As of today, general equity markets are ~10-20% off their peak, tax rates are relatively low, and there are record amounts of cash on the sideline. This combination of variables presents an excellent opportunity for a strategy known as a Roth Conversion. A Roth Conversion is the process by which you take money in a pre-tax account (e.g. traditional IRA) and convert it to an after-tax account (e.g. Roth IRA). The potential benefits of such a change include:
- Tax-free growth inside the Roth IRA
- Tax-free distributions from the Roth IRA
- Avoiding required minimum distributions until you (or possibly you and your spouse) pass away
- Lower estate taxes
- Lower surcharges on Medicare premiums
For more information on Roth conversions, see the paper we created to provide more detail on this strategy, as well as the pros and cons of Roth conversions.
While this all sounds great, and it is, to receive these benefits, you have to pay ordinary income taxes at the time of conversion. This is a strategy worth considering if you are in a relatively low tax bracket because you recently retired and haven’t yet started receiving your Social Security or taking required minimum distributions. Even if you are in a higher tax bracket, it could still make sense because we could implement other tax strategies simultaneously. If you’d like to know the specifics around this strategy or any different ways we help clients maximize their long-term odds of success, we’d be happy to talk with you.