The FIVE Books on Personal Finance Everyone Needs to Read

Books on personal finance

Personal finance. It’s super important, but did anyone mention that to you in school? Most of us seem to have grown up blissfully unaware of the role that smart money management plays in life, and while we may have lost out on some opportunities due to uninformed decisions, it’s never to late to catch up. And never too late to educate yourself with books on personal finance.


Money management is a key aspect of getting your life under control, and making deliberate choices about, well, everything. In this world that we have built, money is almost as important as breathing – I’m not trying to be dramatic here. Think about it: can you survive without food or shelter? Clothes? They all require money. I mean you could argue that one can get these things by begging or by stealing. But we’re not talking about extreme situations; besides, nobody can live their life without ever using money, even if they do beg or steal sometimes.

Money was supposed to measure the value of a thing, but it’s become a necessity to have in order to live a decent, dignified life. Let me just stop here, before I go into a rant about the cons of a rabidly capitalistic society. My point, for now, is that smart money management is our strongest weapon in this world, where everything is about money.

I believe money management is also a key aspect of living a sustainable life. Not only do we influence a lot of things based just on what we spend our money on, but we can exert control over the kind of world we want by choosing to spend money one certain things and not on certain others. We certainly need clothes, but what if we spent our money buying from an ethical brand as opposed to a fast fashion brand? We obviously need to eat quality food, but what if we shopped at the local farmer’s market instead of at a department store?

It also involves smart management to live a frugal life, and a frugal life also happens to be sustainable. The less money you spend, and the more optimally you spend your money, the less of a negative impact you will have on the planet. By spending less money, you’re basically using up less resources. That’s what it amounts to, on a fundamental level.

personal finance books

So now that we’ve established how important money management is, let’s learn more about it. Here is a list of five extremely useful books on personal finance. More than spoon-feeding you and telling you exactly what to do, these books open up a world of new attitudes and approach towards money.

Another thing these books do is emphasize the importance of progress, however small it may be. You can’t realistically get rich overnight by reading these books (or by any other method!), but it’s so important to put in the habits that will get you to a financially comfortable place in due course. Discipline, persistence and sincerity – those old-fashioned values! – will get you much, much further than any quick-fix methods ever can.

In our culture of instant gratification, we seem to have forgotten that good results take time. If anyone says otherwise, they’re not being honest with you. 

Alright, without further rambling, here are the five books on personal finance everyone needs to read:

Money Honey : A Simple 7-Step Guide for Getting Your Financial Shit Together

Author: Rachel Richards

If you’re looking for a straightforward introduction to budgeting and investing, this book is a great option. The author has had a challenging childhood, and her lessons are laid out in this book, presented in a useful manner for novices while also being very educational for non-beginners. It’s an enjoyable read, with key takeaways that you’ll remember for a while.


The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Author: Dave Ramsey

I began meticulously tracking my money after reading this book. The book’s makeover is a set of seven steps, but before you take the steps, you need something first: a written budget and a cash envelope system. As they say, to improve something you have to first measure it. Once I began noting down where my money went, I had a much better understanding (and horrified realization) of my situation, why I was in it, and what I needed to do to get out of it. Follow the seven steps to gradually pay off your debt and to build your wealth.


The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy

Authors: Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Another personal finance book with a bias towards frugality. This time, though, it’s presented from the side of some of America’s millionaires. Their mantra is to spend less and save more. Which, basically, is the crux of personal finance management.

The book is a bit boring to plod through, but worth it in the end. For me, when a book reaffirms and reinforces my beliefs about certain things, that’s a good enough outcome! Because it means I’m on the right track.


The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success

Author: Darren Hardy

The guiding principle of this book is that simple, small incremental changes lead to exponential results, and that really puts the onus in your hands. You’re left feeling empowered to make changes to your life that can prepare it for the life you want to lead.


Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Authors: Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

I’ve left my personal favorite till the end. This book is perfect for those who are jaded by the world of corporate finance, the stock market, or all the big banks with their big fees and service charges. It presents a completely unique way of looking at money. It explains how you can live a rich, fulfilling life for your community and the planet, and also goes into how there’s more to life than just working for money.

This book, therefore, is not about becoming rich; it’s about figuring out how much is enough. This is the book that was instrumental in kickstarting the FIRE movement: Financial Independence, Retire Early. So, if that’s your plan (like it is mine;)), then this book is a must-read.

The 2018 edition just came out, and it’s been updated with reference to student debt, online businesses and the gig economy. But the authors’ basic principles remain the same.

personal finance books


Have you tried signing up for the free Kindle app? So you won’t have to lug all these books around; just buy and download them to read!

So that’s it! Five must-read books to get control of your personal finance. Have you read any of them? Do you have any more recommendations? If you enjoyed this post, please make sue to share it. Thank you!

personal finance books

* The watercolor image used in this post was downloaded for free from Creative Market

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