Poll Finds Yawns over Roth Conversion Law Change

November 19, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The pending law change regarding Roth IRA conversions may be right around the corner, but you couldn’t tell by many Americans’ interest level in the upcoming development.

A news release about the October survey of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index said the poll found 84% of middle-class consumers are not aware that a new Roth conversion law goes into effect on January 1, lifting the $100,000 income limit on Roth IRA conversions and allowing investors to pay the resulting tax bill over a two-year period. Even after they found out about the pending law change, only 6% of survey respondents indicated they plan to pursue a Roth IRA conversion.

According to the announcement, 23% of respondents said they do not plan on converting their retirement accounts because they expect to be in a lower income tax bracket in retirement. Americans also say they won’t convert because they don’t have money to pay the conversion taxes (12%) and that such a move would bump them into a higher tax bracket (11%).

As of the end of the third quarter, the Index revealed that Americans with a financial plan felt better about their financial future than those without a financial plan. Forty one percent of Americans with a financial plan are confident in their ability to retire comfortably – significantly more than the 25% of Americans without a financial plan. Also, 40% of Americans with a financial plan felt extremely or very secure financially compared to only 27% without a plan.

“We expect the level of interest and commitment to rise appreciably during the coming weeks as financial professionals continue to reach out to their clients,” said Terri Kallsen, and executive vice president of strategic development at First Command, in the news release. “Notably, 22% of survey respondents with a financial plan are already aware of the new law, and 10% of those working with a financial planner expect to convert their traditional accounts into Roth IRAs. Clearly financial advisers are busy educating Americans about this unique but admittedly complex opportunity and helping them determine the best course of action for their own situation.”

More information about Roth conversions is available at www.firstcommand.com/rothnow/.