Roth Conversions Are Up In 2024 — But It’s Not Always A
‘Slam Dunk’

Roth Conversions Are Up In 2024 — But It’s Not Always A ‘Slam Dunk’

Roth IRA conversions have surged in popularity in 2024, with a notable 44% increase year-over-year during the first quarter, according to data from Fidelity Investments. This rise can be attributed to the potential for future tax-free growth, as funds transferred from pretax or nondeductible individual retirement accounts to Roth IRAs grow tax-free. However, as our CEO, Marianela Collado, CPA/PFS, CFP®, CDS® points out, this strategy isn’t suitable for everyone.

Marianela was recently quoted in a CNBC article emphasizing that the upfront tax bill is a critical consideration. “It isn’t a slam dunk for everyone,” she warns. Investors need sufficient assets outside their retirement accounts to cover this immediate tax hit. Additionally, the impact on annual income and eligibility for certain tax breaks must be carefully weighed, as higher earnings can affect Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.

Strategic timing is another crucial factor in maximizing the benefits of Roth conversions. Conversions are particularly advantageous during stock market downturns, allowing investors to convert more shares and enjoy more tax-free growth when the market rebounds. Lower-income years, such as post-layoff periods or early retirement before Social Security kicks in, also present optimal opportunities due to reduced upfront tax liabilities.

Finally, Roth conversions have become an attractive option for legacy planning. Since the elimination of the stretch IRA in 2020, certain heirs must deplete inherited IRAs within ten years, potentially incurring significant taxes. Converting to a Roth IRA can mitigate this “tax time bomb” for older investors, providing tax diversification and lowering required minimum distributions.

In conclusion, while Roth conversions offer substantial benefits, they require careful consideration and planning. As Marianela notes, evaluating the timing, tax implications, and overall financial situation is essential for making informed decisions. 

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