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Robinhood has quickly grown to become one of the top options for retail investment in the U.S. Many U.S. citizens benefit from the company’s demystification of investing, but what happens when you want to start investing for your child under 18?
Does Robinhood have the option of opening a custodial account or similar?
Robinhood does not have a custodial account for those under 18 at this time. The company clearly states that all account holders must be at least 18 years of age at the time of account opening.
Parents and guardians looking to create a nest egg for their wards have to explore other options.
The rest of the article will cover all you need to know about custodial accounts and your alternatives to Robinhood. You’ll also learn about other approaches you can use to save money for your child other than custodial accounts.
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Why Custodial Accounts Are Beneficial
Custodial accounts allow you to save and invest on behalf of a child, as it’s the perfect way to set money aside for the child to use in the future. As a parent, you can put money into the account at any time.
Meanwhile, the child can only gain access to the account when they are 18 or 21 years old, depending on state laws.
This method of saving works perfectly because the money belongs to the child as soon as it enters the account. So, there’s no temptation to take out the money for other purposes before the beneficiary is old enough to gain control of the account.
Therefore, you can set up a custodial account to help a child save for a college education or give them a leg up in retirement savings.
Robinhood and Custodial Accounts
In the account requirements section of their website, Robinhood clearly states that only U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age can open an account with them. This means that they do not have any provisions for accounts opened for minors.
It’s unclear why they haven’t made this provision yet, but it may have something to do with regulatory bottlenecks we don’t know about at this time or one of the major criticisms leveled against the company.
There’s an argument that the brand’s gamification of investing has bred more financially irresponsible retail investors.
So, allowing custodial accounts, which are supposed to be long-term savings vehicles, may draw more angst towards the brand. The critics will likely fault encouraging investors to put away money for their kids on the platform because the money is very likely to be lost.
Still, if you’re a savvy investor who is not a part of the losing crowd, you have to look elsewhere for a custodial account or find other alternatives to save for your child’s future.
Custodial Account Providers To Consider
Let’s now talk about some of the top custodial account providers you can consider.
This company offers a custodial account with zero annual fees and zero deposit requirements. You can also purchase fraction shares for as little as $5. The company’s longevity in the industry and its excellent customer support make it a top option.
However, you can’t trade cryptocurrency.
If you’re looking for a company with a wide range of mutual funds products, Vanguard should be high on your list. They don’t charge any transfer, enrollment, or advisor fees, and their expense ratio is firmly below the industry average.
However, they don’t support fractional shares trading, and you need a minimum initial investment of $3,000 for their mutual fund products.
Stockpile should be high on your list if you’re looking for an investing app that has simplified the custodial account opening process. You’ll get a ton of educational resources, and you can gift stocks with their e-gift cards.
They don’t charge any annual fees or have a minimum deposit requirement. However, they don’t support joint accounts or retirement accounts.
Setting up a custodial account on this Robo-advisor brokerage can be completed in less than five minutes. They have a wide range of educational resources, providing access to excellent family financial advice.
However, there’s a $12-60 annual fee, which might be a problem for people with smaller accounts.
The Loved brand is almost completely built around custodial accounts.
It’s very much focused on empowering families and their children via financial education. Customers also enjoy commission-free investing.
However, they don’t have years of history like some of the other names we’ve mentioned here, and the stock options are limited.
Other Options for Saving for Your Child
You can look beyond a custodial account when it comes to saving money for your child. Here are alternatives to keep in mind.
If you’re thinking about saving money for your child’s education, you can choose a 529 account instead of a custodial account. These accounts offer tax advantages to people saving for a child’s future college expenses.
You can enjoy potential income tax deductions, and any growth recorded is tax-free.
However, you can only use the funds for educational expenses or risk paying 10% penalties on any amount withdrawn. There’s also the risk of dipping into the money (and paying the penalties) during hard times because you have access to the money at all times, unlike with a custodial account.
Savings Accounts And IRAs
You can create a savings account for the child or open an IRA to put money away. The downside to this option is that the returns achievable will typically be lower.
The returns on savings accounts may not beat inflation. However, they are a straightforward option most people can understand.
Investing In Your Name
If you’re disciplined about your intentions to save money for your child, you can create an investing account in your name and make a mental note of the fund’s use. If done well, you’ll have a healthy gift for your child when the time is right.
You can save the money in a mutual fund, an IRA, or any other such accounts.
Robinhood may launch custodial accounts in the future, but for now, parents looking to create accounts and grow money for their kids’ future use will have to explore the options offered by other companies.
However, with the number of companies offering 529s, savings accounts, and standard brokerage accounts, there are many options to consider outside of custodial accounts if you’re looking to put money aside for your child.