I haven’t had much time to read the past few months. Work has been busy and studying for the GMAT and preparing my MBA application has made it nearly impossible to find time for reading books.
I take the GMAT in less than two weeks and plan on using some of my freed-up time to read a few personal finance books.
As a personal finance blogger I’ve read many personal finance, investing, and business books, but there is always more to learn. Hearing unique perspectives of the authors of each book is something I enjoy.
Today I want to share 5 personal finance books on my “to read” list. I also would love to hear in the comments what personal finance books are on your “to read” list.
1) The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
His new book, The One-Page Financial Plan aims to help people understand the “big picture” of their finances and to put together a plan that is reflective of their long-term goals. He recognizes that most people do not have the time to understand the vast amount of financial information available and end up doing “nothing” in order to avoid doing the “wrong thing.”
In Richards words, “My goal in writing this book is to pull the curtain back a bit: to show you how real financial planning works, to give you an experience of what it’s like to work with a real financial advisor.”
I read Richards’ previous book, The Behavior Gap, and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading his new book, The One-Page Financial Plan, which is already waiting for me on my office bookshelf.
2) The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover is by far the most famous personal finance book on the market. Nearly everyone has at least heard of Dave Ramsey and over 4 million have purchased The Total Money Makeover.
Dave Ramsey has helped countless people get out of debt and build a solid financial future. One thing he talks about are the “7 Baby Steps,” which include funding an emergency fund for 3-6 months and “snowballing” debt.
Additionally, Ramsey advocates a cash envelope system to control spending (he even sells deluxe materials for it. Ramsey is also an advocate of paying off home mortgages, which I know is a concept many people are a fan of.
My wife won The Total Money Makeover in a giveaway a year or two ago and so far neither of us have cracked it open. We know a number of people who have gone through his Financial Peace University and had good experiences with it.
I have mixed feelings on Dave Ramsey’s approach to personal finance, but it’s unfair for me to criticize (or have an opinion, really) until I’ve read his book. I hope to get to it this Summer. Who knows? I may end up being a huge fan.
3) The Broke and Beautiful Life by Stefanie O’Connell
Stefanie O’Connell is a friend and blogger whose work I’ve been reading for nearly two years now. She writes at The Broke and Beautiful Life and recently wrote her first book, The Broke and Beautiful Life.
Stefanie moved to New York to be an actress on Broadway and was quickly forced to gain an understanding of finances and figure out how to best manage her income. What I appreciate about Stefanie is how “real” she is when it comes to finances. With that being said, she also has an attitude of “why not?” and constantly challenges the status quo.
The book is specifically focused on millennials who shy away from personal finances. Her goal is to make millennials realize that having an understanding of personal finance is a powerful tool that can greatly improve your life.
I’m excited to check out her book and read about how her experiences influenced and motivated her to have a better handle on her finances.
4) Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is most famous for founding the company PayPal in 2002. In his book Zero to One he talks specifically about entrepreneurship and startups.
While this book is not focused on personal finance, I think it’s still a valuable book for people to read because it can be eye-opening to current and would-be entrepreneurs. Here is a good summary of Thiel’s main premise:
“Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.”
I started to read Zero to One but had to quit when I started studying for the GMAT. I was a few chapters in, so I look forward to reading the rest of it when my time frees up.
5) The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
David Bach’s book The Automatic Millionaire was published in 2005 and is focused on how people can become millionaires even with a modest income.
Bach lists the following points that make his approach unique:
You don’t need a budget
You don’t need willpower
You don’t need to make a lot of money
You don’t need to be that interested in money
You can set up the plan in an hour
What is interesting is that you can set the plan up in an hour. If it’s really that simple, how is there an entire book written about it? It must have some sort of valuable information considering it’s 4.2 rating on Amazon from a combined 472 customer reviews.
This book was recommended by a good friend of mine and I was surprised that I hadn’t heard much about it. I look forward to seeing what Bach’s “simple” formula is for becoming a millionaire.
Honorable Mention: Pocket Your Dollars by Carrie Rocha
I can’t help but add Pocket Your Dollars by Carrie Rocha to this list. Carrie is another personal finance blogger who I’ve been able to meet in person at one of our Minnesota personal finance blogger meetups.
Carrie’s story of overcoming debt and turning around her personal finances is an inspiring one. Beyond that, she’s also built an entire full-time business out of her website, Pocket Your Dollars.
Thousands of people rely on her shopping lists to get the lowest price on things they would buy anyway. I know we check her site each weekend to see what we can get for rock-bottom prices at Target.
My wife read this book a while back (it came out in 2012) and said it was a really good one. Once I finish the first five books on this list, Pocket Your Dollars is the next on the list.
2 Personal Finance Books I Highly Recommend
Besides just listing what’s on my “to read” list, I thought it would be good to share 2 personal finance books I recommend. Both of these books had a big impact on my finances and really how I viewed my life in terms of finances. I don’t just recommend them, I highly recommend them.
1) The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman
I’ve read a lot of personal finance books, but there is one book that continues to be my “go to” recommendation for millennials: The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman.
My wife and I both read this book when we were nearing college graduation and we are extremely thankful to have read it when we did. With that being said, I think the book would be useful for anyone who falls in the millennial demographic (ages 18-34). If you don’t fall in this demographic, recommend it to someone who is; they’ll thank you for it!
In my experience, books that try to cover too many personal finance topics end up providing little value in the end. This book is one of the few exceptions where I’ve seen a comprehensive personal finance “guide” actually pan out in the end.
I highly recommend you check out Suze’s book if you haven’t yet.
2) The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
The other personal finance book I highly recommend to people is Timothy Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Work Week. While it doesn’t necessarily fit into the personal finance niche, I do think that it can have a huge impact on your finances. Simply being exposed to Tim’s way of thinking can have a material impact on how you live your life and view work, careers, money, and more.
I read this book on my honeymoon three-and-a-half years ago and it’s really stuck with me. What I like about Tim is he doesn’t advocate changing the way companies and the economy works. Instead he advises taking advantage of the opportunity that the internet has provided.
Tim is big on “lifestyle design” and I have always thought that personal finances were more about lifestyle than anything else. They dictate our life and either force us to live a life that we don’t enjoy but “have to” live, or they allow us to utilize resources in a way that provides us the lifestyle that we truly desire.
The bottom line is this: if you haven’t read The 4-Hour Work Week yet, I would put it at the top of your list. This is a book that has the potential to greatly impact your life.
Those are the personal finance books on my “to read” list. What’s on yours?
Photo by rosmary