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All The Money Advice You Need Fits on an Index Card

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So says University ofChicago professor and social scientist Harold Pollack. The image above aroseout of a conversation Pollack had with personal finance expert Helaine Olen. He describes the scenario to the Washington Post like this:

The card came out of an RBC chat I had with Helaine Olen regarding what I view as thefinancial industry’s basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter,Alex M, asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking inmetaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled thisout in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest washistory.

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This image made itsway through personal-finance circles on the web lately, with many commentatorsquibbling, adding or attempting to improve upon Professor Pollack’s advice. Ihave to admit that most of his points are spot-on, and it’s an impressivelycomprehensive summary to produce on-the-fly as he did. I’d take issue with hispoint about never buying or selling individual securities, though I’d agreewith what I think is his larger point: buying and selling stocks requires adegree of education, vigilance and discipline that not every individualinvestor can muster.

Next Avenue’s add-on advice struck me as some of the smartest commentaryon the index card I saw. Among the items they’d scrawl on the reverse side ofthe card are some rules I’d agree with, like #12 (“If you have to choose, makesaving for your retirement a higher priority than saving for your kids’ college”)and #17 (“Your behavior as an investor will have a larger impact on yourretirement lifestyle than the performance of your investments.”) Amen to bothof those!

What bit of financialadvice would you commit to the index card?


Don Montanaro

CEO, TradeKing Group

Follow Don on Twitter and hone your skills at TradeKing All-Stars. You can also follow TradeKing on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube.

[image credit: Harold Pollack]

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