I love the Freakanomics podcast, and recently really enjoyed their episode titled:
"Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)"
You can find it here; it's totally worth a listen.
In this episode, they introduce an idea that all this finance mumbo jumbo is allowing people to lose the forest for the trees, and that the basics really aren't that hard for the average consumer. To illustrate this, they brought on a professor who posits all the important, basic stuff can fit on an index card.
I paused the podcast because I loved this idea, and I wanted to challenge myself to come up with an index card of my own, and see how it matched up with an index card from 'the expert.'
After spending just a couple of minutes, no cheating by googling, and re-copying for legibility, I came up with this, my index card:
Here's the expert's notecard:
And a different version, from the same expert:
Of course, as the podcast mentions, these are guidelines for most Americans. If you're totally scraping by, it may not be possible to follow all of these rules off the bat, but the point is to help prioritize what's important to you (long or short term) by writing it down. (e.g. Are movies or food more important? Are you ready to go into debt with a mortgage?)
What am I missing that is important / common enough to make it onto an index card? What would you throw out / ignore from my card?