A little house on Easy Street has one front door. It is a traditional IRA. There is a sign above the lone entry point the reads, “To All Those That Enter, Thy Earnings Will be Taxable.” It does not matter if the money that enters through the front door is a contribution or rollover or transfer. Most of the arriving dollars, and all of the earnings on those dollars, will be taxable when they leave. (Some money that passes through the front door of the traditional IRA house will receive a special wristband the reads “BASIS” and it will not be taxable upon departure. However, those “Basis” visitors will still enter through the single door beneath the “Earnings Will be Taxable” sign.)
Every traditional IRA home can be decorated differently. This particular traditional IRA house has an ETF sofa, an individual stock leather chair, and a couple of mutual fund recliners. The traditional IRA across the street might have four ETF sofas, or the living room may well be adorned with a dozen mutual fund folding chairs.