With Mother’s Day around the corner, you might wonder if you should go beyond chocolates and flowers this year and give Mom something that can help her far into the future. What sort of financial gift can improve her life?
You could, for instance, encourage your mother to fund her IRA. As long as she has any earned income, she is eligible to invest in a traditional or Roth IRA (although a Roth IRA does have income limits which, if exceeded, will reduce and eventually eliminate contributions). In 2017, the IRA contribution limit is $5,500, or $6,500 for individuals 50 or older. Traditional IRA contributions may be deductible, depending on one’s income, and earnings can grow tax deferred. Taxes are due upon withdrawal and withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty. Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, but earnings are distributed tax-free, provided an investor has had the account at least five years and doesn’t start taking withdrawals until age 59½.
You can’t contribute directly to your mother’s IRA, but you can give her money to use for that purpose, if she chooses. And since she has until April 17, 2018, to fully fund her IRA for the 2017 tax year, your gift now may help make it that much easier for Mom to “max out” on her account.
Here’s another suggestion: Consider helping Mom pay one or two months’ worth of insurance premiums. It’s possible that your mother is paying for multiple insurance policies, like life insurance and disability or long-term care insurance, so any financial help on your part would be valuable.
You might also want to give Mom some tips on how she can help maintain her financial independence throughout her life. If she ever needed some type of long-term care, such as an extended stay in a nursing home or the services of a home health aide, the costs could be extremely high, and Medicare typically pays little of these expenses. So you might want to connect her mother with a financial professional, who can provide strategies for protecting her from long-term care costs.
Here’s one more suggestion: Give a gift to a charitable organization your mother supports. Even though you’re making the gift in Mom’s name, you should be able to reap some benefits yourself, even apart from the good feelings you’ll get by helping a charitable group. As long as the charity has 501(c)(3) status (named after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that governs such groups), your gift can offer you tax advantages. On the most basic level, a gift of cash can earn you a tax deduction. So, for example, if you are in the 25% tax bracket, and you give $1,000 to a qualified charity, you will be able to deduct $250 from your taxes.
You may be able to get even more tax benefits if you donate appreciated assets, such as stocks, to a charity. If you give appreciated stocks you’ve held for more than one year, you can deduct the value of the securities, based on their worth when you make the gift — and neither you nor the charity will have to pay capital gains taxes on the donated investments.
Your mother has done a lot for you. This Mother’s Day, show her you appreciate her efforts.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Adviser. Douglas J. Drost CFP Financial Adviser for Edward Jones, 2262 Reno Highway.