Money is really tight, and you’re struggling just to survive. Then you remember that you’ve got tens of thousands of dollars in your retirement accounts. Can’t you somehow access that cash? The short answer is yes. But should you? Probably not. “If they’re going to do so, they really should be aware of the tax consequences,” says Jamie Hopkins, a professor of taxation at the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and the associate director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income. You face more than taxes and tax penalties. You lose not only the money you withdrew but also the money it would have earned, which is a substantial amount when calculated over years. For the full story on this topic, visit our sister site, Living on the Cheap.