You can't take the chicken and the egg, it just won't work. It's the same with your retirement, you can't take the principle and the interest, it just won't work. Look, if you will, at your investment portfolio as a hen house. There are a few unique things that happen in the hen house, you have to keep the predators away and you need to keep it clean and safe so the hens feel secure enough to keep laying. What is a predator? A wolf, coyote, and the sliest of all, the fox. Can't have a fox in the hen house. You have to have a guard dog that keeps all the predators away!
As some of the older hens stop producing they can be traded out for more productive hens. Your hens should be producing eggs on a daily basis. When you have a productive hen house you can pick eggs and not harm the integrity of the culture. You may not want to pick all your eggs away though. You may want to leave a few for the reproduction of your hen house or to raise for other purposes. When you have a healthy house, you have many options. Having options is a good thing!
This is just like your investment portfolio, always keep watch over what is happening with it. Is it safe from predators, is it young, clean, productive and growing? Have you created an environment with your investment strategy that will keep pace with the times, consistently produce and reproduce? Can you safely take some of the "eggs" / interest, without damaging the culture and structure of the house/principle?
What you want to be able to do is outlive your money/investments. If you have predator hits or you constantly withdrawal from your principle you will surely damage your investment principle and wreak havok on your retirement strategy.
You've heard me say, I don't tell you about things that I don't have personal experience with, well, unfortunately, here's another personal experience. Once upon a time, in a land far away, we needed to bail ourselves out of an upside-down mortgage. I was the predator to our own house, we borrowed against my 401k, OUCH!!! Very costly tax-wise, but also long term financially too. I had to take some principle, I had to kill some very productive chickens, to get what I needed to clear the bill. Well in killing those chickens, we also cut the production and reproduction of our hen house WAY back. It takes a long time and intentionality to recover from this kind of "hit" to your henhouse. I'm not sure if you ever totally recover, time and money are both lost, NOT GOOD!
Don't let the fox in the henhouse, even if it's you. Guard your house against foreign and domestic intruders, including you. Don't become your own worst enemy (predator) when it comes to your own henhouse (portfolio). Create a culture where you have options, good options!