Enriching a Teen with a Roth IRA


Smiling girl in front of a brightly colored background holding a piggy bank.

Teenagers with part-time or seasonal jobs earn some spending money while gaining valuable work experience. They also have the chance to contribute to a Roth IRA — a tax-advantaged account that can be used to save for retirement or other financial goals.
 

Minors can contribute to a Roth IRA provided they have earned income and a parent (or other adult) opens a custodial account in the child's name. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made on an after-tax basis, which means they can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason, free of taxes and penalties. Earnings grow tax-free, although nonqualified withdrawals of earnings are generally taxed as ordinary income and may incur a 10% early-withdrawal penalty, unless an exception applies.


A withdrawal of earnings is considered qualified if the account is held for at least five years and the distribution is made after age 59½. However, there are two penalty exceptions that may be of special interest to young savers. Penalty-free early withdrawals can be used to pay for qualified higher-education expenses or to purchase a first home, up to a $10,000 lifetime limit. (Ordinary income taxes will apply.)
 

Flexible College Fund

A Roth IRA may have some advantages over savings accounts and dedicated college savings plans. Colleges determine need-based financial aid based on the "expected family contribution" (EFC) calculated in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Most assets belonging to parents and the student count toward the EFC, but retirement accounts, including a Roth IRA, do not. Thus, savings in a Roth IRA should not affect the amount of aid your student receives. (Withdrawals from a Roth IRA and other retirement plans do count toward income for financial aid purposes.)
 

Financial Head Start

Opening a Roth IRA for a child offers the opportunity to teach fundamental financial concepts, such as different types of investments, the importance of saving for the future, and the power of compounding over time. You might encourage your children to set aside a certain percentage of their paychecks, or offer to match their contributions, as an incentive.


In 2023, the Roth IRA contribution limit for those under age 50 is the lesser of $6,500 or 100% of earned income. In other words, if a teenager earns $1,500 this year, his or her annual contribution limit would be $1,500. Parents and other individuals may also contribute directly to a teen's Roth IRA, subject to the same limits.
 


Contact our Financial Advisors   Sign up for our monthly newsletter


Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, LP ("CFS") a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The Credit Union has contracted with CFS for investment services. Atria Wealth Solutions, Inc. ("Atria") is a modern wealth management solutions holding company. Atria is not a registered broker-dealer and/or Registered Investment Advisor and does not provide investment advice. Investment advice is only provided through Atria's subsidiaries. CUSO Financial Services, LP is a subsidiary of Atria.

Copyright 2006-2023 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. 

Related Blogs