Kiplinger’s idea of a good Christmas present for a teenager is helping them start a retirement account. We kind of think the average teen is going to have a hard time understanding why that’s a “better” gift than, say, a game system, but the underlying idea is sound. As long as your teen worked at some point in 2007—even babysitting counts—he can open a Roth IRA. But other people (that means you) can fund it, up to the amount the kid earned in wages.
There’s no minimum age limit to open a Roth IRA, and you can fund it up to your tax filing deadline—so you’ve got a few post-Christmas months to surprise the kid instead of springing it on him Christmas morning.