IRA Kids :: Roth IRAs for Minors: Learn Why Minors Should Have Roth IRAs
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Poster promoting awareness of Roth IRAs for kids, IRAKids Clubs, and

"I’m 16 years old. With Roth IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts), minors like me can become millionaires and take control of our financial future.

For my generation, Social Security benefits and employer contributions to our retirement plans are uncertain, while inflation will push us into higher tax brackets. We can confront these negative probabilities with the only positive option that exists for us today – Roth IRAs.

"If past market experience continues, investing early in Roth IRAs will mean compounding of our investments up to seven or eight times by the time we retire, and all that growth will be tax free. Furthermore, we can withdraw the funds upon retirement tax free, regardless of our tax bracket at that time.

"Beginning to invest early also provides financial literacy education that should make us better investors for life. And minors have certain investment advantages not available to adults. Those benefits and Roth IRAs give minors a financial head-start in life." -- Hannah --

Hannah on the PBS program BizKids discussing Roth IRAs for kids and the power of compound interest.

Hannah on the PBS Program BizKids
Discussing Roth IRAs for Minors and the Power of Compound Interest

(Click title to view video via YouTube; click image for a larger version.)
The BizKids website contains many more videos of interest to young entrepreneurs.

Hannah's PowerPoint presentation on Roth IRAs for Kids.

Hannah’s PowerPoint Presentation on
Roth IRAs for Kids
(Click image or title to view the presentation)
Download Hannah’s presentation.

Roth IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) for Minors

Roth IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) are funded with after-tax dollars, but grow tax free and all withdrawals are tax free after 59 1/2 years of age (assuming the Roth has been owned for five years or more). When minors establish Roth IRAs early, the Roth's have extraordiary growth potential -- all tax free.

ROTH egg from the Burback City Federal Credit Union.

According to sources cited elsewhere on this website, minors can establish Roth IRAs as early as age seven (really, as soon as they are old enough to have legitimate earned income). They can invest every dollar of earned income, after taxes (up to $5,000 in 2010 and 2011) in the Roth IRA. Also in most cases, the minor's standard tax deduction may eliminate the need to pay income taxes on that earned income. (See Footnote below)

The resulting money invested in the Roth IRA can grow tax free for the balance of the minor's life. (See More about Roth IRAs). And the parent/guardian still can claim the minor as a dependent on income tax forms if the minor is under 19, lives with the parent or guardian, and has not provided more than half of his or her own support for the year. (Consult your tax advisor to determine your maximum Roth contribution and tax liability.)

Compound Growth of Roth IRAs

Dramatic growth of compound interest.

Minors also benefit tremendously from “compound growth”. During the last 80 years, the stock market has doubled every seven years for an average of 8% growth per year. If those averages continue into the future, a minor's investment will double EIGHT times between age 9 and 65 – seven times between age 16 and 65.

If you open a Roth IRA with an initial deposit of $600, and then add $50 per month, with annual interest of 10% (compounding monthly), at the end of 50 years you will have a balance of $953,441 -- $922, 841 of which comes from compound growth. Consider that your total investment – spread over 50 years -- is just $30,600 – the price of a new car today and the cost of buying that new car will be spread over a much shorter time frame.

For much more information, additional examples, and compound interest calculators, please see: Compound Growth and Roth IRAs – A Key to Future Wealth.

Learning Early to Save and Invest Wisely

The benefits do not end there. In addition to learning to save and invest early, minors will learn the differences between needs and wants – to make informed decisions as to how they spend their money – a benefit that should last a lifetime. Minors have the opportunity to learn how stock markets work, and, more importantly, how to make good investment decisions. Also, they can take greater risks with their investments seeking greater long term returns – because they have more time to recover from any investment mistakes they make – and all that contributes to their education as an investor for life.

Learning Through IRAKids Clubs

Meeting graphic from Quarryville Library, Quarryville, PA.

This website encourages minors and their parents or guardians to form local IRAKids Clubs – which are a special form of investment club. PARENTS, ask your bank or credit union or investment advisor or accountant to “sponsor” an IRAKids Club – and help conduct educational and fun meetings. For more information, please see IRAKids Clubs on this website.

529 College Savings Plans and Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Graduation cap.

Roth IRAs are not 529 College Savings Plans or Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs), although, like Roth IRAs, both are funded with after-tax dollars and both grow tax free. For more information on these plans, please see: College Savings Plans.

Footnote: The earned income for the Roth can be either wages or self-employment income. If the income is less than the standard deduction (greater of $950 or $300 plus the kid's earned income, up to $5,700 in 2010), a minor would not pay any income tax.

However, if a minor has more than $400 in self-employment income (not W-2 income), he or she will have an obligation to pay self-employment taxes, which are about 15% of self-employment income, and are in addition to income tax. (Self-employment taxes are Social Security and Medicare taxes.)

So minors could have no income tax to pay if they fall under the standard deduction, but they still may have self-employment tax to pay.


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