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Author: MurrayS Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 79731  
Subject: Re: Yet another Roth conversion question Date: 3/24/2010 12:12 AM
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To reiterate my OP, if most of my income at retirement will be from TIRA & 401(k) (unless I change my "taxable allocation"), how do I lower my tax rate when I begin to draw from these accounts? One thing - we intend to leave CA for OR or WA, which have lower tax rates. I am also still considering buying a home at that time, not only for tax purposes, but also (ok, mostly) for the feeling of OWNING my own place.

The only way I can imagine making this work the way you describe it is to greatly increase the post-tax investments I make in a regular brokerage account in LTBH-type equities. Is this the key, or are there other factors I don't know about?

I'd recommend going to HR Block.com or whatever your favorite tax site is and run a tax calculator on your anticipated retirement income using what ever sources (SS, IRA distributions, etc.). Run two different scenarios, one with your IRA converted to a Roth and withdrawn with no taxes and one without converting and paying tax on the withdrawals. Divide the difference in taxes paid by the amount withdrawn out of the trad IRA and compare that percentage to the 25% in tax you'd pay today to convert.

If your estimated future average tax (read, not tax bracket) is above 20% or so, you might do well to convert at least a portion of your IRA. OTOH, I've run these calculations for my wife and I and come up under 15%. I simply don't see the logic of converting when I'd pay double that estimated future tax rate. Of course, your situation is different so that's why you should run the numbers.

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