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

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

Reviewed by Katherine C Hut

Authors: Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

Publication Year: 2016

Your Personal Thoughts/ Notes on the Book:

This book was a smooth and enjoyable read. Much of The Index Card is written to feel as though Helaine and Harold are speaking directly to you, and imparting their wisdom in a friendly and casual manner. The premise of this book is that everything you need to know about personal money management can fit on a 4×6 index card with just ten short rules written upon it. This book breaks those rules down and spends a chapter explaining the importance and intricacies of each.

Who is this book meant for?

Young professionals, and anyone else looking for a solid overview of managing their financial lives. This book may be better suited to those who have started their career, but anyone with an income or interest in personal finance can gain a lot from this read.

Level of Financial Knowledge

You do not need any kind of background in personal finance to understand and enjoy this book. Some experience with managing your own finances may help with relating to the content of the book, making it something I would not traditionally recommend for younger students looking to read or learn about personal finance for the first time.  


Helaine and Harold break down each of their ten financial rules, assigning a chapter to each rule. They also provide detailed stories and examples from their lives, and the lives of others, which are instrumental in furthering comprehension of the topics they cover.


Saving and its importance, credit and credit card management, making the most of your 401k, the most reliable ways to invest, what to look for in a financial advisor, mortgages and buying a home, and what to look for in insurance.


A friendly lesson, where complicated financial topics are explained and demonstrated in a comprehensible manner. 

If you liked this book, check out:

Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen

The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to be Smart About Your Money by Carl Richards