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The 11 coveted finance books for beginners to live the life you want
I think you’d agree with me when I say that most people would love to escape their 9-5 to do something they really love instead. The problem, is that while many want to escape the daily grind, knowing how to go about it is the challenge.
It wasn’t until I discovered the financial independence and early retirement communities that I realized there was an alternative path. Then, I believed I’d have to work until 70 before I could think about retirement.
Truthfully, retirement is simply a financial savings goal to reach.
Once I had read the top personal finance books on the why’s and the how’s of money management and early retirement, everything else seemed to become simpler and achievable.
Suddenly, I realized that retiring while I am young enough to enjoy it is the path I want to take.
These books have helped us 10x our family’s net worth from $20,000 to over $220,000 in about 4 years.
More than that, though, it’s given me a freedom to design my life.
In this post, I’m sharing the 11 best finance books that deserve a spot on your bookshelf to help you build insane wealth.
Heads up: This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my disclosures for more info.
Financial Independence and Early Retirement Books
These tactical books show you exactly what you need to do to pay off debt, save money and invest.
1. Total Money Makeover
For too many, crushing debt stands in front of achieving early retirement.
If you have debt, it’s a good idea to get rid of it immediately!
Getting rid of debt is a great way to reduce your life stress and build wealth without sending your checks to a debt collector each month.
The Total Money Makeover is the book that shows you how to pay off debt.
Dave Ramsey has helped millions of people get out of debt since the 1980s.
Dave’s snowball method encourages you to pay off smaller debts first. Once you pay those off, you can make larger payments to your larger debts.
He answers why too many Americans fall into debt and can’t get out.
He knows the debt payoff journey because he’s been there.
Think you can’t learn from a bazillionaire?
His personal testimony includes filing for bankruptcy after relying too heavily on debt to build wealth.
When at ground zero with a marriage on the verge of crumbling beyond repair, he learned about the real principles of wealth building.
At one of the low points in his life, he built wealth the right way and is now a multimillionaire.
The basic principles in the book work no matter what your personal situation is.
2. Simple Path to Wealth
Want to avoid the hundreds of thousands in investing fees some investors pay investment firms?
Enter “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins.
This book changed everything in the stock market investing world by demystifying investing in total market index funds.
He shares why most investment management companies cannot predict funds that outperform the basic S&P 500 index.
Despite this track record, investors pay high fees to attempt to “beat the market.”
Few investment managers, Warren Buffet is one, actually do beat the S&P.
For the average investor to pick an investment manager who beats the S&P is quite uncommon, according to Collins.
Knowing this, Collins proposes cutting out the middleman, investment management companies.
This frees up your cash to invest in funds such as Vangard’s Total Stock Market Index fund (VTSAX) which is one of the lowest cost total market funds in the investing world.
Packed with logical data for his arguments, Collins shows you how to achieve better returns than most investment managers.
You’ll finish this book and wonder why it wasn’t around 20 years earlier, at least!
3. Bogleheads Guide to Investing
In the modern world of investing, Jack Bogle noticed a problem.
The structure of too many investment management companies didn’t align with the interests of the investors, like you and me.
Bogle thought investing fees charged by many mainstream investment companies drag down the growth potential of our hard-earned dollars.
So, Bogle set out to create a company that focused on you, the investor.
The company he founded is Vanguard.
Known for rock bottom investing fees, Vanguard fundamentally changed the way investors build wealth by avoiding fees.
He explains well why fees destroy growth in his book “Bogleheads Guide to Investing.”
It’s slightly more complex of a read than The Simple Path to Wealth, but still worth reading.
I particularly liked the section that suggests investment ratios based on age.
Knowing this information can help you develop a personalized investing strategy giving you some peace of mind over your future.
These practical reads show you how to optimize your life with actionable, money-saving tips.
4. The Year of Less
Cait Flanders wrote “The Year of Less” as a young 20-something. She shared some of her struggles with alcoholism, her parent’s painful divorce, and job dissatisfaction, among other challenges.
When her little sister shared she saved more than her, Cait wondered something. Instead of setting minimum savings goals, she wondered how little she could spend.
