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Can I do backdoor Roth for myself?

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  • Can I do backdoor Roth for myself?

    Reading on fidelity viewpoints that I may be able to open a backdoor Roth for myself albeit some tax liability.

    currently have a traditional IRA with a balance that is largue enough that it's not worth it to convert...

    have a backdoor Roth for my wife...

    So...someone please help...can I open a new IRA for 2017 and convert to backdoor Roth by year end for myself?

  • #2
    Only if you can eliminate your traditional IRA balance, such as by rolling it into a 401(k). Otherwise the pro-rata taxation on the already-taxed conversion (since conversion is considered to come from *all* pre-tax IRA money, not just the non-deducted portion) would make it not worth it.

    All you need to start an indie 401(k) is self-employment income, and all you need for self-employment income is to get some money for some online surveys (haven't done this myself yet). Make sure you choose a servicer who accepts incoming rollovers (unlike Vanguard).


    • #3
      A backdoor Roth is a process based on specific set of circumstances.

      The process is for those individuals whose MAGI exceeds the level allowing; first, deductions for a traditional IRA contributions and second, Roth IRA contributions. Step one is to make a non-deductible IRA contribution. Step two is two make a Roth conversions. The ideal circumstances are that you have very little to no pre-tax balances in all pre-tax IRA accounts (traditional, SEP  and SIMPLE).

      However, all Roth conversions are based on a proportion of non-deductible balances and pre-tax balances. So if you make a $5,500 non-deductible contribution and have $5,500 in pre-tax balances, any Roth conversion of any amount will be 50% taxable. If you have a smaller pre-tax balance a proportionally smaller percentage of any conversion will be taxable. If you have larger pre-tax balance a proportionally  larger percentage will be taxable.

      If you have rather large pre-tax balances, this process is rather counter-productive, but you can isolate the pre-tax balances by rolling them over to an employer qualified plan (401k, 403b, etc...) that accepts incoming rollovers. If you do not have this option, but have or can produce self-employment income you can adopt a Solo 401k plan that accepts incoming rollovers (Vanguard does not).