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The worst part about finances is not understanding them – which is exactly why you need to read financial literacy books. With the right finance book, you can finally stop feeling overwhelmed by money, take control and start getting ahead. To help, I have rounded up the best financial books for beginners to read this year.
Personal Finance Books for Beginners FAQs
Before we jump into the list of best personal financial books for beginners, we need to take a moment to chat about some of the frequently asked questions.
What is Financial Literacy – and Why Is It Important?
Financial literacy is understanding basic finance skills – like managing money, budgeting personal funds and creating savings.
Being financially literate empowers individuals to efficiently and successfully handle their finances and a deeper understanding of their money numbers.
What are Financial Literacy Books?
Financial literacy books are basic finance books that help to explain the fundamental principles of personal finances and money matters.
Introductory finance books cover the essentials of personal financial management, budgeting and investing – all of which are key to understanding and organizing your personal money.
The best finance books not only discuss principles and ideas, but also demonstrate why being financially literate is so important.
Additionally, the very best finance books for beginners are ones that motivate and encourage readers to successfully handle their money.
Why Should I Read Personal Finance Books?
Finances can be scary – especially for people who do not have a solid foundation of money management. However, burying your head in the sand won’t work forever. A more viable solution is to start educating yourself – and you can do that by reading books to learn finance.
The best personal finance books convey why money – and how you spend it or save it – matters. They also show you how to get out of debt, encourage you to spend money wisely, provide a basis for how to create a budget and promote savings.
Think you are too young to care about money or too old for it to matter? Let me tell you, it’s never too early or too late to start learning about money! Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 41 or 71, anyone who wants to be financially literate can benefit from reading finance for beginners’ books.
Even if you are already frugal, saving your pennies and have a firm grip on your finances, the best books for personal finance can teach you how to fine-tune your money strategy and create more mindful money habits.
How Do I Choose Good Finance Books for My Personal Situation?
There are hundreds – thousands – of top-selling finance books. That said, not all of the top finance books to read are right for you and your financial situation.
Financial literacy for beginners books focus on a range of topics – from eliminating credit card debt to financial planning to real estate investing. Whatever your interest, there is likely a financial book for beginners that covers the topic.
In my list, I highlight the best personal finance books for beginners based on my opinion and personal money goals.
While I may not agree with every aspect or idea presented in each of these popular finance books, I do think they are a good point of reference.
My advice regarding the best financial literacy books for beginners is this: Make a Resolution to read more than one…and start reading one today!
It can take time to wrap your head around some of the concepts – even if they are really, really good finance books for beginners. Read one, then another, then another until you find one that describes a method you are comfortable with and confident that will help you succeed.
Where Should I Get Finance Books for Beginners?
The best books on finance for beginners are readily available in multiple formats. My recommended finance books are offered as paper books, eBooks and audio books.
Use the Library for Free Finance Books
The best place to pick up free personal finance books is at the local library. In fact, if you are learning how to be frugal or are trying to stop spending so much money, then the library is your best choice!
The money management books for beginners that I recommend are all available at my local library, so there is a good chance that you can get them at yours, too. If you have to get on a waitlist for a specific book, see if there is another book on finance for beginners available while you wait.
Where to Buy the Best Personal Finance Books
There are plenty of places to buy personal finance books, too – both online and in stores.
Some of the best financial education books for beginners can be found at second-hand bookstores, where they sell used books at better prices.
Amazon can be a good place to buy new money finance books at affordable prices. With an Amazon Audible subscription, you can get audio books for free or at a discounted price. Sign up for a Free Audible Trial!
BEST FINANCIAL BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS
I have rounded up what – in my opinion – are the best beginner finance books to read this year. The books on financial literacy for beginners cover the most basic concepts. The real benefit of these must-read finance books for beginners, however, are the inspiring messages and step-by-step plans for taking control of your money and getting ahead.
