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>>>>So assuming you want to retire in 2003 at age 55, convert
say $10K a year in 1998-2002. In 2003 you can make annuatized withdrawals of $20K a year and suppliment that by withdrawing your $10K of contributions from the ROTHS each year.<<<<<<<

>>I believe what you are saying here is that if option #1 of the IRS-approved early withdrawal method yields only $20k to me, but I need $30k, then I could make up the difference by withdrawing Roth contribution money.<<

You understand me correctly. I put this forward as an approach to be investigated rather than a recommendation. You may also look at related approaches:
1) Take the full $30K per year from the ROTH and forgetting about annuitization
2) Converting all you'll need in 1998 rather than in 5 yearly installments, to take advantage of 4-year averaging.

At a guess it probably makes sense to combine the ROTH with annuitization and to take advantage of 4-year averaging, as this may minimize the chance of being hoisted into a higher tax bracket by the conversion.

I believe Pixy answered your detailed questions and is more likely to be correct than I am. I'm waiting till the ink dries on the technical correction before actually doing anything.
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