Engaging and uncommonly sensible financial guidance from a doyenne who knows what she's talking about. In addition to authoritative counsel on money matters, syndicated columnist Porter offers big-picture perspectives and economic scenarios designed to help middle-class adults chart their own courses through an increasingly volatile marketplace. She probes the implications of federal budger deficits, the problems faced by private-sector pension funds, the slump in real-estate values, and upcoming labor shortages. The author does not, however, scant the ABCs of asset allocation. Indeed, she provides first-rate briefings on borrowing, credit control, home buying (and selling), insurance of all kinds, and estate as well as retirement and tax planning. Also covered are investment possibilities running from annuities through zero-coupon bonds. Beyond the basics, Porter reviews a wealth of swindles (among which she includes state-run lotteries), makes a strong pitch for the environment, and questions some time-honored articles of faith. In her book, for instance, liquidity is not always a must. Nor does the author's sincere concern for the planet's future keep her from assessing investment opportunities in waste disposal and allied enterprises. Equally pragmatic are trick-of-the-trade advisories on how certain families may underwrite college-tuition bills with tax-free income from US Savings Bonds. A lively, wide-ranging manual, complete with an abundance of helpful worksheets and tabular material.