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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Though Not Advised, You Can Tap Retirement Cash Early

You know that the earlier you begin saving for retirement, the better prepared you’ll be financially when it’s time to collect your final paycheck (and the sooner you can comfortably do so). However, you may still be reluctant sock a significant percentage of your income away in retirement accounts and other investments if you’re worried about potentially needing that cash in the near future. Fortunately, there is a solution for your conundrum. Whether you find yourself facing an unexpected medical expense, need to finance a child’s education, decide to start your own business, or have to find cash to facilitate a home purchase, there are ways to tap into your retirement savings early—and sometimes without penalty.

Withdrawals for Emergency Needs

Even a sizeable emergency fund may not be enough to cover all of life’s hardships—especially if they’re accompanied by a job loss and lengthy period of unemployment. Unfortunately, while you can make a withdrawal from a 401(k) or IRA at any age, you’re going to pay a 10 percent penalty tax (in addition to any other taxes you owe) if you’re under the age of 59.5.

There are a couple exceptions. If you’re laid off or quit your job after the age of 55, you can take money out of a 401(k) penalty free. And depending on your employer and 401(k) plan, you may be able to take a five-year loan from your 401(k) regardless of your age. If you have a Roth IRA, you can take out your past contributions (though none of your earnings) at any time without paying the penalty.

Withdrawals for Medical Expenses

If you’re facing a hardship due to an unexpected medical expense, you may have additional options. Unemployed professionals may qualify for penalty-free withdrawals from their IRAs to pay for medical insurance. Some non-reimbursed medical expenses may also be paid with penalty-free withdrawals. If you’re permanently and totally disabled, you can make withdrawals from retirement accounts without penalty.

Withdrawals for Home Purchases

First-time homebuyers can withdraw up to $10,000 from their IRA penalty-free for their home purchase. Anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past two years is also eligible for this withdrawal.

Withdrawals for Education

You may be able to withdraw funds from your IRA penalty-free to pay higher education expenses for yourself, a spouse or a child. If you have a 401(k) and can demonstrate hardship, you may be able to withdraw funds to pay for tuition, books and fees. However, you’ll still pay the 10 percent penalty and any other taxes you owe.

Keep in mind, when you make early withdrawals from a retirement account for any reason—and with or without a penalty—you’re losing the opportunity for those funds to grow. Discuss your options with your financial planner or investment advisor before tapping into your accounts. He/she may have alternative suggestions that will better allow you to maintain your progress towards a comfortable retirement.