Book by Edwin M. Bridges with Brian D. Bridges
Review by Jennifer F. Rybski
Carl H. Lindner College of Business
University of Cincinnati

Whether you are just starting your first full-time job or you have been in the game for the past twenty years, retirement is an inevitable part of your life. How you plan for it that will determine your future level of comfort. Bridges and Bridges, a father and son team, provide invaluable information and resources in The Prudent Professor. Edwin retired from higher education and learned about the retirement process through his own experience. His son, Brian is a registered investment advisor and trained financial planner. TIAA-CREF is the referenced retirement plan; however, the discussion and online tools may be utilized by anyone seeking further information.

There are five parts to the book: Saving for Retirement, Preretirement Considerations, Creating a Pension Plan, Remaining Solvent, and Beyond Retirement. Each section carefully breaks down the topic using easy to read and understand terms for the non-financially informed individual. E. Bridges provides a narrative approach explaining decisions he has made in his own personal journey to retirement, including insight on how he would have done some things differently.

In addition to the five parts, the Appendices are quite extensive. Important questions to ask about retiring are addressed with reference made to another appendix or chapter that provides more detailed information. Specific mention is given to: Possible Questions to Ask When Seeking Financial Advice, Planning Tools & Calculators, Special Issues for Women, and Must Reading for an Informed Investor to name a few.

Strengths of this book include its readability and accessibility to further information. Retirement is approached from the “what you put in is what you will get out” philosophy, encouraging the reader to learn what options are best suited for themselves. TIAA-CREF traditionally has been the retirement choice of many individuals in Higher Education. The detailed discussion of this plan puts retirement into perspective to individuals who use TIAA-CREF’s services. For individuals with a different retirement plan, The Prudent Professor still gives insight to the retirement process and its details.

Bridges and Bridges could have better addressed the young professional planning for retirement. It is common for young professionals not to be required to contribute to Social Security. The discussion appears to address individuals who are close to retiring and not necessarily toward those who are planning long-term. Even without the long-term discussion, the information was still relevant and easy to follow.

Academic Advisors, other administrators and professors are not the only ones who will benefit from reading this book. Despite the title implying that is it slanted toward academe, the basic principles of planning and saving for a worry-free retirement can be applied to any profession.

As a young professional, The Prudent Professor is an excellent resource. A crash course in financial planning and what to expect (based on today’s economic situation) when approaching retirement is explained very well.

The prudent professor: Planning and saving for a worry-free retirement from academe. (2010). Book by Edwin M. Bridges with Brian D. Bridges. Review by Jennifer Rybski. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 352 pp. $24.95. ISBN# 978-1-57922-468-4

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