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Higgins Capital Management, Inc.

9 Essential Factors to Consider Before Converting to a Roth IRA

As retirement investors seek to optimize their savings and minimize their tax burden, Roth IRA conversions have become an increasingly popular strategy. A Roth IRA conversion involves transferring funds from a traditional IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), into a Roth IRA. While this process can offer significant benefits, it also requires careful consideration based on an individual's unique financial situation. In this video, we will explore nine key factors to evaluate when contemplating a Roth IRA conversion.

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Current age: An investor's current age plays a crucial role in determining the potential benefits of a Roth IRA conversion. 

Life expectancy: Individuals with a longer life expectancy may benefit more from a Roth IRA conversion, as they will have a longer period to enjoy tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Current tax rate: The current tax rate is a significant factor when considering a Roth IRA conversion. Those in lower tax brackets may find the conversion more attractive, as they will pay less in taxes on the converted amount.

Expected future tax rate: If an investor anticipates being in a higher tax bracket in retirement, a Roth IRA conversion can help minimize their future tax burden, as qualified withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free.

Traditional IRA balance: The size of an investor's traditional IRA balance will impact the tax implications of a conversion. Larger balances may result in a more substantial tax bill upon conversion.

Annual conversion amount: Investors can choose to convert a portion of their traditional IRA each year, spreading the tax liability over time. This strategy can help manage the tax impact of the conversion.

Expected rate of return: The expected rate of return on the converted funds is an important consideration. Higher returns can lead to greater tax-free growth within the Roth IRA, making the conversion more beneficial.

Years until retirement: The number of years until retirement can influence the decision to convert. A longer time horizon allows for more tax-free growth and may justify the upfront tax cost of the conversion.

Non-IRA funds available for taxes: It is crucial to have sufficient non-IRA funds available to pay the taxes associated with a Roth IRA conversion. Using IRA funds to pay the taxes can diminish the long-term benefits of the conversion.

While a Roth IRA conversion can offer numerous advantages, such as tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement and the absence of required minimum distributions, it is not without potential drawbacks. The upfront tax cost and the opportunity cost of paying taxes now instead of in the future must be carefully weighed against the potential benefits.

Furthermore, the five-year holding period for penalty-free withdrawals and the potential for changes in tax legislation should also be considered when evaluating a Roth IRA conversion.

The information contained in this Higgins Capital communication is provided for information purposes and is not a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments in any jurisdiction. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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