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By Christine Benz and Adam Zoll | 04-24-2013 05:30 PM

Investing Well at Every Life Stage

In this special hour-long presentation, Morningstar's Christine Benz and Adam Zoll tackle the top planning concerns for investors in their 20s-60s and beyond.

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Note to viewers: Filmed in late April 2013, this Morningstar presentation was part of Money Smart Week, a series of free classes and activities organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. Morningstar is a Money Smart Week partner.

Christine Benz: I'm so glad that Morningstar can participate in several of these Money Smart Week events this week. I think it is terrific that we can contribute to the cause of financial literacy.

Before I get into our presentation, which is called "Investing Well at Every Life Stage," I wanted to just give you a little tiny bit of background on Morningstar, because sometimes I run into people, who say, "Morningstar … you guys are the veggie burger people, right?" And so, I have to quickly say who it is we are and what it is we do. And one way I often shorthand it is by saying that at least as retail investors, individual investors, are concerned, we think of ourselves as kind of the Consumer Reports of the financial services industry.

So, our objective is to help you make well-informed decisions, and we don't have a vested interest in who you do business with. So, we don't care if you are an all-Vanguard investor or an all-Fidelity investor. Our goal is to help match you with the right investments, given your goals. So, that's just the short-form explanation of what Morningstar is. I think that you will see as we go through this presentation that we do aim to be objective. We're not selling any one particular type of investment or philosophy. Overall, we believe that investors should do their homework and they should, generally speaking, stick with very low-cost investments, if they can find them. And we think that they usually can.

So, in this presentation, we have divided it really into two groups. [Morningstar.com assistant site editor] Adam [Zoll] is going to tackle the first two life stages that we have identified, at least in terms of financial accumulation. He's going to talk about young accumulators, what the priority should be for people who are in their 20s and 30s, just starting out in their careers, just beginning to get a jumpstart on retirement. He will also talk about what people should be thinking about and prioritizing when they're in that multitasking mode, when they're in their 30s and 40s, for example. They know they've got to continue to save for retirement, but they may also have college funding on their radar. So, Adam is going to share some tips and strategies for people at those two life stages.

I'm going to tackle the second half, which is people who are pre-retirees and getting ready to retire, people who are in their 50s and 60s. This is a group that I focus an awful lot on for my work on Morningstar.com. I talk about how to tell if you're ready to retire, some of the key things to go through as you evaluate retirement readiness.

And then in the last part of this presentation, I'm going to share some tips for retirees. And this is another group that I spend an awful lot of time on in my work--helping retirees think about constructing their portfolios, wringing the income they need from their portfolios, which is a big challenge these days, given how low yields are on very safe securities. So, I'm actually going to share some model portfolios for people who are in retirement or getting close to retirement.

So with that, I'd like to introduce my colleague Adam Zoll, who is assistant site editor for Morningstar.com.

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