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Investing Specialists

Lessons From Portfolio Makeover Week

On the short list: You're concerned about retirement readiness, index funds are easy to recommend, and 'more' isn't always better than 'enough.'

Morningstar.com's annual Portfolio Makeover Week, which runs around this time every year, always feels a little like college finals week for me. Between the screening of many worthy requests for makeovers to the number-crunching, spreadsheet-jockeying, and corresponding with the subjects of the makeovers, I'm intensely busy for a good month before the makeovers start to go live. (Text from my sister last night: "Are you done with that project yet? I hope so!")

And yet Portfolio Makeover Week is also incredibly gratifying. Much like a test, it's a chance to show what I know--to bring into practice a lot of the concepts I discuss throughout the year, from portfolio planning to tax considerations. But by far the best part of the project is I get that to hear from so many real-life investors about their goals, their challenges, and the big and small things that make them happy. The project underscores the inextricable link between financial well-being and overall well-being, but it also makes clear that you don't need to be rich to be happy. Interacting with actual investors helps make me better at my job.

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