Mom’s Money Guide: How to Begin Investing for Your Kids Futures

investing for kidsThe total cost for a 4-year degree will be more than $205,000 by the year 2030. That will be the year that kids born in 2012 turn 18 years old. If your kids are born later, expect a higher price tag.

The best investment for a child is one that starts as early as possible. Investing for kids now is how to build a fortune for your child’s future education.

Read on to learn all about the best investments for children and how you can get started.

529 Plans to Invest for Kids

All US states offer a 529 savings account. You can even enroll in 529 plans from other states. Make sure you look into the lifetime contribution limits on your plan, so you know how much you can put away.

Every year you are able to deposit funds up to the set annual limit without being dinged with a gift tax. For 2018, that limit is $14,000 for each child. However, if you and your spouse file a joint tax return, you can double that number per child.

If you have the money, you might want to make a large lump deposit now that is equal to 5 years’ worth of contributions. In other words, you could add $70,000 to your child’s 529 plan today if you wanted.

This is a good option if you have the cash and want your money to start growing as soon as possible. But that means that you won’t be able to add any other money until 5 years from now.

One of the best features of this type of investing for kids is that withdrawn money is not taxable if it is used for education. You can use the balance of your fund for any type of tuition including private school from kindergarten to grade 12. Check out these 5 tax refund tips to get the most out of your money.

The majority of 529 savings plans allow you to invest your contributions through mutual funds. You’ll be able to choose what you want to invest in this way. Yet, if you want to invest in other things besides mutual funds, you can do that as well with a 529 plan.

How to Open A 529 Savings Plan

The first (and hardest) part of getting a 529 plan is choosing one. There are over 100 plans available. This is the simplest way to stop delaying and get your plan up and running.

Choose between a savings or prepaid plan or get both.

Savings plans are similar to 401K plans. There is investing in stocks, bonds, as well as other securities.

Prepaid 529 plans are like pension plans. they grow at a guaranteed rate and are often limited to people who reside in that state.

You might decide to get both kinds of plans and divide your contributions between the 2 accounts.

Next, pick either the in-state or out-of-state plan. Often, it’s wiser to get the in-state savings plan if you have a state tax benefit. Use this state tax calculator to see how much your tax benefit is worth.

Finally, compare costs and investment options for the plan you are considering.

Don’t be overly concerned with past performance of a plan. Look for a plan with low costs. Websites like collegesavings.org can help you compare plans.

Don’t get hung up on trying to find the absolute best investment plan for your 529 savings plan. The most important thing is to open a plan and start saving right away. You can always switch to a different plan later on if you want to.

Now, let’s check out other investment plans for kids.

Retirement Accounts

It may feel strange to think about your child’s retirement when you’ve got a baby or toddler at home. Yet, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better.

Besides, retirement accounts can be used to pay for college as well as other big life expenses. And no, you won’t have to pay taxes on your withdrawals as long as you take out your contributions and not earnings.

Let’s pretend that you have invested $2000 every year for the past 3 years. You can go ahead and take out $6000 without any penalties and without having to pay taxes.

As soon as your child begins working, he or she should have an individual retirement account. Let’s look at custodial individual retirement accounts, next.

Custodial Individual Retirement Account

Custodial IRA can be created in your child’s name. The funds in the account belong to the child but as the parent, you control the assets until the child is an adult.

The age when a child gains access to the account is either 18 or 21 depending on which state you live in. These accounts are often managed at a bank or brokerage.

There are 2 main custodial accounts that prominently used for saving for post-secondary education. They are the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA).

Both of these accounts are irrevocable. Don’t deposit any money into either of these that you might need in case of an emergency.

You won’t be able to get it back. Instead, check out stock loan rates to learn about how to get access to funds when you need them.

Both of these do not have contribution limits. They are subject to Kiddie tax as the child includes this account as income on his or her tax returns each year.

UGMAs include securities such as stocks and bonds. On the other hand, UTMAs may include physical property like real estate and fine art.

Grandparents and others can add money to these accounts as gifts. Keep in mind that the most one person can gift a child per year is $14,000.

Note that when the child is not a minor, he or she does not have to use the funds in these custodial accounts for education.

Certificate of Deposit Ladder (CD)

Now that we’ve looked at 2 types of investments that are subject to market fluctuations, let’s examine an investment plan that has less risk.

A CD ladder means buying several certificates of deposit, all with varying maturity dates and interest rates. When one CD matures, you divert that money into a new CD. You keep doing this until you want to use the money you’ve saved.

Since it’s easy to estimate your earnings, you are able to plan for the future with a good amount of certainty.

This option is great for people who want to play it safe or want to avoid having all their eggs in one basket. You won’t earn huge returns with this method, yet it is a long-term savings plan that works.

How to Open a Certificate of Deposit

Opening a CD is similar to opening a bank account. First, you need to choose an insured financial institution. That way, if the bank or credit union fails, their insurance protects you up to the maximum that is legally allowed.

Then, you choose a type of CD. There are many kinds to choose from.

After that, select your term length. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate you’ll earn. It’s in your best interest to select CDs that mature well in the future.

You will also need to choose how you want to collect your interest payments. You can get it monthly or once a year.

It’s best if you don’t rely on this payment as part of your income. Make sure you build a personal monthly budget that works for you.

The wise thing to do is to reinvest the interest into the CD to earn even more interest. Once the CD reaches the end of the term, you’ll get the amount you deposited plus the interest your CD accumulated.

You will need your SSN and other forms of identification to open up a CD (same as you would need when applying for a bank account or credit card).

Also, choose how you want to deposit money into the CD account. You can choose to mail a check or transfer the funds online or by phone.

Teach Children Financial Literacy

One of the best ways you can invest in your child’s future is to teach them how to manage their money wisely.

With the majority of Americans in debt, teaching kids about smart spending and being financially savvy is vital for the future of the country.

There are lots of great resources to help you teach your kids financial literacy including lots of resources about money on MyMoney.Gov

Instead of giving kids what they want, give them an allowance and help them learn how to save up for what they want. Or help them start earning money by doing chores, dog sitting, raking yards and babysitting.

Even though as a parent you want to give your kids every advantage, it is important for them to learn how to take responsibility for their financial freedom in their youth for a bright future.

Final thoughts on Investing for Kids

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this article on investing for kids’ future helpful. Remember, the sooner you get started, the better.

Now, take a look at these 3 expert money saver tips you need in your life.

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