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Opening a ROTH IRA

May 23rd, 2020 at 04:02 pm

My last post re: retirement savings for MM(16):

When he does his taxes, we will discuss funding a ROTH this year (2019). I don't really see the point and don't think that we will. But we left it to discuss at tax time, and that he has until April 15th to decide. He has a lot of very big expenses to in the near term horizon. If nothing else, he is saving up for a car. (The current car is only for his use until he turns 18, then it goes to his brother). After that, he will be saving up for a home. If not also saving to help pay for college. I couldn't have even fathomed saving for retirement before I graduated college (no parental support past age 17; no help with college). & I don't feel too much different at the moment (about him putting off retirement savings until after college), while his #1 college choice is a very expensive private college. If he ends up going to our alma mater (it costs pennies) then we can re-evaluate. I think this year is most likely, "Keep it in cash, see how things shake out next fall". We will discuss all the pros/cons, and he will be the one to make the decision. So while I am strongly leaning towards not starting to save for retirement yet, will see what he thinks.

It is personally not a priority of ours to help our kids fund their retirement. I have no plans to contribute whatsoever to that, so it's going to have to be his dollars if he does contribute.


In the end, MM(16) decided to go with the ROTH option. He is depositing 100% of his 2019 earnings into a ROTH. He made this decision back in January. I made a convincing argument for the, "have your cake and eat it too" plan. (ROTH money can always be used more short-term, no penalty for taking back the original contributions). I told him he could always abandon the ROTH contribution if he didn't have a summer job by April 15th. He was okay tying up all that cash if he would make more money this summer.

Then... Tax deadlines were extended. I think he was still going to go through with the plan.

Now that the cash is piling up from his summer job (at my office), we sat down last week and picked an investment. He was really limited at Vanguard with the $1k minimum funds. He decided on some balanced fund, maybe 60/40. (This money is mostly earmarked for a house down payment at this point. I'd maybe more heartily recommend 90/10 if this was actually for retirement).

In the end, I couldn't figure out how to open a minor ROTH account at Vanguard and added it to my chore list. Having to actually do this over the phone... UGH!

I had some time the other morning and revisited. Was googling a bit. Surely someone figured out the magic formula to just do online. While googling, Fidelity popped up with their online process to open an account for a minor. (Which is super easy apparently). They have so many $0-minimum mutual funds now, I didn't know. I had told MM (before) pretty much he couldn't park it in cash unless he just wanted to open a ROTH with one of our banks or credit unions and then just roll it over later when he has more than $3k. But... Now he could just park it in cash (at Fidelity) if that is what he wants to do. Which is may be what I do today just to get the ball rolling (he will be at work all day). I was just waiting for him to go over the Fidelity options and make a decision.

I share because it feels like we did about 90% of the work in our teens and 20s. Choosing to work and pay cash for everything. Investing in real estate very young. Etc. But opening a retirement/investment account when you are 16? That is next level. At 16/17, I was worried about paying for my wheels, paying for college, paying for the roof over my head in a very expensive city. It will be interesting to see what our kids can do without all of those financial burdens. Though we are kind of just, "Dude, you are going to need that money for housing." But they have so much support that they can afford to take a little more risk with that money and can view it as more long-term.

MM(16) is still saving up for a car, but that is also very nebulous and he has enough cash for that. Not sure if he will even want or need a car while in college? Saving it up just in case. That should be more clear when he decides how much of his 2020 income to park in his ROTH.

1 Responses to “Opening a ROTH IRA”

  1. rob62521 Says:
    1590342014

    That's great that MM wants to save money for the future. Speaks well of great parenting.

    My biggest frustration is all the things we have to do online and how they are not easy. If they want us to do it online, then make it understandable at the very least.

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