Father’s Day is almost here. If you’re a father, especially one with young children, get ready to add to your collection of homemade cards, ties, golf tees or other such gifts designed to please you. Your greatest gift, of course, is your children — and you would doubtlessly get great satisfaction from knowing that you’ve provided them with financial resources that can benefit their lives in many ways. So, why not use this Father’s Day as a starting point for investing in your children’s futures?
Here are a few methods for doing just that:
UGMA/UTMA — If you would like to buy and sell securities for the benefit of a child, you may consider opening a custodial account known as either an UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors) or UGMA (Uniform Gifts to Minors) account. You would serve as the custodian for this account, giving you control of it until your child turns either 18 or 21 (depending on your state of residence), at which point he or she would take over ownership. Investment income from an UGMA/UTMA account can receive favorable tax treatment. As long as the child is under age 19 (or under age 24 and a full-time student) and does not have earned income providing more than half of his or her support, the first $1,050 of investment income is tax-free, and the next $1,050 will be taxed at the child’s tax rate, which is typically 10%. Investment income above $2,100 will be taxed at the parent’s tax rate.
Roth IRA — Even young children can contribute to a Roth IRA, as long as they have some type of earned income from babysitting, mowing lawns or any other type of employment. Your children can fund a Roth IRA and choose from several different types of investments — stocks, bonds, government securities, and so on — and withdrawals of contributions are tax-free. Roth IRA earnings are also tax-free, providing the investor is at least 59½ and has had the account for at least five years. A Roth IRA can be used to help provide retirement income for your children, but it also offers penalty-free withdrawals of earnings when the money is used for a first-time purchase of a home.
529 Plans — If you would like to give your child the gift of education , earnings in a 529 college savings plan accumulate and are distributed tax free, provided they are used for qualified higher education expenses. (529 plan distributions not used for qualified expenses may be subject to federal and state income tax and a 10% IRS penalty on the earnings.) Another benefit to 529 plan contributions is that they may be deductible from your state taxes. However, 529 plans vary, so be sure to check with your tax advisor regarding deductibility. A 529 plan offers other benefits, too. For one thing, the lifetime contribution limits are generous; while these limits vary by state, some plans allow contributions well in excess of $200,000. And a 529 plan is flexible: If your child decides against college or vocational school, you can transfer the unused funds to another family member tax and penalty free.
Living and Testamentary Trusts — If you would like to leave a financial legacy for your children, and even their children, but still maintain some control over when they receive the money and how they can use it, you might consider speaking with an estate-planning attorney about establishing a trust. Some individuals create a trust to offer long-term support to heirs or charities after death, whether for several decades or several generations. Before you decide on any of these plans, consult with your tax and financial professionals to make sure the arrangement you’ve selected is suitable for your needs.
But however you choose to help your children, your generosity will make all the Father’s Days to come even more meaningful for you — so consider taking action soon.
Jim Holden is a local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.