Posted on November 21, 2023
Enriching a Teen with a Roth IRA
Teenagers with part-time or seasonal jobs earn some spending money while gaining valuable work experience. They also have the chance to contribute to a Roth IRA — a tax-advantaged account that can be used to save for retirement or other financial goals.
Minors can contribute to a Roth IRA provided they have earned income and a parent (or other adult) opens a custodial account in the child’s name. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made on an after-tax basis, which means they can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason, free of taxes and penalties. Earnings grow tax-free, although nonqualified withdrawals of earnings are generally taxed as ordinary income and may incur a 10% early-withdrawal penalty, unless an exception applies.
A withdrawal of earnings is considered qualified if the account is held for at least five years and the distribution is made after age 59½. However, there are two penalty exceptions that may be of special interest to young savers. Penalty-free early withdrawals can be used to pay for qualified higher-education expenses or to purchase a first home, up to a $10,000 lifetime limit. (Ordinary income taxes will apply.)
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