No. of Recommendations: 0
Hmmm, well know that sometimes I come across as acerbic when I don't mean to be. So I went back and re-read my posts. I said, "There is a growing schools of thought that for many (if not "most") people, it is NOT a good idea to convert a regular IRA to a Roth. The more I thought about it, the more I tend to agree." I cannot read this as anything but expressing an opinion. The only thing I presented as "fact" was "...growing schools of thought...", and this part is certainly true, because there are more magazine articles & WEB postings everyday on this subject.

WRT looking at the record, I present this Q&A for your entertaiment and amusement:
Q: Can a 73 year-old retired widow with a small pension be exposed to a 50% tax on her Social Security check?
A1: No, there is no such tax bracker, and you are a mean-spirited rightwing extremist hatemonger for even asking the question.
A2: No. But if she takes a part-time job to get a little extra spending money, she has to pay income tax, plus 7.2% FICA tax (really 15.4%, but that's a different subject) (even though she is _collecting_ Social Security), and her SS payment and pension payment will be reduced if she earns more than a certain (small) amount. And her Medicare premiums can also go up. So her SS isn't directly taxed at 50%, but the effect is the same, when you look at the overall picture. Governments are very good at passing tax laws that have the same effect as a direct tax increase.

There is already talk about introducing some level of means-testing for Social Security benefits. If distributions from an IRA are part of that picture (and I don't see how they would not be), then taking a distribution from your IRA would have the effect of lowering the amount of money you get in your SS check. What would you call that, if not an effective tax on the money taken from the IRA? If you have already paid the tax once (when you convert a regular IRA to a Roth), you won't be able to undo that in 30 years when/if they impose an indirect tax on the ROTH.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a politician when it comes to taking money out of your pocket.

And what if they ever convert to a sales tax or flat tax, or otherwise get rid of the income tax (yeah, right, and monkeys might fly out of my ass) after you pay the tax on the Roth conversion. Do you think that you'll get a refund?

This is going on a bit long. We all seem to agree that this is NOT a no-brainer; to accurately determine what to do is a highly complex calculation, involving unknown and unknowable assumptions (such as future tax bracket) for most people. I merely add, that in addition to the pure dollars-and-cents of the calculations, you need to assess the possibility that the government will change the rules of the game after you have made an irrevocable decision. They did _exactly_ this with real-estate in the 80's when they changed the rules for write-offs and deductions. They didn't make any retroactive changes, but it cost many people lots of money becaused the rules of the game were changed.

Just because the fish doesn't see the hook in that tasty worm doesn't mean that there isn't one.

Print the post  


The Retirement Investing Board
This is the board for all discussions related to Investing for and during retirement. To keep the board relevant and Foolish to everyone, please avoid making any posts pertaining to political partisanship. Fool on and Retire on!
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.