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Dear Carrie: I would like to open a savings account or a Roth IRA for my 6-year-old son. What do you think? — A Reader

Dear Reader: Saving on behalf of your son is, of course, a great idea — and the earlier you start, the better for him. But deciding to save for a child’s future is the easy part. The harder part is deciding the best way to do it. And that depends on your purpose for saving. So before you choose an account, you need to think about your ultimate goal.

If it’s as simple as teaching your son how to save, an old-fashioned savings account is a good place to start. In just a few years that goal could be to have him learn a bit about compound interest and experience the satisfaction of watching his balance grow.

But I suspect you’re thinking bigger — that you want to give him a financial head start. That usually means four possibilities: saving for extras while he’s still living at home, saving for college, saving for adulthood or even giving your child a head start on saving for retirement. Of course, these aren’t mutually exclusive, but there are different types of investing accounts for each. Here are some of the primary choices:

Building a Nest Egg for Your Child’s Future? Open a Custodial Brokerage Account

If you want to start saving money for your son in a more general way, for instance for summer camp, lessons, a school trip or even a nest egg for when he leaves college, you could open a custodial brokerage account in your son’s name.

Each parent can give a child up to $14,000 a year without having to file a gift tax return. As long as your son is a minor, you would control the account and manage and invest it appropriately. At 18 (or 21 or 25, depending on your state’s laws), the money would be his.

A custodial account can be a good way to save, but there are a few issues to be aware of:

  • The “kiddie tax.” A custodial brokerage account for your son is taxable but because he’s a minor, the so-called “kiddie tax” rules apply. Under these rules, in 2015 the first $1,050 in investment income is tax-free; the second $1,050 is taxed at his rate (presumably lower than yours). After that, the income is taxed at your rate.
  • The impact on financial aid. When determining aid eligibility, 20 percent of a child’s assets are assumed available for college (assets in a custodial account belong to the child). In contrast, only 5.64 percent of a parent’s assets are considered “up for grabs” in determining aid packages.
  • You ultimately lose control of the account. When your son takes ownership of the money once he’s no longer a minor, he can do whatever he wants with it. If you want more control for a longer period of time, consider a trust account.

Saving for College? Consider a 529 Plan

If saving for college is a top priority, 529 plans offer two very powerful incentives. First, money invested in a 529 grows tax-deferred and withdrawals, including investment gains and income, are tax-free when used for “qualified” expenses for college (tuition, room and board, books, computers, etc.). Second, a 529 plan is considered a parent’s asset, so there’s less impact on financial aid.

You can invest quite a lot in a 529. Lifetime contribution limits are upwards of $200,000 — and even other family members and friends can contribute. But it pays to shop around. Some states offer 529 plans with additional tax incentives; some plans have better investment choices and/or lower expenses.

Giving Your Child a Jump on Retirement? Choose a Roth IRA

It’s a wonderful thought to want to help your kids plan for their eventual retirement, but any kind of IRA can only be funded with earned income from the account holder. So your son won’t be eligible until he has a job, ideally with a 1099 or W-2 form.

When he does have earned income, however, a Roth is the way to go. Unless he makes a lot of money at a very young age, he’ll likely benefit more from the future tax-free withdrawals of a Roth IRA as compared to the initial deductibility of a traditional IRA. While your son is still a minor, you can open a custodial Roth IRA on his behalf and deposit as much as he earns up to an annual limit (currently $5,500 but this will likely increase in the coming years). This is a great way to jump-start his retirement savings.

When I was a kid, saving typically meant either a piggy bank or a passbook savings account. (I had both.) But for today’s kids, saving can also mean investing, and you have a wide range of choices. The right choice will depend on what you’re saving for. Your son is lucky you’re thinking ahead and planning financially for him.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Certified Financial Planner, is board chairwoman and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation and author of “The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty.” Read more at http://schwab.com/book. You can email Carrie at askcarrie@schwab.com. For more updates, follow Carrie on LinkedIn and Twitter (@CarrieSchwab). This column is no substitute for individualized tax, legal or investment advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax adviser, CPA, financial planner or investment manager. To find out more about Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CHARLES SCHWAB & CO. INC., MEMBER SIPC. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was forced to defend President Donald Trump's recent attacks on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, an unenviable task she nevertheless intentionally signed up for. She desperately tried to divert the attention back to Scarborough — without engaging in the president's conspiracy theorizing — but offered no credible defense of the president's conduct.

Trump has been spreading the debunked theory that Scarborough killed a staffer in 2001 while he was in Congress, even though it was determined she died of natural causes. The staffer's widower wrote a released a letter on Tuesday pleading with Twitter to take down the president's offensive tweets promoting the thoery. He said he was "angry," "frustrated," and "grieved" by the president's promotion of the harmful allegations. Trump is perverting his late wife's memory, he said, and he fears her niece and nephews will encounter these attacks.When asked about the letter, McEnany said she wasn't sure if the president had seen it. But she said their "hearts" are with the woman's family "at this time." It was a deeply ironic comment because the only particularly traumatizing thing about "this time" for the family is the president's attacks, which come nearly two decades after the woman's death.

McEnany refused to offer any explanation of Trump's comments and instead redirected reporters to a clip of Scarborough on Don Imus's radio show in 2003. In that show, Imus made a tasteless joke obliquely referring to the death, and Scarborough laughed at it briefly.

"Why is the president making these unfounded allegations?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "I mean, this is pretty nuts, isn't it? The president is accusing someone of possible murder. The family is pleading with the president to please stop unfounded conspiracy theories. Why is he doing it?""The president said this morning, this is not an original Trump thought. And it is not," she said, bringing up the Imus clip. But she made no mention of why the president is bringing up the issue 17 years later and with a much larger platform.

When pressed further on the president's conduct, she again diverted blame to Scarborough, saying his morning show unfairly criticizes the president. But again, she offered no substantive defense of Trump.

After McEnany had moved on, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor brought it up again: "Why won't the president give this widower peace and stop tweeting about the conspiracy theory involving his wife?"

McEnany said she had already answered the question, which she hadn't, and said the onus is on Scarborough to explain the Imus clip."The widower is talking specifically about the president!" Alcindor shot back. But McEnany called on Chanel Rion, with the aggressively pro-Trump outlet OAN, who changed the subject to conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Alcindor called out, still trying to get a substantive response to her question, but Rion spoke over her.

At the end of the briefing, another reporter asked whether Trump was looking for any actual law enforcement steps be taken in response to his conspiracy theory. But McEnany had nothing to add, and simply told people to listen to the Imus clip again. As she hurried out of the briefing room, a reporter asked if Trump would stop promoting the theory — but she left without answering.

Watch the exchange about Klausutis, which begins at 48:45.