One of the most important financial lessons we can teach our children is about the importance of savings, investing, and compound interest. A Roth IRA for kids is one great way to help them start putting money away for the future. Read on to learn more about this important children’s investment account, who it’s for, and how to get one created.

Roth IRA VS Traditional IRA: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to choosing between a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA, both offer tax benefits for saving money, but they work differently and have different restrictions on withdrawals. So, it’s important to understand how each one works before committing to one or the other.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is a retirement savings account that allows you to save money on a tax-deferred basis. Contributions are made with after-tax money, but the earnings grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free when you reach age 59 ½. This is a good option for those who expect their tax rate to be higher in retirement than it’s now.

What is a Traditional IRA?

A traditional IRA also allows you to save money on a tax-deferred basis. The difference is that contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, so you don’t have to pay taxes on the amount you contribute. However, withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income in retirement. This is a good option for those who expect their tax rate to be lower in retirement than it’s now. 

Types of IRAs For Kids

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child succeed in life. One of the best ways to do that is to invest on their behalf. Here are two types of IRAs available for children:

A Child’s Roth IRA

A Roth IRA for kids is a type of retirement account that is available to your child. With this option, you invest money on behalf of your child and let it grow tax-free until they are ready to withdraw it in retirement. However, you will need to pay taxes on the earnings when you withdraw the money later on.

Even if you don’t contribute with after-tax dollars, the earnings on these contributions will grow tax-free until they are withdrawn. This can be extremely beneficial if your child plans on going to college or starting their own business after they graduate from high school.

The main advantage of opening a child’s Roth IRA is that it will help them save for their future without reducing their eligibility for financial aid in college or graduate school. But keep in mind that if your child withdraws funds before turning 59 ½ years old, they may have to pay ordinary income tax plus a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on those amounts. It’s an easy way to save for a retirement account. 

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA for kids is like a regular IRA—you can contribute to it as long as your child has earned income, but you are also able to deduct the amount of your contribution from your own taxable income. The account grows tax-deferred until your child withdraws the money.

The benefit’s that contributions are tax-deductible (up to certain limits), which means that your investment grows faster because more of your money is invested instead of being paid in taxes each year (or in some cases, over several years). Then once contributions are made and grow over time, any withdrawals are taxed at ordinary income rates.

Roth IRA For Kids: The Benefits of Starting Early

If you have kids, you may be wondering how to start saving for their future. There are several ways to save for your children and grandchildren, but the Roth IRA is one of the most effective ways to do it. Here are some benefits of starting early: 

Educate Them on Finances

The first benefit of opening a Roth IRA for your child is that it gives them an opportunity to learn about finances and investments at a young age. The earlier you start educating them about these things, the better off they will be financially later in life.

IRAs are a great way to teach your children about financial responsibility and the importance of saving. When you open an IRA, they will have their own account that they can contribute to every year with their own money. 

When you set up an IRA for your child, make sure they understand how much money they have in the account and what it’s being used for. You can set up a series of monthly deposits or make one lump sum contribution. This will help them to understand how compound interest works and how it can benefit them in the future.

Once they have got their account set up, talk with them about how the money will grow over time and how it will help them reach their goals when they are older. You can also show them what an account statement looks like, so they know where their money is going and how much interest they are earning on it every month.

The best thing about an IRA is that it can be used for anything from college tuition to retirement funds for later on in life! It’s never too early to start teaching your children about financial management and investing. 

Prepare Them For the Future

With more than half of American families spending more than they earn each year, it’s no wonder why so many parents are worried about their kids’ futures. According to a study by, 52 percent of American workers say they are behind on retirement savings. In fact, 43 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings!

If your child is too young to open an account on their own, signing them up for an IRA is one way to help them get started early with saving money. They can start contributing as soon as they reach age 18—even if they aren’t employed yet—but if they earn some income before that age, they can still open one. It’s a great way to encourage them to start saving now while they earn interest and grow their nest egg.

Grow More Savings Over Time

When you invest in a Roth IRA for your child or grandchild, it can help them build savings over time. You will contribute money on their behalf and grow those funds over decades, so they are ready to use later in life. That way, they won’t have to worry about saving up money as an adult—they will already have it built up!

