My former boss, a highly ethical and respected independent CFP, used to tell his clients, "Don't let the tax tail wag the dog!"
The biggest threat to your retirement isn't taxes. It's inflation, especially when you have at least 20-30 yrs life expectancy remaining. There's nothing wrong with converting to cash if it makes you feel more secure, but you need to realize you may be severely 'shorting yourself' by not allowing your portfolio its normal compounding power.
You can take any amount you want out of your IRA you wish, just pay the taxes and weep. For a 401k where you have left the employer but not converted it to an IRA, just request the check be made payable to your name and sent directly to you.
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