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By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF®
IRA Analyst


Hoping you might be able to offer some guidance. We have a client who has two IRA accounts.  The client is 80 years of age. He wants to convert the full amount in one of his IRA accounts to a Roth. The IRS says that distributions from IRA accounts are treated as satisfying the RMD first, so we need to take the RMD before we process the conversion. My questions are: 1.) The client has plenty of money in IRA #2 to satisfy the RMD for both IRA accounts. I presume that doesn’t matter and we still need to take the RMD before we convert? 2.) Is the RMD that must be satisfied ONLY the RMD for IRA #1 that we plan to convert to a Roth, or is the RMD that must be satisfied the aggregate of both IRA accounts that must be met before we convert IRA #1 to a Roth?

Thank you.




Nice work recognizing that RMDs can’t be converted. RMDs are considered to be the first money distributed from an IRA and are not eligible for rollover or for conversion to a Roth IRA. Your presumption is correct.

The RMD that must be satisfied is only from the specific IRA being converted. You do not have to take the RMD from the other IRA that is not being converted and can wait to take that “second” RMD later in the year.


When do the Updated Uniform Lifetime Table & Single Life Table under 401(a)(9) go into effect for 2020?




Updates to the life expectancy tables are only proposed. If they are officially adopted, they will not go into effect until January 1, 2021.