That is a wonderful way to help your parents, if you can afford this gesture yourself. However, they can contribute to IRA's only if one of them is earning a wage or self-employed income of at least $4,000 (assuming that there will be a spousal IRA also). If you are concerned that this money might not get invested in the accounts, just make out the checks for each IRA in the name of the firm holding the IRA accounts, FBO your mother and your father (give legal names). I did this for my sons and there was no problem; I wanted to make sure that $2,000 actually got invested and did not get "diverted" to other things along the way. What a thoughtful offspring you are!P.S. go to the website of Vanguard or T.Rowe Price or Fidelity (all .com) and download the forms you need to create these accounts. It is very simple. All of these sites have good info also. Of course there is this TMF site.Regards,CA
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