403b Plan into Roth IRA

Can I roll over my 403b into a Roth IRA? The only option I saw was 403b in to an IRA then Convert the IRA in to a Roth.

Answer

You are correct in that a 403b can not be directly rolled into a Roth IRA.

This is because money contributed to a 403b is pre-tax dollars; no income tax has been paid on these funds. Income taxes are usually paid at time of withdrawal. These same rules apply to a traditional IRA.

Roth IRAs on the other hand, are funded with after tax dollars; funds that you already paid taxes on. Thus, principal and any earnings grow, and are later withdrawn, without any taxes due.

For the above reasons, you can only roll your 403b into a traditional IRA first, and then you may elect to convert the IRA into a Roth after you pay the income taxes due.