Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: Morningstar's 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances

Christine Benz, who is the Director of Personal Finance over at Morningstar, has written a new book. Its called "Morningstar's 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances". It is a well written and practical book. The 30 minute part in the title describes how long it would to take to do the tasks she writes about in each chapter. The book is divided into 11 parts, each describing a different part of financial planning for your life. 

I find the book complete in helping a newcomer get on the road to financial organization. The chapters are laid out that you can come back to each at different times to answer question you may have at a later date. The helpful basic knowledge will help the average person to get the basic info on finances. For the average knowledgeable reader of financial books there are no new revelations

Even though the book states the tasks are doable in 30 minutes, I don't think they are. Only if you are already very organized. Yet if you were, you wouldn't need this book. 

There is a web site listed in the book that has worksheets and further articles. 

Here is a list of the chapters:

Part 1: Find Your Baseline
Identify where you stand, what your goals are, and how to get there.

Part 2: Get Organized
Create systems for bill paying, filing, and keeping track of it all.

Part 3: Find the Best Use of Your Money
Determine whether to pay down debt or invest, then decide where to put your money.

Part 4: Get Started in Investing
Establish emergency, short, and long-term plans, and select the right investment mix.

Part 5: Invest in Your Company Retirement Plan
Evaluate your retirement plan and choose the right type of 401(k).

Part 6: Invest in an IRA
Choose the best type of investments and conversion strategies for you.

Part 7: Invest for College
Find the right college-savings vehicle, 529 plan, or investments.

Part 8: Invest in Your Taxable Account
Identify the best investments and maximize tax efficiency.

Part 9: Invest During Retirement
Build an in-retirement portfolio and plan withdrawals.

Part 10: Monitor Your Investments
Check up on or rebalance your portfolio.

Part 11: Cover Your Bases on Estate Planning
Start your estate plan, handle beneficiary designations, and create a personal legacy.

As with all financial help books, this one is written to apply to the broad population. Its a very good start for a neophyte in financial literacy. Some readers will find that this info is enough for their money life. But, more complex situations call for professional assistance in a Financial Advisor. I believe with something as important as your money, its imperative to get a professionals advice, at least once.

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