When you have a baby, it’s hard to imagine that baby retiring from a 40-year career. But it’ll happen.
If you’ve already figured out your retirement plan and have all of your financial ducks in a row, there are ways to start setting up your children for financial independence from the time they’re born that are both tax-smart and financially savvy.
Open a college fund.
A college education is one of the most expensive purchases you can make, and it’s probably going to be even more when your baby turns 18. College tuition has more than doubled in the past 40 years.
As soon as your child is born you should start saving for their college. Whether it’s a basic savings account or your state’s 529 College Savings Plan, putting away a set amount of money each week or month of your child’s life will give you a good financial cushion when those tuition bills start rolling in. Plus, your state may have tax incentives for using their plan that could reduce your state tax bill.
Keep in mind that you want these accounts in your name, not your child’s, so they don’t affect their financial aid options down the road.
It’s never too early for life insurance.
Taking out a life insurance policy for your child may sound morbid, but I assure you it isn’t. A juvenile whole life insurance policy will have a death benefit, a cash value that is contractual and a premium that can never change. The younger you are when you get it, the lower the payment is.
The big reason to have life insurance coverage for your child is not in the event your child dies before you do, but because it creates an asset your child can use later in life and can protect his or her insurability.
I bought my daughter a $250,000 whole life policy a month after she was born. It has a guaranteed insurability option on it which says that between the ages of 25 and 45 she can qualify for more life insurance without any medical underwriting.
None of know how healthy we’ll be later in life, but we can assume we won’t be as healthy in our 40s as we are in our teens. If you wind up with weight issues, diabetes, a melanoma or anything else, you can still qualify for greater life insurance without health being a factor.
Fund a Roth IRA.
When your child gets his or her first job and is making taxable income, they can contribute to a Roth IRA. A minimum wage job at a fast food joint may not be enough for your kids to fund a retirement plan, but as parents, you can actually make contributions to that Roth IRA on their behalf from your own money.
Contributions to Roth IRAs are limited to the W2 income earned that year with a $6,000 cap. If your child makes $3,000 in the summer at a part-time job, you can take your own $3,000 and put it in a Roth IRA for your child and it will grow tax-free for the rest of his or her life.
You can even wait until the W2 comes in the mail, so you know the exact amount before you fund the account, as long as it is made before April 15 of the following year.
Involve the grandparents.
Without having to outright ask your parents for money, find out if they are intending to do anything financially for your child. If so, you can coordinate with them to find the most effective way.
We all want our children to be successful in the future, and there are creative and tax-efficient ways to help them from the time they are born. But remember, make sure you’ve figured out your own finances and are prepared for financial independence yourself before helping your child.
This article was written by Eric Brotman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.