A brilliant college professor at wits’ end about investing first planted the seed for this book a few years ago.

Despite his accomplishments in the social sciences at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, he didn’t have a clue about how to invest his money. He was in his 40s, had been saving for retirement for years, and didn’t like the look of his future.

“There will be no golden years for me,” he told me when he called my newspaper office.

This man had diplomas on his office wall and accolades for research in his field. But like the great majority of Americans, he felt like a dunce when it came to his money.

Every time he read a headline about the unstable future of Social Security and Medicare, he imagined himself eating ...

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