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Investing Specialists

The Ins and Outs of the 5-Year Rule for Roth IRAs

Christine Benz

What a mess.

Sorry, Congress, but that's my reaction as I survey the various rules governing contributions to and withdrawals from IRAs and other retirement vehicles. These regulations are clearly there to keep people from gaming the system for extra tax benefits and to help ensure that they don't raid their retirement assets prematurely--both worthy goals. But the net effect is still off-putting, especially for IRA holders aiming to figure out how--and when--they can withdraw their money.