How to Start a Roth IRA for My Child

By | March 20, 2023

Have you ever thought about starting a Roth IRA for your child? It may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it’s a valuable investment that can set your child up for financial success in the future. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps to take in order to start a Roth IRA for your child and explain why it’s such a smart move. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can give your child a head start on their financial journey.


Saving for retirement is something that many adults think about, but what about children? It may seem strange to consider such a far-off goal for someone so young, but starting a Roth IRA for a child can be a smart financial decision. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about starting a Roth IRA for your child.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement savings account that allows you to save after-tax dollars. Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible, but the account grows tax-free, and qualified withdrawals are not taxed. A Roth IRA is a great investment option for kids as it offers tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement.

How Can My Child Open a Roth IRA?

Your child cannot open a Roth IRA in their name until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in most states. However, you can open a Roth IRA for your child as a custodial account. As the custodian of the account, you’ll manage the investments until your child turns 18.

How Much Can My Child Contribute to a Roth IRA?

Your child can contribute up to the annual limit, which is $6,000 in 2021. However, the maximum contribution is limited to their earned income for the year. Children must provide and be paid for a bona fide service by a third party and be paid a reasonable amount for the service they’re providing.

Why Should I Start a Roth IRA for My Child?

Starting a Roth IRA for your child has several benefits. First, it allows your child to take advantage of the power of compounding interest. Money doubles every eight years assuming an 8% rate of return, which helps kids earn a substantial amount for retirement after age 59. Second, it’s a great way to teach your child about finances and saving for retirement.

How Do I Open a Roth IRA for My Child?

You can open a custodial Roth IRA for your child at most financial institutions. It is essential to have an employer/employee relationship if parents want to pay their child for a bona fide service. Compensation for children must be reasonable, and there should be a third-party relationship to pay for children’s services. Parents cannot pay their child directly; there must be a legitimate way to pay for the work.

What is a Self-Directed Roth IRA?

A self-directed Roth IRA allows you to invest in alternative assets, such as real estate or precious metals, which are not typically available through traditional investment accounts. IRA Financial provides self-directed Roth IRAs for children of existing clients for free until they reach the age of 18.

Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

Opening a Roth IRA is better than a traditional IRA for children as deductions don’t matter. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, but the withdrawals are tax-free. With a traditional IRA, contributions are tax-deductible, but withdrawals are taxed.

Tips for Saving for Retirement with a Roth IRA

Starting early and staying consistent in saving money is the key to higher financial returns. encourage children to commit to saving a specific amount of their earnings every time they make money. They should also monitor their account regularly to ensure that they are on track to meet their long-term goals.


Starting a Roth IRA for your child may seem like a small step, but it can have a big impact on their future. By taking advantage of tax-free growth and withdrawals, you can help your child save a substantial amount of money for retirement. Just be sure to follow the rules for compensating your child for any services they provide.


  1. What is a custodial Roth IRA?
    A custodial Roth IRA is a retirement account that is opened by a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor child. The parent or guardian manages the investments in the account until the child reaches the age of majority.

  2. Can a child have more than one Roth IRA?
    Yes, a child can have more than one Roth IRA as long as they don’t exceed the annual contribution limit.

  3. Can I withdraw money from my child’s Roth IRA?
    No, you cannot withdraw money from your child’s Roth IRA. The account belongs to your child, and they are the only ones who can make withdrawals.

  4. Can my child contribute to a Roth IRA if they don’t have earned income?
    No, your child must have earned income to contribute to a Roth IRA. Income from allowances or gifts does not count as earned income.

  5. Can I roll over my child’s custodial Roth IRA to their own separate Roth IRA when they turn 18?
    Yes, when your child reaches the age of majority, they can roll over their custodial Roth IRA into their own separate Roth IRA.