I’m following your plan, and I’ve just completed Baby Step 3. I’ve got my emergency fund of three to six months of expenses in place, and I’ve paid off all my debts, except for the house, so I’m ready to tackle investing. I currently have $100,000 in a traditional IRA. Should I convert this to a Roth IRA?
You’ll have to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw, and that will amount to roughly a fourth of what you roll from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. If you move $100,000, it will cost you about $25,000 in taxes.
If you have that kind of money saved above your emergency fund, and separate from retirement savings, then yes, I’d convert to a Roth IRA. Don’t cash out your retirement or dip into your emergency fund. And please, please don’t run out and borrow money to make it happen!
The traditional IRA is growing on a tax-deferred basis, while the Roth IRA would grow tax-free. So, if you can pay the taxes out of pocket, I say go for it!
* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.