Articles on Converting to a Roth IRA

Here are a number of articles that I found on the net that discuss the pros and cons of converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

  • April 4, 2010.  “The Debate Goes On: To Roth or Not to Roth?” – InvestmentNews:  “For the superwealthy, conversion is a slam-dunk; others should be more careful.  The following is an edited transcript of an webcast held in New York on March 9.  . . . To listen to the archive of the webcast, visit and click ‘View archive’.”  One of the panelists was Ed Slott, the renowned IRA expert.
  • January 16, 2010.  “Ready to Roth: How You Fund an IRA Conversion Through the ‘Back Door’” – Wall St. Journal:  “Individual retirement accounts funded with 401(k) assets count among your traditional IRA assets during a Roth IRA conversion.  The language is confusing, since many custodians refer to such accounts as rollover IRAs.  But they are technically traditional IRAs. Any IRA labeled as a SEP, SIMPLE or contributory is included, as well. . . . Here is where the ‘back-door’ method comes into play:”
  • December 10, 2010.  “Beware the Roth IRA Conversion Trap” – The Wandering Tax Pro:  “For several years now tax professionals, myself included, and personal finance and tax bloggers, again myself included, and financial writers have been talking about 2010 being the year to convert to a ROTH IRA. . . . What we all have forgotten to remind you when discussing this issue is the way one calculates the taxable portion of a ROTH conversion.”
  • November 23, 2009.  “2010 Roth Conversion: Factors to Consider Before Making a Decision” – FreeMoneyFinance:  “For more than a decade, Roth IRAs have been offering investors a number of benefits generally including tax free growth in earnings, tax free withdrawals assuming you begin your withdrawals after the age of 59 1/2 and have held the Roth account for the minimum five-year holding period, and no required minimum distributions as is the case with traditional IRAs.  Through the end of 2009, conversion to a Roth IRA from other retirement accounts including a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan is limited to people with a modified adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less.  But as of January 1, 2010, all investors will be eligible to convert funds from a traditional IRA or 401(k) to a Roth IRA, regardless of income level.  While this change will present some attractive options for certain investors, people should weigh the costs and the benefits unique to their own specific financial plans and tax situation before deciding if a Roth IRA conversion is right for them.”
  • November 8, 2009.  “Roth IRA Conversion has Perks” – Arizona Republic:  “By now, word has gotten out that 2010 will be a big year for converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.  That’s when tough eligibility rules, which have prevented higher-income people from making the switch, will be repealed.  Plus, traditional-to-Roth conversions done in 2010 come with a special sweetener: Normally, you must pay any taxes due in the year you make the switch, but in 2010 only, investors can elect to defer the tax bite and spread it over the following two years, 2011 and 2012.”
  • September 22, 2009.  “To Roth or Not to Roth: Analyzing the Conversion Opportunity for 2010 and Beyond” – University of Illinois Professor of Law Richard L. Kaplan wrote a popular article on whether to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA (click on the download link then click on the link to one of the download sites).

“Beginning in 2010, all taxpayers will be able to convert their existing Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) to Roth IRAs, without regard to their level of income or marital status. In effect, taxpayers will be able to lock in current income tax rates on account values that have been eroded by recent investment market declines. This article analyzes who should take advantage of this opportunity, using the barest minimum of arithmetic (and no calculus).”

  • September 6, 2009.  “Is a Roth conversion right for you?” – Arizona Republic business reporter Russ Wiles says in his article:

“Roth individual retirement accounts have emerged as a popular tax-sheltered way to invest, and they’ll only get better next year.  Starting in January, Congress will drop the eligibility barriers so that any investor, regardless of income, will be able to transfer money from traditional, deductible IRAs to a Roth.”

Articles on Converting to a Roth IRA2018-05-13T13:58:53-07:00

Rothify Your 401(k)

Forbes:  “Got an ex-employer retirement account sitting around? You can convert it–and maybe your current 401(k), too–into a Roth IRA.  Are you one of the 15 million Americans who has a 401(k) left behind with an ex-employer? Alternatively: Does your current company allow you to make “in-service” rollovers from its 401(k) to an individual retirement account? (Most employers do allow such rollovers for workers 59.5 or older, and a minority allow them for younger workers.)  Either way, you may have a tax-saving option you haven’t heard about: converting an old 401(k) or part of a current one into a Roth IRA.”

Rothify Your 401(k)2017-09-10T15:55:51-07:00

Roth Conversion Shenanigans

Forbes:  “Sure it might make sense to take the tax hit now and get into a Roth IRA, but don’t blindly trust what your broker suggests.  Much has been written about Roth conversion opportunities in 2010. It seems every product manufacturer and annuity pitchman in the country is recommending some variation of a Roth conversion strategy. Many such schemes, which masquerade as advice, are but hollow mockeries designed to line the pockets of product manufacturers, their salesmen, and the U.S. Treasury. Legitimate Roth conversion strategies do exist, but they are the exception rather than the rule.”

Roth Conversion Shenanigans2017-09-10T15:55:21-07:00

Five Reasons Not To Convert To A Roth IRA

Forbes:  “Will your tax rate be lower in retirement? Do you plan to spend all your savings? Think twice about a conversion.  In recent months, you’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits of converting traditional pre-tax individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs. But here’s something you may not have heard: Many taxpayers should run, not walk, from a Roth conversion.”

Five Reasons Not To Convert To A Roth IRA2018-05-13T13:58:55-07:00

The Roth Conversion Question

Forbes:  “Come Jan. 1 anyone can convert a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Not everyone should. Here’s help deciding if the strategy fits you.  Next year all taxpayers will be allowed to convert their traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs, . . . Conversions are complicated and make sense only for certain taxpayers. Even those who might reap big benefits from converting have to overcome a natural aversion to paying taxes sooner than needed.”

The Roth Conversion Question2017-09-10T16:04:58-07:00
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