Although it has taken the investment world by storm, Robinhood is often described by veteran investors as a gimmick that the kids use. But by “kids,” are they just talking about the newest generation of young investors, or can you actually be under 18 years old and open a Robinhood account?
You have to be 18 to use Robinhood. In addition to being a legal adult, you must also have a valid SSN; U.S. residential address; and provide proof of citizenship, permanent resident status, or have a valid U.S. visa.
It may be frustrating for Robinhood enthusiasts that their kid cannot set up a Robinhood account. However, there are still some ways that you can start your child on the path to financial freedom from an early age.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about opening a Robinhood account for people under 18.
Do You Have to Be 18 to Use Robinhood?
Yes, you have to be 18 to use Robinhood.
Robinhood has the following requirements for opening an account:
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Have a valid Social Security Number (a Tax Identification Number is not acceptable)
- Have a legal U.S. residential address within the 50 states or Puerto Rico (exceptions may be made for military personnel stationed abroad)
- Must be a permanent U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or have a valid U.S. visa
What Age Can You Open a Robinhood Account?
You can open a Robinhood account if you are 18 years of age or older.
This is common across all types of investment platforms.
Recommended Financial Geek Article: 10 Reasons Why Robinhood Is Good for Beginners
Can I Open a Robinhood Account for My Child?
At this time, there is no way that you can open a Robinhood account in your child’s name.
This includes guardian, custodial, or IRA accounts. None of these products are offered by Robinhood.
If this is the case, why not just open a second Robinhood account and earmark one for your child?
As I analyzed in a previous article, an individual may only open one Robinhood account. Each Robinhood account is tied to a unique SSN, so any applications containing a duplicate SSN will be automatically declined.
If you are gung-ho about using Robinhood for your child’s future, what you can do is have your spouse or life partner open a Robinhood account and use that account for the child.
However, doing so is risky on several fronts.
As the account is not in your child’s name, it ultimately remains the property of your significant other. If the two of you stop seeing eye-to-eye on your child’s financial future, or if the relationship were to end, the account would be completely at the discretion of your significant other. Years of saving on behalf of your child could evaporate in an instant.
Therefore, regardless of how strongly you feel about Robinhood, it is probably best to avoid this approach for investing for your child.
If you remain adamant that Robinhood is the only platform you want to use, then you and your significant other need to have some preemptive legal agreements in place prior to opening the account, specifying exactly how contributions can or cannot be used.
How Can I Invest for My Child?
Although Robinhood does not offer them, there are several investment products that can benefit people under 18 years of age.
This is the most common brokerage account type for minors. It is generally what comes to mind when you hear people saying that they are investing for their child’s education, future, etc.
In a custodial account, the minor’s name is on the account, and they actually own the assets in the account. However, parents are in control of all decisions pertaining to contributions and withdrawals.
All capital gains and dividends on the account are taxed in the child’s name and not the parent’s. This can be good news because since minors generally don’t have much (or any) income, it is highly likely that they won’t have to pay any taxes on the account.
When the minor turns 18, the custodial account then becomes sole property of the beneficiary, and he or she is responsible for all subsequent decisions relating to contributions or withdrawals.
For all intents and purposes, a guardian account is just a second brokerage account for the parent with the child’s name attached to it.
The parent has complete control over all investment decisions and is fully responsible for all taxes. In fact, even after the child turns 18, the parent has no legal responsibility to turn the account over to the child.
The main benefit of a guardian account is that it allows the parent to open a second account with the same provider and earmark it for the child without having to get the spouse or life partner involved.
Although parents cannot open an IRA on behalf of their child, minors can open an IRA of their own after they have earned taxable income and filed a tax return for at least one year. As labor laws differ between states, check your locality to find out when your child can legally start working and how soon he or she may be able to set up an IRA.
Which Platforms Allow Custodial Accounts?
As mentioned, Robinhoood does not offer custodial accounts or any other type of brokerage product on behalf of a minor.
However, if a custodial account is something in which you are interested for your child, look into the following platforms:
- Charles Schwab
The Bottom Line: Do You Have to Be 18 to Use Robinhood?
You must be at least 18 years of age to open a Robinhood account. In addition, there is currently no option on Robinhood for parents to open a separate account in their child’s name.
While this may be frustrating for staunch Robinhood enthusiasts, there are still plenty of other ways to get your child started on the journey to financial freedom before they reach adulthood!
Thanks for reading!