Should You Tap Retirement Savings to Fund College? There are three things to consider before dipping into retirement savings to pay for college. Share | Related Content 18 Years Worth of Days The average retirement lasts for 18 years. Are you prepared to fill that many days? Retirement Income and the Traditional Portfolio Experiencing negative returns early in retirement can potentially undermine the sustainability of your assets. Retirement Plan Distributions There are a number of ways to withdraw money from a qualified retirement plan.