To the editor:

I’d like to get the word out to people who have lost jobs or feel they are close to that point: Before drawing out your retirement savings, such as IRA or 401(k), to pay off credit cards, medical debts, or the like, talk to a financial adviser or a bankruptcy attorney. Those retirement savings are exempt from execution, meaning someone who sues you for nonpayment of a bill can’t reach them, and neither are they reachable by a bankruptcy trustee. Credit cards, medical debt, and other unsecured debt are usually dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning that one can dump the debt without endangering the retirement savings and incurring the nasty income tax penalties that go with cashing them in early.