Can your IRA be tapped before retirement?

Anyone who has contributed to an Individual Retirement Account is likely aware of the plan’s primary restriction – namely, that you cannot withdraw the money until you reach the age of 59 1/2.

At the same time, the government didn’t want this restriction to be too onerous, so rather than making it impossible, they simply decreed that if you do so, you will incur – on top of the taxes owed on the earnings that have accumulated – a penalty of an additional 10 percent. This was considered to be sufficient to discourage most taxpayers from arbitrarily raiding their retirement savings prematurely, while at the same time allowing it to be used as a safety net for those undergoing financial stress when younger.

Local siblings create pet tracker app inspired by their own dog

Gideon, Ron, Lynn Marks
Courtesy of Gideon Marks
Los Altos natives Lynn and Ron Marks, pictured with their father, Gideon, came up with the concept for an app, DogLog, that records canine caretaking activities during their difficult time coordinating who was tending to their dog, Joy, between alternating schedules.

Siblings Lynn and Ron Marks, Los Altos natives, were having trouble taking care of their family dog. They weren’t negligent pet owners, or particularly busy people, but Joy was sometimes getting fed dinner twice or missing out on her morning walk because they couldn’t keep track of who had done what.

Transactions for the week of August 8

Los Altos

630 Arboleda Drive, Hartter Trust to M. Grainger for $3,550,000

316 Blue Oak Lane, Vernon Trust to A. Karsan for $3,300,000

IKB celebrates quarter-century in the design-build biz


Courtesy of Ilona Lindauer
The IKB team took a cruise to Ensenada to celebrate 25 years in business.

Ilona Lindauer recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of her Los Altos business by taking her staff and their families on a three-day cruise to Ensenada.

The cruise was a fitting celebration for an enterprise that has been a labor of love for the owner since its beginning.

No free lunch for FB: Employees loss proves restaurants gain


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Employees of Pacific Catch restaurant in The Village at San Antonio Center, above, hope that Facebook’s new offices in the center and its lack of a corporate cafeteria will bring in more business.

When Facebook Inc. moves into its new Mountain View offices at The Village at San Antonio Center this fall, one perk used to attract and retain employees at many Silicon Valley companies will be missing – the corporate cafeteria.

While Facebook employees may lament the lack of in-house grub, a spokesman for a local restaurant chain with a site in the center said the city’s ban on companies subsidizing more than 50 percent of their employees’ meals attracted his eatery to sign the lease.

Transactions for the week of August 1

Los Altos

1281 Eureka Avenue, Williams Trust to N. Abrol for $3,010,000

1514 Kathy Lane, J. & M. Toppel to T. Mu for $3,400,000


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