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Weekend Money Projects With Christine Benz

Use this summer series to cross some financial tasks off your list before fall.

This is an updated version of an article that originally published on June 21, 2019. It's summertime--a time for making memories with family, taking a much-needed vacation (or staycation), and getting outside while the getting is good. It's also the time for weekend projects. We've all used summer weekends to stain our decks, install new fire pits, and mulch our yards.

But summer is a good time to take on some basic money projects, too.

Why now? This time of year, most of us aren't knee-deep in the details of our finances. During the summer, we're not usually paying our taxes, funding IRAs, taking RMDs, conducting portfolios reviews/rebalancing, or maneuvering open enrollment. So why not take a little time to evaluate how we’re managing--or not managing--some larger money and financial issues before the busyness of fall?

To that end, we've created this special report, Weekend Money Projects. Each weekend between now and Labor Day, I'll guide you through one must-do money task.

Here's what you can expect. Be sure to visit each weekend. And before the days shorten and the leaves begin to turn, you'll have your money foundation all set.

June 19: Calculate Your Net Worth June 26: Assess Cash Flows and Create a Budget July 3: Quantify and Set Goals July 10: Calibrate Your Target Savings Rate July 17: Assess Your Insurance Needs July 24: Set and Invest Your Emergency Fund July 31: How to Develop a Plan for Paying Down Debt Aug. 7: Create an Investment Policy Statement Aug. 14: Create a Master Directory Aug. 21: Get Organized Aug. 28: Tackle Estate-Planning Basics

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About the Author

Christine Benz

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Christine Benz is director of personal finance and retirement planning for Morningstar, Inc. In that role, she focuses on retirement and portfolio planning for individual investors. She also co-hosts a podcast for Morningstar, The Long View, which features in-depth interviews with thought leaders in investing and personal finance.

Benz joined Morningstar in 1993. Before assuming her current role she served as a mutual fund analyst and headed up Morningstar’s team of fund researchers in the U.S. She also served as editor of Morningstar Mutual Funds and Morningstar FundInvestor.

She is a frequent public speaker and is widely quoted in the media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, CNBC, and PBS. In 2020, Barron’s named her to its inaugural list of the 100 most influential women in finance; she appeared on the 2021 list as well. In 2021, Barron’s named her as one of the 10 most influential women in wealth management.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Russian language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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