We're here to talk finance, not food. But let me digressfor a moment. Do you regularly go out to dinner (at a realrestaurant, not a fast food joint) with your special someone? Ifso, according to Zagat’s you’re probably spending about $40 aperson (for a total of $80 a dinner).

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Related: 3 general concerns that thwart retirementsaving

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Got a family, you say? Perhaps, in your busy schedule, you findit necessary to have your family meal at that aforementioned fastfood joint (that’s about $5 a head for a total of $20 a meal for afamily of four). Still not striking any chords with you? How aboutthat daily Frappuccino frenzy (about $3 a cup)?

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That food adds up to around $1,000 a year. We'll return to thisfigure in a moment.

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When thinking about retirement, people have two overridingfears: Outliving their retirement savings and outlasting SocialSecurity. If they’re that worried about themselves, think howworried they’d be if they consider their children’s (orgrandchildren’s) retirement prospects.

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Related: Teach your retirement saverswell

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What if I told you there was a way to easily brush aside thosefears for those children? What if I told you the solution doesn’tinvolve fancy products, fly-by-night salesman, ortoo-good-to-be-true promotional pitches? Would you be interested todiscover how people are already doing it?

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Well it’s all laid out in a series of recently publishedarticles. What I’m talking about is the Child IRA (see “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About TheChild IRA,” FiduciaryNews.com, July 12, 2016 to get aquick recap of the concept and why it’s beginning to turn a lot ofheads.).

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The great thing about the Child IRA is people don’t need tochange service providers to take advantage of it. It’s not aproprietary product. It doesn’t require large minimuminvestments.

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In fact, it’s not just as easy to start as a regularrun-of-the-mill IRA, it IS a regular run-of-the-mill IRA!

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With one key difference, however: It’s started by and forsomeone below the age of 18. Well below the age of 18.

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Ideally at the age of “fresh out of the oven.”

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Although there are a number of variations to this theme (many,including “catch-up” scenarios, listed in the article cited above),the basic idea is this: Contribute $1,000 a year from age zerountil the child’s nineteenth birthday and that modest investmentwill growth to two-and-a-quarter million dollars by the time thatchild retires at age 70.

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Not bad, eh?

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: If this is such a great idea,why isn’t everyone doing it?

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Well there are two very good reasons why we don’t see Child IRAsblossoming in mutual fund accounts all across this land.

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First, not many people know about the Child IRA. Second, andmore important, even if people are aware of the Child IRA, theyaren’t currently eligible to participate.

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Aye, there’s the rub. In order to set up the Child IRA, thechild needs to have earned income. While that might be easy for ateenager, it’s nigh impossible for a newborn infant. How can a newbaby get a paying job?

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Fortunately, the wonderful world of capitalism providesreasonable access to a quick fix to this dilemma. Just turn on yourfavorite television show (or YouTube video channel) and, if youwait long enough, the answer will reveal itself.

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As explained in “How to Take Advantage of The Child IRA UnderCurrent Laws,” (FiduciaryNews.com, July 13, 2016),there is one job a child can do from very nearly the moment he isborn: model. Baby models appear in display ads and videocommercials. While the pay scale varies by market, it’s notunreasonable to expect a child model to make at least the requisite$1,000 a year needed to contribute to the Child IRA. Jobopportunities in top tier markets often feature the added benefitof residuals, meaning the child can earn income in future yearsbased on work done in a past year.

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While modeling for third parties is quite competitive anddemanding, there is a large market where it would be quiteeffortless for children to model for: their family’s business. Aslong as parents and grandparents pass reasonable wages and staywithin the application child labor laws, they can hire their ownchildren to model for their business marketing materials. Whenchildren grow older, they can assume more traditional duties, asoutlined in “Who is Using The Child IRA Right Now,”(FiduciaryNews.com, July 14, 2016).

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Naturally, a working child can generate more expenses that mayoffset any income. As luck would have it, the IRS only requiresgross income to qualify for an IRA contribution, not netincome.

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Therefore, even if the child’s job may create an isolatednegative cash flow situation, the parents working arrangementsstill should net a hefty positive cash flow, making room to use thechild’s income to contribute to the Child IRA.

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If that means making sacrifices, be mindful such sacrificesaren’t too burdensome. For example, $1,000 a year is equivalent to:dinner for two at a fancy restaurant once a month; or, a fast foodmeal for a family of four once a week; or, a single cup ofFrappuccino once a day.

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Who’d have thought you could eat healthier and possibly loseweight at the same time you’re helping your child gain financialindependence at retirement.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).