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>>>As I understand it, earnings on the non-Roth would not be taxed so long as I continue to use them for investing...restated, taxes on earnings are deferred until they are used for consumption (realized?)...Am I totally off base here?<<<

Not only capital gains, as Paul explained, are taxable but also dividends, paid on some stocks, are taxable in the year credited to your account. In the Roth account they would never be taxed.

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