Dear Liz: I would like to start a Roth account for each of my kids. (They’re in their 30s.) Is it better to start an account in my name with them as beneficiaries or to start the accounts in their names?
Answer: Roth IRAs can be a wonderful way to save, but they’re not custodial accounts. You won’t be able to control the accounts or prevent your adult children from spending any money you deposit.
If you still want to help, though, let your kids know you’ll contribute to any Roths they set up. They can open a Roth if they have earned income at least equal to the annual contribution and their incomes are below the Roth limits. The ability to contribute to a Roth phases out between $178,000 to $188,000 for married couples in 2013 and from $112,000 to $127,000 for singles.
Ideally, you’ll contribute to your own Roth first. The limit on contributions is $5,500 this year.