Charged Up! podcast: The index card that went viral

Episode 6 with professor Harold Pollack

Charged Up! with Jenny Hoff


University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack once claimed you could write everything you need to know about personal finance on an index card. Well, he did just that, posted it to the web and overnight, the image went viral. We sit down with professor Pollack to talk about those nine tips and how you can put them into action immediately.

From how much you should be saving to what tax savings vehicles you should use to how to really invest your money, Pollack's tips are easy to understand and realistic to achieve. The tips, which have been tweaked from the original index card, are:

The tips:

  1. Save 10-20 percent of your income.
  2. Pay your credit card off every month and minimize your debt.
  3. Maximize your 401(k) and other tax-advantaged savings accounts.
  4. Buy inexpensive, well-diversified index mutual funds
  5. Hire a fee-based fiduciary and make sure they are acting in a fiduciary manner when answering all of your questions.
  6. Buy only as much home as you can afford (meaning 20 percent down and low monthly payments, with enough left over for repairs).
  7. Buy term-life insurance, liability insurance, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance and disability insurance (getting the highest premiums possible to lower monthly costs).
  8. Never sell or buy individual stocks.
  9. Support the social safety net.

Harold Pollack's index card

See related: Charged Up! podcast: Retiring with enough money, Charged Up! podcast: Dealing with debt


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Updated: 03-22-2019