The 9 Best Financial Books for Beginners
From Suze Orman to Dave Ramsey – and every finance guru in between – everyone claims to have the best financial books for beginners. But how do you find the one that fits your personal finance approach?
Whether you love him or loathe him, Dave Ramsey is one of the most talked about financial advisor out there (besides Warren Buffett). He’s got several books (like the Total Money Makeover), a course you can take, tips on budget percentages, and even a money wallet to sort your budget envelopes.
Suze Orman is right up there too. She had a great show on MSNBC every Saturday night, as well as books and even a course she sells on HSN, all of which are centered towards helping you start building wealth.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: it’s ok if you don’t eat up Dave’s approach with a spoon. Or Suze’s. Or anyone else’s. I promise, no harm will come to you (though, I’m totally expecting to get hate mail from some Dave fans…you know who you are! 😉 )
I’m not dissing Dave or Suze. But there are tons – and I mean tons! – of great personal finance books out there to set you on the simple path to building wealth. Whether you’re new investors, or trying to get out of debt, I’ve pulled together some of my absolute favorite. These are the best financial books for beginners, and have really changed my perspective on finances, work and living my absolute best life.
You won’t find any shady books like the “Free Money to Change Your Life” book, but you will find proven personal finance books that are reliable with solid advice – some of which have even been written by a financial planner or two. Each book has actionable steps that you can incorporate into your finances to help you make the leap to warp speed and fast track you for retirement or savings.
How do I learn basic finance?
Learning basic finance is not as hard as you think. The key is finding an author who’s style and suggestions make sense to you, and you’re able to gather tips and suggestions from. It’s important that when you’re reading the best financial books for beginners, to find a book that connects with the financial stage you’re in. For example, if you’re just starting on getting out of debt, what you want to read will vary greatly from someone who wants to learn about a the best investing books.
Can I teach myself finance?
Absolutely! The great thing about these personal finance books is that they cover every possible topic – from saving money, to reducing debt to investing and becoming a business owner. No matter what aspect of finance you want to learn more about, you can easily find a first book to grab to help you learn the ins and outs.
Don’t forget that you can get these financial literacy books for beginners in ebook format, or get a free 30 day trial of Audible to listen to the books.
The Best Personal Finance Books to Get You Started
Without further ado, these are the best financial books for beginners:
1. Debt Free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and Your Life
I’ve been a huge fan of Canadian financial expert Gail Vaz Oxlade for a long time, and have seen just about every episode of “Til Debt Do Us Part” on the MSNBC personal finance lineup (check it out, it’s a great show!).
She tends to not get much attention in the US due to being geared more towards Canadians. However, she’s got a great personality and is very to the point. She doesn’t sugar coat things, and has no trouble laying it out to someone in financial denial.
But don’t let that turn you off – it just means her book is no nonsense, straight forward, and one of the best debt free books I’ve read to help set you straight. This is one of the best financial books for young adults that I’ve read – it’s straightforward without selling you anything, and can really get them on the right path quickly.
Debt Free Forever is also one of the best books for budgeting and finance and great for people who are starting out with tackling finances. If you’re living on credit cards, are struggling to tackle student loans, or can’t get your finances organized, Gail lays out a step-by-step process to help you get your ship righted.
Her no nonsense style is great for those who are sick and tired of trying to pour from an empty cup when it comes to financial struggles, and are ready to get some relief.
Debt Free Forever will help you to create a financial plan, from figuring out what you owe, to creating a plan to become debt free in less than 3 years, to setting aside money for emergencies and building sinking funds.
2. Pogue’s Basics: Money: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) About Beating the System
David Pogue has written several books that are essentially life hacks in different genres, such as money, technology, and so on.
In Pogue’s Basics: Money, there are a ton of great tips to show you shortcuts on how to save money. If you were to put every tip into play, you’d save almost $62,000 a year!
While not every tip is going to apply to your situation, there are plenty that are actionable and easy to put into motion.
