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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/i-am-a-little-hazy-at-the-moment-for-the-rule-wrt-20126493.aspx

Subject:  Re: 401k distribution Date:  1/9/2004  7:19 PM
Author:  ptheland Number:  38448 of 74759

I am a little hazy at the moment for the rule WRT to conversions, but I vaguely recall that conversions need to be in the account for 5-years;

That is correct.

Roth contributions can be withdrawn any time without penalty or tax.

Roth conversions can be withdrawn any time without tax. (Remember, you paid the tax when you converted.) The conversions must be in the account 5 years OR you must be 59 1/2 to avoid penalties. There are a couple of other exceptions, but you would probably rather not die or be disabled if you can avoid it.

Roth earnings are tax and penalty free if the account has been open 5 years AND you are 59 1/2. Again, death or disability can substitute for attaining 59 1/2.

Note that the 5 year test for earnings is not the same as the conversion 5 year test. Each conversion must wait 5 years for a penalty free withdrawal. But earnings in the account will be qualified once the account itself has been open for 5 years (and you meet the other part of the test, of course).

--Peter
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