#1 Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Hailed as one of the best finance books for beginners (and in some circles, one of the best personal finance books of all time), Total Money Makeover is the best-selling finance book by Dave Ramsey.
In his book, Ramsey – a financial guru, author and radio show host – offers his sage advice about how to get finances in tip-top shape. He drives home his points in an outlined 7-step plan for ‘financial fitness.’
His stern, no-nonsense advice pushes readers to accept responsibility for their money choices, while motivating them to succeed – which is what makes it a fantastic beginners’ guide to financial literacy.
In addition to Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey has authored several other good finance books to read for beginners, including a helpful Total Money Makeover Workbook, the Complete Guide to Money and Smart Money Smart Kids – a book to help parents teach their own children the value of money.
Why Total Money Makeover is One of the Best Finance Books to Read
There are several reasons why Total Money Makeover ranks, for many people, as the best book about finance for beginners. Ramsey details clear steps to success, describes common pitfalls to look out for and encourages readers to take control of their money.
His straight-talk on debt – and his plan for getting rid of it – are highly impactful for people who struggle under the weight of bills and student loans.
That said, what I most liked about his finance book for beginners is that he shares his personal story. By revealing his own money failures and how he overcame them to succeed, readers are able to accept their own past money mistakes and feel confident following in his footsteps. Buy it now!
#2 Clever Girl Finance by Bola Sokunbi
The inspiring book, Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth by Bola Sokunbi, is one of the best beginner finance books – especially for women. (That said, it can be helpful for men, too – so don’t get too caught up in the title!)
Bola uses her real-life experiences in handling finances to empower other women to conquer the path to financial freedom.
The book tackles tough money topics but keeps it light and easy to read with reassuring words and personal stories from women who have successfully mastered their own finances.
Why Clever Girl Finance is one of the Top Personal Finance Books for Women
What makes Clever Girl Finance one of the top finance books is that it encourages women (and anyone reading the book!) to take a stand for their financial future.
She addresses topics that typically challenge women – financially speaking – and presents a clear course of action for success. Buy it here!
#3 The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
One of the favorite books on finance for beginners, The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money, is a fresh take on (what many would call) a boring subject.
Rather than laying it on thick, this easy-and-breezy book is helpful to people who are – for the very first time – considering their finances, their future and how their money choices are impactful to that future.
In an extremely easy to digest format, the book serves as a very beginner’s guide to personal finance.
As a personal finance basics book, Fagan presents the need-to-know concepts for financial success – which can be used to jumpstart thoughts and conversations and propel readers down a continued curious path to financial literacy.
Why The Financial Diet is One of the Best Finance Books for Young Adults
What makes The Financial Diet one of the best finance books to read for beginners is that it starts at the beginning!
In fact, not only do I think this is one of the best money books for beginners, but it is one of the best finance books for teenagers, college students and young adults who are tasked with handling their finances for the very first time.
#4 Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames
Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living is different from the other finance books to read for beginners that I feature on my list.
To be honest, I debated whether to include it as one of my top recommended finance books to read – because rather than being written as a How To guide, it is a classic Show and Tell.
Thames does not provide a step-by-step plan to achieve financial independence – instead, she shares her financial story and shows how her hard work paid off.
The book details her adventures in frugality, sacrifice and determination, which is what enabled her and her husband to quit their jobs and become Vermont homesteaders – at the age of 32.
Why Meet The Frugalwoods is One of the Best Books for Finance Beginners
While Meet the Frugalwoods might not be one of the best books to learn finance for beginners, I still think it is one of the most important finance books to read – especially for people aiming to become financially independent at a young age.
This inspirational book isn’t about the drudge of getting out of debt so that someday you can freely buy fancy cars and expensive purses. It’s about changing your relationship with money and using the power of money to chase your dreams and change your life. Get it here!
#5 Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? by Cary Siegel
Cary Siegel – father of five – wrote Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By. For young people just graduating from high school or college, it is one of the must-read finance books.
