Money is tricky to navigate, if not downright traumatic. Have you ever wondered, “How does money make me feel?” Does it make you happy and free? Or does simply thinking about it make you anxious and stressed out? Believe it or not, our mindset about money is one of the biggest reasons why we fail financially. If you want to turn your life around and get into the ranks of the wealthy, it is imperative that you first change this mindset. Fortunately, there are some great resources out there that can help you do it. So, here are some of the best personal finance books of all time, appropriate for readers of all ages and genders, that you must check out!
Top 20 Personal Finance Books of All Times
Adopting a money mindset is the key to becoming rich. The following books get to the root of the problem and contain eye-opening knowledge about the nature of money, how it works, and how you can acquire more of it. Learning how to save money will be child’s play after this!
1. Think and Grow Rich (1937)
Author: Napolean Hill
Synopsis: The holy grail of all money books – anyone who wants to improve their personal finances has to start with this book. It highlights 13 common habits that all rich and successful people have. Based on a long study of 500 wealthy individuals over a period of 20 years.
- Believe in yourself and your ability to become rich. The psychological power of thought and the subconscious mind are the keys to success.
- Pursue your goal with single-minded determination.
- Learn from the pros first-hand.
- Every failure has something to teach and learn.
Favorite Quote: “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
2. Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997)
Author: Robert Kiyosaki
Synopsis: This is one of the classic personal finance books ever. No list of money books is complete without this phenomenal book that goes in-depth about how having poor or rich parents affect children and later cements their beliefs about money. For everyone who wants to understand how money works and how our beliefs affect our finances, this book is a must-read.
- Develop a money mindset. Let go of the limiting beliefs you adopted from your parents and believe that anyone can become rich.
- Focus on acquiring assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. Ironically most people end up buying liabilities with their money such as cars (requiring car payments), a house with a mortgage, and credit card debts.
- Do not spend your entire life mindlessly working for a paycheck, do something that you truly love and which builds up your skill set and knowledge.
Favorite Quote: “The main reason that over 90 percent of the American public struggles financially is because they play not to lose. They don’t play to win.”
3. The Richest Man in Babylon (1926)
Author: George Samuel Clason
Synopsis: Another classic and mind-blowing book about money – this book imitates biblical tales and uses ancient parables from the times of Babylon to teach readers about finances. It is full of some true hidden gems and wisdom regarding money. Though most of it sounds like common sense, the writing style makes it highly refreshing and truly drives the message home.
- Always live below your means. This is surprisingly a common habit among the richest people in the world also!
- Work hard and create opportunities that will make you wealthy. You can get lucky by taking the chances given to you.
- Debt is not the norm. Avoid debt by not spending thousands of dollars on purchases you can’t afford.
Favorite Quote: “Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you only take what is worth having.”
4. The Millionaire Next Door (1998)
Author: Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
Synopsis: Get the inspiration you need to become rich with this insightful book that highlights the top seven habits common in all millionaires. That is, they live below their means, reject traditional consumerism, and save from the moment they start earning.
- Save as much as you can even from a part-time job salary.
- Cultivate good spending habits and stop wasting money on useless purchases.
- Calculate your full financial potential with Stanley’s Formula, I.e., Multiply your age by your total income (before taxes) and divide by 10.
- Try not to use too much of your money to support others.
Favorite Quote: “Whatever your income, always live below your means.”
Most Useful Personal Finance Books for Teens
A common trait among rich people is that they start young. That’s why teenage is the best time for you to start gaining knowledge about finances and making investments. If you do it right, you can even become a teenage millionaire like many others!
5. The Psychology of Money (2020)
Author: Morgan Housel
Synopsis: Changing your mindset about money is the first step toward financial wellness. This book is extremely critical for teenagers as it teaches them what money exactly is, how it moves in an economy, and how our emotions and feelings are a big part of each financial decision we make. The book offers useful advice on how teenagers especially but everyone overall can make rational and logical decisions about money.
- Our upbringing and the attitudes of our parents have a huge impact on how we think and behave with money.
- Young people are more likely to act out of greed and take big risks. While it pays off sometimes, however being greedy almost always leads you to bad financial decisions.
- Envy, jealousy, and other emotions also lead to bad financial decisions. Always think rationally about money.
Favorite Quote: “Money’s greatest intrinsic value … is its ability to give you control over your time.”
6. How to Make Money: Your Ultimate Visual Guide to the Basics of Finance (2022)
Author: Jean Chatzky, Kathryn Tuggle, and The HerMoney Team
Synopsis: This colorful and interactive guide is perfect for young readers and teaches all the basics about money, such as how to build a budget and maintain it, credit cards 101, what is investing, and how to invest in the stock market and other ventures, as well as taxes.
- Learn how to manage money from the get-go.
- Navigate student loans like a pro and make a plan to pay them back quickly, avoiding crippling student debt.
- Be smart and start investing early to accumulate more wealth than your peers.
7. I Want More Pizza (2015)
Author: Steve Burkholder
Synopsis: This book is perfect for young readers who get intimidated by all the money talk. It is highly digestible and aims to teach readers the ins and outs of how money works and what you can do to get started on a financially secure path.
