“The newbie investor will not find a better guide to personal finance.”
—Burton Malkiel, author of A RANDOM WALK DOWN WALL STREET
TV analysts and money managers would have you believe your finances are enormously complicated, and if you don’t follow their guidance, you’ll end up in the poorhouse.
When University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack interviewed Helaine Olen, an award-winning financial journalist and the author of the bestselling Pound Foolish, he made an offhand suggestion: everything you need to know about managing your money could fit on an index card. To prove his point, he grabbed a 4" x 6" card, scribbled down a list of rules, and posted a picture of the card online. The post went viral.
Now, Pollack teams up with Olen to explain why the ten simple rules of the index card outperform more complicated financial strategies. Inside is an easy-to-follow action plan that works in good times and bad, giving you the tools, knowledge, and confidence to seize control of your financial life.
Olen and Pollack feel that many people are too fearful of money to manage it well, and they attempt to overcome that fear with this lackluster self-help book. After Pollack interviewed Olen about her previous book, Pound Foolish, an expos of the financial services industry, he decided to jot down nine rules for better financial living on a single index card. He posted a picture of the card online, and it went viral. Those nine rules are replicated in this book, with the intention of helping readers build confidence, understand basic financial truths, and avoid catastrophic mistakes. It's an admirable mission, but the rules themselves save 10 20% of your income, avoid debt, max out your tax-advantaged accounts, buy index funds rather than dabbling in day trading, and so on are too old and readily available in any listicle to be worth building a book around. There's a fine line between attractively simple and just simplistic; this was a clever, sharable meme when it was nine lines on the Internet, but as a full book, it's unsatisfying to all but the most unaware consumers.