The 99 principles – which range from life lessons to credit card lessons to housing lessons – are delivered in bite-sized snippets. Each point is briefly explained, but together they help build a base for financial literacy.
Short and sweet, many readers could devour the book in a couple of hours. The beauty of the book is that it just touches on the fundamentals of finances, which for many young people, are brand new concepts.
Why Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? Is One of the Best Financial Literacy Books for Beginners
The wisdom Siegel shares is not mind-bending. It’s just (mostly) good, sound money advice.
What makes it one of the best beginner personal finance books is that it doesn’t make readers feel bogged down and stressed out. Instead, he offers little nuggets of guidance that will hopefully help young people make better decisions about their finances…before they ever have a chance to get into trouble with money.
For anyone starting from zero – or guiding someone else who is standing at the starting line – Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? is one of the best finance books to read. Buy it here!
#6 The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
When it comes to investment finance books for beginners, The Simple Path to Wealth is, hands down, the best place to start.
Too many finance management books get technical and complicated too quickly. Collins keeps it simple…so incredibly simple – which is why his book is one of the best books for beginner investors. He presents a strategy for investing that is so easy to understand that even the person least interested in investments can start building wealth.
Throughout the book, Collins discusses key topics – like debt, savings and living within your means. However, the real juice of the book is how and why investing works. Using real numbers, he manages to explain the intricate issues of the stock market and shows real-life examples of compounding interest.
For first-time investors, it is an eye-opening read and likely the best intro finance book regarding the stock market.
Why The Simple Path to Wealth is One of the Best Beginner Investing Books
There are numerous investing and financial management books for beginners, but what makes The Simple Path to Wealth a top choice is the absolute simplicity.
Collins drives home the benefits of investing – but he doesn’t stop there. He shares actual investment strategies – as in, which funds to invest in – based on his real-life experiences.
In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find a better financial investment book for beginners than The Simple Path to Wealth. Get it now!
#7 All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi
All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan is one of the classic personal finance books for beginners. The authors offer a straight-forward approach to keeping a balanced budget.
In the book, Warren and Tyagi suggest all budget expenditures be classified into three categories: Must-Haves, Wants and Savings. The key, however, is the ideal breakdown of how much to spend on each category.
Sticking to the recommended percentages presented in the book, readers learn to allocate their money so that there should always be enough money to go around.
Why All Your Worth is One of the Best Finance Management Books
I love formulas – and the money formula presented in All Your Worth is one of the easiest to follow. It is essentially a guide for how to structure your finances, ensuring a balanced life.
Although the book was written in 2006 (and some of the info is woefully outdated), the basic principles of the book hold true. Buy it here!
#8 Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
Motivating and powerful, Your Money or Your Life details how to take control of your financial life so that you can live the life you actually want.
An early promoter of the FIRE Movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early), the first edition of the book was written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in 1992. The basic principles of the book stand the test of time, but it got a modern-day overhaul in 2018, making it even more relevant to readers today.
In the book there are 9 clearly outlined steps to help readers change their relationship with money and achieve the dream of Financial Independence.
Why Your Money or Your Life is the Best Book on Finances
Your Money or Your Life is not a book about money management, per se. Instead, the authors dive deep into concepts and beliefs about money…and how to pinpoint when enough is enough.
The idea behind Your Money or Your Life is focused on such a radical idea – that you could quit your job and retire early – that it is captivating from the start. What makes it so great, however, is that it is not just a theory or concept. The idea is backed up with actionable steps to achieve the ultimate dream.
I read Your Money or Your Life long after I had made a goal to save enough money to quit my job and travel the world – but it’s the one financial book I wish I would have read when I first hatched the idea. Buy it here!
#9 The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Could you go an entire year without shopping? That is the goal that Cait Flanders set for herself – and she wrote about her struggles, her progress and her evolution as a spender because of it.
