I?? 1/2 m a school principal and my husband is a salesman. We have three kids in college, so when they started needing help, we basically had to drain his 401(k) to help cover tuition. I always knew there were penalties for withdrawing money before age 59 1/2, but I didn?? 1/2 t expect for it to be so much. He had to jump through a lot of hoops to ?? 1/2 qualify?? 1/2 for an early withdrawal, and took at least a 10-percent tax hit.?? 1/2

- Mary A., 58
Oak Park, Ill.

Before I got a financial advisor, I was pretty good at picking out mutual funds and things like that on my own, so I would say I had a very basic understanding of some of the tax rules. That was a long time ago, so things have probably changed by now. That?? 1/2 s why I have an advisor who oversees my investments.?? 1/2

- Daniel D., 61
Minnetonka, Minn.

No, I?? 1/2 m not aware of tax consequences for different types of investments because I don?? 1/2 t have any. I?? 1/2 ve been living on Social Security for years … wish I would have started investing when I was younger.?? 1/2

- Virginia M., 72
Grand Junction, Colo.

That?? 1/2 s something my husband, who?? 1/2 s a CPA, handles. He takes care of investing our money, but I do have my own 401(k) at work. My understanding is that the money you put in is taxdeferred until you take it out later down the road ?? 1/2 when you?? 1/2 re ready to retire.?? 1/2

- Kathy D., 58
Amarillo, Texas