The Index Card Book Summary - The Index Card Book explained in key points
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The Index Card summary

Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

3.9 (91 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

The Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack presents ten simple rules to achieve financial success, such as saving 10-20% of your income and avoiding credit card debt. The book is perfect for beginners or those who need a concise guide to money management.

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    The Index Card
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Saving money today is hard, but a few tips can help.

    We’ve all been there; you cash your paycheck only to see it disappear as you pay rent, cover utilities and buy groceries. And let’s not forget the ever-present threat of an unexpected car repair.

    So, how can you pull yourself out of this financial debacle and gain control over your money?

    Naturally, it starts with saving, but that’s easier said than done. After all, the median annual household income in America dropped by $3,000 between 1998 and 2013 as wages decreased or stagnated. At the same time, the cost of living has gone up.

    This perfect storm of plummeting wages and rising costs has resulted in some frightening statistics: a whopping 27 percent of US households have a net worth of just $5,000 or less, and 47 percent of Americans say they couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency without borrowing money or selling something.

    Since so many people are struggling to get their financial houses in order, if you don’t have any savings, you shouldn’t feel bad. But you should take action. If you fail to come up with a savings plan soon, you’ll never be able to invest for the future or even pay off your debt.

    Think of it this way: if you save just 10 percent of your income every month, by the end of your first year you’ll already have a whole month’s salary put away!

    Here are a few tips to get you started:

    First, use cash instead of plastic. This may sound silly, but lots of studies have shown that people spend over 20 percent more when paying with a credit card or online than they do when they pay with physical money. Spending bills and coins is less abstract, so it’s harder for people to part with them.

    You can also set up an automatic savings account. These automatically deduct and save a portion of your paycheck every month, which means you don’t have to endure the temptation of spending it. Lots of employers can even reroute some of your salary toward a savings account for you.

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    Key ideas in The Index Card

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    What is The Index Card about?

    The Index Card (2016) simplifies personal finance. These blinks cover everything from getting a good deal on your mortgage to securing quality life insurance, starting your own savings account and even choosing a financial advisor.

    The Index Card Review

    The Index Card (2016) is an insightful book that distills complex financial concepts into a simple, actionable plan for achieving financial security. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers clear, practical advice that anyone can follow, empowering readers to take control of their finances and make informed decisions.
    • The book presents real-life stories and examples, making it relatable and applicable to readers of all backgrounds, ensuring that the content remains engaging and relatable.
    • With its accessible language and straightforward explanations, The Index Card keeps readers interested throughout, ensuring that financial planning becomes an enjoyable and educational journey.

    Best quote from The Index Card

    Surveys routinely find about half of us are petrified of running out of money in retirement.

    —Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
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    Who should read The Index Card?

    • Students and millennials who are staring down a rocky financial future
    • People who are in debt
    • First-time homebuyers

    About the Author

    Helaine Olen is an award-winning financial journalist who’s among the top 50 Women Who Are Changing the World according to Business Insider.

    Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago.

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    The Index Card FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Index Card?

    The Index Card encourages simple financial advice to help readers achieve financial freedom.

    How long does it take to read The Index Card?

    The reading time for The Index Card varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Index Card a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Index Card is definitely worth reading. It provides practical and accessible financial guidance for everyone.

    Who is the author of The Index Card?

    The authors of The Index Card are Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack.

    What to read after The Index Card?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Index Card, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
    • The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage
    • The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
    • Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide To Money by Dave Ramsey
    • Just Keep Buying by Nick Maggiulli
    • Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze
    • You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
    • Your Best Financial Life by Anne Lester