Tax Free Withdrawals

Withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax free as long as certain conditions are met. The account must have been open for at least five years, and the money must have been invested in a qualified investment, such as stocks or bonds for at least five years. Once these criteria are met, you can withdraw all your money without having to pay any taxes on it. Tax free options are a terrific advantage to starting to save young. This can come in handy if your child needs quick access to cash or if they want to use their earnings to buy a house or car.

As long as you follow the rules above, your child’s earnings will not be taxed when they withdraw them from their Roth IRA. This means that if they invest wisely and earn more money than what they deposited into their account initially, there won’t be any taxes taken out when they withdraw it later on in life.

No Minimum Investment to Open an Account

The most important thing about a Roth IRA for kids is that it requires no minimum investment or even a monthly contribution. If your child wants to contribute, great! But if not, that is okay too. 

The beauty of this IRA is that it lets your child decide how much (or how little) they want to invest at any given time. They can start investing when they are young and grow their investments over time as they become more financially independent and responsible.

If you are looking for ways to teach your kids about money and encourage them to enjoy the benefits of saving, a Roth IRA is a great option.

What is the Youngest Age to Open a Roth IRA?

 There is no minimum age to open a Roth IRA. In fact, a child’s Roth IRA can be opened as soon as he or she has earned income, which includes money received for doing chores at home or on the job.

If you want to set your child up for the future, it’s never too early to start. If you are looking for an investment that will help your child fund their retirement—and also give them a head start on saving for college—a Roth IRA is a smart choice.

How Much Can I Put Into a Roth IRA For Kids?

 If your child is under the age of 18, you can contribute up to $5,500 each year into their account (the same amount you can contribute for yourself). If your child is over 18 but still financially dependent on you and earning less than $11,000 per year, you can contribute up to $6,500 each year into their account. And if your child has no earned income at all and is under 24 years old (or under 25 years old if a full-time student), you can contribute up to $3,000 each year into their account.

So, if you want to start giving your child a head-start on saving for retirement or college tuition, opening a Roth IRA could be one of the best investments you ever make!

How Do I Prove My Child’s Income For a Roth IRA?

If your child has earned income and you want to contribute to their Roth IRA, you must be able to prove their income. The easiest way to do this is with a W-2 from their employer or 1099 forms from any other sources of income. 

If your child is self-employed and paid in cash, you will need to get an estimate of what he or she made during the year by completing a Form 1040-ES and submitting it with your tax return.

The Rules of Custodial Roth IRAs

The rules for custodial Roth IRAs are similar to those for regular Roth IRAs in many ways—but there are also some differences that you will want to understand before opening one for your child. Here is what you need to know:

Contribution Limits

You can contribute up to $5,500 per year (or $6,500 if you are 50 or older) into a custodial IRA for each child who has earned income. For kids, contributions can be made until they reach the age of 18 (or 23 if they are full-time students). This gives them an opportunity to save more money than they could with other types of accounts because they have many years over which to invest it.


The rules for eligibility are the same as those for Roth IRAs. To be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have earned income, which includes wages, salaries, tips, and self-employment income. If you don’t have any earned income, you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA.

Switching to a Traditional Roth IRA

What happens if you want to switch from a Roth IRA for kids to a traditional Roth IRA?

If your child is under the age of 18, you can make the change as long as he or she has earned income during the year. If you do this, then your child will be able to withdraw all the money in his or her account without having to pay any taxes on it (as long as he or she was at least five years old when the account was first opened).


The rules for withdrawals are the same as those for traditional IRAs. The child can withdraw any contributions they made to the account without tax or penalty at any time. The earnings portion of the account is subject to income taxes and a 10 percent  penalty if the child takes a withdrawal before they reach age 59 ½.

The Bottom Line

Setting aside money for your child’s college savings fund isn’t enough anymore. You have to think about their retirement, too. With just a little bit of effort and money, you can set your child up for the future by opening a Roth IRA account while they are young. Just make sure to shop around for the best IRA account for kids because this financial move could pay dividends for the rest of your child’s life.

Looking for more wise investment tips? Be sure to explore more financial resources and tools within the website.

About the Author Tiffany Aliche

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, is an award-winning teacher of financial education, America’s favorite, personal financial educator, and author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Get Good with Money. The Budgetnista is also an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The One Week Budget and the Live Richer Challenge series and most recently, a children's book, Happy Birthday Mali More.

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