The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack. Portfolio/Penguin, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59184-768-7
Olen and Pollack feel that many people are too fearful of money to manage it well, and they attempt to overcome that fear with this lackluster self-help book. After Pollack interviewed Olen about her previous book, Pound Foolish, an exposé of the financial services industry, he decided to jot down nine rules for better financial living on a single index card. He posted a picture of the card online, and it went viral. Those nine rules are replicated in this book, with the intention of helping readers build confidence, understand basic financial truths, and avoid catastrophic mistakes. It’s an admirable mission, but the rules themselves—save 10–20% of your income, avoid debt, max out your tax-advantaged accounts, buy index funds rather than dabbling in day trading, and so on—are too old and readily available in any listicle to be worth building a book around. There’s a fine line between attractively simple and just simplistic; this was a clever, sharable meme when it was nine lines on the Internet, but as a full book, it’s unsatisfying to all but the most unaware consumers. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015
Release date: 01/05/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-698-18665-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4690-3188-0
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