Keep these considerations in mind when helping your kids purchase big-ticket items.
Hopefully, by the time your kids reach a point where a major purchase is considered – be it a college education, a car, a wedding, a home or even a business – you’ve succeeded in teaching them the value of a dollar. This will help them understand the gravity of the decisions you’ll make as you explore how the money they need will be provided – by gift or by loan, for example.
Think of your needs first. This might be hard since it’s natural for parents to have an attitude of self-sacrifice when it comes to kids. But when it comes to your financial future, there’s no scholarship for retirement. Talk to your financial advisor to gain perspective.
Giving by Gift
In 2018, the IRS increased the annual individual gift amount to $15,000 – each parent can give a child $15,000 for a total of $30,000. Give more and you’ll need to file a gift tax form. But that doesn’t mean a tax bill. Since the individual lifetime gift exclusion amount is $11.18 million per individual, the amount over $30,000 will count toward the lifetime gift exclusion. Talk to your tax professional before you decide to gift above the annual gift exclusion amount.
Giving by Loan
Here are three important things to keep in mind when loaning money:
- Even though it’s a transaction between a parent and child, monetary transactions should be treated like business. Make expectations clear. Put loans in writing. This way, everybody can do his or her part to keep relationships cordial. Also, if the loan is more than $10,000, the IRS requires you to earn interest at or above the applicable federal rates. You can find them at irs.gov.
- Loan only money that won’t cause you financial instability. Additionally, there are other possibilities. For example, you can use securities in your eligible brokerage accounts as collateral in a Securities Based Line of Credit.
- lf you’re providing a mortgage, it must be registered in order for your child to claim the mortgage interest deduction. You can use a company such as National Family Mortgage to register the loan. Real estate attorneys often do this work, too. They’ll prepare the note that sets terms, interest rate, payment dates and frequency. Remember, these notes are legally binding.
Manage Expectations – Everybody's
Expectations can be emotional. For parents, think how you might feel sitting across the table at family gatherings from someone who owes you significant money but is not always on time with payments. Adult children may not know how parents will react if they make other large purchases while still owing money. These things must be discussed in advance. If either side is uncomfortable, a loan may not be a good idea.
- Talk to your financial advisor and tax professional ahead of time.
- Set expectations for everyone and agree to them.
- Have a plan for what to do if an interruption in loan payments is likely or imminent.