The problem with the Child IRA is you have to start it when the baby is newly born (or reasonably thereafter.
Are you reading this and thinking, “My children are teenagers, there’s no way they can catch up this late in the game.” That’s not entirely true. Have you ever heard of the “gig” economy? It just may contain the answer.
Remember when you used to hire your kid to do a particularly dirty job you didn’t want to? Let’s say an overnight windstorm blew over the trash cans. It’s 8 o’clock in the morning. The waste disposal folks come in thirty minutes. You’re in your PJs and quite comfortable. You turn to your oldest and child and say, “Can you go outside and clean up the garbage? I’ll give you five dollars.”
Boom! Your kid just became a gig worker!
These freelance ventures don’t need to be one-and-done. You can hire your child to walk the dog. That’s about $10 a week worth of work. It’s a regular gig. Now we can get on to more serious things, (see “Gig Workers Saving for Retirement – What’s in Their Best Interest?” FiduciaryNews.com, February 15, 2018).
Let’s switch things around for the moment. Instead of lazing around at home in your pajamas, you’re busying yourself at work (pajamas optional, but only on pajama Friday). You’ve got a few odd jobs that need jobbing. You can hire your kids to do that.
They can use that money to fund an IRA. But they’ll have to come into the office every day, you’ll eat dinner with them every night, and you’ll have to bring them along on family vacation. In other words, you’ll never get a break from them. And the most they can contribute for retirement is $5,500 a year.
But, what if there was a way to both see your kids less and maybe have them save more for retirement. Rather than bring them on as employees for ongoing tasks, hire them as contractors for short-term projects.
Think of the assignments you might search the internet to find one of those “one-and-done” gig workers. Only don’t scan the worldwide web. Scan the kitchen table.
There are quite a few brand-building projects most businesses can readily use. We’ll review one of them, one that I happen to have recent (and not so recent) experience with: video production.
Thanks to the advent of super-smart phones with extremely user friendly and intuitive software, many of today’s teenagers have no problem creating internet-ready videos. Indeed, with the trend towards visual rather than written content, forward thinking business leaders want and need more video content to attract the younger generations (i.e., the markets that are growing).
You can hire a local company or a major media company to make these videos. It’ll cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000. The cost depends on number of cameras used, number of shooting location, post-production complexity and total time of the video. To give you a sense of how this might vary, I share with you the costs of some videos I had done.
Last summer, I filmed an interview with Ted Benna. It was a two-camera straight shoot (meaning nothing was edited out). Post production included cutting back and forth between the two cameras, overlaying the audio (which was on a separate track) and adding an intro and an outro. The total cost was roughly $2,500 for a 30-minute video.
Contrast this cost to what I paid to make a couple of promotional videos for a book I wrote in 2012. A 60-second book trailer included four location shots, one camera, and a separate audio. A 4-minute “sneak preview” video featured a two camera in studio set-up with a separate audio. In the post-production, some animation and several cuts were added. The total cost was roughly $5,000.
Lastly, for my latest book, I created a Kickstarter campaign that needed a video. I priced out a 90-second animated video and got quotes from $500 to $2,500. I opted to buy the software myself (for $300) and produce the video myself.
Here’s the deal. Increasing video content makes whatever you’re doing more engaging to your audience. And my kids have been able to produce videos like these since high school. I could have hired them on and paid them to produce not one, but several videos.
Imagine your child making twelve one-minute videos a year for your business – one for each month. You’d pay $1,000 for each video, meaning your child would earn $12,000. That’s more than twice the allowable deduction in a standard IRA.
What if your child, as a sole proprietor, established a Solo 401k? Then that entire $12,000 could be saved for retirement (since the cap on the Solo 401k is $18,500).
Your child may be too old to fully benefit from a Child IRA, but if you own your own business, there’s no reason why your child can’t turbo-charge retirement saving by starting a “Child” Solo 401k.