Some Savvy Financial Tips for Clever Parents

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What do most people care most about in life?  For obvious and innumerable reasons, their children.  We want to give them the very best we can and everything that we can to help them be successful and happy.  Education is, for good reason, one of the best avenues for achieving this.  But, here are three unconventional ways you can give your kids an automatic advantage:

1) Buy the website URL address for their name:

If someone else (who probably has the same name) buys it first, then they can own it forever.  As the world gravitates ever more into a digital ecosystem, it can be incredibly beneficial to stand-out in this environment and to tailor your online image to represent the personal brand you have created.  Additionally, buying your children’s website names empowers them to promote themselves by raising their website to the top of the results when someone, such as a potential employer or college admissions officer, searches their name.  If you search “Summit Prep,” our company is the first to come up in part because our web address is www.SummitPrep.com.  What was searched is literally what our web address is; this works the same for every company and for every person.  If you do not buy the domain name first, then you would need to buy it from someone else.  And who would want to sell the website of their own name?  I have no plans to ever sell www.DavidBlobaum.com, and I consider buying it one of my best purchases.  Buying the domain for your child’s name is an inexpensive investment (usually around $10 per year), yet this personalized online real estate can yield tremendous value.

2) Add your children as authorized users to your credit cards:

… and cut up the cards when they arrive (or do with them whatever you want). Adding them to your credit cards will dramatically improve their credit scores in two ways: it will increase their credit limits (they will have your credit limit) and increase the average age of their credit accounts.  Your children could easily start their adult life right out of college with a credit score of 750 or above.  Given what a large impact credit scores have on our lives (loan interest rates, car insurance rates, and sometimes even job offers), giving your kids an automatic head-start is very advantageous.

3) Match their earnings with IRA investments:

Encourage them to get a summer or part-time job when they are 16 and match their earnings with IRA contributions.  This is smart for a few reasons: 1) Working teaches professionalism and how to work hard and manage money. 2) It doubles their financial incentive to work (which could be particularly important if they are only making minimum wage).  3) It will likely make a significant impact on their retirement assets.  In 2020, the maximum annual contribution to an IRA is $6,000 per year; and, in order to make this maximum contribution, your child will have had to earn that amount or more. Let’s say they earn $6,000 when they are 16 and again when they are 17 years old, and you match that amount, thereby maxing out their contributions.  At a 7% rate of return, that $12,000 will grow to over $354,000 by the time they are 67 years old.  The IRA should be a Roth IRA (instead of a traditional) because there is virtually no tax benefit to a traditional IRA for someone with an income of only $6,000.  This also means that they’ll have that $354,000 to withdraw tax free.  Pretty incredible incentive for them: make $177,000 each summer (that they can use in 50 years) plus the $6,000 they made themselves that they can use immediately.

The real trick will be getting them to appreciate what you do for them.  That too might take 50 years.

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