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Thanks for your reply. My limited understanding of retirement accounts, and the marketing-oriented approach I had seen in the T. Rowe literature had me assuming you could get the best of both worlds by rolling over a 401(k) to a Roth IRA (tax free on the front end and back end). It was silly of me to think the IRS man would miss something like that!

I'm not sure I completely understand your comment. I'm with you up to the part in bold:

Your income appears too high, as a single, to contribute to a Roth for 2004. Your joint income will be borderline (bit probably just under the cutoff for a Roth for MFJ status). I do not mean to be a pessimist or a jinx, but sht happens, so I would not open the 2004 Roth for you that presumes you will be married on 12/31/05 (i.e., do not count your chickens before they hatch). Your fiance probably should do a Roth IRA instead of a regular if she can afford the current taxes.

I think my income will just eek under the limit for 2004 (first time I've been hoping for lowered income!), and my finacee should be fine. Assuming I make the cutoff for 2004, and open a Roth for both of us, would I then be able to max each Roth in 2005 (again assuming we were under the cutoff, and were filing MFJ)? If, filing jointly we exceed the cap, does that mean neither of us can contribute? Conversely, if we're under the cap in terms of joint income, do we both get $4k to contribute?

This may be biting off more than I can chew at this stage, and perhaps a topic for another day in my learning process, but what are folks doing with combined incomes above $150K for retirement accounts or tax-protected retirement investing in general?

Thanks again for your insightful and helpful comments!
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