New book presents personal finance advice in 10 simple rules

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

An index card containing personal finance advice that went viral online has inspired a new book by Prof. Harold Pollack and financial journalist Helaine Olen. Titled The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated, the book will go on sale Jan. 5.

The index card was triggered by an interview Pollack conducted in 2013 with Olen, author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry. Afterward, Pollack realized all the information people needed to know about managing their money fit onto a 4x6 index card.

Olen and Pollack later began collaborating on a book, which includes a tear-out reproduction of Pollack’s original card. The book uses Pollack’s 10 simple rules to tell readers how to make the most of their retirement investments; how to find a financial adviser that puts their interests first; purchasing life insurance that protects their finances; paying down credit card, student loan and other debt; deciding whether to get a warranty on a new iPhone, and more.

Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration and Public Health Sciences at UChicago and an affiliate professor in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division and the Department of Public Health Sciences. He writes regularly for the Washington Post, the Nation, New Republic, Politico, the Atlantic and other publications.

Olen is a staff writer at Slate, which carries her column, “The Bills.” In addition, she writes the “Spread the Wealth” personal finance column for Inc. Her work has appeared in numerous other publications, including The New York Times and Salon. She also wrote the “Money Makeover” column in the Los Angeles Times.