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Personal finance is the most valuable self-help topic. It is one of the few areas of your life where simple process improvement will directly affect your money. This makes personal finance books like the ones on this list incredibly valuable.
These books are designed for everyone. They can help those who make a lot of money get a better handle on their cash flow. But more importantly, they can help those of modest means get a better handle on their finances and perhaps even accrue enough savings to be truly rich.
Why Read Books on Personal Finance?
Whether you earn in the top 10% of national incomes or struggle to get by from paycheck-to-paycheck, learning more about personal finance is the key to long-term success with money.
Understanding personal finance basics is foundational to financial success. They include the basics of budgeting and building a budget that works. They will teach you how to reduce debt and save money.
Finally, these books will show you how to turn modest savings and investments into great saving and investments over time.
These books cover the basics of investing, but JUST the basics. If you have a lot of extra money and are looking for tips on what to do with the extra money these books on investing might be a better fit for you.
Also to consider, if you have the cash flow, is investing in property. Property is an investment that always increases with time. These real estate investment books can give you some great guidance on that specific investment.
But remember, of all types of financial management books, the ones you see on this page are the most important. These books will truly move the line on your personal finance education.
Without further ado, let’s look at the best books on personal finance.
Best Personal Finance Books to Help You Budget and Save Money
1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
This personal finance book by Dave Ramsey is especially great for younger people who are just starting to really manage their money. Ramsey provides budget forms and worksheets for the reader to reference to make things simple.
While it may not be a very exciting book, The Total Money Makeover provides a lot of real-life success stories that can help inspire the reader to properly manage their own money.
It is like taking your own personal finance class in college. It may not always be “exciting” but the information presented is top-notch and essential to long term success with money and finances.
Ramsey helps readers relate to their personal finances in this book by asking the important question of “Would you fire yourself if you managed the money for a company like you manage your personal money?”
This helps the reader to reflect upon their own situation and apply the lessons in the book to their own life.
While it is not meant for retirees, this book lends a lot of knowledge to people in their early 40s and younger.
2. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
This book looks at the seven common traits that continue to show up among people who have accumulated wealth. Most people picture wealthy people as living lavish lives, but a lot of truly wealthy people live right down the street, due to living below their means and investing well.
There is a lot of data and common sense in this book that proves to have surprising results. It is also full of information about both the emotional baggage and the freedom that money provides.
Regardless of your age when you begin to read this book, you will certainly be able to recognize people from your own social circles in it. Additionally, you will recognize a vision of yourself.
And if you are willing to do an honest assessment of your financial habits, you will be able to recognize some areas that could use improvement.
While some statistics in this book may be outdated (as it has been around for 15 years), the principles remain the same. If you are able to follow these principles and create a plan, you can be well on your way to financial success.
This book provides a lot of valuable information at an inexpensive price.
3. Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
This smart guide to money helps people who are just getting started to take control of their finances. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to go from completely broke to financially secure.
This is different from other personal finance books because it not only addresses credit card debt, budgeting, and investing, but goes beyond the basic financial issues to look at tricky money matters and real-life situations that people face.
This book is an easy read with real-life stories and simple advice. It might be right for you if you have poor money habits that have been passed down through the generations. This gives you everything you need to break that cycle of financial irresponsibility.
With a strong focus on the mental aspect of spending and finances, the reader is able to think about why they spend as they do, and perhaps consider what void in their life they are trying to fill, and how to do it in a less expensive way.
This is a great guide filled with personal finance tips for younger people who are just getting started.
4. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
I Will Teach You to be Rich was created for 20- to 35-year-olds who are financially clueless, provides a practical and non-judgmental approach to making readers want to follow the advice that is given.
It is based on the four pillars of personal finance, including banking, budgeting, saving, and investing. It also discusses the wealth-building opportunities of personal entrepreneurship.
This is a logical, step-by-step handbook to help lead readers to financial success. One of the major takeaways from this book is the importance of automating your finances so you are able to save and invest money without putting in much thought or effort.
This helps leave you money to spend on everyday things without questioning your decisions or feeling guilty.
This book presents a six-week action plan that is easy and straightforward to follow. Each chapter goes through a task and why it is important and ends with a clear checklist of actions to be taken.
This is a great book for people who have not had the chance to optimize their finances yet, and are looking for a place to start.
5. Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner
This down-to-earth personal finance book speaks to people in their 20s and 30s who are just starting out. It addresses doing taxes, boosting credit scores, and decreasing debt. It also talks about how to avoid common money mistakes and effectively navigate the world of personal finance.
This easy-to-read book also includes Cliff notes, in case you are jumping around and scanning the chapters. The fundamental concepts are great to come back to every now and then, so it is helpful to have such a well-organized book where you can find what you are looking for easily.
This personal finance book is a must-read for people who are about to graduate from college and go out on their own.
