Where to put $5,000 now

What would you do with a million bucks? That's easy. But what about five grand? With a handful of broad goals in mind, here are Money Magazine's picks.

Best way to give kids a firm financial footing: A Roth IRA
Best investment: Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (VTSMX) or Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 (VFIFX)
Goal: Protecting your family
Best way to give kids a firm financial footing: A Roth IRA
If Junior made $4,000 last summer at the Gap, and you're feeling generous and wish to "match" his earnings, put the money in a Roth in his name, and it will grow tax free.

The money may not be available immediately, but it can come in handy down the road.

For college or graduate school expenses, your child may withdraw any contributions made tax-free and without early withdrawal penalties. Withdrawals of any earnings on the contributions, however, will be subject to income tax.

With the purchase of a first home, your child may withdraw any contributions made to the Roth free of tax and early withdrawal penalties.

Earnings in the account up to a maximum of $10,000 may also be withdrawn tax-free, presuming the Roth account has been open for five years and presuming all contributions have been withdrawn already.
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.