We’ve all wished at some point in our lives that we knew more about finance. Many consumers wish they had just a bit of financial expertise. Just enough to ensure that the decisions they were making with their money were good decisions. University of Chicago Professor Harold Pollack figured out a way to make us all experts with a simple approach: index card financial advice.
Everything You Need to Know on a 3×5 Note Card
Pollack strongly believed (and still does) that the best personal finance advice out there can be found for free at the library and could fit on an index card. Finally, someone asked to see the card and Pollack created this.
How to Use This Index Card Financial Advice
If you can’t quite make out the professor’s handwriting. Below are the basics outlined on the 3×5 card.
- Your 401(k) should be maxed out or at least put in enough money to get your employer contribution match.
- A diversified portfolio filled with mutual funds or target-date funds are an inexpensive buy.
- Stay away from individual securities. The big boys on the other side always have more information than you do.
- Save at least 20% of your income. One day you’re going to be happy you did.
- Always look for tax advantage investments and when you find them maximize them. Purchase investments like 529 accounts, SEP and IRA’s.
- Fees can eat away at your savings, so pay attention to them. Manage your own funds.
- If you use a financial advisor he or she has certain fiduciary standards that they follow based on their licensing. Ensure that those standard are upheld.
- Support Social Insurance for when something goes wrong.
Everyone may not agree with all of these points and some may be a total contradiction to what you’re doing with your finances, but there are some great points of advice here. You may not feel like an expert, but you will have learned something or been reminded of something that could enhance your financial literacy by keeping a copy of this card around.
More Reading on Finance
If you enjoyed reading this article you may also enjoy reading the following books:
I Can Make You Rich by Paul McKenna – This book is great for younger people. McKenna uses psychological techniques to help you change your mindset about money.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Hill spent time with some of the richest men in the world to find out how they became rich. This book will open your mind in a very controversial way on how to make money. It might change your overall thought process about money accumulation.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – Since 2005, these authors opened our eyes to the darker side of money. For many consumers, you will start to look at economics totally different after reading this book. You’ll never look at economics the same.
If you’re looking for great personal finance advice, join us in the Saving Advice forums for discussion.