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The Retirement Savings Time Bomb...and How to Defuse It Paperback – December 30, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As if the stock market hadn’t been bad enough lately, sinking and taking the nation’s retirement funds along with it, now IRA expert Slott has news of an additional nightmare: the IRS is eager to take a monstrous chunk out of whatever’s left. Slott asserts the importance of recognizing what he calls playing the back nine, or understanding that however much you’ve saved over the years, it won’t matter much if you haven’t protected it from the taxman. Indeed, the author shares the story of one schoolteacher whose heroic efforts to stash away $1.2 million for her two children went for naught when the IRS claimed all but $150,000 for each child. A few of Slott’s prescriptions: take your required distributions so you don’t get hit with additional taxes; buy life insurance to offset the estate taxes that will bite into your IRA upon your death; and take advantage of the Roth IRA, which hands you your money tax-free upon retirement. Though 401(k)s, IRAs and taxes in general are notoriously complicated subjects, Slott distills the morass of information into useful strategies while striking a note that’s alarmist enough to scare anyone with a retirement fund.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

As if the income tax code wasn't confusing enough, the tax law that governs the distribution of retirement accounts is even more incomprehensible. Our IRA or 401(k) accounts are often our most valuable asset, yet most people just assume these funds will be there when they're needed. But ignoring this part of your life could mean a costly loss to you or your beneficiaries, as a multitude of taxes could strip up to 90 percent of your retirement funds if some precautions are not taken. Slott is a real tax wizard, and has managed to decipher the code that lawmakers have thrown at us, where "to simplify" really means "to complicate." He spells out in fairly understandable terms the repercussions of IRA rollovers, Required Minimum Distributions, insurance, "Stretch IRAs," the "Death Tax," and other oh-so-boring yet absolutely essential information that can keep us legally one step ahead of the taxman. After taking these simple steps now to protect your wealth, keep this volume as a handy reference whenever major life changes occur that could affect your finances. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003770
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,854,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ed Slott was named "The Best Source for IRA Advice" by The Wall Street Journal. He is a nationally recognized IRA-distribution expert, a professional speaker, and the creator of several public television specials, including Ed Slott's Retirement Rescue!, viewed by millions of Americans.

Ed established the IRA Leadership Program and Ed Slott's Elite IRA Advisor Group, which were developed specifically to help financial institutions and advisors become recognized leaders in the IRA marketplace.

He hosts the popular websites, and, and regularly presents continuing professional-education seminars on IRA distribution planning for financial advisor firms, mutual fund companies, brokerage firms, insurance professionals, financial planners, banks, CPAs, and attorneys all across the country. His diverse client list includes Fidelity Investments, Nationwide Financial, New York Life, Jackson National, Transamerica, Met Life, Northwestern Mutual, Sammons Securities Company, Genworth Financial, Brokers International as well as a host of other major financial companies.

Ed is the author of the best-selling books, Ed Slott's 2014 Retirement Decisions Guide (IRA Help, LLC 2014), Fund Your Future: A Tax-Smart Savings Plan in Your 20s and 30s (IRA Help, LLC 2012) The Retirement Savings Time Bomb and How to Defuse It (Penguin, 2012), Stay Rich for Life! (Ballantine Books, 2009), Parlay Your IRA into a Family Fortune (Penguin, 2008) and Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map (Ballantine Books, 2007). He is also a personal finance columnist for numerous financial publications and websites.

