Thursday, December 19, 2019

Financial Tips & Buying a House Tips that Fit on an Index Card

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

You could read all those books, or you can listen to University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack.Professor Pollack advice, he believe that you can fit all the investment advice you'll ever need on a single index card.

In 2013, professor Harold Pollack did an online video chat with personal finance writer Helaine Olen about her book, Pound Foolish. The topic was how regular people get steered into bad investments  by financial advisers. 

During the interview Pollack said "The best personal finance advice can fit on a 3-by-5 index card, and is available for free in the library," "So, if you are paying someone for advice, almost by definition, your're probably getting the wrong advice because the correct advice is so straight forward.

After Pollack posted the video, he started receiving emails asking where to find this index card and what was the advice. 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 result, the photo went viral ( image above is of the index card).

Here are Pollack's 9 personal finance tips from his original index card:

1. Max your 401(k) or equivalent employee contribution.
2. Buy inexpensive, well-diversified mutual funds such as Vanguard Target 20xx funds.
3. Never buy or sell an individual security. The person on the other side of the table knows more than you do about this stuff.
4. Save 20% of your money.
5. Pay your credit card balance in full every month.
6. Maximize tax-advantaged savings vehicles like Roth, SEP and 529 accounts.
7. Pay attention to fees. Avoid actively managed funds.
8. Make financial advisers commit to the fiduciary standard.
9. Promote social insurance programs to help people when things go wrong.
The index card was widely criticized for not including "buy a home" so he wrote an entire article later called Buying a Home? Here are 10 things you should know.

See the photo below of the housing index card - a handy resource to use as you look at houses or think about buying one, plus some additional advice as you contemplate making the big decision.

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred 
390 Waterloo Blvd, Exton, PA 19341.
Cell: (484) 947 3127
Office: 610 363 6006


  1. I guess this advice applies in the united states only. Nice touch with the hand written letters though.

    1. Yes Shaban - it does. I believe real estate is local. You need an experienced and successful Realtor who understands the dynamics of your local market.