As a parent, you have a number of responsibilities, and raising a child isn’t an easy job at all.
Just as you need to spend quality time with your kid, there is a secondary concern to making smart financial decisions for your child’s future. No matter which way you look at it, there is no simple or best way to save money for your child.
However, there are certain vehicles you can consider based on your specific circumstances and needs.
Here are some ways on how to save money for your children’s future:
1. Roth IRAs
These are an investment option for adults and a savings option for kids, as well. You only have to set up an account with a discount brokerage of your choice and contribute a minimum of $5,500 annually.
It’s important to keep in mind that this amount isn’t tax deductible; however, all the qualified distributions and growth are. You can use this for things like paying for school and purchasing a first house.
This option also offers you a fair amount of flexibility.
You can choose to invest money in almost any kind of investment, and have total control over the fees paid if you’ve opted for ETFs or mutual funds. After a period of five years, you have the option to withdraw any portion if the principal amount, but not the growth, at any time.
You can do this even if it isn’t for a qualified purchase. This can be set up as a college fund, but you have the option to use it for a first home purchase, or for medical emergencies as well.
These are similar to Roths, and the amount of up to $2,000 that you put in annually isn’t tax deductible, but the distributions and growth are.
In this investment vehicle, you also have 100% control over where your money is invested. The difference is that Coverdells have to be spent only on qualified education expenses, or else you have to pay a penalty.
Various qualified expenses such as elementary/middle/high school tuition and a secondary education are included in it as well.
You don’t have to wait for a period of 5 years to make distributions which make it a good option when you are considering how to save money for kids.
3. UTMA/ UGMA
The full form of these acronyms are “Uniform Transfer to Minors Act” and “Uniform Gift to Minors Act.” This is an additional way to save money for kids in which you pass your accumulated wealth on to your children.
While this option works well for wealthier families, anyone can benefit from them.
Like Coverdells and Roths you can set these accounts up at discount brokerages. The growth is entirely tax-free, and you have complete control over exactly where your money is invested.
You also have the option to take the money out for any reason, at any time. However, your money isn’t tax deductible.
4. 529 Plans
These plans are just like a state-sponsored piggy bank with some extras thrown in for good measure. Your earnings aren’t taxed, and a state agency invests the money on your behalf in vehicles such as mutual funds.
If you opt for automated deposits, you can simply forget about it, and you also avoid paying taxes on the earnings as long as the money is spent on things like tuition and other college-related expenses such as course materials and fees.
529 Plans also allow the option to switch beneficiaries. For example, if your first child chooses a career path that doesn’t involve a college education, your younger child can become the recipient without any kind of penalty.
Since the plan is considered to be your asset, your kid can become eligible for a higher grant amount.
5. Brokerage Account
If you are looking for an investment option that isn’t exclusive to academics and education, consider investing in any brokerage account.
There are a number of investments to choose from, and you can also make withdrawals whenever you like. However, the value needs to be included in the calculations you make for financial aid.
6. College Savings Accounts for Child
A conventional savings account is still an option to save money for your child’s future. You won’t really get a high interest rate, and any income you earn will also be taxable.
That being said, an FDIC-insured bank savings account is a way to put away some money for your child’s future.
7. Custodial Accounts
The difference between a standard savings account and a custodial account is that the latter is in your child’s name. These type of accounts are very easy to control, and you hold the reins until your child is either 18 or 21 depending on the state you live in.
You can set this up at any bank, invest as much as you like when you want to. You also have the flexibility to take out your money when you want to spend it on just about anything, as long as your child is the recipient.
A certain section of your initial investment income won’t be taxed at all.
8. US Treasury Bonds
If you’re worried about the ebb and tide of the stock market, you may want to consider government savings bonds, as these are far less risky than some other savings options available today.
US Government-backed Series I and Series EE bonds don’t become impacted by drops in the stock market (unlike 529s).
You can purchase these directly from the government without paying any broker fees, and the bonds themselves are quite cheap.
They also come with certain tax advantages, and you don’t have to pay any local or state income taxes on the interest earned. If the money is used for tuition and you’re under the income limits, you may not have to pay any federal taxes either.
Investment Plan for a Child’s Future
As you can see, there are a number of different ways in which you can invest in your child’s future, but you would need to consider various aspects before doing so. Consider how much money you can put aside annually.
If you are saving for more than one child, you will have to be a little more cautious about the option you choose.
Look for solutions that offer you some tax relief and which provide a certain amount of flexibility in terms of how the money can be used. Academic fees and other expenses can prove to be a drain on your resources if you don’t plan these in a methodical manner.
Start on these investments when your child is very young.
This will mean you have a sizeable sum set aside by the time he or she is older, and you can dip into these investments/savings for their education, etc.
Consider options like the 529 Plans that allow you to switch beneficiaries, and conduct some research on various investment vehicles before making your final decision about what works best in your situation.
The end goal of using any of these eight solutions is to ensure you have to worry less about how to save money for your children’s future and spend more quality time with them instead.