This is why most Americans tap their retirement savings early

  • Tapping your retirement funds early is almost always considered taboo, although, at times, it can seem unavoidable.
  • The No. 1 reason most people raid their nest egg is to pay off debt, according to GoBankingRates.

Most people don't intend to raid their retirement accounts — and that's just the problem.

Tapping your retirement dollars early is almost always considered taboo, although, at times, it can seem unavoidable.

By far, the majority of Americans said they dipped into their retirement funds to pay off debt or bills, according to a recent report by GoBankingRates.

The other most common reasons cited were to cover a financial emergency or medical expense.

Less than 10 percent said it was to buy a home and just said 3 percent said they tapped their retirement savings to pay college costs.

But for those with little or no savings, a lack of proper investment income and planning leaves many Americans at risk of retiring broke.

Most financial experts recommend stashing at least a six-month cushion to cover anything from a dental bill to a car repair — and more if you are the sole breadwinner in your family or in business for yourself.

GOBankingRates polled nearly 2,000 people who dipped into their retirement funds.

More from Personal Finance:
Americans are way more in debt before retirement than ever before
Here's how much you need to earn to put your kid through college
What Social Security's budget woes mean for your retirement benefits