A sound, straightforward guide which, though obviously aimed at affluent adults, delivers up-to-date counsel that should help do-it-yourself money managers in virtually any age or income bracket make informed decisions. Breitbard, a top Price Waterhouse executive, and Carpenter, a business writer, focus on purpose rather than on products. Thus, their nine-part text addresses such broad topics as personal financial planning, investment strategies, taxation, family obligations, and retirement. Putting a premium on appropriate asset allocations, the authors carefully list the tradeoffs involved in commitments ranging from annuities, equities, fixed-income vehicles, and real property through zero-coupon bonds. Included as well are smart-money briefings on making the most of employers' benefit programs, providing for college tuition bills, predicting (then avoiding) shortfalls in retirement income, planning the distribution of one's estate, and reducing tax burdens under tough new rules. Along similar lines, the authors provide cautionary tips on making vacation homes pay. They also offer uncommonly sensible suggestions on nondeductible contributions to IRAs and the penalties that may be imposed for premature withdrawals from such accounts. On the minus side of the ledger, they are guilty of occasional lapses, e.g., failing to draw clear distinctions between credit and charge cards. In addition, they're overly fond of cutesy chapter headings like ""Red Alert"" (for debt management) and ""From Here to Eternity"" (life insurance). These quibbles apart, an accessible and reliable reference.