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?
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[image credit: Harold Pollack]
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