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Greetings, Mike, and welcome. You wrote:

<<I've searched back over a year in the
messages on this board and haven't found
an answer to my questions so here goes ...>>


Evidently you missed the discussion as it has occurred more than once over the past year.

<<I'm 38 years old and hope to retire at 50.
I have a 403b and 457 account plus the retirement
from my company. I have no faith in
Social Security so it is not part of my
retirement planning.>>


Be aware that the 457 is not a qualified plan. When you retire, the money must be taken based on the options available in that plan. It cannot be transferred to an IRA, so every withdrawal will be taxed at ordinary income tax rates when distributed. There is no penalty for early withdrawals in a 457 plan, so that should probably be your first source of income starting at age 50.

<<I've started reading about Roth IRAs and
have the following questions:

1. Given my other investment options, why
couldn't I withdraw the funds in my Roth IRA
before 59 1/2 and avoid penalties if
"The distributions are part of a series
of substantially equal payments"
(IRS Publication 590)?
I would have to continue the withdrawals until
I'm 59 1/2 and the amount would be based on my
estimated life span.>>


You may, but that would be my last choice. Why take money from a vehicle that won't get taxed when I can take it from a vehicle that will? Also, bear in mind that in a Roth you may take your annual contribution money at any time without taxes. The earnings must wait until the account has been open five tax-years AND you are age 59 1/2. When contributions are all used up, then you may use SEPP for the earnings for withdrawals under age 59 1/2, but the earnings will get taxed. Again, why do that if you don't have to? Wait until age 59 1/2, and the earnings won't get taxed.

<<2. How do I decide which company to start a
Roth IRA with? Longevity (10 years or greater)
and fees are the only reasons I can think of
(assumes most companies have a good selection
of mutual funds to invest the money in).>>


Fees and the availability of the investments you want should drive the issue for you IMHO.

<<3. Since I'm reading this as a "qualified
distribution", it appears I wouldn't pay
any tax or penalty on the distributions.
Right?>>


Wrong. See the answer to # 1.

<<This seems a good way to use my company's retirement
and the distributions from my Roth IRA to help me
reach 59 1/2 when I can start withdrawing my other
investment options.>>


Keep in mind that your 403b plan may not be transferred to a Roth without first stopping in a traditional IRA. When moved from a traditional IRA to a Roth, all the money will be taxed in the year of conversion. Are you sure you want that to happen? Can you pay the bill? IMHO a better approach would be to leave the money in the traditional IRA or the 403b plan and take SEPP from there.

Regards..Pixy
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