medical issue occurs which forces you to actually stop working. I’m not trying to be too negative here, but these are real possibilities that can derail any business. If the urge to start a business hits before reaching age 59 1/2, tapping into your retirement funds to get started can be even more risky, considering you will likely get hit with a early withdraw penalty by the IRS. If your business struggles you may never get those funds back into your retirement accounts. Furthermore, it can be really easy to sink money into your business in the hopes that it eventually pays off or to keep it afloat. It’s not unheard of to hear of small business owners going into large amounts of debt to keep a struggling dream alive. That can be incredibly dangerous for your savings and retirements funds. Now, I am not trying to discourage you from chasing your dreams, especially if your dream–and that of many Americans–is to own your own business. What I do want you to avoid is using retirement savings to do so. If you are considering starting a business either in retirement or before, make sure you talk with a certified financial planner or wealth manager to make sure you can afford to do so and to have a plan for funding your company. You should also see what resources are out there about starting a business in your area, such as talking with any small business associations or other business owners. Have a plan and also have an idea about when you are willing to walk away as that can be incredibly important to sparing your retirement savings. Don’t put your hard work in saving for retirement in jeopardy.