The Top 7 Best Personal Finance Books for Beginners

By Myles Leva

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Last Updated: June 1, 2022

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We should always aim to improve ourselves, especially in the most important areas of life. In terms of importance, finances are near the top of the priorities list, following just family and health.

But while family life and health are improved in fairly straightforward ways, financial betterment rests on knowledge and practicality.

In this article, we will go over the seven best finance books for beginners. We won’t pick anything too deep or technical and will draw not just from our personal preferences, but from the books that people attest to and personally helped them improve their lives.

Some books simply do a better job at getting beginners to grasp financial concepts in:

  • Daily budgeting
  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Preparing for emergencies
  • Lifestyle balance

 

 

Personal Finance Books for Beginners

1. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? by Cary Siegel

For many people, the topic they wished they learned more about in school is money. Yet there are plenty of financial topics you likely did not learn much about in school, and here we are.

'Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School?' dives into 99 principles and 8 lessons about money. The idea is that they’re all basic lessons you should’ve learned in high school, but almost certainly did not.

Initially, these lessons were meant for the author’s 5 children, seeing as they weren’t learning these important lessons in the classroom.

This entry still stands as an easy-to-read book meant for students or recent grads trying to make some sense of their future financial responsibilities and how to handle them.

 

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

This memoir is less about applying financial habits and investing, and more about mindset. It is the book that spawned the concepts of “rich mindset” and “poor mindset”, which we covered in this article.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad covers two fathers (one being his own). It covers the differences in mentality surrounding money and how those differences played out on each family’s finances over the course of years.

It also strikes similar themes to our first entry, covering why some things just aren’t covered in school.

This is a book truly applicable to young adults trying to make sense of money. If you’re starting to take on more financial responsibilities, this should be on your reading list.

Want more details around the Wealth Mindset? Read this next: Wealth Mindset vs. Poverty Mindset & How Can You Develop a Wealth Mentality?

 

3. One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch’s “One Up On Wall Street” is another old book that has aged quite well. Given the author’s legendary investment record, it makes sense that his professional insights can also be applied to give the average individual an understanding of how stock investing really works.

If you want the world of stocks - which is often comically portrayed in media - demystified, this is a good book to add to your list.

The book starts out with an explanation of your inherent ability to find good companies, and the common misconceptions that cause so many people to repeatedly lose money.

He then goes on to provide a practical guide to investing in “good companies” that are more likely to bag you the big returns, including how to assess companies’ financial statements.

 

4. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay

Unfortunately, given the recent economic climate, we cannot make a finance book reading list that doesn’t include one on debt.

Dave Ramsay’s debt management best-seller doesn’t mince words or “take it easy” on the reader. It’s a guide to getting out of debt and improving your overall financial situation.

To get you there, it covers the relevant topics of rent-to-own, bad credit products, cash advances, and using credit overall. But it also gets into what to do once you’ve reached a better financial situation: retirement plans, emergency funds, and more.

This book isn’t only for you if you’ve been struggling; it’s a valuable book for any young adult trying to make sense of the common hardships of personal finance.

 

5. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

If you want a modern finance book for modern financial life and challenges, this is it. Ramit Sethi isn’t playing around with his bestseller’s title. After you’ve read the book, you could follow Ramit’s blog, as well.

"I Will Teach You To Be Rich" includes practical advice such as how to best use credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial products. The advice he provides is all actionable, outlined as a six-week guide to improving your finances, or living out your “rich life”.

 

6. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham’s investment strategy book explains the concept of value investing.

Value investing is a strategy focused on creating steady profits over the long term. Similar to One Up On Wall Street, this book walks you through picking good companies with underlying intrinsic value

While it’s a specific kind of investment book, it’s one that offers insight into one of the most tested strategies out there. Warren Buffett said he would be in a different place if he had never read it, and says it helped set him on the path he took.

 

7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Do you have ambitions to grow rich? Well, "Think and Grow Rich" doesn’t promise to get you there. Instead, what it provides are the 13 habits that are most common among the wealthy.

The idea behind the book isn’t brand new, but Napoleon Hill’s method has made his book a must-read if you’re interested in the minds of the rich. Napoleon interviewed people for 20 years before publishing his 1937 book which has sold tens of millions of copies and remains relevant today.

 

What personal finance books should I read?

Overall, these are some of the best finance books you can find.

There are of course plenty of others. But as a “beginner” to finance, you should focus on the entries that provide a general picture of the area of finance you’re concerned about, starting with debt and budgeting, if those topics are relevant to you (if you’re a recent graduate, they likely are).

Of course, we would encourage you to read them all, if you have the time. Then, read more. Personal finance largely rests on education and practical habits, after all.

 

 

Conclusions: Personal Finance Books for Young Adults

Financial literacy books are important if you have not yet learned about the basics of personal finance.

Reading them won’t immediately solve all your troubles, of course. But with an understanding of budgeting, debt, credit, saving, and investing, you will be better placed to handle the financial responsibilities all independent individuals are expected to carry out.

Photo by cottonbro

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