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I think that the biggest advantage of the Roth IRA over "conventional" IRAs and 401(k) plans is that the income accumulated over the saver's working lifetime is NEVER taxed.

During the five years ended July 1982 I put $2,000 per year into a conventional IRA for my wife [Roth IRAs had not yet been invented.] That $10,000 grew to $166,311 at the March 2000 peak of the stock market boom. She is over 70 and 1/2 so we have to make at least the minimum withdrawal. She has taken out $23,000 and still has $75,000 left.

If I had put the money into a Roth the distributions would NOT be taxable as ordinary income -- they would be NONTAXABLE.
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