Howdy, folks. It's been awhile -- busy trying to do this PhD thing and dealing with daily/weekly bouts of feeling incompetent and stupid. But also, things on the investing side have been real quiet. My investments continue to grow, but because my stipend is much less than what I made as a consultant (plus I need to pay for this scam/magical event they call a wedding), AND my stipend is a fellowship for the first year and thus doesn't count as earned income (AKA no IRA contributions allowed), I'm not investing anything new. This makes me sad as I don't feel like I'm making any progress financially, even though I know it's temporary.
On a happier note, I saw a totally rad article in December's Money magazine about UChicago social scientist Pollack, who decided to write down all the important information you need to know about personal finance on a 4x6 index card! (See his card here)
Sometimes I want to shake people and say, "Listen, just do what I say, starting now, consistently for the next 25 years of your life, and you will be in such a great position! It will be pretty painless and you'll have more options and less stress in your life! And nothing I would suggest is complicated." Investing smartly can be done simply -- so I try to convince my friends of that. I may or may not have tried to cajole my brother, over the holidays, to open an IRA. No dice. He doesn't trust financial institutions (whatever that means). So I've got some work to do. In the meantime, because this index card idea is so great (oh the symbolism! so much insight on such a small card! look how simple investing actually is!), I wrote my own, below.
If anyone wants to take a crack at making their own index card and posting it, that would be cool! Distilling a big and complex topic into the fundamentals is harder said than done, but often quite illuminating and useful.