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Greetings, Dr.C, and welcome. You asked:

<<"Does it make sense, in the absence of existing savings, to borrow money to pay the tax burden to enable you to convert from an IRA to a Roth IRA when you're a good long way from retirement and can't use the IRA tax deduct anyhow ?">>

I'll give you an absolutely definite maybe. It depends on your assumptions regarding present and future tax rates and the rate of return on the imvestmen. If you're confident about your assumptions and can account for the cost of the loan payback, then construct a spreadsheet to run some scenarios using a worst case, expected case, and best case rate of return using ordinary income tax rates on the tradtional IRA. Bounce the net results against the projected results in the Roth. If your assumptions hold true, then the choice should be evident.

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