Ask Money

Roth conversion

Chris Farrell Jan 14, 2010

Question: I understand it will be possible to convert an IRA to a Roth IRA without penalty in 2010. Will it be possible to convert any part of the 403b, into which I continue to contribute, to a Roth IRA? Tom, Rochester, NY

Answer: Some older employees will have the opportunity to convert part or their entire employer-sponsored retirement savings plan into a Roth. If you are over 59½ and still working at your company, you can withdraw the money in your employer’s 401(k) plan, 403(b), and the like without penalty and place it in a Roth. However, your company’s pension-plan documentation must allow for such an “in-service” distribution (while you’re still employed).

Of course, that’s only the first hurdle. You still have to figure out whether conversion from an employer-sponsored plan into a Roth is a smart move. By the way, the best Roth conversion calculator I’ve come across was recently created by Henry Hebeler at Check it out.

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