Whether you’re an overspender, you’re trying to save for something big, you worry you won’t have enough money for retirement, or you’re just trying to budget better, you’re not alone in needing help with your financial life from time to time. Last year, research conducted by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) found that 36 per cent of UK adults are worried about their financial situation. This isn’t that surprising, considering the cost of living is on the rise while wages continue to stay the same.
Thankfully, though, there are plenty of personal finance books available to help you. From investing and planning for your retirement to advice on how you can have more financial independence, they can help ease your stress levels and ensure money worries don’t keep you up at night.
Getting a grip on your personal finance can be confronting, as it forces you to take a good look at what your spending habits are, how you can cut back and whether you’re being realistic about what you can actually afford. But it’s well worth doing, as there’s no better feeling than not having to worry about money.
With that in mind, here’s our pick of some of the best personal finance books on the market:
What are the best personal finance books?
If you’re looking to improve your personal finances, some of the best books to read include ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’ by Ramit Sethi, ‘The Automatic Millionnaire’ by David Bach, Robert T. Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and ‘The One-Page Financial Plan’ by Carl Richards.
Some other great personal finance books are ‘The Millionnaire Next Door’ by Thomas J. Stanley, Dave Ramsey’s ‘The Total Money Makeover’, Erin Lowry’s ‘Broke Millennial’, ‘Your Money Or Your Life’ by Vicki Robin and ‘Clever Girl Finance’ by Bola Sokunbi.
Read on to find out more about these books.
Nine of the best books to read if you want to be smarter with your money
1. ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’, Ramit Sethi
This easy-to-read book — which is based on the author’s personal experience — teaches you that getting rich doesn’t mean never spending money.
By knowing exactly how much money you’ve got coming in and then automatically directing it to where you want it to go, you’ll be able to cut back in ways you never knew possible; while also splurging, guilt-free, on the things you love.
Sethi outlines a six-week plan for how to “live your rich life”, explaining how to:
- Automate your retirement plan
- Cut costs in every area of your life
- Invest your money, even if it’s only a little at a time
- Pay off student loans
- Save money effectively and efficiently by opening a high-interest account
- Save effortlessly by automating your accounts
- Talk your way out of late payment fees
- Use credit cards correctly to maximise rewards
A New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, this personal finance book is ideal if you want to take full responsibility for your finances, make a realistic financial plan and set up systems to build your wealth.
2. ‘The Automatic Millionnaire’, David Bach
If you’re in a position where you want to make a plan to improve your personal finances and become wealthier without being overly disciplined yourself, ‘The Automatic Millionaire’ is another inspiring book to read.
The message is that if you set them up correctly, your finances can actually manage themselves and could grow substantially over the years. To demonstrate this, it starts with a couple who earn an annual combined salary of $55,000 and go on to own two properties, pay for their children’s education and then retire at 55 years of age with a $1 million nest egg.
Bach’s tips to increase your personal wealth include:
- Making automatic transactions with regards to saving and paying off debt
- Paying yourself first to enable financial security
- Relying on fixed percentages
- Saving a little each day, meaning you’ll soon see your money starting to mount up
As well as being another New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek have also named this personal finance book a bestselling title.
3. ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, Robert T. Kiyosaki
Arguably the most well-known book on this list, Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ gives two opposing attitudes to money — one of which is his father’s, while the other belongs to his friend’s father.
From his friend’s father’s perspective, the best ways to gain wealth and financial freedom include:
- Effective budgeting
- Investing competently
- Managing your risks rather than avoiding them
- Realising that you don’t need to make much money to get rich
- Using your money to acquire assets instead of liabilities
- Working to learn, not to earn
It also gives reasons as to why schools don’t educate children on personal finance.
‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ may have been released in 1997, but there’s a reason why it still makes it onto the lists of best personal finance books like this one.
4. ‘The One-Page Financial Plan’, Carl Richards
If planning for your financial future sounds like a long and arduous task, Richards’ book could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
A certified Financial Planner and columnist for the New York Times, he — along with his wife — manage to plan their finances on just one piece of paper, which he’s known for sharing on social media. You may have come across his sketches on Instagram — which went viral for being simple yet insightful — but his book goes further in explaining how you can do the same.
Managing to make financial planning seem less of a burden and more like an achievable goal, ‘The One-Page Financial Plan’ encourages you to:
- Approach budgeting as a game in order to make saving an enjoyable task
- Invest in your future by paying off your debt
- Set targets but be flexible and willing to fine-tune them as you go
5. ‘The Millionnaire Next Door’, Thomas J. Stanley
Stanley’s insights into how America’s most wealthy become millionaires by rejecting traditional consumerism and living below their means are incredibly inspiring. These, however, are just two of seven habits of millionaires he discloses in his book — which has led to more than five thousand five-star reviews.
For decades, he analysed people with normal incomes and high net worths to help readers avoid becoming “Under Accumulators of Wealth”. His research and observations show that most of these people could save half their income by doing the following:
- If it’s preventing you from reaching your goal, avoid spending too much money supporting others
- Start saving from the moment you begin earning more than you need to live
- Use a simple formula to work out whether you’re falling short of your potential
6. ‘The Total Money Makeover’, Dave Ramsey
If you need help with debt management, Dave Ramsey’s ‘The Total Money Makeover’ is the personal finance book for you. He explains how you don’t have to accept debt as the norm and that it is possible to eliminate it forever.
Some of his tips for achieving financial success include:
- Putting money in an emergency fund before you do anything else
- Paying off smaller debts first before moving on to the larger ones
- Growing your emergency fund until you have at least three months’ salary saved up
- Only invest once you’ve covered the basics
The third New York Times bestseller to feature on this list, this straight-talking book also advises on how to avoid common pitfalls, such as cash advances, rent-to-own (which is similar to the UK’s Shared Ownership or Rent to Buy scheme) and using credit.
7. ‘Broke Millennial’, Erin Lowry
Released in 2017, ‘Broke Millennial’ was named one of the best money books by MarketWatch — and it’s clear to see why.
In this practical and easy-to-read book, Lowry explains — in her signature refreshing and conversational style — how twenty-somethings can take control of their personal finances.
In it, you’ll find lots of useful finance tips relating to topics like:
- Your relationship with money
- Discussing your finances with your partner
- Student loans
And if you find this personal finance book useful, you might also enjoy Lowry’s follow-up: ‘Broke Millennial Takes On Investing.
8. ‘Your Money Or Your Life’, Vicki Robin
While it’s mainly aimed at people who want to retire early, the advice given in this personal finance book also applies to those who want to build their wealth in general.
In nine easy-to-follow steps, Robin outlines a plan that aims to transform your relationship with money and achieve financial independence — as stated in the book’s full title.
In order to become more financially independent, she explains:
- What mindset you require, and how to get there by practising mindfulness
- What investment moves you should be making
More than a million people have bought this title, either because they want to become debt free, they want to start investing, they’re looking build wealth, or they simply want to start saving money.
9. ‘Clever Girl Finance’, Bola Sokunbi
As mentioned earlier, personal finance can be a confronting prospect — especially if you’re new to it. But ‘Clever Girl Finance’ is ideal for beginners or those just looking for a refresher on the basics.
Aimed at young adults and millennials, the intention of this book is to educate and empower a whole new generation of women through real-life anecdotes from the author herself, as well as from others.
Sokunbi doesn’t assume anything about the reader’s knowledge of personal finance, covering everything to do with the topic, including:
- Building a nest egg
- How to ask your boss for a raise
- Managing your credit
- Managing money and budgeting
- The credit system
A Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), Sokunbi proves, with this book, that everyone is capable of being more financially independent.