The Retirement Savings Time Bomb

Ed Slott. The Retirement Savings Time Bomb. . . and How to Defuse It. New York, NY: Viking. 2003. 369 pages.

Price: $10.75 and up from -- click to order.

A compelling reason to read this book can be found on page 19. There the author relates the story of Ann, a New York City schoolteacher who retired with $800,000 in a retirement account. Following Ann's unexpected death, her two children were doubly saddened to learn that because of their mother's failure to take three simple steps to protect her account for the next generation, what could eventually have been parlayed into $10 million was instead less than $150,000 for each of them. The remainder was eaten up by taxes piled upon taxes.

How you and your beneficiaries can avoid such horror stories is the subject of this easy-to-understand book by Ed Slott, a certified public accountant who is a speaker, consultant and much-quoted authority on tax matters.

As Slott explains, decisions about how you distribute, roll over, withdraw and secure retirement accounts -- both traditional IRA's and employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)'s -- are critical to preventing them from being gobbled up by taxes and penalties. He outlines the costly mistakes that can drain retirement income and sabotage legacy goals, and offers a simple 5-Step Action Plan to keep as much of your hard-earned savings as possible out of reach of the IRS.