Minimum distributions and Roth IRAs


Q: Each year when my husband receives his minimum distribution from his TSP, the documentation shows a breakdown of where the monies are coming from. Within each fund there is a breakdown of deferred compensation, savings, rollover, DEC/IRA and employer match. So each year some of the minimum distribution is coming out of a regular IRA. (There was a short period of time in the 1980s when money within the Thrift Plan could be assigned to an IRA. I seem to remember it did not last for very long.) Can that portion of the minimum distribution that was originally in an IRA be converted to a Roth IRA after taxes are paid and, if so, how? If not, is there any way to take out just that IRA part of Thrift money, in addition to a minimum distribution, and roll it into a Roth?

A: I was stumped by your question, so I ran it by the TSP administrators and they advise that the distribution you described could not have come from a TSP account. If the account is from another federally sponsored retirement plan, I might be able to help you if you can accurately identify the plan.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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