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In 1997, the Roth IRA was introduced. This new IRA allowed for contributions to be made on an after-tax basis and all gains (or growth) to be distributed completely tax-free. Since then, people with incomes under $100,000 have had the option to convert all or a portion of their existing Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Beginning in 2008, participants with funds in eligible employer sponsored plans could also roll those funds directly over to a Roth IRA in a qualified rollover if their income did not exceed the $100,000 threshold. Starting in 2010, all IRA owners and participants in eligible employer sponsored plans, regardless of income level, are eligible to convert their Traditional IRA and pre-tax funds in an employer-sponsored plan [401(a)/(k), 403(b) and governmental 457(b)] to a Roth IRA.
Is this a good option for you? A conversion has both advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully considered before you make a decision. This calculator compares two alternatives with equal out of pocket costs to estimate the change in total net-worth, at retirement, if you convert your Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.