While it is great for people who are looking for general advice, this might not be the book for those who are more established in their financial lives and looking for ways to optimize their finances.
6. The Money Class by Suze Orman
This is a great personal finance book for everyone, regardless of where you are in your life financially. It covers everything about taking care of your family, your career, your home, and your retirement. Using a very direct approach, Orman shows the reader how to manage the mix of money and family.
She also addresses how to avoid making common, costly mistakes when it comes to real estate and your career. This is a great book to help prepare for retirement as well, as it includes a comprehensive retirement resource with an attainable strategy that can be used at any age.
The tools and advice that are presented in this book can take the reader from financial fear to financial security with lessons on how to feel hopeful about the future.
To make things practical and easy to follow for the reader, the author breaks down the pros and cons of various financial decisions and situations that people often encounter.
Though parts of this book may not apply to you, there is definitely something in this book for everyone.
7. Personal Finance For Dummies by Eric Tyson
PF for Dummies offers tried and true financial tips on how to keep your financial assets growing in spite of the changing market and downturn in the economy.
This personal finance book acts as a guide through some of the major subjects in finance, including budgeting, paying off debt, saving, and making proper investment choices.
Tyson urges his readers to examine all of the aspects of their financial well-being and pinpoint the areas that need improvement.
While this is an entry-level book on home personal finance, it is very comprehensive. The author provides solid and practical information that can be applied to anyone's life right away.
With a bit of humor added throughout the book, there are smart lessons laid out that are always useful to keep around and refer back to in the future.
This book is easily broken down and very simple to follow. It is a great book to have on hand for anyone who wants to learn how to get out of debt and save money.
8. The Budgeting Habit by SJ Scott
Full disclosure. I wrote this budgeting book with my writing partner Rebecca Livermore.
I may be biased, but I think it is a great resource for anyone looking to create a budget. It doesn't have a wide focus on personal finance but rather a narrow focus on the super important habit of creating a budget and how to stick to it.
This book is a culmination of both research and personal experience.
Let’s face it. Budgets are boring. This is not a flashy topic, like making money, investing or starting a side hustle. It is drab and boring. Like brushing your teeth.
But what brushing your teeth is to personal hygiene, budgeting is to finance. It may be boring but doing it right is the lynchpin on top of which all financial success rests.
In this book, we tried to make budgeting as interesting as it possibly could be. But more importantly, we strive to give a practical step-by-step guide for how to properly create a budget.
9. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
This book talks about how people in ancient times were able to be financially successful.
It often refers to the “Babylonian parables,” which are known as the greatest inspiring works on thrift, wealth, and financial planning, and includes fascinating and informative stories to help set the reader on a path to prosperity.
This is an inspiring book on personal success. It helps to strengthen the reader's faith in hard work, a positive attitude, and self-discipline. It also teaches the values of avoiding procrastination and taking advantage of opportunities.
While the old English language that pops up throughout this book may not feel right to some people, it only goes to show that these principles have been around for a long time with continued success.
The downside of this book for many is that it deals with ideas. It is more about the thought process behind saving rather than actually giving you real-world personal finance tools to take action.
10. The 5 Years Before You Retire by Emily Guy Birken
Despite the fact that many Americans put money aside throughout their careers for retirement, people often wait until they are in their sixties to realize they have not saved enough.
This personal finance book aims to show the reader what needs to be done in the next five years to make the best use out of current savings and create a plan for the future.
Birken covers every aspect of retirement planning and provides straightforward strategies to explain how people can make the most of their last few years in the workforce while also preparing for retirement.
This is a great book for anyone, whether you have been saving for retirement since the beginning of your career or you are just getting started. It will show you what is important to do now so you are able to live comfortably in the future.
This book presents the information in a very clear way, which makes it quite easy to read. It is also great for people who are not clear on a lot of financial terminology but want to learn more.
11. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
This book is different from other personal finance books because it starts out with a story of an American couple whose joint income is never over $55,000 a year, yet they own two homes, put their children through college, and retire at the young age of 55 with over $1 million in savings.
The story goes to show that just having personal financial planning does not lead to wealth. Rather, it is important to automatically pay yourself first to secure your future while also paying for the present.
This book offers a realistic system for anyone to put into place, no matter what their income level is. Investing 10% of your income automatically will result in long-term savings without any extra effort.
This is a great book for teenagers and young adults who are just starting to manage their own money. It teaches them to think about their savings first and then focus on what they want to purchase in the present moment. This straightforward book leaves little room for confusion.
12. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You're Not) by Beth Kobliner
This personal finance book provides a jargon-free, step-by-step guide for parents to use to teach their children about money.
While this is essentially a lesson on finances, it is actually so much more than that. Teaching kids how to spend their money properly involves teaching lessons on delaying gratification, living within or below your means, working hard, doing well in school, and being generous toward other people.
