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Proven ways to avoid IRA penalties

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In a perfect world, your pre-retiree clients would never have a need to dip into their IRA savings. However, if special and unforeseen circumstances arise and they need to dig into their IRA nest egg, U.S. News and World Report offers some ways to avoid the penalty for making an early withdrawal.

Medical expenses. If your clients spend more than 7.5 percent of their income on unreimbursed medical expenses, they can use an IRA withdrawal to pay for health care above that amount, the publication writes.

Health insurance. Workers who receive unemployment benefits for 12 consecutive weeks can use their IRA to pay for health insurance. Only distributions received during the year unemployment benefits were received or the year following are exempt from the penalty.

Annuity payments. If early distributions are part of a series of payouts, and the distribution method is approved by the IRS, they can be taken without penalty. At least one withdrawal must be taken annually, and clients must take distributions for five years or until they turn 59 1/2 , the paper cautions. Payment amounts can be calculated based on a portion of the account balance, however.

Disability. If a client becomes disabled before they turn 59 1/2 and cannot work, they can take distributions without paying the penalty.


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