Roth deposits, when does the clock start?

I have read on here that each deposit or rollover in a Roth starts a new 5 year clock. But this article from Forbes seems to dispute that:

“Some people believe this five-year rule applies separately to each Roth IRA. That’s not the case. Others think the five-year rule is applied separately to each Roth IRA conversion. That’s also not the case. The Roth IRAs of the taxpayer and the money flowing into Roth IRAs are aggregated to come up with one five-year period. Essentially, once you’ve satisfied this five-year rule for one Roth IRA, you’ve satisfied it for life for all Roth IRAs. That’s a reason that some advisors say if you might convert all or part of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in the future, you should convert or contribute a small amount to a Roth IRA now, so the five-year clock will start running.”

Am I misreading this? This seems to say that once you establish the Roth the clock starts and after 5 years you have met the rule?

The problem is there are at least two different five-year rules: you need the Roth IRA to be open at least five years before you can take out gains tax-free (there is also an age requirement). Each batch of conversions also has to be in there at least five years. The link you posted explains it, but here’s another source that may be better:

This is the part of the Forbes article that confused me. Your article specifies that there is a SECOND 5 year rule just for conversions that starts a new clock with each conversion. I have since done more research and found this to be true, but to me the Forbes article is very confusing on that point.

I just skimmed it, and then when I went back to check what exactly it said, a paywall popup had appeared. I’m glad the other article cleared it up for you.

What? You convert a trad IRA to Roth and pay the taxes and are barred with threats of tax penalty from taking distribution proceeds from that newly converted Roth?

I found this Roth Conversion Calculator on Schwab and found out it doesn’t make that much difference leaving it in pretax or converting unless you are talking about a lot of money or a long time which I have neither. So I am leaving it in my IRA.

This is why:

Example 1 . Jeremy is 40 years old and would like to tap the $50,000 of funds in his traditional IRA. If he takes a withdrawal now, he will be subject to ordinary income, and a 10% early withdrawal penalty. If Jeremy converts his IRA to a Roth IRA, he will also be required to report the amount as ordinary income; however, he can now take a withdrawal of his “after-tax” principal from his Roth IRA (the conversion amount) without an early withdrawal penalty. The end result: Jeremy could entirely circumvent the IRA early withdrawal penalty by simply doing a Roth conversion first and taking the money thereafter, so the 5-year conversion rule is designed to prevent this!

And just another example of how the IRS tax codes are set up to punish the middle class and benefit the rich: