Ask Lee Now: Answering Readers’ Questions April 2015

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Dealing with the Coming Nonsense

Eugene G. writes: What do you recommend that we, who own firearms and hunt and fish to put food on the table (as we do in North Idaho), do about the coming nonsense…? I can tell you that there are a lot of very determined folks up here who may not be in accord with the socialists’ agenda.

Lee responds: The old adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” certainly applies. The far left will pursue its wish-list on guns, globalism, and the economy by any means necessary. But it will face formidable resistance from well-prepared folks in places like Northern Idaho.

A very sensible thing to do right now is to stock up on guns, on ammunition, on food, and (if possible) on fuel. Even in an optimistic scenario where it is still legal to own handguns and there are no shortage-inducing price controls put on basic necessities, inflation will almost certainly return with a vengeance at some point. Especially if the Federal Reserve is forced to monetize trillions of dollars in government debt in order to stave off a solvency crisis.

Now That’s a Question!

Beau V. writes: Ketchup or mustard?

Lee responds: To each his own when it comes to taste! But from a health standpoint, mustard (especially the spicy brown variety) is the winner. Mustard seed contains beneficial antioxidant compounds. Mustard also lacks sugar/high-fructose corn syrup, which is a major ingredient in ketchup. Ketchup’s added sweeteners make it a low-quality source of calories.

In general, spicy is healthier than sweet. Think mustard, salsa, or curry sauce rather than ketchup, sweet and sour, or BBQ sauce.

About Converting a Roth IRA

Sheri H. writes: Your publication suggests one “defensive tactic” would be to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. My questions are: Since you must pay taxes now on any conversion, why not just keep the money outside the IRA in a non retirement account? Tax brackets are only going up – o why not pay them now before the government institutes maximum annual withdrawal, or surcharges on withdrawals of those that have “too much money” invested in their retirement accounts?

Lee responds: Whether it makes sense to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth will depend on your age, income, expected future tax bracket, and other individual considerations.

The primary reason to not simply cash out of an IRA (if you are under age 59 ½) is to avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty. I just don’t think it makes sense to give the government 10% of your retirement account now out of fear of what the government might do in the future. Yes, I do foresee draconian controls over retirement accounts coming at some point. My take is that you might as well use any legal strategy available to minimize the government’s take. While you still can.