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Author: tamurphy Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121095  
Subject: Re: Tax rate on IRA distributions Date: 1/19/1999 8:05 PM
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Thanks for your response, Roy.

<Roy: Would it be prudent to believe that Roth tax dollars will be tax free some day in the future, when the laws may change?>

This, of course, is anyone's guess. The element of risk associated with future changes to the tax laws is very real, and history would suggest that over the long term such changes are more likely to be adverse to the investor than they are to be beneficial. However, it seems to me less likely that additional taxes will be imposed on a plan for which all taxes owing were paid "up front," than on one for which all taxes are yet to be paid.

<Roy: You must be reasonably young, and perhaps never experienced a market downturn, or you might ask the question: "Is is prudent to assume a 24.6% return for many years in the future?".>

Youth is not a prerequisite of naivete. Please accept my assurances that I do not care to represent my knowledge and experience as being superior to that of anyone else. The question I am asking has to do with required assumptions regarding long-term prospects, despite a recognition of the ultimate folly of such presumptions.

We are all at least potentially privy to the same set of historical data. The admittedly imprudent assumption of a 26.4% return over the long term is suggested by the backtested performance of the RP4 over the past 25 years, through all the vagaries of the market during that period. While it is in the nature of things that such knowledge can only be retrospective and thus cannot be reliably projected into the future, it at least poses one boundary condition that might be properly considered in assessing the long-term consequences of present decisions.

<Roy: I don't know what you mean by an "extended period", but I would guess that the rates that you refer to are for about 5 years...if that. Certainly not long term in my book.>

Please correct me if I am mistaken in this, but as I understand it, extensive backtesting of the RP4 over the past 25 years reveals an average annual rate of return of 24.6%. While I would not assume that this rate will be sustained over the next 25 years, I feel it is entirely inappropriate to ignore such a possibility.

Tom
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