Ed has been quoted in The New York Times, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Money Magazine, and Forbes. He has appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, PBS, Public Television, NPR, and Bloomberg TV and radio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Philip F. Quinn on June 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book ought to be required reading for everyone who has a retirement plan. While many books and magazines cover how to build wealth, you can never really do that without considering taxes which are the ultimate bottom line. Mr. Slott deftly handles the subject of preserving wealth in a straightforward and quick witted style. Just as the vagaries of the IRS rules have you almost dozing off, Slott's sharp sense of humor snaps you back to the reality that hey-- it's your money, no one should, or will care more about it than you! If you're happy to see more of it go to the IRS rather than to yourself or to your heirs, then the IRS will be happy to accommodate you! Mr. Slott's five step plan is an alternative to that, which I'm sure most people would prefer. I feel so strongly about the value of this book, I bought extra copies to give to family members and friends. (I'm not parting with mine!)
Thank you, Mr. Slott.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Despite grand claims, most business books do not really provide specific plans for saving or making money. In contrast, Ed Slott recommends five tactics that could save you thousands of dollars. Even better, he shows you how to use a "stretch IRA" to create a financial legacy, so your heirs in future generations can gain a financial benefit from their inheritance. He defines key concepts in estate planning and offers great advice about the benefits of Roth IRAs. Even though this book is not light reading, we highly recommend it to sophisticated investors and any American taxpayer who is serious about keeping a large percentage of his or her estate from the clutches of Uncle Sam. One caveat: verify his advice with your tax professional. Slott published this book in 2003, and some tax laws have changed since then.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jets Fan on February 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
No one on the planet knows IRAs better than Ed Slott. Congress has made the rules so complicated, that IRA owner ARE sitting on a Time Bomb -- a tax bomb.
Without the proper tax planning, your heirs could stand to lose 70% due to the combined income and estate taxes. If you are fortunate enough that the annual minimum required IRA distributions are not your only source of income, hence you are leaving a bulk of the account intact each year for future growth, you could be doing a disservice to your children or grandchildren. Read Ed Slot's book.
Even your favorite charity could receive less than you expected. Read Ed Slott's book.
And by the way, whether your hard earned retirement savings is in an IRA, 401K or other similar deferred account, you should be reading Ed Slott's book.
I am a practicing CPA and I have read Ed Slott's book.
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104 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm an historian and archivist with a "humanities mind," whereas my wife is a mathematician with a knack for anything financial. Our arrangement has long been that she keeps track of our investments (also those of her parents and most of her siblings), works out what to do about them, and then explains it all to me (and them). But she still insists that I make an attempt to understand what's going on, and to that end she hands me books like this one. I have to say that, except for a sense of humor that tries too hard, Slott is better at providing a clear explanation of tax law and financial decision-making than many similar books I've waded through. His specialty is IRAs and similar retirement arrangements, and since I've just turned sixty, I'm paying attention to this stuff. After an introductory section explaining the jargon and describing the theory behind traditional and Roth IRAs, he launches into the details of his "Five Easy Steps": Timing (when and how much to take out of your IRA, including both the legal requirements and your own strategic needs), life insurance (to cover the taxes your beneficiaries will have to pay when they inherit your IRA), stretching the payout period (selecting a child as a beneficiary can keep the distributions going for decades after you're gone, allowing your bequest to keep growing), converting to a Roth IRA if possible (a great tax deal, especially for the beneficiaries), and avoiding estate taxes. Although he calls it "death taxes," a partisan pejorative term I despise; there's far too much concentration of wealth in this country already. He also waxes on about the unfairness of the IRS and the tax code, forgetting the basic principal: Taxes aren't intended to be "fair," they're intended to raise money for the government.Read more ›
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Wolfinger on March 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Teaching the reader how to keep the IRS from taking almost all of his reirement savings. That is the goal of this important book. This danger is no idle threat, as Ed Slott provides the scary story of what can happen when people do not adequately prepare to fend off the goverment tax collectors. Almost all of us need the advice offered, but there are two main problems: Most are not aware of the dangers. Many would deny that need, claiming they have already been careful in providing for their heirs.
By carelully explaing the pitfalls that lie in wait, the author gives us the simple steps to take to make certain that it is our heirs, and not the IRS, who collect the money we have carefully saved for so long. He breaks his advice into 5 strategies and tells the reader how to accomplish the desired goal of salvaging his nest egg. Slott is a big fan of the Roth IRA, calling it the best gift the government has ever given to taxpayers.
Protect your assets and read this book. It is appropriate for all ages, and not just those nearing retirement. Early planning is the best strategy of all.
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