Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Was my Traditional to Roth IRA conversion a mistake? May 17, 2013

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , ,

Remember last year when I went through all the reasons I was going to convert my rollover IRA (from an old 401(k)) into my Roth IRA?  I had plenty of good reasons.  It wasn’t going to be that much money either way.  I wanted to have all my money in one place so I could buy funds with higher initial investments.  And of course…THE FISCAL CLIFF.  No one knew exactly what was going to happen on January 1, 2013.  I definitely didn’t.  But in retrospect, I should have known that congress would just kick the can down the road.

So on December 31, 2012 (seriously, I’m a bit of a procrastinator), I went ahead and converted my IRA to my Roth IRA.

Then, a few months ago, I sat down to fill out my taxes online, and I entered in all my numbers.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew I was going to have to pay taxes on the conversion amount.  But I hadn’t predicted how this added “income” due to conversion was going to impact eligibility for certain tax deductions.  Not that I should complain!  But apparently there’s a strict cut off for eligibility of the Student Loan Interest Deduction.  And with my conversion, I’m over the threshold.   There is a range where your increased income decreases the deduction.  But over the threshold, you’re out of luck.

I did check to make sure my conversion wasn’t going to put me into a new tax bracket.  I knew there was no danger in that happening.  But I hadn’t considered the Student Loan threshold (or any other tax deduction/credit cutoffs).

It’s not the biggest issue.  But in looking back, I probably could have planned out a little better how much of my IRA to convert so that I wasn’t over the limit.  In the end, it wasn’t a lot of money that I could have gotten back with the student loan deduction, but it would have been nice.  I’ve never really been the type of person to base financial decisions on tax liabilities…I figured that’s a problem the super wealthy have to deal with!

What tax and money decisions did you make leading up to the end of 2012?  Did you make any mistakes with your money decisions?  Are you already over it?

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5 Responses to “Was my Traditional to Roth IRA conversion a mistake?”

  1. Craig Warden-Rothman Says:

    You actually have an opportunity to fix and change the amount you converted up until October 15. The process and everything is described well in this article…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-alderman/how-to-undo-a-roth-ira-co_b_1183886.html

  2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The fact that you know the difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA means you’re ahead of about 90% of the population.

  3. The reality is that if you are successful and wealthy down the road you will be in a higher tax bracket than the one you were in when you took the IRA into income. So if this baby grows over time it will all be tax free to you when you are older and I have a feeling the tax rates will be much higher then.
    The only other point is if you have an accountant or CPA year end tax planning with that person may have allowed you take to take the limitation into account when making your decision.


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