I'm trying to figure out the optimal manner to donate the most money to charity. I currently donate all excess income to charity, minus the money I keep for emergencies. Donating to charity is important to me and I want to do my best to optimize it.
I also am currently putting as much into my 401K as my company matches. I'm still young and I have a pretty good paying job, over 100K with expectation of it raising steadily for awhile longer. I live very frugally and plan to work as long as possible before retirement, and so I suspect that just the matching contributions would be sufficient to cover my retirement needs. To be frank I know that there is a government safety net in place if I miscalculate my savings and, while I have no intent to use it, knowing that I have it means that I'm willing to gamble a little to maximize charitable donations.
However, I would still prefer to have a larger nest egg for retirement if possible. I'm wondering rather I can afford to donate more to my 401K without hurting my, long term, charitable contributions. In other words can I donate more money to my 401k now, and if I don't need it for retirement donate that excess to charity once retired without suffering any penalties or paying any extra taxes? I'm willing to use either type of 401K if one is optimal.
I currently have my own charitable fund, which works quite similar to a 401K for charity, so I can earn interest in the stock money via my charitable fund as well as a 401K could; in other words the potential profits I could earn from my 401k's investments do not factor into my consideration.
In a related note what happens if I die before I retire? If I want all my 401K retirement fund to go to charity can I make that happen if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, without suffering any tax penalties?