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Beckj asks:

My husband and I are recently retired, and each of us has an IRA. It's too late in our lives to be worth changing those to a Roth. But, we are now selling lots off our farm, and wonder if we may invest some of that money in a Roth, if it's unearned income. We don't anticipate needing the money for several more years.

Sorry, but the short answer is "No." Unless you have earned income (i.e., salary, wages, commissions, self-emploment income, alimony or separate maintenance payments), then the income you derive from the sale of farm lots is ineligible for use as the basis for a contribution to any type of IRA. The only time you could use it would be if you were engaged full time in the sale or purchase of real estate for profit. For details, see IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements, available for download at,,id=97819,00.html

Hope that helps.

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