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Topics - tubgirl

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I'm not interested, generally, in finance (or even math for that matter), so can anyone who is so inclined comment on this?  Would the (conservatively estimated) earnings I would make on the six grand I have sitting in my IRA after working my arse off for two years to save it (I guess my EFC of 7K was pretty right on) be put to better use lessening the total amount of loans taken out? 

I can withdraw it without penalty, and even without tax for educational purposes (only the earnings are taxed, and they are a teeny amount of my total - I guess I'd leave them in there, but anyway...).  Does the earning potential outweigh, mathematically, the interest I will be racking up that amount?  I'm looking at a total of either $65K or $20K in loans, depending on where I decide to go (and I'm having SERIOUS problems deciding where to go, but that's a different story...).

So intead of the above novella, let me put it this way: Is this the one case where withdrawing money from your IRA early makes sense, or should I go with the conventional wisdom that it's ALWAYS a bad idea for your future to do so?  I mean, if it is, then why does Uncle Sam let me do it without penalty?  Just to be mean and laugh at me?

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