6 smart ways to save money for your kids

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While there are many ways to set your kids up for a successful future, money in the bank is one of the most powerful financial tools you can pass along. Every dollar you save or invest can help your child create a productive and stable foundation for many years to come.

When it comes to saving for your kids, the sooner the better. Building up funds now can ensure kids will have less to worry about as they get older and can open up more financial opportunities.

To help you get started, consider these several ways to save wisely for your kids.

1. Open a college savings account

If higher education is in your child’s future, consider a 529 savings plan. This is a tax-advantaged investment plan that can be opened as soon as your child is born. The money grows tax free and can be withdrawn without taxes. There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition and education savings. Prepaid tuition plans can purchase credits at a participating university and lock in current tuition costs. An education savings plan is an investment account where funds are designated for qualified college expenses. Be sure to consult a tax advisor to assist with your specific circumstances as this is only intended to provide general information.

2. Invest in a home

Purchasing a home can be one of the most secure and highest-return investments you can make for your children, especially in today’s housing market. A home can be passed down through generations or sold when the value has increased.

If you’re looking to invest in a home for your children, consider manufactured housing. Manufactured homes attached to a permanent foundation appreciate at an average rate of 3.4%, while traditional homes appreciate at an average rate of 3.8%. So, while manufactured homes may not appreciate at the exact same rate, they’re pretty close! Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance can help you finance manufactured housing with their newly improved loan process, which allows you to apply online and track your progress digitally. Vanderbilt’s Home Loan Guide offers more ideas on how to budget and prepare for buying a home.

3. Use Roth IRA contributions

If you have a Roth IRA account, you can use some of the funds to pay for qualifying education expenses. If your account is at least five years old, you can withdraw up to your original contribution amount. Be sure to consult a tax advisor to assist with your specific circumstances.

4. Allow kids to use debit cards

Consider teaching your kids money management skills early on by allowing them to use a debit card co-owned by you. If you have teenagers who earn an income, this is a great tool for learning how to deposit checks, set aside money for savings and more.

5. Open a high-yield savings account

A high-yield savings account can be a great place to stash birthday and holiday gift money over the years and watch it continue to grow. This type of account can typically be co-owned and managed by parents until your child is responsible enough to manage it on their own.

6. Set aside money in a trust fund

Putting money for your kids in a trust doesn’t have the same tax benefits as a 529 plan, but it does pose some important benefits. Trust accounts allow you as parents to create exact rules around how you want the funds dispersed to your children. For example, you can give the money in a series of installments or request that it be used only toward tuition.

Whether you’re thinking about your child’s education or simply want to set aside funds for when they reach a certain age, plan ahead and consider these tips and options for reaching your goals.