9 Best Personal Finance Books Everyone Should Read
Learning how to manage finances doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to create a budget or maximize your investment portfolio, you can benefit from the advice of others.
There are plenty of books available that teach strategies for budgeting, saving, investing and learning to make your money work for you. Here are the best personal finance books that everyone should read.
Last updated: Dec. 16, 2020
Best Overall: The Richest Man in Babylon
In this classic work, George Clason teaches foundational personal finance lessons through stories set in ancient Babylon. Topics include the importance of seeking the advice of experts, increasing your ability to earn money and learning how to control expenses. Readers note that the lessons are still relevant in a modern world and appreciate the entertaining storytelling.
Best for Developing Money Habits: Spend Well, Live Rich
Based on the lessons she learned from her grandmother, Michelle Singletary gives readers practical mantras to guide spending and saving. Exploring concepts like needs versus wants, cash versus credit and assets versus waste, this book helps readers establish money habits so they can live well on what they have. It offers a refreshing and smart approach to personal finance that all readers can appreciate.
Best for Budgeting: The Money Manual
Tonya Rapley turned her life experience into a financial education blog targeted at millennials. In “The Money Manual,” she presents a practical approach to creating financial goals, establishing a budget and tackling debt. Readers have remarked that its digestible advice makes it easy to learn about budgeting, making it an excellent resource for those who want to get control of their finances.
Best for Building Wealth: I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Ramit Sethi’s personal finance book is designed to appeal to people in their 20s and 30s. It’s funny and tongue-in-cheek, yet very practical, which is the best part. You get a six-week personal finance course that teaches topics ranging from 401(k)s to financing a wedding. Reviewers praise the book’s specific recommendations, such as scripts to follow when negotiating prices and money-saving spending shifts.
Best for Debt Management: The Total Money Makeover
In “The Total Money Makeover,” Dave Ramsey presents the seven baby steps that are the center of his debt-free personal finance philosophy. If you’re struggling with debt, check out his steps for creating a zero-based budget and debt snowball approach to paying off everything from credit cards to student loans. Positive reviews of the book highlight its simple message and easy-to-follow steps.
Best for Investing: The Simple Path to Wealth
“The Simple Path to Wealth” started as a series of letters to the author’s daughter, written before she was able to understand the financial concepts he discusses. JL Collins aimed to demystify the world of investment to help laypeople understand how to invest and build wealth. The book’s simplicity and casual tone earn top marks from readers.
Best for Women: Secrets of Six-Figure Women
Barbara Stanny interviewed hundreds of women earning at least $100,000 to discover the secrets to their success. This book details the seven traits that helped these women achieve their financial success. Readers get more than a money how-to manual; they uncover beliefs and attitudes that are affecting their financial health.
Best for Millennials: Broke Millennial
In a space dominated by books written for middle-aged Americans, Erin Lowry offers financial advice for millennials — and everyone else who’s currently cash-strapped. Using contemporary language and references, Lowry addresses everything from relationships with money to budgeting and dealing with debt. Readers immediately welcomed this fresh voice and relatable style.
Best for Kids: Smart Money Smart Kids
Finance expert Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, offer one of the best books to read when it comes to teaching children how to handle money. Their book discusses working, spending, saving and giving, in addition to larger issues such as paying cash for college as well as living without debt and discontentment. You may not read it with your kids, but you can use the principles to guide your conversations with them.
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This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.