Are there any circumstances under which people can access their retirement accounts prior to reaching retirement age? Adriane Berg, founder of Generation Bold and author of Bottom Line’s Aging for Beginners blog, explores the answers to this question. There generally is a 10% penalty if you start withdrawing money from your qualified accounts prior to age 591/2. There are certain exceptions to this rule for people who want or need to retire early. These involve withdrawing a certain set amount of money periodically (calculated by a specific formula) for the remainder of your life. It’s worth noting that if the withdrawals are only temporary, you will incur the 10% penalty. Consult your accountant prior to any withdrawals to ensure that you do not incur any unnecessary penalties.