A clear, roundly intelligent introduction to those proliferating, confusing Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and Keogh Plans. Egan, a veteran financial journalist (now writing for New York magazine), first puts the advantages of IRAs and Keoghs in socio-economic perspective--noting, for one thing, that Congress sought to quicken a lagging national savings rate with tax incentives. (Included is an indictment of the actuarially unsound Social Security System--never intended, as Egan observes, to be the principal source of retirees' income.) Next comes a lengthy review of the ABCs of IRAs and Keoghs--covering such afraid-to-ask details as the fate of spousal accounts in the event of divorce, fee scales, switching, timing, etc. Though prior-year credit can be taken for contributions made as late as April 19, Egan advises putting up one's money as soon as possible; over a 30-year span, last-minute deposits could cost an IRA holder almost $60,000. Also examined are eligible investments (equities, fixed-income instruments, money-market funds, etc.) with capsule commentaries on their suitability for individuals with varying objectives and tolerance for risk. Worksheets and case studies incorporated in the text should prove helpful to those seeking to determine a propitious course of action (e.g., an active self-directed portfolio vs. passive commitments like CDs). Though distinct IRA/Keogh drawbacks (like inflexible withdrawal schedules) are glossed over, it's a highly instructive handbook overall.