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Useful Dictionary of Financial Terms Explains the ABCs of IRAs

The best part of this book is that you can get updates posted on the company's Web site at www.lightbulbpress.com/onlinedictionary/onlinedictionary.html. Click on the link that says "Try the dictionary."

The online version of the dictionary is updated at least four times a year, Virginia Morris said. Thank goodness, because there is always something new about personal finance.

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And before you grouse about why you should buy the book when the definitions are online for free, let me say that I think it's worth it to have a hard copy. Wouldn't it be useful, during a meeting with your financial adviser or some other financial professional, to have this dictionary handy to look up terms you don't understand?

I certainly wouldn't hesitate to do that (and have). Besides, you may not always have convenient access to a computer.

"I think we all need reference guides," Virginia Morris said. "The financial language used today is so technical, and the people who know it don't always take the time to explain it to their clients. Or they don't always realize that their client doesn't understand what they are talking about."

I agree with the reader who corresponded with me. Even if you have a professional working with you, you've got to know the playbook he or she is using. The best investment you can make is to buy a dictionary that will help you build your financial vocabulary.

If you want to join the Color of Money Book Club, subscribe to my new electronic newsletter at www.washingtonpost.com/newsletters. Scroll down the page and click on the box for Personal Finance. As a benefit, each month, randomly selected subscribers will get a free copy of the book club selection. Also join me at 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at www.washingtonpost.com for an online discussion with Virginia Morris.

Michelle Singletary discusses personal finance every Tuesday on NPR's "Day to Day" program and online at www.npr.org. Readers can write to her at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or send e-mail to singletarym@washpost.com. Comments and questions are welcome, but please note that they may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

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