Roth individual retirement accounts let you make after-tax contributions with the promise of tax-free distributions in retirement.
Roths make the most sense for people who anticipate paying a higher tax rate in their later years.
Suppose you made your first contribution in the 2012 tax year: your 5-year waiting period starts on Jan. If you close out your Roth IRA when you're not eligible to take a qualified distribution, you'll likely have some taxes to pay.
You'll get your contributions in the account out tax-free and penalty-free because you never got a deduction to begin with.
The first ,000 comes out tax-free, but the last ,000 count as taxable income and is hit with the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty.
Exceptions can be divided into two categories: total exceptions, which exempt your entire distribution from the early withdrawal penalty regardless of how much you take out, and partial exceptions, which apply to a specific dollar amount depending on your expenses.
If you have a change of heart, you better act fast.
Total exceptions include if you're permanently disabled or are taking a qualified reservist distribution.
But, your earnings will be taxed and hit with the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty, unless an exception applies.
For example, say you've put ,000 in your Roth IRA and it's worth ,000 when you close it.