Friday, Jan. 08, 2010

Will You Convert Your Entire IRA or Just Part of It?

Should you convert your full IRA right away? There's plenty of good news for folks who convert now. They get the next two years to pay the tax bill, and they have until the end of this year to change their minds and shift back to a traditional IRA without penalty. Yet it probably makes sense to move slowly. For one thing, it will be easier to pay the tax bill out of other sources (and not raid your IRA savings) if you convert only a portion of your IRA, and by keeping some money in a traditional IRA you'll have maximum flexibility over the next three or four decades when tax rates are sure to fluctuate. You can pull money out of the Roth when rates are relatively high and out of the traditional IRA when they are relatively low. As with most things financial, there are no crystal balls, and having diverse income sources will offer some peace of mind.

See if you should convert to a Roth IRA:
Introduction: Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA
What Are Your Tax Assumptions?
When Will You Start Making IRA Withdrawals?
How Will You Pay The Roth Conversion Tax?