Though the internet can provide a massive range of information on personal finance topics, there’s something special about holding a book and actually turning the pages. Books are now more affordable than ever before and e-reading devices like Kindle or Nook can allow you to carry a full library of personal finance or money management books. But which personal finance books are worth your time? Check out our list of the top personal finance books that could make a major impact on your financial future.
Quicklook: Best Personal Finance Books
- Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By by Cary Siegel
- You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- AgeProof by Jean Chatzky and Michael F. Roizen
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
- Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner
- Personal Finance For Dummies by Eric Tyson
- Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
What Makes a Great Personal Finance Book?
Assuming you’re no longer in high school or college, you’re probably not forced to read any particular book or scholarly article these days. Nonfiction texts are supposed to be educational, but the best authors know that spicing up their work with creative examples and colorful metaphors will help their readers remember and use the information laid out in the book. If you pick up a personal finance book and find yourself having to re-read chapters over and over again to remember what you’ve learned or you find yourself counting down the pages until a chapter is over, know that there’s no shame in moving onto a book that you find more engaging.
Our Top Picks
Here are Benzinga’s choices for the best literature to get your personal finances moving in the right direction.
Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By by Cary Siegel
Have you graduated from college or high school without a single idea how to file your taxes? Have you learned everything there is to know about creating a PowerPoint presentation but nothing about how to choose financial planning software? After witnessing firsthand how woefully inadequate most school’s economics and personal finance education is, Siegel decided to use his MBA to pen Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? for his own children before he passed his wisdom onto the rest of the world. Unlike some other personal finance texts, Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? isn’t overly complicated and doesn’t assume any previous money management knowledge or skill. The book is written with absolute beginners in mind and takes a sympathetic, yet no-nonsense approach to teaching the principles of finance. Though 99 lessons might sound like too much information to handle, Siegel breaks down his teachings into eight easy-to-understand lessons. With engaging text and a straightforward approach to personal finance, Siegel’s book should be on any newly graduated student’s required reading list for adult life.
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You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
The sequel to the Sincero’s New York Times bestseller, “You Are a Badass at Making Money” takes a hilarious and candid look at the financial issues that commonly plague young people. The book covers simple topics related to budgeting, saving money more effectively, and locating and destroying the psychological barriers that readers may deal with that prevent them from advancing in their careers. If you were a fan of the original You Are a Badass, you’ll love Sincero’s sequel, which retains her quirky writing style and fun metaphors. Sincero uses examples from her own life to illustrate her lessons and principles, which have taken her from relative obscurity to a life of wealth and success. The book isn’t as formula-based as some other selections on this list, but it is packed full of practical advice and sassy wisdom that you won’t have any trouble reading through. If you’re a young adult who often finds themselves abandoning books because the subjects are presented in a voice that’s too dry, “You Are a Badass at Making Money” is an excellent place to start.
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The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
One of the biggest problems that plagues retirees since the pension melted away is a lack of funds to make it through retirement. This has become an especially pronounced problem for Baby Boomers, who find that the combination of expensive advancements in medical care and the fact that they’re living longer has left them woefully under-financed for at least a portion of their retirement. If you are a retiree who believes that you won’t have enough to make it through, The 4-Hour Workweek may be able to help. An international phenomenon that’s been translated into over 30 languages, The 4-Hour Workweek details the life of the digital nomad, a consumer who uses the internet to find meaningful work and focuses on keeping his or her daily expenses low and manageable. While the book may be wildly popular with the under-30 set, its lessons on passive income investing and how to set up streams of income that don’t require excessive maintenance holds wisdom that’s equally applicable to those gearing up to retire. An entertaining read that’s educational to boot, The 4-Hour Workweek is a valuable choice for retirees and young professionals alike.
