I challenge you to do something in 2018 that maybe you (or your loved one) has never done before–Read Great Books! Instead of going on a Netflix binge for the umpteenth time, one of my recommendations for the best personal finance books can literally change your life. Sorry to be cliche, but it's true.
How we manage our money is a reflection of our character and our real priorities.
My wife & I read a book every night that builds us up. The books we read are usually non-fiction books that make us think and motivate us to grow spiritually and mentally.
While we read a variety of books, these are some of the best personal finance books to start off with.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
If you want to get out of debt, you need to read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.
By following Dave's seven baby steps, you can tackle your debt with “gazelle intensity” by following a straightforward plan to reach financial freedom.
As an honorable mention, I also recommend Dave's Financial Peace University. This is the handbook to the in-person Dave Ramsey classes that might be hosted near you. If you want in-person motivation and guidance, a Financial Peace University class can be time well spent.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle
If you're a “hands-off” investor, or you use a robo-advisor like Betterment or WiseBanyan that does all the investing for you, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing helps you understand the investment philosophy behind these platforms. The author, John Bogle, is the founder of Vanguard.
Bogle talks about how index funds can be the most financially efficient way for the average investor with minimal cash and limited investing knowledge to invest in the stock market and profit.
With index funds, you don't try to beat the market. Instead, try to match the performance of the broad market. Most actively managed funds that try to beat (outperform) the market every year, they actually trail the market more times than not. As a result, you can usually earn more with an index fund.
The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
The Simple Path to Wealth is written by JL Collins. He's one of the personal finance rockstars who has inspired many a younger generation that you can do anything when you put your mind to it.
If you don't read this book, I at least recommend you take a look at his Stock Series on his blog. It's free and highly educational. Plus, if you've been thinking about investing in Vanguard, you can learn more about that too.
You Can Retire Early by Deacon Hayes
Two phrases you need to know really well are Financial Independence and Early Retirement. I'm still pursuing both of these goals. Deacon Hayes' You Can Retire Early tells you how to make your own personalized plan to ditch your 9-5 job!
Hustle Away Debt by David Carlson
In addition to adjusting your mindset to get out of debt, retire early, or become a better investor, boosting your income can be the quickest way to improving your financial situation. After all, you can only cut expenses so far and the stock markets isn't guaranteed to give a 20% return every single year.
That means it's time to lean on the third leg of the three-legged stool, earning more active income.
Hustle Away Debt gives you some insight on how to make money from any skill or hobby, even some “side hustles” that never crossed your mind before! If you have the time to make a side income, David's book is a must-read.
What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles
What Color is Your Parachute? is a go-to resource if you are looking for a new job or want to change careers. There's lots of timely advice to help you maximize your time during this pursuit. This book has been in print for 47 years but continues to be updated each year to reflect the latest changes in the job market so you know how to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
For another timeless classic, check out Napolean Hill's Think and Grow Rich published in 1937. His wisdom comes from an interview with Andrew Carnegie (one of those “Captains of Industry” or “Robber Barons” depending on which side of the fence you sit on), plus a few other leaders from that time, and is broken down into six different parts:
- Accumulation of Wealth
While a falling star does occasionally fall on us and our wishes are granted, we usually have to work for what we want more times than not. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, learn from those that have done it already.
This final recommendation is a self-plug. My wife self-published No College Debt a couple years ago to show other how she earned her college degree for less than $10,000.
While I graduated with $50,000 in student loans after attending a state school for four years, she earned her entire degree through a process called credit-by-examination where you take a test without attending the first college class. Even if you can't earn an entire bachelor's degree like my wife did, it can be a great way for high school students to earn college credit and working adults.
This is path isn't for everybody, but even if No College Debt helps you “test out” of one class, you can easily save a couple hundred dollars in tuition.
These are my favorite personal finance books this year? What are some good ones you read in 2017 or plan on reading in 2018?
Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.