Put down your coffee. Turn off the TV. It's time to discuss that most riveting of topics: your IRA.

There are two main kinds of IRAs: the traditional and the Roth. With the traditional, you invest pre-tax dollars, which grow tax-free but get taxed when you withdraw the money in retirement. With the Roth, you invest post-tax dollars, but you ultimately get to withdraw everything tax-free.

For many people, the Roth is more attractive. But if the bulk of your money is in a traditional IRA, you're not out of luck. You can always open a new Roth account today, at the brokerage of your choice, and begin contributing to it from now on. If that doesn't roll your socks, perhaps you'd prefer a bigger change of pace.

Convert that IRA!
In some cases, you may be able to convert your traditional IRA into a Roth. You'll have to pay taxes on however much you're converting -- but with the stock market down in the dumps, now may be the best time to roll over your reduced sum, and thus face a smaller tax hit. And since our country doesn't seem to be getting any less deep into debt, the odds are good that future tax rates will be steeper than current ones, making paying now in hopes of saving later a far more appealing option.

Still not convinced? Perhaps a special limited-time incentive will entice you. For the year 2010 only, if you convert an IRA, you'll have two years in which to pay off the tax you owe on it. (Come 2011, you'll have to pay the whole tax in the same year.)

Also in 2010, the income limits that used to prevent many people from being able to convert their IRAs will disappear. (At least, that's the current plan. With tax changes potentially on the horizon, it's impossible to be sure.)

Should you make the switch?
Do the homework, think long and hard, and consider converting your IRA if it ultimately makes sense for you. And hey, as long as you're making changes, why not soup up its earnings potential with some rapid growers or hefty dividend payers? I've rounded up a few possibilities for further research:


CAPS rating

Dividend yield

3-yr. revenue growth

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)




ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)




China Mobile (NYSE:CHL)




BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP)




Nokia (NYSE:NOK)




Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP)




Tenaris (NYSE:TS)




Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

And if you'd like to set yourself up for a painless retirement, and get recommendations for promising stocks and mutual funds for your golden years, try our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service free for 30 days.

Frustrated with your 401(k)? Even if your employer's plan isn't the greatest, you don't have to give up your dreams of a happy retirement.  Get the tips you need to turn your retirement savings around in our special report, "How To Make The Most of Your 401(k)" -- just click here for instant free access.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Coca-Cola and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.