2018 Update: We still think this was a fun conversation about the best personal finance books for newbies — but you may also want to check out our newest roundup of the best financial books for beginners. (If you’re just getting started on your personal finance journey, you may want to check out our “money roadmap” post, where we rounded up our best advice for the steps to take to thriving financially. )
Which are the best personal finance books for newbies? Reader E had a great question:
I absolutely love your Tales from the Wallet series, but I find a lot of the lingo is a little over my head. I do understand that most of your readers are lawyers and professionals with sizable incomes, but I was wondering if you had any book recommendations for readers like myself. I didn’t invest in a 401K through my employer because I didn’t understand it. The idea of having money deducted from my account for a stranger to manage and crossing my fingers for the best didn’t sound very appealing to me. After reading some of the comments, it looks like there’s more to it. I currently don’t have any investments and want to start to learn about vehicles to put my money in. Please share absolutely any resources for new investors! Thanks!
Everyone has to start somewhere, so I think this is a great question. We’ve talked about tax-savvy investments on here, of course (and may answer some of your 401K specific questions), but in general it can seem daunting to learn about personal finance. (Pictured: Kate Spade New York ‘Popsicle’ Coin Purse, $78 at Nordstrom — according to the reviews it’s surprisingly functional!) I’ve read a bunch of personal finance books over the years; these are the best ones that I would recommend for newbies:
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi
- Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties, by Beth Kobliner
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits), by John Bogle — it’s much drier than the other two books, but this whole series is a great one.
LearnVest is a great source of personal finance information, too. They have a ton of information for free (including a daily newsletter), but they also offer bootcamp programs for women where, for $89-$399, you work with a Certified Financial Planner and choose a specific program to go through. (The choices right now are “Budget Starter,” “5-Year Planner,” or “Portfolio Builder.”). There are a ton of personal finance blogs out there, too, of course — I’m kind of on the hunt for more new ones to follow since a lot of my old favorites changed so much after they were sold to bigger companies; right now I recommend Daily Worth and Go-Girl Finance.
Readers, which personal finance books are your favorite? What was the first book or blog you read that got you started on the path?