47 0 0 0 13 6. Your teens summer earnings can’t buy love, but they can buy a bit of retirement security. In how much to invest in roth ira last column, I extolled the virtues of opening—and perhaps even contributing to—a Roth IRA for a working teenager.

Your child needs to earn money if he or you are going to contribute to an IRA on his behalf. The deadline for making the contribution is April 15, 2015. But you can start sooner, even if your teen hasn’t yet earned the money on which you will be basing the IRA contribution. If the kid doesn’t earn enough to justify your contributions, you can withdraw the excess with relatively little in the way of paperwork or penalties.

Roth IRA on her behalf, using her Social Security number. Not every brokerage or mutual fund company that will open a Roth IRA for an adult will do so for a minor, but many of the larger ones will, including Vanguard, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade. Once she ages out, the account will then need to be re-registered in her name. To encourage your teen to participate, you might offer to match every dollar he puts in.

How an adult should invest an IRA depends upon the person’s goals and risk tolerance—the same is true for a teen. You can help set those parameters by pointing out to your child that, since he’s unlikely to retire until his 60s this is likely to be a decades-long investment, and enduring short-term downturns is the price for enjoying higher potential long-term gains. Ask your child: Which would you rather? No doubt, your kid will choose the bigger number. But you also want this to be a lesson in the risks involved in investing. Some teenagers will be perfectly fine accepting the risk. You also might explain that there are options that will not decline in value at all—such as CDs and money market accounts.