Over the past 6 trading days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped from 11,167 to 10,380, which is a drop of 7.6%. If you have not already converted your IRA to a Roth IRA, this is a golden opportunity to make the conversion. By converting now, you might lose the opportunity to convert at the bottom if the market drops further. However, if it turns out that this is merely a temporary correction, you will be glad you made the conversion even if you slightly miss the bottom. If this turns out to be the beginning of a bear market, you can recharacterize your Roth IRA to a traditional IRA and try again next year. The recharacterization option lets you “win” if the market rebounds and “break even” if the market goes down further.
A market correction is also a good opportunity for establishing a GRAT. GRATs are similar to Roth IRAs in terms of letting you start over without a penalty if the market declines after you establish the GRAT. This may be your last chance to make a tax-free transfer of wealth to younger generations through the utilization of short-term GRATs. Congress is considering legislation that would eliminate this opportunity.