Today, retirement planning is more important – and more anxiety producing – than ever. Americans are becoming increasingly responsible for funding their own retirement and can no longer rely on the company pension of years ago, and this is making them nervous.

According to BlackRock’s first-ever Global Investor Pulse Survey, a survey of 17,500 respondents globally, including 4,000 Americans, investors feel some anxiety about whether they’re saving enough for their golden years and making the right decisions regarding their retirement investments. And I admit – I too feel anxious about whether I have all of my ducks in a row for my future retirement.

Whenever I feel uncertain about a topic, my first instinct is to read books about it. So in the spirit of our aim here at BlackRock to help people save and invest wisely for retirement, my latest book review focuses on a book that aims to dispel the mystery surrounding retirement saving – “The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs” by financial advisor Ric Edelman.

In fairness, I should let you know up front that I’ve known Ric for years.  What I appreciate about Ric is his ability to take topics and break them down into easy-to-understand concepts. So, even if I didn’t know Ric, this book still passes my “Mom test” with flying colors – meaning that if I gave this book to my mother to read, she would be able to understand it and put the concepts into action.  Of course she still probably wouldn’t calculate her own required minimum distributions (RMD), but amusingly, at the beginning of the chapter on that subject, there’s a warning sign that states “Dense Chapter Ahead.”

So, what do I think are some of the most valuable parts of the book?  Specifically, Chapter 4, “The Cost of Not Participating Right Now in Your Retirement Plan,” is a great chapter for the procrastinator in all of us.  Using humor and plain talk, Ric emphasizes the importance of investing as early, and as much, as you can in your retirement plan (regardless of whether it’s a 401(k) or IRA).

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