This week, one of our Facebook readers asked the question:
“Is it advisable to transfer money from a Class A mutual fund savings account to a Roth IRA in order to maximize my contributions? I saved money in the past in an American Fund mutual fund; but now I don't make as much money at work, so I thought I should use my saving to add to the Roth.”
Like J.D. Roth said in his post “Which investments are best for a Roth IRA?” we still have to default to the standard advice: “I can't tell you exactly which stocks or mutual funds you should buy, but I can give you some ideas.” Admittedly, it is difficult to answer a question like this with specificity because there is so much about their individual situation that we don't know.
For example, does the reader have an adequate emergency fund set aside — say, six to nine months' worth? Many investment advisers recommend that an emergency fund always be established before funding a tax-efficient account or Roth IRA.
Jeff Rose from GoodFinancialCents.com suggested that they may want to “try an online broker that allows them to buy a fund that's comparable to the American Fund they want to buy” because the annual account fees may be cheaper. But if they really want to go with American Funds, Jeff suggested that they could “bite the bullet and pay the sales charge (provided they are young enough to make up the difference).”
One thing is clear, however: Such a move would require that taxes be paid up front if the money has been going into a tax-deferred retirement mutual fund. It's a point that Financial Sam has been harping on for years at FinancialSamurai.com: “… go with a traditional IRA and never give more money to the government than you need to,” he writes in his article about the disadvantages of the Roth IRA.
If you were in the reader's shoes, would you maximize your contributions in this way? Do you have a different suggestion?