Those planning to retire before age 62 can get retirement money early by contributing to 401(k) or IRA retirement accounts while employed, reports U.S. News & World Report. Holders of 401(k) accounts can sometimes initiate distributions at age 55, and substantially equal periodic payments can begin even sooner.
Once holders of traditional IRA, Roth IRA and defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, reach 59 1/2, they can begin to withdraw funds from their accounts without penalties, according to the IRS. Those who retire at age 55 or over can initiate penalty-free withdrawals from 401(k) accounts as long as the 401(k) plan is administered by their current employer, states U.S. News & World Report. Roth account holders can withdraw money without penalties at any time, provided the account is over 5 years old and the amount withdrawn does not exceed the employee's contribution.
Holders of retirement accounts can access funds early without penalties by arranging for a series of substantially equal periodic payments, reports the IRS. There are three different methods for calculating payments, but they are basically determined by dividing the account balance by the life expectancy of the account holder according to an IRS table. The payments are calculated over the lifetime of the account holder. They must continue for at least five years or until the account holder is 59 1/2, whichever is longer.