In 2016, I released my own money book, Debt Free or Die Trying: How I Buried Myself in Over $30,000 in Debt and Dug My Way Out by Age 30. To improve the Second Edition: D.E.B.T. Free or Die Trying, I read the 15 best money books. When it comes to financial literacy, these are my 10 favorites.
10. The Total Money Makeover
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – Dave’s was the first book I read. I admit I was unimpressed originally. I also admit I was wrong. Eighteen personal finance books later (and counting) — and with additional age, wisdom, and personal experience — the Total Money Makeover and the time-tested 7 Baby Steps have grown on me and directly helped many of our own listeners.
Growing up listening to Dave Ramsey with my parents, he was a larger than life figure. A mysterious voice on the radio. After meeting him in person, you realize he’s just a regular 5’10 guy trying to help people manage their money. Go figure.
A man with an experience is not at the mercy of a man with an opinion. – Dave Ramsey
9. Your Credit Score
Your Credit Score: How to Improve the 3-Digit Number That Shapes Your Financial Future – I don’t see this book on a lot of the traditional “money list,” and maybe that’s because credit scores don’t get the attention of investing and ‘get rich quick’ schemes. But, this is the most thorough book I’ve read on how your credit score is calculated. Why does that matter? Because A Bad Credit Score Can Cost You Up to $100,000.
8. The Intelligent Investor
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham – I won’t sugar coat it. This book is bible-length long. However, if you want to fully understand the ins and outs of investing, this is the one book you need to read.
7. The Do’s and Dont’s of Money
The Dos and Donts of Money: Easy Solutions for Everyday Problems by Suze Orman – A simple how-to guide, you can read this book in one weekend and walk away with a mastery of the basics of personal finance.
6. Dollars and Sense
Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler – “30 percent of Americans are so far behind in saving for retirement that they will have to work until they’re eighty. Average life expectancy is 78.” This book is filled with fun fact like this and why when it comes to money, we are our own worst enemies.
5. The Two Income Trap
The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke by Elizabeth Warren – “There is no evidence of any ‘epidemic’ in overspending—certainly nothing that could explain a 255 percent increase in the foreclosure rate, a 430 percent increase in the bankruptcy rolls, and a 570 percent increase in credit card debt.”
4. A Random Walk Down Wall Street
A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel – Another great investing book, and an easier read than The Intelligent Investor. “At least the core of every investment portfolio ought to be indexed. I recognize, however, that telling most investors that there is no hope of beating the averages is like telling a six-year-old that there is no Santa Clause.”
3. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – Ramit Sethi will teach you to be rich. Enough said.
2. The Automatic Millionaire
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach – David provides a simple 7-step system to becoming a millionaire. When it comes to savings goals, he explains:
- Dead Broke: Do nothing.
- Poor: Spend everything you make each month and save nothing.
- Middle Class: Pay Yourself First at 5 – 10%
- Upper Middle Class: Pay Yourself First at 10 – 15%
- Rich: Pay Yourself First at 15 – 20%
- Rich Enough to Retire Early: Pay Yourself First at 20% or more
- “You should never invest more than 25% of your retirement money in your own company’s stock.” – David
1. The Millionaire Next Door
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley – My father originally gave me a copy of The Millionaire Next Door in high school. It’s been a favorite ever since. So much so that I re-read it every few years.
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