The tips included aren’t your run of the mill, frugal living tips with a big impact stuff that you can find on any website. I’ve read a ton of the best personal finance websites and books, and yet I still found a ton of money saving shortcuts that I’ve never thought or heard of.
Some of the suggestions will take additional time and research to put into place, but the savings is exponentially bigger.
For example, in the House and Home chapter, there’s a tip on using solar panels. I’ve never considered purchasing them, but Pogue points out that you can either purchase them or rent them. If you rent them, there are several companies that will buy the panels, install them, deal with all the permits, design, upgrades and maintenance for free.
The companies are getting the incentives for installation, but you’re getting power at a fraction of the cost. You pay for the electric you use, and it’s a ton cheaper than traditional electric companies charge.
It turns out to be a win-win because you’re helping out the environment, getting cheap energy, and aren’t responsible for the hefty cost of installation and maintenance of solar panels.
Pogue’s Basics: Money is perfect for anyone who’s looking for non-obvious ways to save more cash in your bank account. It’s for anyone who’s read through all the frugal savings sites and is ready to take it a step further.
3. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth
You are a Badass is a series by Jen Sincero, and is about adjusting your mindset.
When it comes to the best financial books for beginners, this one has are some great methods and tactics to help you stop with the negative thinking.
It’s so easy to fall into a victim mentality, especially with finances. When I would get hit with an unexpected bill, or an accident happened, I would think – why me? And then proceed to feel sorry for myself and grumble about how we’re never going to get ahead.
With this book, I’ve learned to realign my thinking and it’s actually brought financial abundance to our lives. It sounds nuts, I know, but it really taught me to change my perspective on money.
When I worked on a more positive mindset with money affirmations, I was able to be more proactive. This meant I found ways to find “money leaks” in our budget, find side hustles to make extra income, and stop overspending. I also finally realized that my financial worth was more than just a number.
You are a Badass at Making Money is for anyone who finds themselves in a mental money rut and is struggling to get out.
4. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
When it comes to the best financial books for beginners, Your Money or Your Life is a bit like getting slapped in the face with some serious reality. Some people love it, and some hate it.
The premise of this financial planning book is basically that you can choose making money or living your life. If you do what is expected – go to college, graduate, get a job, house and get married – then you’re going to be “stuck” working til you’re 65 trying to keep that lifestyle going.
I love the idea of questioning your choices with money, consumerism and work. This book promotes the “FI” lifestyle (as in, financial independence). It’s purpose is to persuade you to pursue a sustainable mindset, rather than a consumerism one.
It does a great job of making you question your choices and think about your values. Retiring early and simplifying my life? Sign me up!
Your Money or Your Life has a concrete plan with nine solid steps to take to get yourself there. If you’re a fan of shooting from the hip and no sugar coating of your financial advice, this is book is a great choice and makes it one of the best personal financial books for beginners. It’s also one of the best personal finance books for college students, since they’re starting out and can build great habits early.
5. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love
Holly and Greg Johnson run Club Thrifty, a blog that focuses on becoming debt free and traveling the world. Sounds great, right? Count me in!
The pictures of their vacations are just absolutely drool worthy. It’s hard not to look at and think about following in their footsteps!
They started out in the mortuary business, and saw the financial struggles that many families faced on a daily basis. Seeing families struggle to pay for funeral services drove them to face their own $50,000 debt and pay it down using a zero sum budget.
Now, they travel the world with their two daughters and are debt free! So inspiring.
Zero Down Your Debt focuses on a zero sum budget, which basically means that your budget should equal zero at the end of the month. Each dollar should have a place to be in your budget, so that you’re not just wasting your cash and wondering where it went.
Holly and Greg walk you through financial goal setting, budgeting, and saving. This book is one of the best finance books for beginners. It’s perfect if you want to try a different budget method and are looking for financial balance between debt repayment and savings.
6. Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living
If you’re a fan of the best personal finance websites out there, chances are you’ve heard of the Frugalwoods and their inspiring story. Blogger Elizabeth and her husband were young urban professionals who had a change of heart and learned to embrace frugality.
Meet the Frugalwoods is the story of how they made the transition from young professionals to modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont with a young daughter.
They were able to not only change the course of their lives, but they reached their financial goals at the young age of 32! They did so by saving over 70% of their take home pay and learning to live a frugal life.
Not only does this book cover their journey, but it provides tips and advice on how you can make similar changes in your life. The perfect book for anyone looking to get off the beaten financial path!
7. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
Cait Flanders is an amazing woman who has embarked on some serious personal changes. She paid off over $30,000 in consumer debt, only to end up back in the hole again.
She decided to set a very serious and impressive goal for herself: no shopping for an entire year.
The only items that she purchased during this time were consumables – meaning food, gas, groceries, toiletries, etc. Talk about some dedication!
Not only did she stop shopping, she also got rid of stuff. And the more that she cleared out, the better she felt. She also learned to make do with what she had. If it was broken, she learned how to fix it rather than throw it away.
The part that I can relate to most were the struggles she faced during this no-spend year. Normally, she turned to shopping, alcohol or food when things got tough. With her new challenge, she had to find the best way to cope. Not only is this really difficult, but so very inspiring to hear how she did it.
The Year of Less is a great way to look at what our shopping habits are doing to us. It really made me stop and think about my purchases and why I’m buying something. If you’re looking for direction on starting a no-spend period in your life, this book is truly inspirational.
8. The Millionaire Next Door
This book created an amazing financial mindshift for me, and I tell everyone about it when we’re talking finances. It is truly one of my favorite personal finance book that I’ve read.
The authors interviewed people with a net worth of over one million to figure out what their common traits were that caused them to grow rich. You’d expect it to be filled with the likes of the famous athletes, rock stars, and the Kardashins of the world, right?
The people with the highest liquid net worth are those that didn’t go to college, but own a business; folks that make $90,000 a year – not millions; and people who buy used cars that average around $25,000, not brand new sports cars.
These folks have a higher net worth, because they’re frugal and they live below their means. It made me realize that a “normal” earner like me could still achieve financial success.
If I made the right choices and strived to be an intelligent investor.
The Millionaire Next Door suggests seven rules of personal finance, from living below your means to what you should consider when you are choosing an occupation.
While it can bit a little bit dry and not a super easy read, it’s great if you’re into chart, stats, and data.
9. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
If you’re wondering what book you should read to make money, this is it.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a New York Times Bestseller (for over six years!) that very much follows the ideas of The Millionaire Next Door. It questions the concepts of common money beliefs and the myths surrounding being rich. It helps to question and push your money mindset into a new way of thinking.
The author, Robert Kiyosaki, grew up in Hawaii. In his story, he discusses his real dad, whom he refers to as “poor dad”. He’s an educated man with a job, but has struggled financially his entire life.
His best friend’s dad, or his “rich dad”, did not have a formal education but was able to build a business that blossomed and helped him to become one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii.
In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert compares the two mens’ methods and money mindsets to show us how to question our thought process when it comes to money, investing in the stock market, owning real estate (like a quadplex), and employment. For me, this is one of the best financial books when it comes to learning about investments.
Looking for more inspiration beyond the best personal finance books in 2020? Check out these great financial freedom quotes and motivational quotes on finances to help you stay inspired. Most of them come from these great authors and several others!
There you have it, the 9 best financial books for beginners to learn about finances. Don’t forget you can pick up free personal finance books at the library as well. Did your favorite make the list? If not, throw me a comment below on which ones I’ve missed that should be added!
A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More
Thanks for sharing! I’ve read a couple and am excited to try the others.
I’m always on the look out for different perspectives and new books to check out. Hope you end up getting something good out of them!