You are previewing 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances.
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30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances

Book Description

Quick financial advice for long-term financial stability-no matter where the stock market is heading

Individuals face money challenges today that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. How can you meet the money demands of housing, college savings, retirement, and other financial goals without spending all of your spare time focused on them?

Morningstar's Director of Personal Finance, Christine Benz, gives you the tools for tackling your money challenges. This practical guide breaks down important financial tasks into digestible, doable chunks-each task taking just 30 minutes or less. To keep your finances on track, you'll also receive access to Benz's exclusive online tools and worksheets that allow you to apply her principles to your specific financial situation.

  • Lays out the tools to get organized, including setting up a system for tracking your money and important financial documents, setting financial goals, and developing a budget and financial plan

  • Shows you how to match the right investments to your goals, whether you're just making your first investment or have an established portfolio of securities, using time-tested investment strategies and Morningstar insights

  • Coaches you on tackling other important tasks for a healthy financial life, such as estate planning and managing your taxes

Read Morningstar's 30-Minute Money Solutions in its entirety for a comprehensive money plan, or read select chapters to meet specific challenges, such as saving for college or reviving your ailing retirement plan. It's the ideal money guide for novices and experienced investors alike from the most-trusted name in investment research, Morningstar.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
    1. Your Get-It-Done Guide
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. There's No Time Like the Present
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. I. Find Your Baseline
    1. 1. Calculate Your Net Worth
      1. 1.1. Start the Clock
        1. 1.1.1. Step 1
        2. 1.1.2. Step 2
        3. 1.1.3. Step 3
        4. 1.1.4. Step 4
        5. 1.1.5. Step 5
      2. 1.2. Next Steps
    2. 2. See Where Your Money Goes
      1. 2.1. Start the Clock
        1. 2.1.1. Step 1
        2. 2.1.2. Step 2
        3. 2.1.3. Step 3
        4. 2.1.4. Step 4
        5. 2.1.5. Step 5
        6. 2.1.6. Step 6
      2. 2.2. Next Steps
    3. 3. Set Your Financial Goals
      1. 3.1. Start the Clock
        1. 3.1.1. Step 1
        2. 3.1.2. Step 2
        3. 3.1.3. Step 3
      2. 3.2. Next Steps
    4. 4. Create a Budget
      1. 4.1. Start the Clock
        1. 4.1.1. Step 1
        2. 4.1.2. Step 2
        3. 4.1.3. Step 3
        4. 4.1.4. Step 4
        5. 4.1.5. Step 5
      2. 4.2. Next Steps
  6. II. Get Organized
    1. 5. Create a Bill-Paying System
      1. 5.1. Start the Clock—For Online Bill Paying
        1. 5.1.1. Step 1
        2. 5.1.2. Step 2
        3. 5.1.3. Step 3
      2. 5.2. Start the Clock—For Paying Bills the Old-Fashioned Way
        1. 5.2.1. Step 1
        2. 5.2.2. Step 2
      3. 5.3. Next Steps
    2. 6. Create a Filing System
      1. 6.1. Start the Clock
        1. 6.1.1. Step 1
        2. 6.1.2. Step 2
        3. 6.1.3. Step 3
