Originally Posted by misanman
And I believe the 5-year timer starts with the first Roth conversion and it's a one time hurdle. This could be a reason to go ahead with a Roth early in order to start the timer running.
There's a 5-year timer for each conversion you do. Granted, once you reach 59 1/2, I don't think it matters as much. I believe the 5-year hold on conversions is mostly to prevent folks from dipping into rolled over funds right away.
e.g. At 30 years old, you convert $20K (50/50 contribution/earnings split) to Roth and at 33yo, you convert another $20K (50/50 split again). At 35yo, you can withdraw $10K (contrib from 1st conversion) without 10% penalty but you still have to wait until you're 38yo before you can withdraw an add'l $10K (contrib from 2nd conversion) without 10% penalty.