This week we’re sharing tips on what to do with your 401(k) when you switch jobs, how to properly claim charity contributions on your tax return, and how to keep your budget in check. Here’s what you need to know now.

  • If you’re in the process of switching jobs, take comfort in knowing the money you have already invested in retirement will remain yours. Matt Becker from the Simple Dollar shares a few options to consider when deciding the fate of your old 401(k). He suggests keeping the money in your old 401(k), moving the money into a new 401(k), or rolling the money into an IRA. In some cases, Becker believes moving the money to an IRA make the most sense, as they typically have fewer fees and give you complete control over your investments. However, money in a 401(k) is protected against bankruptcy and lawsuits, whereas IRA protection rules vary by state.*
  • Charitable giving in the U.S. is at a near-record high, and properly claiming donations to receive tax deductions is a hot topic. Tom Anderson from Forbes explains what to know about charitable giving this tax season. He explains that in order to receive deductions, you are required to itemize your tax return. To do so, you’ll need to keep all receipts and transaction records to reflect your donations. In addition, only contributions to qualified organizations will count towards a deduction. Finally, Anderson recommends identifying the fair market value of your gift, filling out the proper forms for large donations and knowing the limits on deductions for each type of contribution.*

Budgets

  • Everyone’s budget allocation should generally look the same, despite the highly variable cost of living. Geoff Williams from U.S. News & World Report outlines how to craft the perfect budget. He suggests spending 36 percent of the budget on housing and utilities, 12 percent on food and 16 percent on transportation costs. The secret to better budgeting, however, is to go beyond these guidelines by implementing smarter money strategies. For instance, Williams suggests switching to a cash system in order to avoid overspending, and budgeting for random expenses like seasonal costs and personal grooming.

*All tax and investment information provided in this blog post is intended as a convenient source of information. This information is general in nature, is not complete, and may not apply to your specific situation. Please consult with your own tax or investment advisor regarding your specific investment needs.

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