Investing Specialists

Lessons From Portfolio Makeover Week

Christine Benz

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.