You believe you can automatically do whatever you want to do, but here’s the problem: there are always rules to abide by. Today, I want to talk about rules. Retirement plans have rules; whether it’s a 401K, an IRA, a 403B, a 457, a profit-sharing plan, a Keogh plan, there are all these rules. The reason I’m talking about rules today is because I was recently in Italy for our first vacation in the last two years. My wife and I were on vacation two years ago just as the pandemic began in Europe and then in the United States. Finally, we had an opportunity again to travel abroad. This time to southern Italy.
Here are the rules that sometimes people don’t realize: the government can always put together the rules you need to follow. This is not a conversation of whether things are right or wrong. They just simply are because the government dictates the rules on how we do things. One of the rules that we had to abide by was a COVID test to come back to the United States. 24-hours before boarding our airline, we had to have a COVID test. We had to find a farmacia, a pharmacy, in which they would do COVID tests and then the pharmacist filled out special documentation that then went to the airline, to the state department, to prove (and this is written in Italian) that we were COVID free.
The plane on the way home was filled with passengers that were all negative tested. We were all free from COVID. We had heard of other groups where people actually got positive results and now had to be in a quarantine before being allowed back in to the United States. They had to wait until they were negative from COVID. That could be 2-days, 5-days, 10-days, even 20-days. So, you may think that you can come and go as you please, but without a negative COVID test, you were not going to return to the United States of America.
The reason I bring this up is because the same thing goes regarding your retirement accounts. What are the rules? When can you have accessibility to your own money? What happens if you take it too soon? What happens if you take it to late? If you take it too late, you could have a penalty of up to 50%. If you take it took soon, you can have a penalty of 10%. Mind you, this is your money. Is this something that you really want to try to navigate alone yourself? Are there ins and outs of being able to have accessibility to your money before age 59 ½? By the way, there are ways of doing that, if done properly. Are there ways of delaying money or taking out more money than maybe what you would assume would be the right thing because if taxes are going to be increasing would it make sense to take money out of a retirement account sooner than later?
Think of our firm as your farmacia, your pharmacy, where you can have a financial medication prescribed and testing done to help you live a financially healthy life because remember the government makes the rules.