Can you give the gift of saving with an Australian savings account?
Almost every bank or credit union in Australia has special accounts that are structured for children.
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Technically you are not permitted to gift this type of account to a minor in Australia, but a child will certainly benefit from one that is opened by a parent or legal guardian.
Gift savings accounts are available in countries such as the United States, where these types of accounts can be used to help cover the costs of a child’s ongoing education. Switzerland also allows for gift savings accounts, but in this case there is no limit on what the balance may be used for.
- Maximum rate: 1.2% p.a.
- Standard variable rate: 0.1% p.a.
- Monthly fees: $0
What is a gift savings account?
In Australia, a parent or legal guardian is permitted to open an account in the name of their child. These gift savings accounts are managed by the adult until the child reaches an age where they are mature enough to take on the responsibility themselves.
The money in the account is earning interest, and in order to be considered a child’s account, cannot be used for normal child rearing expenses. Depending on the account balance, the child named on the account may be subject to tax on their interest earnings.
How does a gift savings account work for my grandchild?
Loretta has decided that this year for Christmas she is going to open a savings account in the name of her grandchild Brian with Suncorp Bank. As his legal guardian, she realises that she is permitted to do so as long as she can provide Suncorp with a copy of his birth certificate. With this account, her grandson can earn bonus interest when a monthly deposit requirement is met, and electronic deposits can be set up from her own bank account or from anyone else.
Since Brian is named as the primary account holder and is still a minor, there is no need to worry about having to pay taxes on the interest earned, so long as that amount does not exceed $416. If it does, then the child account holder will need to lodge a return with the Australian Tax Office at the conclusion of the tax year.
What are some other great financial gifts for children?
If you want to give a financial gift to a child that is not a basic savings account, you could think about a high interest savings account or a term deposit. Of course the same rules would apply in terms of tax on interest earnings and parental access, but a child will learn at a young age how to determine how much time and money is needed to help reach a financial goal.
For really young kids, start them off with a simple piggy bank where they put their spare change away for a rainy day purchase. With this type of financial gift for children, you can show them the cost of something they want to have, and then help them to see how quickly it can be purchased just by inserting a few cents a day.
An insurance bond can also be established in a child’s name and work like a managed fund towards savings toward educational or other large expenses. There are also tax advantages to opening this type of gift savings product that make holding onto it for an extended period of time worthwhile.
Is Christmas the best time to give these gifts?
Gift savings accounts and other financial gifts for children can be given for any occasion, including Christmas. While a passbook with some numbers printed inside may not seem like a good substitute for the latest video game at the time, kids will quickly learn that a savings account is a gift that keeps on giving. Once the child has an established gift savings account, you can help make it grow with monetary gifts for birthdays, graduations and other special occasions.
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