Be sure to track your Roth contribution history. You are allowed to withdraw contributions anytime with no taxes or penalties. But the earnings on your contributions are a different story.
If you withdraw earnings from a Roth IRA before retirement, you may have to pay income tax plus a 10% penalty. That’s why it is so important to leave your funds in the account until you reach age 59½, an age set by the IRS for retirement account withdrawals.
There are a few exceptions. You can withdraw up to $10,000 for a first-time home purchase without penalties but do have to pay tax. Using Roth IRA funds for qualified education expenses is also allowed.
There are a few other, less common allowed early withdrawals, including disability and paying for medical expenses.