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We keep it simple: you can take out your money when you need it

You can withdraw money from your CalSavers account by requesting a withdrawal.

While the program is meant to help you save for retirement, we understand that life has its ups and downs. What you do with your savings is entirely up to you, and the money you save is available to you if you need it in an emergency.

If you only take your contributions out there are no taxes or penalties. More information can be found in the IRS Publication 590-B, Distributions from IRAs.

No pressure to take the money out

Keep in mind, while your money is always available when you need it, there isn’t a requirement that you take money out at a certain time. Unlike Traditional IRAs, you aren’t required to take minimum distributions (RMDs) from a Roth IRA when you reach a certain age. If you don’t need the money, you can let your assets continue to potentially grow tax-free for as long as you like.

In addition, if you don’t withdraw your Roth IRA assets before you pass away, you can leave the account to anyone by designating one or more beneficiaries. The money that you contributed is available for your beneficiary to withdraw tax free at any time. The earnings in your account will also be available to your beneficiary tax-free as long as five years have passed since the first year you contributed to the Roth IRA.

But, if you do…

You can take the money out if you need it. Be aware that there could be tax and penalty implications.

  • If you take money out of your CalSavers Roth IRA and you don't meet the criteria for a qualified distribution, you have to include the earnings in your income for the tax year.
  • If you take money out of your CalSavers Roth IRA before you turn age 59½ by requesting a nonqualified distribution, there is a 10% penalty tax charged by the IRS on the earnings portion of your distribution.

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UC Berkeley Labor Center, California's $15 Minimum Wage and Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program Can Boost Young Low-Income Workers' Retirement Incomes by 50%, (December 2017)

Moving your money

A Roth IRA also allows you the flexibility to move your savings.

If you’d like to move the savings in your CalSavers Roth IRA, you can transfer or roll your balance to an established Roth IRA at a different financial organization at any time.

Or, you can request a distribution of your CalSavers Roth IRA using the Distribution Request form. The funds will be distributed to you, and you’ll then have 60 days to roll over your savings to your established Roth IRA with your new financial organization.

Keep in mind that the IRS limits you to one rollover in any 12-month period. This one-rollover-per-year limit applies to all of your IRAs (both Traditional and Roth IRAs).