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Nonfiction

January 11, 1987|Jeff Rowe

NEST EGG INVESTING: HOW TO BUILD A SECURE FINANCIAL FOUNDATION by Helen Breunig (Dow Jones-Irwin: $19.95; 305 pp.). As host of an investment program on Orange County cable television, it seemed to Helen Breunig that viewers were perpetually asking variations of the same question: how to safely invest personal savings?

Drawing on research accumulated during the program's three-year run, Breunig invested a year of concentrated effort to produce her first book, an examination of five conservative strategies for maximizing the nest egg.

The book's treatment of certificates of deposit, Treasury bills, money markets, individual retirement accounts and Swiss annuities is laced with mini-economic lessons on inflation, the value of the dollar and the money supply. In addition, the Fullerton author has included chapters on choosing a bank, wills, trusts and money planning.

Each chapter has a glossary of terms at the end, but this isn't an economics textbook in disguise. Breunig manages to inject life into each topic by succinctly explaining each strategy, quickly summarizing the investment alternatives and spiking her conclusions with such homespun advice as "Keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole."

"Nest Egg Investing" doesn't offer any startling new advice, but the liberal use of charts, graphs and cartoons make this an easy-to-digest treatment.

Although the book succeeds admirably as a basic guide for the average investor, sometimes Breunig strays too far for too long in an effort to keep the book breezy. Other than possibly employing the fact that there are references to interest rates in Deuteronomy to break up a dull conversation, such information is not of much use to the rookie investor. Same with the chart noting that among other things, the average interest rates on loans in the 6th-Century BC ranged from 16%-18%.

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