IRAs are designed to be used for retirement savings. Ideally, to maximize the benefits of these accounts, you should not touch these funds before reaching retirement age. However, in the real world, you may need money and consider tapping your IRA earlier. If you do, you should be aware of the 10% early distribution penalty. This penalty is assessed on early distributions from IRAs, in addition to any taxes you may owe. Here are ten things you should know about the 10% early distribution penalty and IRAs.