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Author: MadCapitalist Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 76237  
Subject: Re: Rolling Over 401k into Roth IRA Date: 1/18/2004 7:56 AM
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This I am not seeing. Let's say you roll over your 401k each year into a TIRA. You will not be making a $40k contribution to your Roth. You will be making a $28k contribution after (for arguments sake) paying 30% in taxes when you convert your TIRA into a Roth. Now if you are extremely confident that your income in retirement will be so great as to bump you into a higher tax bracket, then you may be better off converting to the Roth. But that is not statistically likely.

There are other issues as well. As I understand it, you don't need to take any required distribution from a Roth IRA, which gives you a little more flexibility. You may be able to continue to compound more of your money for a longer period of time without worrying about taxes under a Roth IRA.

Also, IMHO, there is more certainty regarding your future tax situation with a Roth IRA. I don't expect politicians to begin taxing distributions from a Roth IRA (although it is debateable, it just doesn't seem politically feasible), but there is little to stop them from raising tax rates. With Congress so willing to spend like crazy and put the government on the hook for massive liabilities (especially Medicare), an increase in tax rates is a very real possibility.

So the Roth IRA, in my opinion, provides you with greater certainty, even if it *may* end up providing you with a lower after-tax return. I personally place a great deal of weight on certainty. As Warren Buffett said,
“I would rather be certain of a good result than hopeful of a great one.”
1996 Letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders
http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/1996.html
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