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The Backdoor Roth IRA

Backdoor Roth IRA

Here's a tip I've been using since 2010.  If you prefer a Roth IRA to a traditional IRA but have too high an income to be able to contribute to a Roth, you can contribute to a traditional IRA (taking no tax deduction if you make too much to qualify for the deduction) and then convert immediately to the Roth.  This is sometimes called the "Backdoor Roth IRA."

At the time of writing this article (early 2018), this was still allowed.  However, check with your tax advisor or the IRS in the future to make sure the rules haven't changed.

Backdoor Roth IRA - One Major Caveat  


If you already have assets in a traditional IRA that you took a tax deduction on, you can't just convert the after tax contributions from your traditional IRA to the Roth.  The IRS makes you follow a formula so that you convert some of the pretax money from your IRA as well.  A quick google search will get you the details of the formula.  So the ideal scenario to pursue a backdoor Roth IRA strategy is if you have no assets already in a traditional IRA--so that you can immediately convert without any grand tax headaches.

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