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Are you saying the conversion I do at, for example, age 59 can't be touched until after age 64 to avoid the penalty?

No. I was saying that OP, at stated age 52, faces this issue, as does anyone who will be under 59 1/2 at the end of the 5 years. Pull conversion money out early, and though you'll pay no tax, you'll pay the premature distribution penalty even if you've satisfied the "one-time" 5-year requirement with, say, a 1998 contribution.

Once you reach 59 1/2 the premature distribution penalty doesn't apply no matter what you do. Moving to your situation, this first conversion may carry its own period, depending on when in your 55th year you do it. Unlike other "year of" provisions, the 59 1/2 one is actually the date. It won't be a concern for future ones.

Phil

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