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Hey everyone!

My mom is awful with money. She's close to 50 years of age, does not own her home (divorced several years ago and agreed to let dad have the house), has thousands of $$ in CC debt, and does not have a retirement account. (Also, I don't think she has health insurance, but that's another problem).

I wanna start a ROTH IRA account for her. Is that possible? I know you can start a custodial account for a minor, but can you do that for your mom? I don't want her to be able to borrow against it, but I want her to have a tax-advantaged account.

Any help would be appreciated.
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If your mother has earned income, she can make deposits to an IRA. If those deposits are in the form of one of your checks, I suspect the brokerage or bank will still accept them.

But you can't start her IRA without her knowledge. She will need to sign the forms to establish the IRA.

Doug
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I think you should help her get out of debt first. Spend and hour brainstorming and you'll find all sorts of ways she can earn more and spend less. Give her a target date to pay off her credit cards, like 6 or 12 months. You might also have her call the cc companies and ask if lower interest rate plans are available.

Beyond that, my mother is about the same age as yours and I helped her open Roth, Taxable, and Traditional IRAs with Vanguard. She/you can apply online via their website, www.vanguard.com . Actually when I deal with them I have my mom's SS# handy, and just pretend I'm her. It helps that she has a name that could be male or female, but they really won't care either way.

Nick
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Do you have her social? I started an IRA through the mail for hubby, and he wouldn't have ever known a thing about it if I didn't each year take him by the hand and show him how much money was in the account and where it could be found in the event I was killed or mentally incapacitated. If she doesn't know she has an IRA, she can't borrow against it. Not sure if it's strictly strictly legal but let's face it, no one is going to shoot you if you surprise your Mom with a retirement account when she turns 65.
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I think you should help her get out of debt first.

I disagree. I generally recommend that people start investing *now*, today, without wasting another moment, even if they can only afford to invest 1% of their pre-tax income while paying down their debt. The point is to stop procrastinating and stop making excuses about why you'll start investing at some later date. That later date never seems to come for many people. The hardest part seems to be getting started.

Start by making some small commitment and then commit to increasing that commitment over time.
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Thanks for all the help, everyone! I talked to my mom and she was (not surprisingly) completely amenable to the idea. I don't think she'll touch the account either. I told her I was opening it with ScotTrade but I'm sure she's forgotten by now and I'm sure that has no meaning to her anyway. She agreed to put some money into it every month in the form of a check she'll write to me. This is in addition to the money I'll put in for her.

Anybody know of a good retirement calculator? I need to figure out how much she'll have by retirement if we max out what we put into the account for the next 20 years.

Again, thanks soo much!
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You are a good daughter.

Your mom must be very proud of you.
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If your mother has earned income, she can make deposits to an IRA. If those deposits are in the form of one of your checks, I suspect the brokerage or bank will still accept them.
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At least some brokers won't. Scottrade would not deposit checks written from my business, even though I am the owner and my name was on the check.

Good on you for doing this, btw!
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