What's more, this book talks about why an allowance isn’t the best way to teach children how to handle money, and why after-school jobs may not necessarily be the answer either.
This well-structured book is candid and often funny. It is a great read for parents as well as people who do not have kids but want a better grasp on their own finances.
It is easy to relate to because parents have already been through their own childhoods and have seen how their financial lessons impacted them. This book shows the process in a new light that is more effective than one may think.
13. Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School? By by Cary Siegel
Unlike other personal finance books, this one is not complicated or lengthy. It discusses eight important lessons that focus on 99 principles that will help enhance anyone's money management skills.
This quick and easily digested read focuses on the qualitative side of money management rather than the quantitative side. The author uses practical principles that are memorable and that generate deeper thoughts in the reader's mind.
This book is formatted in a way that it can be picked up and put down as needed. It is an easy read that can be appreciated by adults and teenagers alike.
It also provides a great starting point to discuss finances with teenagers so they are able to learn what they should and should not do in the future in order to accumulate wealth.
14. Pogue's Basics: Money by David Pogue
This book on money shortcuts shows that information is money. By using simple tips and tricks, readers are able to walk away from this book and start saving money.
Although a lot of information in this short book is common sense, it is great to have it all put together in one place to show that a few changes here and there can add up to a lot of savings.
Pogue writes in layman's terms, so this is an easy read for anyone to breeze through. He offers really good insights into topics that a lot of people would not think to research on their own, so it is definitely worth the read.
15. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig
This enlightening book is a tougher read than some of the other books on finance, but it is full of very useful information.
Geared more towards those who have an interest in the stock market and investing, it offers commentaries to help the reader relate to the narrator, and give moments of the book a more lighthearted feel.
This book also addresses inflation, portfolio management, market fluctuation, stock selection, bonds, convertible issues, and other more advanced financial subjects.
While this might not be the best book on finances for younger people who are just starting out in the professional world, it lays the foundation in layman's terms by providing the reader with a sound approach to investments in common sense and simplistic way.
16. How to Retire with Enough Money by Teresa Ghilarducci
This book offers an easy-to-follow program that can change the course of one's retirement. It helps cuts through misinformation, confusion, and poorly executed policies that keep people spending or saving poorly.
How to Retire with Enough Money covers how much money should be saved for retirement, and gives the basic principles that will help the money continue to grow.
This includes ideas to help get any current expenses under control, including suggestions for getting rid of your financial advisor and take the reigns on your finances yourself, and even why it is best to pay off a loan rather than keep paying for it every month.
Providing the framework for securing your retirement, How to Retire with Enough Money looks at the risks of not saving enough money while you are working, and what other options you might have.
It provides stable, solid, conservative advice for people who are interested in learning about long-term financial security.
17. The Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
This simple finance book is meant to be a quick and easy guide to personal finance. It is geared toward middle-class Americans and lays out for them the best money habits they can adapt in order to stay financially comfortable throughout life.
Everything covered in this book was once fit on a single index card. With 10 tips ranging from how much money one should save to supporting government programs, this book takes these tips and expands on them so people can see the reason behind each one.
A lot of the advice that is given in this book may seem to be easier said than done, especially for people who are not financially stable.
For example, the first tip is to save a percentage of your income, but some people are unable to do so because they live off of every penny that they make. However, there are some very useful tips in this book for people who have a bit of a head start.
This book is great for people who are just starting to learn about money, or who are about to enter the workforce and need a plan for their earnings.
18. Mindful Money by Jonathan K. DeYoe
This is a great book for young adults about how to live comfortably while also being able to manage money and resources. The author uses a Buddhist approach to talk about money and personal finance, and the lack of guidelines that people are presented with when they are growing up.
Mindful Money works to dispel the money myths that people live with that are taught by self-proclaimed money experts.
It simplifies strategies and goals for the reader by asking them to determine their financial priorities as well as their limitations on saving. It also addresses meaning through relationships, working toward goals, and being generous.
The author often urges the reader to notice their good fortune in what they do have and gives them a way to work towards their well-intended financial goals. This is not an extremely religious or spiritual text, but it is compatible with readers who feel connected to Buddhism in general.
19. The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias
This finance guide shows readers how to use their money to their best advantage in the current financial marketplace. It is not aimed towards the rich or the poor specifically; rather, its lessons can be used by people of all financial backgrounds.
The author uses concise, understandable, and witty tips to explain his advice on savings, making proper investments, saving for retirement, and other financial happenings throughout life.
This is a great financial book for people who are just getting started with earning money because it is comprehensive yet simple.
Along with everyday tips, the author addresses investing in index funds, which is very helpful for those who have not done so already. But the book may not provide very much new information for people who have already mastered their index funds.