- Develop money skills early on.
- The book is super easy to read and understand; broken down into 4 slices, I.e., Your Goals & Priorities, Why you should save and How to do it right, Growing your savings with Investments, and Everything you need to Know and avoid debts.
Finance Books for Students to be Money-Smart during College
College is usually the time when young people start collecting debts. It’s no surprise really – the U.S. education system is built on student loans and it is extremely difficult to complete a higher education degree without one. Furthermore, credit card companies target young people who don’t yet know how to be responsible with them, resulting in massive credit card debts. All before you’re even 30! So, get smarter with these books and get back at the system that’s rigged against you!
8. I Will Teach You to Be Rich (2009)
Author: Ramit Sethi
Synopsis: From one of the Best Finance gurus of the 21st Century, Ramit Sethi teaches you how to be rich without feeling guilty about your daily Starbucks Latte. This highly actionable book teaches you how to effectively use credit cards to avoid debt and maximize rewards, automate your accounts to save and spend effortlessly and build other systems to grow your wealth.
- Stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for your personal finances.
- Automate your fixed costs such as bills, rent, and credit card payments as well as savings so you don’t have to spend any time and effort doing it.
- Allocate 60% of your budget to necessary expenses, invest 10%, save 10% for vacations and unexpected events; spend the remaining 20% however you like guilt-free!
Favorite Quote: “Getting started is more important than becoming an expert.”
9. Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together (2017)
Author: Erin Lowry
Synopsis: For people who are just starting their financial journey, this book is your holy grail. Although it is titled ‘Millennial”, it is relevant for all young people in any era. It covers budgeting tips, financial planning, and most importantly everything you need to know about student loan debts & credit card debts.
- What is your relationship with money? Take a moment to review it in order to find out why you’re always broke.
- Determine exactly how much you need you live according to your lifestyle and how much you need to save to be on the right financial track.
- Instead of giving up on credit cards, learn how to use them best and take advantage of the system.
Favorite Quote: “Trying to change how you spend or save money without understanding why it’s difficult in the first place probably means you’ll slip up”.
10. Your Money or Your Life (2008)
Author: Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Synopsis: Take control of your finances with this 9-step guide. Learn how to change your mindset about money, come to terms with your past financial situations, eliminate all debt, save and invest properly, and ultimately, get set on your path to becoming financially free.
- Make peace with your financial past and adopt a wealth mindset by visualizing your future earnings. Calculate your net worth to feel good about your personal finances.
- Track your money and spending. Eliminate expenses that do not make you happy.
- Learn to value the life energy you trade for money. Step up your hourly wage to what you’re really worth.
- Research your investment options and choose the best for your unique economic circumstances.
Favorite Quotes: “Money is something we trade our life energy for.”
“Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them.”
11. Retire Before Mom and Dad (2019)
Author: Rob Berger
Synopsis: This is one of the best personal finance books for young adults who dream of becoming financially independent and retiring early. Hop on the FIRE movement with this useful book that teaches you how to build wealth without sacrificing your lifestyle or becoming ascetic.
- Debunking myth – Financial freedom is not a luxury for the elite few. Anyone can achieve it using discipline and being smart with their money.
- There are 7 Stages of Financial freedom that people in all kinds of financial situations can start at. This book has an actionable pan for you even if you’re dirt poor, which, to be honest, most college students are.
- As opposed to Sethi, Berger suggests saving up your daily latte money for even one month, investing it, and getting a staggering $1,231,783.24 return on investment. Seriously, he’s done the math!
12. The Millionaire Fastlane (2010)
Author: M.J. DeMarco
Synopsis: The world of “going to college, getting a job, working 9-to-5 your whole life, and retiring rich” is gone. In the 21st century, this old model doesn’t work, numerous reports show that young people today are poorer and cannot afford to buy homes as compared to their parents. This book redefines the path to success and wealth in today’s era.
- Today wealth doesn’t mean money; it means having freedom, meaningful relationships, and being healthy, both physically and mentally.
- To become a millionaire, you have to earn passive income and stop trading your time for a monthly paycheck.
- Build a unique product to sell and base your business on. Think from a producer’s perspective rather than a consumer’s.
Favorite Quote: “Many people want to change their life, but they are not willing to change their choices, and ultimately this changes nothing.”
Are You a Struggling Millennial? Or Too Old to Make Drastic Moves with Your Money? Here are Important Books on Personal Finances for 40-Year-Olds
It’s easy for young people to take financial risks. However, the same cannot be said about the older generation. They just want to save up enough for a good retirement plan and live a modest life. Nevertheless, you cannot get there by simply saving up a few hundred dollars every month while living on a mere pittance trying to repay your debts. Therefore, these personal finance books for millennials are crucial for turning your life around!
13. Broke Millennial Takes on Investing (2019)
Author: Erin Lowry
Synopsis: Yes, this is a sequel to the above-mentioned Broke Millennial. While the first book talks about general budgeting tips for young college students, this one specifically focuses on investing. Lowry teaches socially conscious millennials to invest in ventures that align with their values and beliefs while also making great money.
