Much of what has been written about 401(k) plans is designed to frighten plan participants about the dire consequences of not saving enough for retirement or not investing in the right asset class.
A new book by Mary Rowland, "A Commonsense Guide to Your 401(k)," published by Bloomberg Press, takes a bit more participant-friendly approach. Ms. Rowland uses layman's language to give participants an unbiased perspective on how to get the most from their investments.
It also provides the usual background information, and may be a useful tool for employers who want to provide essential information to new plan participants.
The book uses a step-by-step strategic approach to explain how to use the 401(k) not only as an investment tool, but also as part of a complete financial lifestyle.
It is a self-help guide that - in 93 short essays - makes some complex financial information interesting while taking the mystery out of investing.
Some of the most valuable information is in the book's second half, which covers investing from top to bottom. As Ms. Rowland writes, "Investing is risky, but so is not investing."
Included are simple discussions of arcane topics such as standard deviation, tools of modern portfolio theory, beta, alpha and the financial markets.