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how to: invest your money

Saving money and learning about investing is always a smart plan. Even if you’re newly hitched, it’s never too soon to start planning for those golden years. Think about it: Do you imagine yourselves lying on a beach or working behind a desk? If you picked the beach (or travel, or golf, or anything other than the 9-to-5 grind), you’ve come to the right place. We have all kinds of investment advice, including the basics of how to invest wisely and what all those financial terms really mean. Not sure where to begin? Start with our five easy steps to invest your money. We also have investing advice and Q&A on all kinds of financial basics about investing -- learn the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, how to invest your savings, and your options if you can only invest a small amount. Our basic investing advice will help you get ready. But before you invest your money, you should be sure you’re out of debt: Use our debt calculator to help plan your payments, and follow our simple steps to go from credit card misery to debt free. And if your problem is a lack of cash, we’ve got tips for you, too. Learn the habits of spending-savvy couples, and find easy ways to save more of each month’s paycheck and stick to your budget. Don’t want to go it alone? Check out our local pages to find a financial planner in your area for some in-person investment advice.

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Money Q&A: What to Do With My Old 401(k)?

Q.

The Nest Q&A

What happens to my 401(k) if I change jobs?

A.

When you leave a company, you basically have four options for what to do with the retirement plan.

Option 1: If you’ve got more than $5,000 in the account, you can keep the money there indefinitely (but you can't add to it).

Option 2: Roll the money over into an IRA; you manage the IRA yourself, so you’ll have tons of choices about where to invest. But beware: Many plans charge fees. If you go this route, look for no-load funds.

Option 3: Roll the money into your new company’s 401(k) plan. You need to be at the company for a year before that’s allowed.

Option 4: Cash it out. But you already know doing so would subject the entire balance to income tax and early-withdrawal penalties. So just say no and speak to a representative at the fund who can help you make an informed decision.

-- The Nest Editors

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