So here’s my position. Next year I plan in order to do all of:
Get 401k matching %
Max family HSA
Max both 401ks
Max 2 IRAs
Yes, very lucky position to be in.
With the new 529 rules allowing a lifetime max of $35k of a 529 to be rolled to a Roth IRA, I am considering funding a 529 now in addition to the above. I would label myself the beneficiary.
We plan to buy a child in the next couple of years. It looks like there is a maximum of $17,000 per year without triggering weird gifting rules, and I couldn’t hit $17k in a year with all the other savings regardless.
Any savings/growth over $35k will be ineligible for the Roth IRA rollover, but that’s only a consideration should my child not go to college, and I’ll likely encourage them to go. Even if they don’t go and I have much more than $35k, the funds can be pulled out at a penalty on the growth.
got one of my daughters from China, decent quality stuff over there, happy to share my experience if you’d like, though it is a little dated. We picked up a 2003 model, but not until 2010, via a non-initiator parental responsibility transfer process.
Is the purchase process through China or other foreign countries significantly easier?
I’ve been told that due to our age, being married, finances, owned house, no criminal history, we should be “top of the priority list” for adoption. Which feels kind of unfair but I won’t complain about it. I assumed we’d likely go domestic but I don’t really have any preference that it be my race or born nationality.
Well - maybe a tiny preference for my race - for the baby, not me. I’ve read that cross-racial adoptees can have a more difficult time feeling accepted, loved, part of the family. Surely many such adoptees have absolutely no different experience than a same-race one.
Note that with 529s the IRS allows you to gift up to 5x the gift tax limit all at once, but it does count as the next 5 years worth of gifts.
So if you came into a block of money you could put up to $85,000 in each kid’s 529 account without triggering gift tax issues, but that counts as your 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27 gifts to the kid.
I’m not clear on what happens if the gift tax limit goes up during the next 5 years. Like if it goes up to $18,000 in 2026 does that mean you can gift $1,000 in each of 2026 and 2027? Or $2,000 in 2027? I dunno that piece but you can definitely do the $85,000 right off the bat and be ok gift-tax-wise.
That exception is only for 529 contributions though… not for other gifts.
First we decided to do international vs. US due to
When we were looking at it (2007 - 2008), China felt better for us because the process was fairly straightforward. Yes, there’s a lot of bureaucracy. But you know what you’re getting in to and as long as you follow the rules, you know what to expect. Plus the trip would be 2 weeks and that was it. Brazil was something like 40 days in-country and we didn’t want to be gone that long, other places (Ukraine) required 2 trips, etc.
We had church friends who were adopting from other countries and they ended up with a lot of runaround re: children’s health, changing expectations, undisclosed bribes suddenly needing to be paid, etc. So the clear-cut process for China was what finally did it for us.
Do note, we were also willing to adopt a “waiting child” which was for any child who was abandoned at 2 years or older or had medical issues. This meant that after we finished our application process, we could review lists of slightly older (2-10 years) children already on the list, rather than getting in line behind all those wanting a “healthy infant”. There was one couple who was on our trip who was adopting a healthy infant, and they’d been waiting something like 3.5 years after finishing all their paperwork to make the trip. We traveled about 6 months after we identified our daughter, which was about 4 months after we finished our paperwork.
Also note, changing attitudes towards in-country adoption in China and the relaxation of rules regarding birth have dramatically changed the landscape of international adoption from China in the last 10 years. I wouldn’t be surprised if our experience is pretty different from anyone adopting today.
A Facebook friend / HS classmate that I see about once a year adopted several kids from China more recently and it took significantly longer. I got the sense that that’s typical, and I was present when she was comparing notes with another HS classmate that I see on the same schedule who also adopted a child from China around the time Bro did. Friend with the earlier adoption kept saying stuff like “wow, we didn’t have to do that, or that, or that… we didn’t have to do any of that!”
So there’s a very small sample size for you, but my sense is that it’s gotten more complex. Also, I think China mostly isn’t adopting out healthy kids internationally any more. I know they used to, but my understanding is that now it’s only kids with medical or social / psychological issues. Obviously look into this and think about what you’re interested in doing.
Friend with the later adoptions has two girls with “limb deficiencies”… ie each girl is missing a limb (a leg in both cases). She says this isn’t as big of an issue as you might think, but they do travel to a special place in Florida to get the girls fitted for prosthetics fairly regularly as the girls grow out of their old ones. Older girl is doing competitive wheelchair athletic events.
We discussed with multiple friends and family who either had experience with adopting, fostering, or do social work for a career.
The consensus we came out with was “we should aim for a healthy infant.”
Major props for people who are willing to take on a child who’s had ingrained behavioral problems or inherent health issues. If I could pick and choose which issue the child might have, I’d be happy to take on something minor (after all, I have a minor and manageable disability.)
However, I know myself and my partner, and we simply would struggle with a child with ingrained borderline personality disorder, severe genetic issues, etc. Should such crop up naturally as our child ages, that is the lottery and I’ll handle it in stride, but we aren’t those who should sign up for it by choice.
Personally I was advocating for a child around age 2-5, bypassing the complete infant stage. Regardless of the inevitability of the “my own child” phenomenon where everybody loves their kid, infancy is not the stage I’m super excited about. Later on, yes. However, in discussion with my social worker uncle who fostered a child who tried to stab and sexually abuse their dog, and stab them, I was dissuaded. And he wasn’t my only data point, but one significant one.