The first few months of a new year are a great time to revaluate your financial situation, set new goals and do a little financial housecleaning.
And while there’s no one size fits all approach to personal finance, there is one fundamental truth: education is an incredibly valuable part of mastering your finances.
Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson are all known to be voracious readers, despite the fact that they lead incredibly busy lives. Branson in particular is regularly offering up lists of the books that changed his way of thinking and helped him grow as a businessman.
With that in mind, here are a handful of intriguing, useful, and noteworthy books to consider putting on your radar. Some are a few years old, others are more recent, but all of them focus on finance in some way, whether it be retirement tips, budgeting advice, or how to invest wisely.
Setting the somewhat cheesy title aside for a moment, this book comes highly recommended by the millennial who heads up marketing for the personal finance app Empower (named by Time magazine as one of the best apps of 2017).
“As a skeptic of the tyranny of personal finance experts, I actually thought ‘I Will Teach You to be Rich’ was a very well-executed book, especially for millennials who would rather spend their time elsewhere than managing their money hands-on,” said Empower’s Phuong Vuong.
Ramit’s book lays out a six-week personal finance program for this demographic, which the book describes as a generation that’s materially ambitious, yet often far from being on top of their financial game.
The book gives readers the real deal about their money (with such insights as you probably won’t beat ETFs unless you’re Warren Buffet), while introducing a hands-off, liberating approach to building wealth.
Author Victor Chiu wrote his book to empower women to take control of their personal finances just as his own mother did.
Published in 2017, Wall Street Kitchen draws parallels between Chiu’s mother’s passion for cooking and her philosophy for investing. It is designed to be a self-help book focused on universal investing principles, which are offered up in layman’s terms for the beginning and intermediate level investing audience.
“The main book message is the notion that investing does not have to be a complex undertaking,” said Chiu. “It expresses contrarian thinking and approaches such as ‘doing the opposite of everyone’ and ‘don’t listen to the media.”
The title of this book really says it all. Many people end up working well into retirement because they’re not financially prepared for their golden years.
Written by Hagen Pruemm, founder and president of SIS Financial Group, an asset protection and retirement planning firm, the book provides readers with an in-depth look at today’s biggest retirement concerns and solutions.
Unlike most retirement “how-to” books however, this one tries to convey to readers that retiring can be the easy part. But planning property to ensure it is possible to stay retired is often the big challenge. To that end, the author provides insight on such topics as how to plan properly, accumulation, preservation, longevity risk and healthcare costs.
“Hope is not a plan. ‘A dartboard’ is not a plan. To live the retirement you want and protect your portfolio from ‘lost years,’ you simply must plan. That includes addressing your finances, health and legacy,” states the book.
Sarah Newcomb’s 2016 book provides a valuable and unique discussion about the theoretical and practical wisdom tied to money and how it intersects with your personality, and your life.
“Newcomb does a wonderful job of blending the social, psychological, and personal aspects of your money with hard financial concepts,” says Marques Lang, a business and financial wellness coach for Paradigm Consulting & Coaching. “This is especially apparent when it comes to managing debt, spending, and cash flow.”
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
John Miles, of the website Master Book Club, regularly interviews experts to identify the top three books they recommend. The high profile experts interviewed by Miles have even been known to appear on Oprah to discuss their recommendations.
Among the top financial books of 2018 that experts have suggested to Miles is The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. This gem of a read can give you an entirely new outlook on life and money. The book is about breaking free from the cycle of consumerism that so many of us are obsessed with. In other words: earn more, buy more, want more.
Flanders managed to eliminate nearly $30,000 worth of consumer debt. But she remained unfulfilled. Nothing she was doing or buying made her happy. Her response to this dilemma was to not shop for an entire year (excluding consumables.) The book documents her journey.
This is by no means an endorsement of investing in cryptocurrencies. But with this new form of payment making headlines on a daily basis, it’s worth taking some time to understand what everyone is talking about and how cryptocurrency, or blockchain technology, might play a role in the future.
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond, by Chris Burniske and Jack Tartar is a detailed and insightful read, says Nate Masterson, director of finance for Maple Holistics.
“It makes the complex nature of this currency easy to understand,” said Masterson.
The book explains how cryptoassets work (Bitcoin was the first cryptoasset, but today there are more than 800 and counting), what can be gained or learned from the successes and failings of the virtual currency and why it is both popular and distrusted at the same time.
And yes, if you are considering investing in the currency, then this book is essential, says Masterson.
If good credit is your resolution this year, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated every 14 days.