Should I Convert My Traditional IRA to a ROTH?

by Peter Rizzo

Life Settlements in a Retirement Account? Think Again.

We get many inquires every week about converting traditional IRA’s or a portion of it to a Checkbook IRA. With the belief of large financial gains in some sectors, more and more are converting at least a portion of their retirement funds. When contributing to a Roth there are income limitations, but those disappear when you do a Roth conversion.

The decision to convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is a complex one and depends on your individual financial situation and goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether it’s wise for you:

Tax Implications:

In a Traditional IRA, contributions are often tax-deductible, and the money grows tax-deferred until you withdraw it in retirement. In contrast, Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free. When you convert from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you’ll have to pay income tax on the amount converted in the year of the conversion ( Taxes can be withheld if you desire to ). This can be a substantial tax bill, especially if you’re converting a large sum. Consider your current and future tax rates. If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket in retirement, a Roth conversion may make sense because you’ll pay taxes now at a lower rate.

Time Horizon:

Roth IRAs often make sense for younger investors with a longer time horizon because they can benefit from decades of tax-free growth. If you’re close to retirement, the benefits of a Roth conversion may be limited because you won’t have as much time to reap the tax-free growth rewards.

Financial Situation:

Do you have enough cash or non-IRA funds to pay the taxes resulting from the conversion without depleting your emergency fund or causing financial strain?

A Roth conversion may not be advisable if you need the funds in the near term or if it would trigger a significant tax bill that you can’t afford.

Estate Planning:

Roth IRAs have more favorable inheritance rules. Beneficiaries inherit Roth IRAs tax-free (subject to certain rules), whereas Traditional IRAs are typically subject to income tax for beneficiaries. If you plan to leave a legacy for your heirs, a Roth IRA can be a useful tool.


Converting to a Roth IRA can be a way to diversify your retirement income sources. If most of your retirement savings are in tax-deferred accounts, a Roth can provide tax diversification.

Consult a Financial Advisor:

 It’s highly recommended to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional who can assess your individual situation, calculate the tax implications, and provide personalized guidance based on your goals and circumstances.

 In summary, a Roth conversion can be a wise move for some individuals, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all decision. Careful consideration of your financial situation, tax implications, and long-term goals is crucial. Always seek professional advice before making significant financial decisions.

For more information on converting your Traditional IRA to a ROTH Check Book IRA call 1-800-482-2760 or email

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