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Yo, JMB.

<< I thought of one more question after reading your response to jnamken (#534). what I'm wondering is if I have to figure the value of my traditional IRA on 1/1/98, or can I watch the value and roll to Roth when the value drops. I doubt it will make much difference with my small amount (+/- 11K), but I do have some stocks in the IRA which are pretty volatile. >>

When dealing with after-tax money in an IRA, the part of the withdrawal that is untaxed is essentially based on the ratio of that sum to the market value that exists on Dec 31 of the year of the withdrawal. Your plan could possibly work, but you're still trying to predict the future. You won't know the account balance until the end of the year.

You may be confused because I was too sloppy in my second example to jnamken. I said:

<<Another example: Same 12/31/97 data, but on 1/1/98 you roll only $10K instead of the entire $40K. One-fourth of the $10K is after-tax money, so only three-fourths will be taxed, or $7.5K. In 1998 you report and pay taxes on one-fourth of the $7.5K, or $1,875. In 1999, you again report and pay taxes on $1,875. Ditto for '00 and '01.>>

That left out a key sentence: " On 12/31/98 the account balance is $30K which, when added to the distribution of $10K, means one-fourth of that distribution is not subject to tax." Sloppiness does come back to haunt one, doesn't it?

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