In The Year of Less, Flanders talks openly about why she instituted a shopping ban and the effect it had on her wants, habits and consumerism mindset. While challenging herself to not spend any money, she simultaneously committed to decluttering her closets, her kitchen and her house.
In the book, readers are taken on the emotional journey of what it is like to experience a year of less.
Why The Year of Less is One of the Must Read Finance Books
When considering must read finance books for beginners, The Year of Less is definitely a top choice.
The consumerism cycle – earning more, wanting more, buying more – is one of the biggest money hurdles people face…and Flanders tackles it head on. Rather than hounding readers about the necessity of budgets and droning on about basic financial principles, she approaches the problem with emotion and action.
While also focusing heavily on issues outside of finances, she drives home the benefits of living a frugal, minimalist lifestyle. In the end, she offers helpful pointers for anyone interested in starting their own shopping ban so that they, too, can break the maddening cycle of spending. Buy it here!
#10 Die With Zero by Bill Perkins
Die With Zero written by Bill Perkins offers a unique perspective on financial goals. Contrary to the standard money advice of Save, Save Save!, Perkins establishes the idea that you should only strive to earn as much as you can spend – and have a plan on how to spend it all.
In the book, he shares details from his own experiences – as well as examples of his acquaintances – to drive home his theory.
Why Die With Zero Ranks as Best Book Finance Goals
While I would not necessarily recommend Die With Zero as the very first financial book for a beginner to read, it is an intriguing book to consume once novice savers have the basics in order.
If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that savers should account for some spending, too. Buy it here!
More Finance Best Books To Read
My list of the Best Books on Financial Literacy is ever growing, because I keep finding new books with a slightly different angle to read. The following financial education books are next up on my list.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
One of the top financial books for beginners, The Richest Man in Babylon was first published in 1926 – but the principles and lessons discussed in the book ring true still today.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko
One of the eye-opening finance for beginners books, The Millionaire Next Door outlines the top 7 common traits of wealthy people (hint: being frugal is a big one!).
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
I Will Teach You To Be Rich is one of the most raved about money advice books. The concepts, while not revolutionary, are refreshing. The book, which features an actionable 6-week program, is a New York Times Bestseller.
Set for Life by Scott Trench
Focusing on building your net worth via frugality and real estate investments, Set for Life is one of the good financial books for beginners.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
One of the best books for money mindset, Rich Dad Poor Dad aims to change the way you think about money. The book examines the vast differences between working for your money or making your money work for you.
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
In his book, The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach explains that basic principles of personal finance and lays a foundation for future wealth – and he encourages the entire plan to be automated. His novel approach makes it one of the top beginners’ finance books.
Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
One of the best financial books for young adults, Broke Millennial offers practical advice with a side of humor that speaks directly to the younger generation, without being preachy.
The One Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
Practicality and simplicity are the two main keys to Carl Richards’ book, The One Page Financial Plan. For people who fear their own finances, it is one of the best financial books to read.
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
In The Psychology of Money, author Morgan Housel discusses life and money – and the emotions associated with them. It is touted as one of the best books about finance for beginners because it challenges the reader to examine how they personally think about money.
How to Make Your Money Last by Jane Bryant Quinn
A great financial planning book for beginners, How To Make Your Money Last covers the most basic and important money issues surrounding retirement.
Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money by Bert Whitehead
All about overcoming financial dysfunction, Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money offers a unique approach to how to get out of your own way and become successful with your money.
Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner
Geared toward those in their 20s, Get a Financial Life is an easy read with straightforward advice. It’s one of the best books to learn about money for those who are just starting out.
Nudge by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein
A highly influential book, Nudge examines how we are influenced and how we can make better decisions – not just about money but about life.
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown
A humorous guide to growing up, Adulting offers some practical tips and real-life examples to help twenty-somethings create better habits. While it is not a book on finances, it does touch on the subject.
Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle blog page!
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