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>> If you compare a Roth to a standard IRA over time, starting with same amount of money to invest, doesn't it only make sense to open a Roth if you're in a lower tax bracket now than when you are retired? Doesn't seem like it would be a common scenario. <<

Ah, but you see, if you're a Fool and you start early (and don't put retirement savings in CDs for 40 years), you just might have a higher income by age 59 1/2.

Besides, unless one qualifies for a conventional IRA, it's an academic exercise for contributions (though rollovers can still be an issue depending on AGI).

There's also a blind faith about whether Roth distributions will be tax-free after 59 1/2 (in the general rule). Hopefully, for my sake, AARP will eventually make that another "third rail of politics" like Social Security so that the deal they made to me will still be valid in 27 years.

Then again, if Roth distributions DO remain tax free, and tax brackets rise by the time we start taking the proceeds out, then the Roth is an even better deal. We can't be sure what Washington will do between now and then.

>> I can see why the government would like to get their hands on my money today. The investment companies would probably like me to make a few transfers as well. <<

More likely, they want you to buy their loaded mutual funds and churn stocks to burn a lot of money in commissions. And the government? Yeah, they want the money now rather than later. Hopefully they won't renege on their deal and try to take it later, too.

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