One of the best things you can do to improve your finances is to constantly educate yourself.
But you already know that. That’s why you’re here!
I love sharing personal finance tips that have worked for me, but that doesn’t erase the fact that other people’s perspectives are worth reading as well.
That’s why I have compiled this list of books that will help you get further ahead financially.
Each book recommendation is carefully curated to ensure that they’re the cream of the crop, and meet these requirements:
1) Presents original ideas and concepts that can’t be easily found elsewhere.
2) Provides a good reading experience.
The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton
If you’ve shied away from reading personal finance books because they’re dry and intimidating, this book will change your mind.
The book is on the short side (only 224 pages) with bite-sized chapters, but Chilton touches on a broad range of essential topics, including the usual suspects – leveraging RRSPs & TFSAs, the magic of compound interest, pay yourself first, track your spending, index investing – and some rarely seen in personal finance books, like betting on race horses as an investment strategy (don’t do it!).
By the end of the book, you’ll be convinced that index funds are the best things invented since sliced bread. And that last chapter is just a pure gold mine of useful resources, and my favourite!
I appreciate the fact that this is a Canadian-centric book, although non-Canadians would also get a ton of value out of it.
Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry
Because it addresses money issues that plague most millennials who want to get a head start in life:
- Finding a budgeting method that actually works for you
- Handling student loans and credit card debts
- Negotiating a higher salary that you deserve
- Navigating money and friendships
- Investing without getting overwhelmed
- How to save and tackle debt at the same time
Despite what the book title suggests, you don’t have to be broke or a millennial to benefit from it.
I was particularly impressed with how much substance and actionable advice – alongside a healthy dash of humor and compelling anecdotes – are packed into this book. Every topic is thoroughly explored, leaving no questions unanswered.
If you’re looking for an introductory personal finance book that will make you feel financially confident, you can’t go wrong with Broke Millennial.
One Up On Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know To Make Money in the Market by Peter Lynch
If you’re unfamiliar with Peter Lynch, he is easily one of the greatest investors of all time, having posted the best 20-year return rate of any mutual fund in history.
He firmly believes that each of us has what it takes to outperform the pros in the stock market, as long as we do our due diligence and only invest in companies that deliver real values, at fair prices.
This book reads like a novel, as Lynch laid out how he developed his own strategy for success, and the many successes and failures he had experienced along the way.
It is true that times have changed, so we can no longer expect to copy his investment style and replicate his success in this day and age (producing “tenbaggers”). But there is tremendous value in understanding the fundamentals of stock picking, even for hard-core index investors.
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
Not typically labelled as a personal finance book, I’m including it because the overarching theme of this book – the meaningful pursuit of passion and earning a decent living – fits what I envision as the first step towards financial freedom.
Having interviewed 1,500 individuals who have successfully monetized their own pet projects, Guillebeau provides a road map for you to follow so you too can create a viable business.
This easy-to-follow guide is equal parts substance and case studies, providing actionable insights on finding the perfect business idea, drafting a business plan, creating a killer offer that people can’t refuse, engineering a kickass product launch, increasing your business income by making small changes, and much more.
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber
One of the questions parents often ask themselves is: how do I help my kids become prepared for their own financial future?
Too bad there is no instruction manual for that, but I think this book by Ron Lieber is the next best thing. It’s packed full of practical tips, ideas and stories from families that have tried different methods to instill values of financial responsibility in their children.
The book is broken down into 9 chapters, covering everything from allowances, impulse control, delayed gratification, work ethics, saving, giving back, materialism, the ROI of spending, and more.
I personally find the chapter on how to intelligently answer your children’s tough money questions (“Are we poor?” “Are we rich?” “How much money do you make?”) to be particularly illuminating.
The book offers applicable advice suitable for kids in every age group, so don’t hesitate to get it even if your kids are late teens.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
Here’s the backstory: Kiyosaki grew up with two “dads” – one rich, one poor. His biological father’s attitude towards money kept him struggling financially. His rich dad, on the other hand, held a different mindset and enjoyed much greater financial success as a result.
Both men are intelligent. How come one became rich, and the other didn’t?
That’s the question Kiyosaki tried to answer in his book, while sharing the many valuable lessons he’d learned from his rich dad (that we, as readers, get to enjoy as well).
Not everyone loves this book. For one, it is highly conceptual and theoretical.
You will not get step-by-step instructions on how to become a millionaire. Instead, this book attempts to reset the way we’re taught to think about money, education, assets and liabilities.
Go in with an extremely open mind, tread carefully, and you might come out a different person.
See you on the other side!
The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham
Written with common sense and simplicity, this book aims to help the average retail investor grow their wealth steadily, not by trying to beat the market, but by holding on to securities for long periods of time and receiving interests and dividends.
The last sentence of the book perfectly summarizes it: “To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks.”
The Intelligent Investor may read like an old-fashioned textbook, but you can certainly expect to learn a lot from it – much like you would from a textbook.
Here are just some of the things I’ve learned from this book:
- The difference between “enterprising” and “defensive” strategies
- How to analyze the values of stocks and bonds by diving deep into financial statements
- What is the “margin of safety”
Finally and most importantly, Warren Buffett had this to say about this book: “Graham’s book gave me a bedrock philosophy on investing that made sense… he taught me how to think about a stock and how to think about a stock market.”
What’s on your To Be Read shelf these days? Which personal finance book are you most excited to read?