Before making extra payments on any debt, you should have a game plan that makes sense.

If you want to withdraw contributions: After-tax contributions — commonly called “basis” — can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason, with no taxes or penalties.

If you want to withdraw earnings: You must satisfy two requirements for a qualified distribution to avoid taxes and a 10 percent penalty. First, you must have held a Roth IRA account for at least five years, a clock that starts ticking at the beginning of the year of your first contribution. Second, you must be at least 59½, disabled, dead (the distribution is taken by heirs) or using up to $10,000 toward a first-home purchase. If you don’t satisfy both points, a withdrawal of earnings is likely to come with income taxes and penalties. Some exceptions allow you to avoid the 10 percent penalty — but not taxes — on certain early distributions that aren’t qualified.

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