You are currently viewing 17 Must-Read Personal Finance Books

It can sometimes be tricky wading through the mess when trying to find out which personal finance books are good and which were just trash hidden behind an eye-catching cover meant to catch you on an impulse. But even in 2020, with as vast of a personal finance net you can cast with the internet, there are still some great books out there that can help anyone regardless of how their personal finances look.

Whenever we talk about saving money, budgeting, or making your money grow, personal finance is one of the basic skill sets needed to learn how to properly use your money and learn how to make your money grow.

Personal finance authors can be hit or miss. After all, if they’re so amazing with money, then why are they trying to sell books instead of getting rich on their own? And that’s where it gets tricky trying to find a personal finance author that genuinely makes some good and useful books.

We have taken all of the guesswork out of finding which authors are actually valuable to those looking to control their personal finances. And, at any rate, let’s dive right into the best personal finance books that everyone should read!

(We should go ahead and mention now that these books are in a non-biased, unspecific order. Different types of people have different personal finance goals. We tried to make a list that would offer a little something to everyone.)

Dave Ramsey: The Internet’s Favorite Personal Finance Author

(Great personal finance books for beginners!)

If you search online for personal finance help, personal finance books, or personal finance authors, you will undoubtedly come across Dave Ramsey. He’s very popular, and some may say he later turned into a sellout, just churning out books to get sales and royalties, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of his earlier (and best) personal finance books are packed with information that never goes obsolete.

Which Dave Ramsey books should I read?

Here are our suggestions:

  • Total Money Makeover – This is Dave’s bestselling book. The reason it’s so popular is that this book has helped millions of families get out of debt and completely revamp their personal finances. It’s helpful to anyone, regardless of age or income.
  • The Complete Guide To Money – Learn how to budget, save, become debt-free, and invest in ways to make you wealthy. The Complete Guide To Money will take you from A-Z of personal finances and investing strategies.
  • Smart Money Smart Kids – Co-authored with his daughter Rachel Cruz, Ramsey will take readers through various personal stories and anecdotes of growing up in the Ramsey household. It’s an amazing book for parents looking to teach their kids and teens the importance of proper money management and how to raise fiscally smart kids.

Thomas J Stanley: NYT Bestselling Personal Finance Author

(Great personal finance books for adults looking to take things to the next level)

Dr. Thomas J. Stanley was a business theorist first and a bestselling author second. Before becoming a writer, Dr. Stanley made a living by simply researching, gathering, and analyzing data about businesses. During this time, he saw how successful businesses properly manage their money and how the people who own them came into power.

With such a unique inside perspective, he shared his knowledge with multiple New York Times bestselling personal finance books. His books are more geared towards those who want to know how affluent individuals became wealthy and how they managed their money along the way. Our favorites are:

  • The Millionaire Next Door – Learn to develop the same personal finance habits that the wealthy use. By learning these fundamentals early on, you are doing your part to ensure financial success in the future.
  • The Millionaire Mind – An inside look at how the wealthy manage their money. This book answers some of the most complex personal finance questions by using easy-to-understand examples.
  • Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire – So many people are caught up in appearing like they’re doing better than they really are. The “fake it til you make it” attitude doesn’t work with becoming a millionaire. Dr. Stanley uses his expertise on the ultra-wealthy to shed light on how they became so rich and how everyday person can mimic their paths to success.

Personal Finance Books For Teens and Young Adults

Those that are young adults, or freshly entering adulthood, will undoubtedly live by a different set of personal finance rules than, say, a middle-aged adult would. Because of this, fresh high school graduates and college students need to learn a different set of personal finance books.

If you are young — late teens to early 20s — and are reading this list, we want to say that it is nothing short of admirable that you’re taking an interest in personal finance. It’s all too common for young adults to make mistakes early on that come back to haunt them later on in life or that snowball into an unmanageable situation. Learning the right way now prevents headaches later on down the line.

Here are our young-adult personal finance book club selections.

  • You’re So Money by: Farnoosh Torabi – An amazingly well-written and instructive book that addresses the real-life scenarios that just about any college student will face as they start to take control of their personal finances. Farnoosh Torabi does a great job of teaching readers how to survive college without going broke and shows some unique ways how even the poorest college students can find money to stash away.
  • Debt Free by 30 by: Jason Anthony & Karl Cluck – This should teach the tips and strategies in every high school in America. Teens and young adults can use this book to learn about managing their credit score, financing their first car, and ways to repay their debt so fast that they will enter their 30s debt-free.
  • The Richest Kids in America: How They Earn It, How They Spend It, How You Can Too by Mark Victor Hansen – Although it was written in 2009, the information in this mook, as well as the motivation that comes from reading it, is still relevant today. The book follows multiple kids and young adults from ages 9 to 23. The youngsters featured are entrepreneurs, investors and are way more advanced with their personal finances than almost anyone else their age. Learn how they made their money and how you can emulate their success.
  • Financial Basics: A Money Management Guide For Students by: Susan Knox – Aimed at college students, this book is also great for teens and young adults. Learn the basics behind credit and debit cards, student loans, creating an emergency fund, and many more helpful tips. The book is a bit interactive and comes with worksheets to help you really nail down the process of managing your personal finances.
  • The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of by David and Tom Gardner – Since 1993, David and Tom Gardner of The Motley Fool have been helping people with investing and personal finance guidance. Without all of the filler and fluff, this book is packed with facts from start to finish about how to budget, save, invest, and spend your money to ensure you are richer than your parents ever could have imagined.