      2. 6.2. Next Steps
    3. 7. Create a Master Directory
      1. 7.1. Start the Clock
        1. 7.1.1. Step 1
        2. 7.1.2. Step 2
        3. 7.1.3. Step 3
      2. 7.2. Next Steps
  7. III. Find the Best Use of Your Money
    1. 8. Determine Whether to Pay Down Debt or Invest
      1. 8.1. Start the Clock
        1. 8.1.1. Step 1
        2. 8.1.2. Step 2
        3. 8.1.3. Step 3
        4. 8.1.4. Step 4
        5. 8.1.5. Step 5
      2. 8.2. Next Steps
    2. 9. Decide Where to Invest for Retirement
      1. 9.1. Start the Clock
        1. 9.1.1. Step 1
        2. 9.1.2. Step 2
        3. 9.1.3. Step 3
        4. 9.1.4. Step 4
        5. 9.1.5. Step 5
      2. 9.2. Next Step
  8. IV. Get Started in Investing
    1. 10. Create an Emergency Fund
      1. 10.1. Start the Clock
        1. 10.1.1. Step 1
        2. 10.1.2. Step 2
        3. 10.1.3. Step 3
        4. 10.1.4. Step 4
      2. 10.2. Next Steps
    2. 11. Find the Right Stock/Bond Mix
      1. 11.1. Start the Clock
        1. 11.1.1. Step 1
        2. 11.1.2. Step 2
        3. 11.1.3. Step 3
      2. 11.2. Next Steps
    3. 12. Create an Investment Policy Statement
      1. 12.1. Start the Clock
        1. 12.1.1. Step 1
        2. 12.1.2. Step 2
        3. 12.1.3. Step 3
        4. 12.1.4. Step 4
        5. 12.1.5. Step 5
        6. 12.1.6. Step 6
        7. 12.1.7. Step 7
        8. 12.1.8. Step 8
      2. 12.2. Next Steps
    4. 13. Invest for Short- and Intermediate-Term Goals
      1. 13.1. Start the Clock
        1. 13.1.1. Step 1
        2. 13.1.2. Step 2
        3. 13.1.3. Step 3
        4. 13.1.4. Step 4
      2. 13.2. Next Steps
    5. 14. Create a Hands-Off Long-Term Portfolio
      1. 14.1. Start the Clock
        1. 14.1.1. Step 1
        2. 14.1.2. Step 2
        3. 14.1.3. Step 3
      2. 14.2. Next Steps
  9. V. Invest in Your Company Retirement Plan
    1. 15. Determine How Good Your Company Retirement Plan Is
      1. 15.1. Start the Clock
        1. 15.1.1. Step 1
        2. 15.1.2. Step 2
        3. 15.1.3. Step 3
        4. 15.1.4. Step 4
        5. 15.1.5. Step 5
      2. 15.2. Next Steps
    2. 16. Decide between a Traditional and Roth 401(k)
      1. 16.1. Start the Clock
        1. 16.1.1. Step 1
        2. 16.1.2. Step 2
        3. 16.1.3. Step 3
        4. 16.1.4. Step 4
      2. 16.2. Next Step
    3. 17. Select the Best Investments for Your Company Retirement Plan
      1. 17.1. Start the Clock
        1. 17.1.1. Step 1
        2. 17.1.2. Step 2
        3. 17.1.3. Step 3
      2. 17.2. Next Steps
    4. 18. Make the Most of a Subpar 401(k) Plan
      1. 18.1. Start the Clock
        1. 18.1.1. Step 1
        2. 18.1.2. Step 2
        3. 18.1.3. Step 3
      2. 18.2. Next Steps
  10. VI. Invest in an IRA
    1. 19. Determine What Type of IRA Is Best for You
      1. 19.1. Start the Clock
        1. 19.1.1. Step 1
        2. 19.1.2. Step 2
        3. 19.1.3. Step 3
      2. 19.2. Next Steps
    2. 20. Identify the Best Investments for Your IRA
      1. 20.1. Start the Clock
        1. 20.1.1. Step 1
        2. 20.1.2. Step 2
        3. 20.1.3. Step 3
      2. 20.2. Next Steps
    3. 21. Determine Whether to Convert Your IRA
      1. 21.1. Start the Clock
        1. 21.1.1. Step 1
        2. 21.1.2. Step 2
        3. 21.1.3. Step 3
        4. 21.1.4. Step 4
        5. 21.1.5. Step 5
      2. 21.2. Next Steps
    4. 22. Roll Over Your Retirement Plan into an IRA
      1. 22.1. Start the Clock
