Transfer Roth Funds to a 529?

It's usually not a good idea to tap your retirement account for college expenses -- but in some cases it makes sense.

I have a Roth IRA and would like to transfer or convert the account into a 529 college-savings plan. Can this be done?

A Roth IRA has two components: what you contributed and what the account has earned. You can't transfer earnings from a Roth IRA to a 529 without owing income taxes plus a 10% penalty, and you probably wouldn't want to. "Most people would want to keep as much as they could in their Roth for retirement savings," says Joe Hurley of

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.