With a bit of humor scattered throughout this book, many people can enjoy and learn from its practical and timeless advice.
20. The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
This book does a good job of addressing the amount of money that people should invest every year, and how to allocate it. It also talks about life insurance and other more complex financial issues that arise throughout life that are not necessarily cut and dry.
It is important for people to step back and look at the big picture so they have the ability to deal with unexpected financial burdens. Whether it is the loss of a job or an unexpected disaster, life always hands people things to pay for that they haven’t planned for.
No matter what financial twists and turns life takes, this book helps the reader bridge the gap between their current financial situation and their goals.
This simple and straightforward money management guide urges the reader to reflect on their own personal relationship with money, and what having money means to them.
This helps readers understand their own values and goals so they know what they are working toward. There is more to planning one's financial future than just money. People must also consider their time, their skills, and their energy.
While this book doesn't cover all of the nuts and bolts of making investments, it goes over the basics very well. It may be slightly basic for people who are longtime investors, but it is perfect for a younger family member who is taking a late interest in their financial success.
21. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco
While the title of this book may make it seem like a get-rich-quick scam, it is actually about altering your perception on life and your long-term goals.
This may not be the best book for people who want to live their lives working a steady job, receiving a predictable paycheck, and saving some money to eventually live off of. Instead, it is for people who have higher ambitions and want to take risks in their business ventures.
The author does a good job explaining the difference between two different paths of life—one being the fast lane, and the other being the slow lane.
The fast lane that he talks about involves working very hard for about 10 years and then finding an exit strategy once you're finished. There are no promises made about specific investments in this book, but the author does point out some key aspects that your business needs to have in order to be successful.
This book offers a great approach to life that can help guide people in a positive financial direction.
22. MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins
This long book provides real information through interviews with various people about finance. Tony Robbins‘ message is helpful, despite the fact that it is not necessarily new information.
The advice given is useful to hear again, especially with expanded reasoning to back it up. This book also includes the stories of many people in situations that either have used the principals presented or ignored them, along with their end results.
Some of the advice that is given in this book requires money to get started, and some even requires a decent amount of money. But overall, the author does an excellent job of going over the basics of investments and giving an overview of the common fees that actually destroy a lot of investor's attempts to save money for their future.
This book sets the reader up to be able to ask the right questions of future financial advisors and other people who they will be working within regards to their money.
This is an eye-opening book that will help readers to further understand the investments they are making and create partnerships with their financial advisors rather than taking a back seat to their directions.
23. Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide To Money by Dave Ramsey
This book covers anything that one might need to know about Dave's money lessons, including the best ways to create a reasonable budget, how to effectively save money, how to pay off debt, and how to wisely invest money.
This is a great book for people who are looking for someone who is able to answer their practical and cut-and-dry questions regarding finances.
Further, there is information in this book about insurance, marketing mortgages, looking for bargains, and giving to other people. Although there is not a lot of new information in this book for people who are familiar with Ramsey's work, it is a great overview of his teachings.
This is a great financial book for the common person who is looking to either get out of debt or set up their savings wisely to secure a positive financial future. This book does a good job of changing ones perspective on money, and changing the reader's approach to debt.
24. The Wealthy Gardener by John Soforic
This book is great for everyone searching for information that lays down the foundation for a prosperous life. Soforic combines fiction and non-fiction in a parable-style narrative to share ideas about financial freedom.
This guide to prosperity is a refreshing find in a genre where most books tell you how to make budgets and where to invest your money. Instead, it gently directs the reader to see that the pursuit of wealth is a noble adventure, imbuing the book with an air of spirituality.
The book is organized in such a way that the topics can be easily sought out according to the reader’s specific needs.
Each chapter starts out with a parable and the author’s personal stories on his way to financial freedom, which is related to the topic of that particular section. These anecdotes prime the reader for the information found in the chapter.
Soforic gives an in-depth discussion of the way to gain and keep wealth, with an almost encyclopedic presentation of topics such as the 15 virtues of wealth and the 55 powers for wealth.
More Personal Development and Finance Books
Investment is wonderful but before you should consider ANY major investments, getting your personal finances in order is essential.
If you are broke, the idea of saving money may seem foreign to you. However, this should be the most important time to start building the financial habits that will last you a lifetime.
There are many ways to save money while broke, and many good books that will help you meet a budget with some frugal living and a bit of effort.
I hope you enjoyed the financial tips in this list of personal finance books. If you enjoyed this list, why not check out some more great related lists of great books.
Final Thoughts on the Best Personal Finance Books
Reading personal finance books is crucial if you want to attain financial literacy and make informed decisions about money. These books provide valuable insights into various aspects of personal finance, offering practical advice on budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt.
Hopefully, these books will help you avoid common financial pitfalls, develop a solid financial plan tailored to your unique circumstances, and take control of your financial well-being.