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If you’re wondering what the difference is between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, then you’ll want to pick up Julie Jason’s Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management from an Award-Winning Financial Columnist. You will be treated to a crash course in financial terms like these and get inside information on saving and investing thanks to scores of conversations she’s had with her readers over the years.
Plenty of titles on financial planning and investing exist on bookstore shelves, but what makes Jason’s compilation different is that hers is culled from more than 1,000 columns she has written over the years for the Connecticut newspapers, Greenwich Time and the Stamford Advocate. In 2013, King Features syndicated her “Retirement Planning and Investment” column, where she explores topics like 401(k) investing, choosing a financial adviser and how to determine if sending your kid to college is a good value. Jason, who worked as a Wall Street lawyer, money manager, and investment counselor, really knows her stuff: whether it’s unraveling the complicated world of market trends or explaining estate planning, her columns are worth reading and applying to your financial life.
“Through my dialogue with readers, I want to share a message of both promise and watchfulness,” she writes in the Introduction. With an easy to follow and conversational tone, Jason invites readers to get financially literate–understanding how to read a mutual fund prospectus, for example. (A prospectus is not literature that you read from start to finish. Instead, it’s designed to protect you, so read it like a warning label on a medicine bottle, she advises.)
Recognizing that some investors are overwhelmed by financial jargon and the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, she assures her readers that attaining financial security is “a work in progress,” with room for improvement. “I’ve interacted with hundreds of people who wrote to or visited with me to discuss their challenges, concerns, and questions,” she says.
Our culture’s most significant challenge today, she says, seems to be the pressure Millennials face as they swim in debt. On top of it, Jason points out, this younger generation is in the dark about financial matters. So much so that in 2013, President Obama helped create the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans*, designed to educate young people on how to “successfully handle their personal and household finances as they grow into adulthood.”
Citing statistics, Jason tells us at least half of 18- to 24-year-olds stated they would benefit from a high school course on managing their money. Unfortunately, financial literacy isn’t a mandatory class, so the onus falls on parents to approach kids early with guidelines for saving and even borrowing money.
Because the book idea came from dialogue she had with readers via her column, many of the issues have to do with feeling secure in retirement, as evidenced in chapters like, “It’s Never Too Early for Retirement Planning” and “Understanding the Relationship Between Your W-2 and Your 401(k).”
We all could take a cue on how to improve our financial know-how, and a number of the columns are especially useful for parents and their children to review at various stages of their financial planning lifecycles.
Lastly, if you’re wondering how republished articles, some from a decade ago, could be relevant today, Jason has taken the time to update some of the columns to keep pace with changes in the market.
Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management from an Award-Winning Financial Columnist by Julie Jason won First in Category in the CIBAs 2018 I&I Awards for Instructive Non-Fiction.
*The Council officially ended on January 29, 2013: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/financial-education/Documents/PACFCYA%20Final%20Report%20June%202015.pdf