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6. Convert your old IRA to a Roth
There's a lot to like about Roth IRAs, particularly this: When you pull money out of one in retirement, you'll owe no taxes on it. Zero. That's a great hedge against the growing risk that taxes will be higher in the future (does the $490 billion deficit ring a bell?).

You can convert a regular IRA into a Roth if your income is $100,000 or less (and starting in 2010 the income restriction disappears), but you have to pay taxes on the sum being converted.

The silver lining: With the S&P off 20%, there's less to be taxed on today. If your IRA was entirely in an S&P 500 fund and you're in the 28% bracket, you'd pay $2,800 less to convert a $50,000 IRA now than you would have last fall.

NEXT: Make sure your cash is really safe

Last updated August 16 2008: 4:37 PM ET
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