Many successful people will tell you that they read a book that changed their lives. In this look at several of the best personal finance books, there may be one or more that could help you change your financial life. The reading material is not always light, but it is important for you to learn how to meet your financial goals or even how to realistically set financial goals. The five personal finance books below can help you gain a better understanding of your financial needs and teach you how to set up and follow through on goals.
Learning from a financial advisor is a good complement to learning from financial books.
1. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
This is the No. 1 international best-selling personal finance book of all time. Instead of focusing on one area of finance, it’s a general look that’s still timely. It was originally written over 20 years ago and was recently updated for its 20-year anniversary. Over the years, author Robert Kiyosaki has written a series of books that all started with this. In fact, there are now 14 books in the series. These cover everything from investing to credit cards to cash flow and a lot in between.
Kiyosaki starts off with a personal story of how he had two dads growing up. One was his real father. The other was his best friend’s father, a rich man with a knack for managing money. His “other dad” taught him some simple personal finance lessons. He then learned on his own, by following these lessons, how to make your money work for you instead of you working for your money. He learned that you don’t have to be rich to achieve financial success.
2. “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?” by Cary Siegel
Have you ever wondered why they don’t teach personal finance in high school? Some colleges and universities require it but not all. If you major in finance, you still will not likely take a class in personal finance unless you take it as an elective. Most finance majors concentrate on business finance or investments instead of the principles of personal finance. In turn, this is a great book to read before you dive into more complex and quantitative personal finance books.
Many students graduate from high school or college and have little idea about how to manage all the aspects of personal finance. As the author of this book, Cary Siegel, was writing what he thought were the guiding principles of personal finance for his children. He realized that his notes to his kids had a wider audience and “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?” was born.
Most personal finance books and personal finance textbooks are complicated reads. Instead, this author focused on eight lessons on personal finance and developed a comprehensive, but short and simple, book around them. He tied 99 principles to these eight lessons and ended up with an excellent book that is more qualitative than quantitative. It gives you the knowledge to base the quantitative information about money management on that you need to learn. Following his own principles allowed Siegel to retire at age 45.
3. “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secret of America’s Wealthy” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
The “Millionaire Next Door” is a different kind of personal finance book. Written originally two decades ago, and updated recently to reflect the 21st century, the book explains how most of the millionaires in the U.S. aren’t pro athletes or movie stars. They are your neighbors. They live next door, right beside you. You probably don’t know they are millionaires because they don’t brag about their money. They don’t drive lavish cars or live in incredible homes.
These people are like you and me except they have applied the principles of personal finance to their lives. Most didn’t even inherit their money. They saved and invested their savings by living below their means, shopped for bargains and invested small amounts of money as they could. They chose their investments wisely and were long-term or buy-and-hold investors, not speculators. Their children probably didn’t even know their parents were millionaires.
The authors, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, interviewed many millionaires. They found that most millionaires are the opposite of what we might typically expect. They aren’t high rollers. Instead, they have lived their lives without being conspicuous consumers and through sacrificing a bit in the present to secure a financially free future.
4. “Smart Money: The Personal Finance Plan to Crush Debt” by Naseema McElroy
I like this book because it gives you a step-by-step plan for planning your financial future while ditching what doesn’t work and learning what does. The author, Naseema McElroy, gives you nine financial principles that help you learn how to get rid of debt and accumulate wealth. She helps you learn how to save money, correct any mistakes you’ve made and keep from making mistakes in the future. The book provides you with worksheets and checklists. There are dozens of tips and tricks on topics like debt management, investing, budgeting and more.
The book uses plain English, with little financial jargon, to explain simple concepts that will put you on the right road. It’s easy for people with no financial experience to read. Complex financial concepts are broken down and tied to actionable steps you can take. You will find a wealth of information in the author’s tips that will empower you to get control of your debt and look toward a brighter financial future.
5. “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” (2nd ed.) by Ramit Sethi
If you think you have to deprive yourself in order to be rich, think again. The author the of best-selling “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” Ramit Sethi, shows you how to invest your money with the proper asset allocation so you can spend guilt-free. He discusses all sorts of possible financial issues that you might have such as how to deal with your student loans, how to start saving and investing and more in this New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. It is based on tools and systems that you can use to accomplish your financial goals.
This second edition is timely and has information on topics as diverse as robo-advisors and how to beat the banks. It is a refreshing look at personal finance because Sethi is honest and forthright and even shares his own personal approach to achieving his financial goals. He discusses the concept of conscious spending, optimizing your credit cards and how to get ready to invest. Throughout the book, he interjects stories of successful people and how they became that way as well as narratives from those who have used his system. This is one book you’ll want to pass along to others.
Many people don’t like to think about money. It feels uncomfortable to lots of folks. That’s often because we don’t know all the rules of the road or how to manage our money. Schools don’t teach it. Sometimes, parents don’t teach it. We emerge into adulthood and have little to no idea what personal finance means or encompasses. These personal finance books can help you set and achieve financial goals.
Financial Planning Tips
- After reading these books, you may decide you want help building a financial plan and managing your wealth. If so, a financial advisor can help with this. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Find out the details about refinancing to make a better decision. Check out SmartAsset’s refinance calculator to help you make your decision.
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