Retirement Accounts are investments that people set aside money to be spent in the time of life when they chooses to permanently leave the workforce.  There are many types of retirement accounts like Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Roth IRAs, 401(k) Plans, 403(b) Plans, SIMPLE IRA Plans (Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees), SEP Plans (Simplified Employee Pension), and SARSEP Plans (Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension).  Some people consider their employer profit-sharing plans, defined benefit plans, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), 457 Plans, and pensions.


Some families may want to withdrawals on money from the retirement accounts.  Currently, the IRS will permit you to take penalty-free early distributions from IRAs for qualified higher education expenses.  But the rules are not the same for every retirement account.  For instance, some employer's workplace retirement plan rules may charge a 0% early withdrawal penalty and then the funds will be taxed as ordinary income on federal and state taxes.  Some families get around this by taking out a loan  against the value of the assets in their 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan. This means there is no 10% early withdrawal penalty nor ordinary income taxation.  However, you have to be comfortable with the risks.  If a job loss or change employers happens, borrowers may be required to pay back the loan asap with interest.