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Greetings, Sheila, and welcome. You asked:

<<I have Roth(1998), Roth conversions, and traditional IRAs at Vanguard; I have a trad IRA at Waterhouse. If I do a Roth conversion of the Waterhouse thingy next year, hasnt it satisfied the 5 yr account age required to withdraw penalty free after 2003?>>

Roth distribution rules have an order in which withdrawals are made. Any withdrawal comes first from annual contribution money, next from conversion money from oldest to youngest, and last from earnings. If you're younger than age 59 1/2, before you may touch the conversion money it must be in the account for five tax-years from the DATE OF THE CONVERSION. So, if you convert this year, you must wait until January 1, 2005 to touch that money without penalty when you're younger than age 59 1/2. If you're already age 59 1/2, then it doesn't matter.

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