The Best Personal Finance Books To Read In 2020

Rounding up our personal finance book club selections are six books that, although they weren’t necessarily written in 2020, are more important to read now than ever before. If you’re the type of person who feels like everyone around you naturally knows how to manage their money, yet you’re the complete opposite, then these books will be great for you.

  • When She Makes More: 10 Rules For Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi – Money is already a tough subject for just about any American married couple out there. Whenever ‘she’ makes more, it can lead to guilt, shame, and questions of identity. Torabi provides helpful solutions for protecting your finances and relationship.
  • Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By And Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry – Millennials are at a unique disadvantage regarding the economy and the job market. Erin Lowry takes a practical approach with real-world examples to solving many of the financial issues that plague the millennial crowd.
  • Retire Before Mom And Dad: The Simple Numbers Behind A Lifetime Of Financial Freedom by Rob Berger – Personal finance and investing can seem daunting to 20-and-30-something adults. Rob Berger takes you on an easily understandable journey to properly managing your finances and potentially retiring early. Learn how to control and budget your spending, juggle multiple financial goals and benchmarks, and learn how many Americans are achieving financial independence and retiring early.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – Originally written in 1937 (no, that’s not a typo, yes we mean nearly 8 decades ago), Think and Grow Rich still mostly rings true to this day. Napoleon Hill spent a great deal of his own wealth and fortune to research and developed the philosophical laws behind being successful. Napoleon Hill takes a look at some of the most wealthy and powerful men of their time, from Thomas Edison to Henry Ford, and even takes a look at Andrew Carnegie (How To Win Friends And Influence People .. another great read!)
  • The Simple Path To Wealth: Your Road Map To Financial Independence And A Rich, Free Life by: J L Collins – With so many investing authors and “How to get rich”-style books being written, it’s hard to tell who offers great advice, and who is just shilling for certain stocks, companies, or services. J L Collins does an amazing job of offering an unbiased and straight-to-the-point look at how to get rich. From his first job of selling fly swatters door to door to becoming a rich investor, the book takes a good look at how J L Collins did it. It’s only 286 pages long, and each chapter has some of the most valuable investment and ‘money-growing advice you will ever read.
  • The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan To Live And Finish Rich by David Bach – The book starts by following an average American married couple. She’s a beautician, and he’s a low-level manager. Their combined annual income is $55,000. Yet this couple somehow owns multiple homes debt-free, has put two kids through college, and retired in their 50s with 7 figures in the bank. By going through their story, you will learn that you don’t necessarily need a budget, you don’t need a super high income, and you don’t even really need to be interested in money to get rich.

Bookclub Summary

There you have it, and our top 17 picks for the personal finance book club. We tried to filter out any redundancy when offering up suggestions. Each personal finance book offers at least a little something unique in its own way. Different people have different goals regarding their finances, which makes it hard to suggest just one or two books “that everyone must read!”

With a worldwide pandemic and a subsequently struggling economy, more people now than ever before are trying to take the reins and gain control of their personal finances. Use the extra time from quarantining to read and learn as much as possible. Your personal finances will not magically start self-managing, so now is as good of a time as any to learn proper money-management skills.

And sure, it’s easy to say, “set a budget, save more than you spend, invest properly.” Still, there are obviously tips and tricks out there that the financially savvy and the ultra-wealthy are using that go beyond setting a budget and saving money. Our personal finance book recommendations above will teach you just that and more!

Wes Durham

Wes Durham is the founder of Develop Your Wealth. He has a long-running career is a mix of financial technology and education. His main goal is to help others develop good saving habits, money earning opportunities, debt balancing and wealth development.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Akulu

    Been looking for something like this, a solid list with great personal descriptions for the books to help me decide what to pick up first. Good read

    1. Wes Durham

      Glad you found this helpful. Many of those books changed my view on money over the years.

  2. Tori

    Have heard of Dave Ramsey and his book Total Money Makeover, but I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read one of his books. Thanks for the list, I’m always on the lookout for new titles to add to my “read” list, especially since summer has arrived.

  3. Erin

    “When she makes more” sounds like a good read for some women who bring home the bacon! My friend is a doctor and makes more than her husband who works in IT, I think she would love this book.

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