I am self-employed and do not need most of my traditional IRA's required minimum distributions for living expenses. Can I reinvest the money in a Roth IRA?

Yes, you can use your traditional IRA's required minimum distributions (RMDs) to contribute to a Roth IRA, assuming you are eligible for a Roth based on your income. This is because the money to fund your IRA can come from any pool of cash that you have available. The Internal Revenue Service does require that you have enough taxable compensation to cover your Roth IRA contribution for the year, but the actual source of your contribution need not be directly from your paycheck.

Key Takeaways

  • If you don't need all the money from your IRA's required minimum distributions, you may be able to invest it in a Roth IRA.
  • However, you must also have enough earned compensation for the year to cover the Roth contribution.
  • And you have to be eligible for a Roth IRA in the first place, based on the income limits set by the IRS.

If you can afford to pay the taxes, you may want to think about converting your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Once the funds are in the Roth IRA, you will no longer be required to take RMDs from them, at all. Of course, you should check with a tax professional to determine whether a conversion would be a good financial move for you, as there are other factors to consider besides the RMD issue.

If you do decide to convert to a Roth IRA, remember to take an RMD from the traditional IRA one last time for the conversion year. That's necessary because the traditional IRA still existed during that year.

To learn more about how to handle RMDs, see the Investopedia article "Required Minimum Distributions: Avoid These 4 Mistakes."

This question was answered by Denise Appleby.