If you’re looking to improve your money, here are the books that will give you the best bang for your buck! (ha!)
When it comes to improving your financial literacy, one of the best ways to do so is with literature. But you don’t want to waste your time reading hundreds or thousands of pages that won’t put more money in bank account. Never fear: we’ve compiled a list of the money must-reads you should pick up from your local library today!
The Best Personal Finance Books
Here are the best personal finance books to read whether you’re just starting out or looking ways to further optimize your money.
Stop Overthinking Your Money by Preet Banerjee
I have always loved Preet’s straight-forward, no-nonsense approach and this book is no different. Honestly, he had me at “drink all the lattes you want”. This is a perfect book for newcomers to the personal finance world that want to get their money under control but are feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of resources and acronyms in the money community. It’s easy to get distracted by what seems trendy or a quick-fix, but fundamentally money truly is very simple, and Preet brings everyone back to that simplicity.
Happy Go Money by Melissa Leong
Melissa Leong has been contributing fantastic work to the world of personal finance for years, and this book is no different. Leong expertly balances the intensity of financial responsibility with the utter joy of life. She drills in the fact that money does not equal happiness. Of course, money can’t hurt either.
Leong’s frank and hilarious expertise on spending, budgeting, and investing shines on every page. Her humour keeps content easy-to-understand and fun to read, making this the ideal starters guide! Even for those more well-versed in the world of personal finance, Leong’s interweaving of psychology and mindfulness keeps your full attention from cover to cover.
The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton
This classic is part of the Canadian personal finance tome. Praised for its direct and easy-to-follow strategies, this is the best book available to those feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of getting their finances under control. Whether you need help paying off debt or saving for retirement, this book is your perfect starting point. There is a US version for American readers, too!
The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage
We all know finances can be dry, but Fagan and Ver Hage take every step to combat this. Diagrams, colours, and beautiful formatting make it fun to read, not to mention the array of advice! Sections are dedicated to multiple different finance experts (including Bridget on page 32!), giving them the platform to share their most effective tips for those of us just starting on our personal finance journey.
The Financial Diet approaches the relationship money has within each category of one’s life, from cooking to your love-life, as well as outlining the basics on budgeting and investing. The changing of medium and narrator keeps readers on their toes through to the end. This is the very first personal finance book I read, and it’s truly perfect for beginners!
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
This is one of the most thorough personal finance books I’ve ever read (and I read a lot), but the ultimate conclusion is that the average investor should just stick to index funds and avoid common stocks entirely. Nevertheless, this book provided invaluable hard skills to evaluate companies before I elect to purchase their shares.
Be forewarned: it can get a bit weighty with calculations. The Accounting class I completed last semester was all but essential to understanding what was going on.
A new investor might find themselves unfamiliar with the terminology and ratios, so I recommend brushing up on (or learning for the first time!) the basics of valuation before tackling this book. Nevertheless, after finishing it, I adamantly feel no one should buy individual common stocks without reading this book first.
Rich By 40 by Lesley Ann Scorgie
This was one of the very first personal finance books I read. It’s also one that had the most profound impact on how I managed my money in adulthood. This book says it’s a guide for couples, but the advice works for single individuals just as well. From making a budget to paying off debt to getting started investing, Rich By 40 goes through all the essentials of organizing your finances in adulthood.
End Financial Stress Now by Emily Guy Birken
This book destroys personal finance stereotypes right off the bat! Emily Guy Birken stresses that you’re actual bank balance has very little to do with your personal relationship with money. She reminds us how money causes stress with each fluctuation and is a root cause of stress in many people’s lives.
The fact of the matter is that being worried about your finances isn’t going to change anything. This book is fantastic in helping us busy our minds only with things within our control. After all, allowing our sanity to rot away won’t help anyone! Sometimes it’s a well-needed change of pace to forget the numbers and reflect on your processes.
Emily also has a hilarious and fantastic financial feminist twitter account at @EmilyGuyBirken!
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown
This book covers everything from how to get pen ink out of blouses to the etiquette of thank you notes to furnishing an apartment on a budget. I’m starting to hate the term adulting, but in the context of this book it’s perfect.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide to managing your grown-up life rather than just taking care of your finances, this book provides a solid well-rounded approach. Kelly Williams Brown adds a dash of humor to everyday life with her tasks and pointers.
We put this book on almost all lists, but that’s only because it’s so great. This book is updated annually and is a must-read for anyone searching for a job. Whether you’re looking for your very first job, your fifth, or your fifteenth, you need this book. What Color is Your Parachute? walks you through everything from setting up your LinkedIn profile and writing your resume, to salary negotiation and more.
Pound Foolish by Helaine Olden
Olen provides an insightful and critical look at the personal finance doctrine that financial security is a matter of watching your pennies given current economic conditions, and whether or not your favorite finance personality is the real deal or just a brand exploiting your ignorance.
I was a huge fan of her dissection of The Latte Factor (a mythology I never subscribed to) and quietly shaken by the figures of decreasing wages and purchasing power that’s really keeping the average citizen from gaining any financial ground.
I have a great appreciation for her emphasis on the reality that even if you do everything right, you can still end up totally screwed. Unexpected job loss, medical expenses, and other challenges can rapidly erode decades of frugality and diligent saving.
The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel
I’m a big fan of Raj Patel and this book didn’t disappoint. The Value of Nothing is an overview of modern local and global economics with strong political undertones.
I get behind this book in particular because it clearly articulates that money is power, and without money, you’re at risk not of merely being destitute but of losing very basic human rights. As a middle-class first-world citizen, it’s easy to forget the painful day-to-day realities of all the workers supporting my lifestyle.
Patel advocates for social and political change, that comes from both changing our consumption habits and dismantling the system that not only facilitates but encourages, exploitation of people and natural resources.
While I agree with the assessment and proposed solutions to our socioeconomic problems, I also feel that things will only change if we run out of essential resources and/or oppressed workers wage war on the upper classes. Or maybe we can peacefully usher in a new era, starting with everyone reading this book?
Literature is one of the best ways to improve your financial literacy!
Books about money are one of the best investments you can make for your bank account. I strongly recommend actually purchasing them rather than just taking them out from the library so you can have them to refer back to again and again, as well as markup with any notes or highlights for your personal reference.