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Subject:  Backdoor Roth or convert spouse's trad IRA? Date:  3/20/2019  12:54 PM
Author:  jeffbrig Number:  92528 of 102711

Relatively high income DINKs, both already maxing 401k accounts. Income is too high for a direct Roth IRA contribution.

I plan on doing a backdoor Roth contribution of $5500 for 2018, and $6k for 2019. My wife, on the other hand, has a large balance in a traditional IRA (from a former 401k rollover), so she's effectively blocked by the pro rate rule. Which has me thinking...

We have some room in the 24% bracket still. Is it better for me to make backdoor Roth contributions, or should I consider using that money to pay for a Roth conversion instead? The vast majority of our assets are in the tax deferred 401k/IRA accounts, if that makes any difference. The major difference as I see it is that conversions get me to a larger Roth balance more quickly. But I'd just be paying taxes today on future retirement funds, not exactly the same as adding to them. Or does it make sense to do the backdoor Roth first, and then only convert what I can afford beyond that? Or is it best to just delay paying the tax man as long as possible?

We're 40/41, so retirement is still 15+ years off. I get that tax brackets are subject to change, but I expect us to be in a similar range in retirement.
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