DEFINITION of 'Early Withdrawal'
The removal of funds from a fixed-term investment before the maturity date, or the removal of funds from a tax-deferred investment account or retirement savings account, such as an IRA or 401(k) before a prescribed time. Early withdrawal could be anything earlier than the account owner's attainment of a prescribed minimum age requirement, or the maturity of a fixed-term investment, such as a certificate of deposit (CD).
BREAKING DOWN 'Early Withdrawal'
When an early withdrawal is made, the investor usually incurs an early withdrawal fee, which acts as a deterrent to frequent withdrawals before the end of the early withdrawal period. As such, an investor would usually only opt for early withdrawals if there were pressing financial concerns that warranted it, or if he or she had a markedly better use for the funds.