Miscellany

Everything you need to know about personal finance

9 Simple Money Rules All On 1 Index Card

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There are countless personal finance books, blogs and articles that offer advice on investing, savings, retirement and taxes.

You could read all those books.

Or, you can listen to this University of Chicago social scientist.

His name is Harold Pollack, and when it comes to investment advice, he believes that you can fit all the investment advice you’ll ever need on a single index card.

In 2013, Pollack interviewed personal finance writer Helaine Olen about her book, Pound Foolish. During their online video chat, Pollack shared his views on personal finance advice and what Pollack calls the “financial industry’s most basic dilemma.”

“[The best personal finance advice] can fit on a 3-by-5 index card, and is available for free in the library,” Pollack said during the interview. “So, if you’re paying someone for advice, almost by definition, you’re probably getting the wrong advice because the correct advice is so straightforward.”

Pollack’s comment was not intended to be the centerpiece of the interview. If anything, it was a one-off comment and he did not even elaborate on the specific financial advice.

After Pollack posted the video, he started receiving emails asking where to find this index card and what was the advice.

The problem: the index card didn’t exist.

So, Pollack grabbed an index card from his daughter, wrote several personal finance principles, snapped a photo with his phone and posted it online. The actual index card was 4-by-6 inches (rather than 3-by-5).

The result: the photo went viral.

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