(817) 841-8150 | Carrollton, TX

By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst
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Can you please clarify a question I have about whether I should take a Roth IRA withdrawal?

I am much older than age 59 ½, and my first Roth IRA was opened over 20 years ago. I now own a second Roth which holds recently converted funds from my 403(b) account. I am planning to make added Roth conversions over the next couple of years and pay the tax on these conversions. If I make a subsequent withdrawal from my Roth IRA, will it be tax- and penalty-free? I think so from what I have read, given my age and the fact that my first Roth account was opened over 5 years ago. However, some commentators seem to think that any Roth withdrawal must wait 5 years from the conversion in order to avoid being taxed on earnings. I don’t think this is correct and hope you can help.



Hi Paul,

The Roth IRA distribution rules are confusing. You are correct that any Roth IRA withdrawal you take will be completely free of taxes and the 10% early distribution penalty. That’s because you are over 59 ½ and have had a Roth IRA for at least 5 years. The rule about waiting 5 years to withdraw a Roth conversion only applies to the 10% penalty (not taxation of earnings) and doesn’t apply to folks over 59 ½ like you.


I have a client with a traditional IRA and a SIMPLE IRA opened in 2020 that she is no longer contributing to. Should these accounts remain separate? She also has a small 401(k) that she needs to roll over to an IRA. Can all of these accounts be consolidated?


There is no reason why the traditional IRA and SIMPLE IRA can’t be combined. (SIMPLE IRAs can be rolled over to non-SIMPLE accounts after 2 years of participation in the SIMPLE.) And, the 401(k) can also be rolled over into the combined traditional/SIMPLE account.