- Accessible and easy-to-digest information on how to get started with investing. The book covers all the basics of investing, buying and selling stocks, as well as lucrative alternative investment ideas, etc.
- Contains a glossary of terms beginners need to understand investing.
- Learn how to avoid common mistakes uninformed beginners are bound to make.
14. Dear Debt (2016)
Author: Melanie Lockert
Synopsis: Combining finance and humor – this book is an absolute favorite with readers worldwide. It is the personal story of the author who struggles with a staggering $80,000 in student loan debt and all the tips & tricks she acquired during her journey to pay it off completely.
- This a quick, fun read with tons of useful tips for people struggling with debt.
- Presents various strategies to overcome debt.
- Understand and eliminate the spending triggers that are putting you in a bad financial situation constantly.
15. The Automatic Millionaire (2003)
Author: David Bach
Synopsis: Finance writer and New York Times Bestseller author David Bach gives you a step-by-step guide on how to become a millionaire. It is crucial to start early and save even the smallest amount you can. However, the real secret is to put your expenses and savings on automated accounts so they earn interest without you even lifting a finger.
- Automating your accounts makes you disciplined without much effort.
- Save a little every day and earn thousands of dollars in interest after a few years.
- Put yourself first. No one deserves your money more than you.
Favorite Quote: “The fact is, none of us really has a choice: We are all playing the money game whether we like it or not. The only question is: Are we winning?”
16. The Total Money Makeover (2003)
Author: Dave Ramsey
Synopsis: This book is ideal for people in their 40s who are still struggling with paying off their debts. Dave Ramsey is a leading figure in the personal finance world and promotes actionable steps people can take to pay off their debts asap.
- The first step before anything else is to put away $1000 in emergency funds.
- Pay off your debts from smallest to largest using the snowball effect. Before you know it, you will be completely debt free.
- Having debt for longer actually costs you more, so before you start investing or saving big time, take steps to eliminate your debts.
Favorite Quote: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress the people we don’t like.”
Personal Finance Books for Women to Gain Financial Independence
Despite how much society has changed, women are still more likely to get the short end of the stick. They are less encouraged to invest and have fewer opportunities to gain financial literacy. All this has changed because there are some amazing women and finance experts out there helping fellow women navigate the disadvantaged financial world. So, get empowered with these awesome personal finance books for women!
17. When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women (2014)
Author: Farnoosh Torabi
Synopsis: Personal Finance expert Torabi discusses the realities of being a woman and a breadwinner in the family. Essentially, this book is free financial therapy for couples as she talks about how partners can maximize their earnings without facing conflicts. Moreover, she gives insightful advice regarding career, personal finance, gender, and workplace issues specifically for women.
- Income imbalance especially when the woman earns more leads to more conflicts and risks. Luckily, there are ways to minimize them.
- The dynamics of dating and marriage have changed; change with them.
- Staying on top of your finances doesn’t mean you are looking down on your partner.
- As the richer half, do not settle for a “Mr. Mom.” Men don’t automatically have to turn into primary caregivers when the woman earns more.
18. Clever Girl Finance (2019)
Author: Bola Sokunbi
Synopsis: From the certified financial educator and founder of the most popular personal finance website for women, Clever Girl Finances is aimed at teaching women how to navigate their unique economic challenges and learn how to invest in the stock market, a domain mainly filled with men.
- Low-income women can also make the most of their money by budgeting and investing.
- It teaches women how to start and succeed at their own side hustles.
- The book features many real-life stories from other women meant to inspire and empower the readers.
19. Smart Women Love Money (2017)
Author: Alice Finn
Synopsis: This book aims to educate women on investing and building wealth through passive income. Finn calls investing the last frontier of feminism. Regardless of how much money you have, you can invest it and make it grow using the practical tips and insider information given by the author.
- Secure your financial future with Compound Growth and learn investing for Women 101.
- Use Index Funds implementation to your advantage and invest easily in low-cost, diverse funds.
- Keep updating your investment portfolio regularly.
- Check out Finn’s secret tricks to low fees and avoid hidden fees that might take away half your wealth.
20. Financial Feminist (2022)
Author: Tori Dunlap
Synopsis: Subtitled, “Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullsh*t to Master Your Money and Build a Life you Love” – this book teaches women everything they need to thrive in an unequal society. Dunlap investigates the wealth gap as well as the financial literacy gap in this book and comes up with an inclusive guide on how women can also succeed financially just like men.
- Women are less likely to receive a financial education which Dunlap tries to compensate in this book.
- Overcome the unique beliefs society conditions women to and rewrite your relationship with money.
- Contains useful sources and data you can refer to in order to negotiate the salary you deserve and be more assertive when it comes to finances overall.
Regardless of your gender, age, or economic circumstances, always believe that you are just as capable of making money and succeeding in life as people who’re born rich. It’s all about the mindset, having the right knowledge, willingness to take risks, and keeping the ultimate goal in sight. No one said it’s going to be easy or short, but hopefully, with these best personal finance books, you can do it! This all-inclusive article has something for everyone. In fact, it is the only resource on personal finance books you’ll ever need!