Are you on a journey of building your financial literacy? There is no shortage of resources out there when it comes to personal finance advice: blogs (like this one), podcasts, online courses, and of course good old-fashioned books. Whether you’re just getting comfortable with your money or know your cash flow and savings like the back of your hand, it’s always a smart idea to be informed.
Best Personal Finance Books
Turn to the experts by picking up a published personal finance book. We’ve compiled a list of the top 11 personal finance books that span a wide range of financial situations and recommendations. We provide the book’s current Goodreads rating at the time of this blog’s publication, leveraging a community of active readers for insights about which audiences will find the book most relevant.
Best Financial Books for Beginners
If you’re looking for a book to help you master the basics of finances, one of the options below could be a good fit!
1) The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
Goodreads rating: 3.9/5 (most ratings are 4 stars) with over 3,600 ratings.
Why you should pick it up: If you’re a beginner. This book by a professor from University of Chicago and an award-winning financial journalist offers a simple, straightforward approach to personal finance. It extrapolates on how to implement a 10-point “index card” of financial advice and defines financial jargon.
2) Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole by Tiffany Aliche
Goodreads rating: 4.38/5 with over 2,400 ratings
Why you should pick it up: Anyone can find themselves rebuilding their financial situation at any time. Aliche’s story goes like this: she went from having a job and savings to experiencing financial downfall during a recession. She lost her job and followed advice from a sketchy financial advisor, and had to rebuild her financial situation. This book offers practical advice and readers report it is well organized.
3) Finance for the People by Paco de Leon
Goodreads rating: 4.13/5
Why it’s worth a read: Many readers find the advice presented in popular financial literacy or self-help finance books is not helpful to them if they were raised in a working-class family or a situation with less access to economic opportunity. But, readers report this book has valuable insights for those who had a less advantaged start in life and an empathetic approach.
4) Financial Feminist by Tori Dunlap
Goodreads rating: 4.18/5 with over 3,500 reviews
Why it’s worth a read: Tori turned her best-selling online course covering the basics of money management into a book to help readers understand their relationship with money, how to meet their investing goals, and how to negotiate for a higher salary to have more income to meet their financial goals. As evidenced by the title, especially advocates for women to fill the financial literacy gap and build financial freedom. Published in 2022, it offers a more current perspective reflecting the financial situation people find themselves in.
5) Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Goodreads rating: 4/5 with over 25,000 ratings
Why you should read it: An oldie, but a goodie. Even though the book was published in 1992, it provides a practical nine-step process to managing your money and achieving financial independence – and that’s timeless.
There is also a second version of this book, an abridged version that includes updates in the years since publication. The audiobook for the abridged version is only about two hours long and could be a great option for someone who wants to learn the key points efficiently.
Books to Grow your Wealth
If you have a solid grasp on the workings of money management and are looking to take your knowledge to the next level, look no further. We’ve rounded up this batch of books with more advanced topics like investment and growing your wealth.
6) The Financial Anxiety Solution: A Step-by-Step Workbook to Stop Worrying About Money, Take Control of Your Finances, and Live a Happier Life by Lindsay Bryan-Podvin
Goodreads rating: 4.6/5 with 15 ratings
Why you should pick it up: If you experience any financial anxiety. Bryan-Podvin is a former social worker who has created cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to improve the reader’s relationship with money. This workbook offers practical exercises and strategies for overcoming financial anxiety and achieving financial security.
Many people find themselves in a relatively stable financial spot, but can’t shake the stress about money. If you’re the type of person that’s doing fine or even well financially, but can’t shake the money stress, this could be a great fit. By addressing any financial anxiety you have, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions rather than operating from a place of anxiety.
7) The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
Goodreads rating: 4.44/5 with over 20,000 ratings
Why it’s worth reading; It’s a comprehensive guide to investing in stocks and bonds, written in an easy-to-understand style, aiming to dispel financial misinformation. The author provides both behavioral recommendations and technical recommendations, sharing helpful advice and an understanding of why it works. Readers report this book advocates for the “slow and steady” style to building wealth rather than complicated strategies or gaming the system. Multiple reviews mention the reader wished they found the book earlier in their life. That’s high praise!
8) The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Goodreads rating: 4.06/5 with over 105,00 ratings
Who it’s for: Anyone who is interested in learning what it takes to become a millionaire. This financial literacy book examines the financial habits and lifestyles of millionaires and offers insights into how you can build wealth.
9) The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf
Goodreads rating: 4.29/5
The title comes as a play on the last name of John C. Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group and widely considered the person who popularized index funds. These authors are fans and followers of Bogle’s investment strategy. In this book, they provide specific information and recommendations to follow when it comes to investing – centered around low-cost index funds and a long-term perspective.
For the record, John C. Bogle wrote multiple books as well, including the well-known The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns. But, critical reviews of it say that it boils down to just one piece of advice – to buy and hold index funds. So, the Bogleheads’ guide might have more information to offer for your time reading.
10) How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide by Jane Bryant Quinn
Goodreads rating: 4.15/5
Why you should read it: To prepare for a successful retirement! Retirement is a financial milestone, and it’s a valid concern to make sure you’ll have enough saved to meet your needs. Educating yourself on the ways you can prepare and maximize your assets will better set you up for success and a comfortable retirement. Quinn covers how to have safe money to pay bills early in retirement and how to invest to ensure your nest egg will last. Including chapters on Medicare and life insurance, this book has comprehensive information for Americans navigating the United States’ financial system in retirement.
11) The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
Goodreads rating: 4.36 with over 124,000 ratings
Why you should pick it up: This book is a fascinating exploration of the behavioral science behind money. If already have a baseline knowledge of finances and are looking for something to help you get introspective about what drives various money related choices, this could be a great resource to take your understanding deeper.
Spending time learning from a variety of financial experts will help improve your financial decision-making skills. When you’re well-informed, you’re better equipped to make decisions that will help you reach your financial goals. You’ll also improve your chances of having stronger financial stability, because you’ll know how to take advantage of opportunities for growing your wealth and how to avoid potential pitfalls.
Even if you’re a high earner or have amassed some wealth, there are still opportunities to learn more! Building your own financial savvy is helpful to make sure you’re making the most of your money. Chances are, there are new investment strategies that you might want to consider. When it comes to making big decisions about your money, it’s well worth the time to dig into a longer educational resource created by an experienced professional.
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