Retirement planning

How and why to open a Roth IRA for children under your custody

You can assist your child in beginning to save for retirement as soon as they start receiving money by setting up a custodial Roth IRA. Roth IRAs are a terrific way to prepare your child for long-term financial success because contributions are made with after-tax funds and can be withdrawn at any time.

A custodial Roth IRA: What is it?

A custodial IRA enables the account owner—in this case, your child—to make after-tax retirement contributions. A custodial Roth IRA functions mostly in the same way as a standard Roth IRA.

These two kinds of stories differ primarily in one way: Custodial Roth IRAs must have a parent (or another adult) designated as a custodian because they include children.

The custodial Roth IRA rules

The fundamental guidelines of custodial Roth IRAs are already clear to you if you are familiar with how Roth IRAs operate. But there are also some particular guidelines that apply to accounts for minors. What you need to know is as follows.


Your child must work to be eligible for a custodial Roth IRA. It makes no difference if they are doing childcare or working for an employer. A child may make contributions to a custodial Roth IRA as long as they are earning income and paying taxes on it.

Limits on contributions

Custodial Roth IRA contributions are limited for 2022 to $6,000 or the total amount of money your child earned for the year, whichever is less. For instance, your daughter may make up to $4,000 this year into her custodial Roth IRA if she earned $4,000 as a lifeguard.

Tax repercussions

Your child’s post-tax funds are used to finance custody Roth IRAs. They won’t have to pay income tax on the money when they withdraw it for retirement (unlike traditional IRAs).

Converting to a conventional Roth IRA

You will be in charge of all of the account’s assets while your child is still under the age of 18. However, you will need to change your child’s custodial Roth IRA into a regular Roth IRA in their name once they reach the legal age in your state (often 18 or 21). Make sure your child is aware of what will happen and how to continue funding their account before this occurs.


Ideally, until they reach retirement age, your child won’t need to take any withdrawals from their account. But even if they choose to withdraw some funds before that time, they won’t be subject to any fees for doing so. If they take money out of their savings before they retire, however, taxes and penalties can be due.

Several IRAs for children

Roth IRAs aren’t the only option to take into account for children. For instance, you might decide to open a standard IRA for your kid. In that instance, any deposits and earnings made to the account would be done before taxes. As a result, when your child takes money out of the account in retirement, they will have to pay taxes.

However, there are few reasons to pick a standard IRA over a Roth IRA for children. Because traditional IRAs provide beneficial upfront tax benefits, they are intended for those in higher tax bands. Kids almost never fall into this category because they often only make a tiny amount of money through their work.

How to start your children’s Roth IRA

Are you prepared to start a custodial Roth IRA? You should pick a provider as your initial step. Few financial companies, such as Fidelity and Charles Schwab, provide these kinds of accounts. Find the finest Roth IRA for your needs by spending some time researching their products.

It only takes a few minutes to open your account online once you’ve chosen a company. Basic details about you and your child, such as your Social Security numbers, employment history, yearly income, and banking information, must be provided.

Once your account is established, consult with your child to decide how often and how much they will give. As long as your total contributions don’t go beyond what they made that year, you can “match” your child’s contributions.

The advantages of establishing a Roth IRA for your children

To recap, these are a few of the wonderful benefits that these accounts provide for children:

  • The money in custody-based Roth IRAs will increase for several years: Early retirement savings contributions will allow your child to take advantage of decades of tax-free compound growth. They’ll eventually have a decent nest egg to rely on once they quit working.
  • They impart to your kids the value of retirement planning: Retirement preparation is sometimes not appreciated until a person is well into maturity. You can aid your children in forming sound financial practices at an early age by providing them with a custodial Roth IRA.
  • The accounts can also be utilized for other significant life occasions: In the end, Roth IRAs are made for saving for retirement. However, your child is also permitted to make other fee-free withdrawals for things like home purchases, education costs, and other emergencies.

Traditional IRA versus custodial IRA

A custodial IRA might be a Traditional or Roth IRA, and as such, must abide by the regulations of the one you select. Children may benefit more from Roth IRAs because they can avoid paying taxes once distributions start.

Post-tax funds are used to finance both Roth IRAs and custodial Roth IRAs. Because of this design, you can always withdraw your payments at any time without incurring any taxes or penalties. If earnings are withdrawn from the account before retirement age, however, there will be a penalty and taxes to pay.

Pre-tax contributions are made to conventional IRAs and custodial traditional IRAs, and distributions are taxed. You are delaying taxes with a custodial account of this type, which may or may not be advantageous depending on the future developments. Traditional IRAs can help reduce taxable income, but they might not be the best use of a custodial investment account given that most children have low incomes and hence low tax burdens.

To sum up

Custodial IRAs are a terrific method to guarantee that your kids start out financially ahead of the game. Many adults learn about retirement planning too late, but by using a custodial account, you can start teaching your kids valuable investing skills right away.

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