        1. 22.1.1. Step 1
        2. 22.1.2. Step 2
        3. 22.1.3. Step 3
        4. 22.1.4. Step 4
      2. 22.2. Next Steps
  11. VII. Invest for College
    1. 23. Find the Right College Savings Vehicle
      1. 23.1. Start the Clock
        1. 23.1.1. Step 1
        2. 23.1.2. Step 2
        3. 23.1.3. Step 3
      2. 23.2. Next Steps
    2. 24. Find the Right 529 Plan
      1. 24.1. Start the Clock
        1. 24.1.1. Step 1
        2. 24.1.2. Step 2
        3. 24.1.3. Step 3
        4. 24.1.4. Step 4
      2. 24.2. Next Steps
    3. 25. Select the Right Investments for Your College Savings Plan
      1. 25.1. Start the Clock
        1. 25.1.1. Step 1
        2. 25.1.2. Step 2
        3. 25.1.3. Step 3
        4. 25.1.4. Step 4
      2. 25.2. Next Steps
  12. VIII. Invest in Your Taxable Account
    1. 26. Identify the Best Investments for Taxable Accounts
      1. 26.1. Start the Clock
        1. 26.1.1. Step 1
        2. 26.1.2. Step 2
        3. 26.1.3. Step 3
      2. 26.2. Next Steps
    2. 27. Manage Your Portfolio for Tax Efficiency
      1. 27.1. Start the Clock
        1. 27.1.1. Step 1
        2. 27.1.2. Step 2
        3. 27.1.3. Step 3
      2. 27.2. Next Step
    3. 28. Harvest Tax Losses
      1. 28.1. Start the Clock
        1. 28.1.1. Step 1
        2. 28.1.2. Step 2
        3. 28.1.3. Step 3
        4. 28.1.4. Step 4
      2. 28.2. Next Steps
  13. IX. Invest during Retirement
    1. 29. Determine Your Portfolio Withdrawal Rate
      1. 29.1. Start the Clock
        1. 29.1.1. Step 1
        2. 29.1.2. Step 2
        3. 29.1.3. Step 3
        4. 29.1.4. Step 4
        5. 29.1.5. Step 5
        6. 29.1.6. Step 6
        7. 29.1.7. Step 7
        8. 29.1.8. Step 8
        9. 29.1.9. Step 9
      2. 29.2. Next Steps
    2. 30. Build an In-Retirement Portfolio
      1. 30.1. Start the Clock
        1. 30.1.1. Step 1
        2. 30.1.2. Step 2
        3. 30.1.3. Step 3
        4. 30.1.4. Step 4
        5. 30.1.5. Step 5
        6. 30.1.6. Step 6
      2. 30.2. Next Steps
    3. 31. Find the Right Sequence of In-Retirement Withdrawals
      1. 31.1. Start the Clock
        1. 31.1.1. Step 1
        2. 31.1.2. Step 2
        3. 31.1.3. Step 3
      2. 31.2. Next Steps
  14. X. Monitor Your Investments
    1. 32. Conduct a Portfolio Checkup
      1. 32.1. Start the Clock
        1. 32.1.1. Step 1
        2. 32.1.2. Step 2
        3. 32.1.3. Step 3
        4. 32.1.4. Step 4
        5. 32.1.5. Step 5
        6. 32.1.6. Step 6
      2. 32.2. Next Steps
    2. 33. Rebalance Your Portfolio
      1. 33.1. Start the Clock
        1. 33.1.1. Step 1
        2. 33.1.2. Step 2
        3. 33.1.3. Step 3
        4. 33.1.4. Step 4
        5. 33.1.5. Step 5
      2. 33.2. Next Step
  15. XI. Cover Your Bases on Estate Planning
    1. 34. Get Started on Your Estate Plan
      1. 34.1. Start the Clock
        1. 34.1.1. Step 1
        2. 34.1.2. Step 2
        3. 34.1.3. Step 3
        4. 34.1.4. Step 4
        5. 34.1.5. Step 5
        6. 34.1.6. Step 6
      2. 34.2. Next Step
    2. 35. Handle Beneficiary Designations
      1. 35.1. Start the Clock
        1. 35.1.1. Step 1
        2. 35.1.2. Step 2
        3. 35.1.3. Step 3
      2. 35.2. Next Steps
    3. 36. Create a Personal Legacy
      1. 36.1. Start the Clock
        1. 36.1.1. Step 1
        2. 36.1.2. Step 2
        3. 36.1.3. Step 3
        4. 36.1.4. Step 4
        5. 36.1.5. Step 5
        6. 36.1.6. Step 6
  16. About the Author