I was looking around my networking group and it seemed to be made up of a large group of people on their second or third careers due to company downsizing. They probably had a retirement plan, 403(b) for not-for-profit entities or 401(k) for any other entities, after leaving a previous employer. They may be spending this to maintain their lifestyle and that's probably alright as long as that doesn't go on for very long. It is better to reduce your lifestyle then drain your retirement plans. You not only don’t have the money for the retirement years you also don’t get the growth on that money that you withdraw from these accounts.
Not only do you pay tax on the withdrawls but this can be doubly bad if you're paying tax penalties on an IRA or 401(k). The IRS may charge a 10% premium to withdraw funds. This is if you haven't reached the age of 59½. There are several exceptions to the age 59½ rule. Even if individuals receive a distribution before they are age 59½, they may not have to pay the 10% additional tax if they receive a distribution from a retirement plan (other than an IRA) after leaving a job and are age 55 (age 50 for qualified public safety employees). Or they are receiving a series of distributions in equal payments based on your life expectancy. These are not the only exceptions but those most likely to apply.
Another way to avoid the 10% penalty is to prove hardship. A retirement plan may (but is not required to) allow participants to receive hardship distributions. A distribution from a participant’s elective deferral account can only be made if the distribution is because of an immediate and heavy financial need, and limited to the amount necessary to satisfy that financial need.
You should consult your tax Advisor before you undertake this.