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January 3, 2023 | Article | 3 min Personal insights

Looking To Teach a Child Some Important Money Lessons? Consider a Roth custodial IRA.

You started early and have saved hard in your 401(k). You’ve also paid close attention to your investing strategy over the years. And you definitely understand the benefits of tax-deferred compounding over the long term and the potential for growth. Heck, you’ve even remembered to change your account password every 90 days. Maybe now it’s time to pay it forward and pass along some of your retirement savings wisdom!

How a Roth Custodial IRA Works

A Roth individual retirement account (IRA) may be a great way to instill the value of investing for a child or teenager with earned income (or grandchild, niece or nephew for that matter). This income could be from a dog-walking or babysitting job, regularly scheduled household chores or from a job that provides a W-2 form.1

The account is managed by a parent or another adult, such as a grandparent or uncle, on behalf of the child. The contribution limit for a Roth IRA in 2023 is the lesser of $6,500 or your child’s total compensation for the year.

Benefits of a Roth Custodial IRA

Once your child has earned income, it doesn’t matter where the IRA contributions come from. You may be able to entice your child to open an account by offering matching contributions from you or a grandparent or by funding the account up to the allowable amount. That way they will still have money left from their paycheck to go shopping or out with friends.

Once the Roth IRA is open for a minor, all assets are managed by the custodian until the child reaches age 18 (or 21 in some states). Given the tax bracket most teens are in, and the length of time they have to invest, a Roth IRA may provide the most potential long-term financial gain. Because of this, it’s important to stress to your child that using the money to help fund their retirement will likely be their most advantageous option. However, contributions are available anytime and withdrawals of earnings can be made penalty-free in some circumstances prior to age 59½. For example:

  • Your child can withdraw money for college, to open a business or for other expenses.
  • In addition, your child can withdraw up to $10,000 worth of earnings from the IRA, without a penalty, for the purchase of their first home.

The most powerful benefit of a Roth custodial IRA may be the potential for personal growth for a child or teenager. Getting an early taste of working life, in addition to learning about money and the power of saving, can be invaluable.

1Please note that the child’s income may need to be declared as taxable self-employment income in the year it is earned. Be sure to consult with a tax professional.

Heartland Retirement Plan Services are offered through Dubuque Bank and Trust Company. The information provided herein is general in nature and is not intended to be nor should be construed as specific investment, legal or tax advice. The factual information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Heartland Retirement Plan Services makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, it. Products offered through Heartland Retirement Plan Services are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed and may lose value, unless otherwise noted.