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Converting Traditional IRA Savings to a Roth IRA

Since Roth IRAs were first introduced in 1998, many owners of traditional IRAs have looked on them with envy.

That’s because Roth's have at least two advantages over the traditional kind. For one thing, the money you withdraw from a Roth is tax-free, as long as you are 59½ or older and have had the account for at least five years. That includes both your contributions and the income your money earned in the account. By contrast, the withdrawals you make from a traditional IRA will be taxed as ordinary income.

For another, the owners of traditional IRAs must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their accounts by "April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which you reach 70½," according to the IRS. Roth owners can leave their accounts untouched.

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