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AgeProof by Jean Chatzky and Michael F. Roizen
AgeProof isn’t just a book about managing money through retirement — it also contains valuable lessons on health, well-being and the often-unseen correlation between finances and physical health. Authors Chatzky and Roizen’s areas of expertise aren’t only limited to finance. One of the best reasons to pick up a copy of AgeProof is that the text offers a unique blend of medical information and non-preachy advice on how to budget through retirement. The book employs a number of engaging similes and metaphors to help retirees understand how to best manage both their money and their physical wellbeing. For example, just like you don’t want to eat more calories than you burn, you also don’t want to spend more money than you have allotted for any given week or expense category. AgeProof is packed with tips and tricks that retirees can use to manage their money better and create a budget that will help them make it through retirement. After all, stressing over money may leave you more susceptible to certain illnesses, and all the money in the world is worthless if you don’t have the energy or health to enjoy it.
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The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
As the pioneer of a radio talk show listened to by over eight million people a week, Dave Ramsey is no stranger to breaking down complicated financial concepts into bite-sized chunks of information that anyone can understand. As anyone who’s tuned into his program The Dave Ramsey Show knows, Ramsey hates debt with a passion — and he’s created an easy-to-understand and quickly executable plan for tackling it. The Total Money Makeover is not a get-rich-quick scheme, nor is it a lofty text full of ideas and nebulous concepts on how to make money. Instead, Ramsey offers a no-nonsense and straightforward look at where most Americans mess up their finances and how consumers can avoid some of the most common traps that get them caught in a cycle of debt. Punctuated by inspiring real-life anecdotes from Ramsey himself, The Total Money Makeover goes through the practical steps that consumers will need to take to build an emergency fund, create a sustainable household budget that includes debt payments and maximize retirement fund contributions. If you’re ready to make some serious and immediate changes to your lifestyle to tackle your debt, The Total Money Makeover should be the first book on your reading list. If you enjoy the system laid out by Ramsey, you can even download Everydollar or another Mint alternative to help make taking those first few baby steps easier.
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Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner
One of America’s biggest debt woes is student debt. Statistics estimate that about 44 million Americans hold a collective $1.5 trillion in debt. More and more young people are putting off buying a home or saving for retirement to pay off their outstanding loans. Get a Financial Life is a straightforward and down-to-earth read that covers budgeting and debt reduction strategies that every 20- and 30-something should know after graduating college. Kobliner’s book is useful, practical, avoids overly flowery language and also paints a readable and easy-to-understand picture of financial health. Though Get a Financial Life may be boring if you’re already established in your career or financial life, its fundamental lessons and relatable writing style make it a great read if you’re looking to reduce debt andboost your credit score.
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Personal Finance For Dummies by Eric Tyson
Personal Finance For Dummies is an easy-to-follow crash course in everything that you’ll need to know to start getting your finances on track and your debt under control. Lessons are laid out with a memorable and quirky writing style, and Tyson does a great job of making confusing concepts palatable to even total finance newbies. As its name suggests, Personal Finance For Dummies covers only the most basic concepts of finance, cash flow analysis and budgeting. Its simplicity is a breath of fresh air for beginners who are ready to make the first steps towards a sustainable household budget. Packed full of tried-and-true advice and wrapped up in a simple writing style, Personal Finance For Dummies is a comprehensive introduction to budgeting and the principles of a well-managed financial life.
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Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
If you had the choice between a moderately-paying job that made you excited to go to work, and a dreadful yet highly-compensated position, which would you choose? In Your Money or Your Life, authors Robin and Dominguez argue that fulfillment is much easier to find if you choose the former and learn to adjust your budget accordingly. The book isn’t about the steps to create a budget, but more learning to live within your means and be happier while spending less. Your Money or Your Life also covers topics like getting out of debt, investing to build wealth over time and how to cut back without feeling deprived. An informative and insightful read for both young savers and veterans alike, Your Money or Your Life is more than just a budgeting guide — it can also help uncover deeper truths about your relationship with money as well.
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Whether you save money for retirement or you want to stretch your income through your golden years, the value of a well-balanced budget cannot be overstated. Mobile phones and tablets now have more computing power than ever before, and there are a slew of budgeting apps available to service every taste and technical skill level. No matter where you currently are on your financial journey, you should regularly reevaluate your budget and use the tips and tricks learned from your reading to make more insightful purchases. After all, all the financial knowledge in the world is useless if you never put what you’ve learned into practice!