Cait experimented with this idea by going on a shopping ban for 365 days. She ridded her closets and home of 70% of her belongings and realized that life is much happier without stuff.
In the process, she paid off $30,000, earned her sobriety, decided to work for herself, and learned to work through hard emotions.
This book was a powerful reminder that buying things to solve your life problems isn’t always the solution.
Modern marketing rampantly describes the things you need RIGHT NOW to fix whatever painful experiences we have on the inside.
Cait debunks the myth that stuff will fix your life in a beautifully written memoir.
It’s a poignant reminder that opting out of the need-it-now culture is a step toward clarity and resilience.
She’s a wonderful reminder why the path to paying off debt and reaching financial independence is more than dollars and cents.
5. How your House Works
Perfectly practical, this book shows you how to protect one of the larger assets in your nest egg, your home.
Too often, an appliance or home system will need a small DIY-able repair, but homeowners call a contractor to fix the problem.
Save yourself hundreds of dollars by checking into this book instead.
It’ll give you a visual picture of your home’s most expensive systems and help you troubleshoot minor fixes.
Some of the sections it covers include
- Air Quality
- Windows and Doors
- Foundation and Frame
- And more
I liked the pictures in this book and learning about my home. If anything happened to my spouse, I’d be in trouble.
Knowing the general concepts gives peace to those who aren’t as building savvy.
By implementing some of the recommended maintenance tips from the book, you can save even more money each year on your home.
This book can save you many emergency calls to plumbers, home appliance retail stores, electricians and more by teaching you essential DIY skills every homeowner must know.
6. The Complete Tightwad Gazette
This book is the bible of Tightwaddery. Perfect for the coffee table or bathroom, it offers a collection of short articles written by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced decision).
There’s a good chance that Amy’s book will help you answer any question you have about personal finance.
Because the book doesn’t have a reprinted and updated version to today’s dollars, some of her estimates are not current.
However, you’ll find many of the approaches, like using a price book, perfectly applicable to today.
It’s a must for frugal Mamas and Dads, alike.
These fanatical books are perhaps the greatest classics of the financial independence movement.
7. Millionaire Next Door
The Millionaire Next Door is a fascinating peak into the lives of the average, everyday millionaire.
The book studied millionaires over a period and gives practical hope that anyone can build wealth, especially the middle class.
Some of the surprising facts Dr. Stanley uncovered was
- Most Millionaires did not inherit their wealth
- They drive American made cars and wear inexpensive suits
- They save at least 15-20%+ of their income each year and make their own investing decisions
- They have a F U fund that lasts at least 10 years
- They are classic “tightwads”
While the book shares some of the classic characteristics of millionaires, it also provides practical insight to those who aspire to reach that goal.
If you’ve ever wondered what the true millionaire habits are, this is a great resource to read.
8. Richest Man in Babylon
The Richest Many in Babylon is a classic story of wealth building written through Babylonian parables.
While this book was written in the 1920s, the principles stand throughout time.
It gives a framework for wealth building that anyone can apply, even in the modern day world of today.
This book was the kick I needed to start a side hustle and work for freedom over a paycheck.
The book is a great reminder of the values of thrift, solid financial planning, and wealth building.
This book shows how to set up those systems in your life so you can always apply the principles of wealth building no matter the state of the economy is.
9. Your Money or Your Life
Vicki Robbins’ writing of Your Money or Your Life is perhaps the kickstarter book that set off the modern day financial independence movement known today.
Robbins writes about the limited hours we have in each day to life our life. She equates the cost of items we buy in life to cost hours out of our life.
A fru fru coffee drink might cost 15 minutes of your life.
A $20,000 car might cost half of one year’s work.
No matter the costs, humans pay for items by giving up hours of their life.
Robbins encourages readers to choose wisely how they spend their precious life minutes.
I always think of Robbins’ wisdom when asking myself if I want a fancy piece of clothing. Often times, my life minutes aren’t worth the item!
Creating a side hustle can help launch your career and give you an exit strategy for the future. These books show you how to do it the right way.
Entreleadership shows how Dave Ramsey built his multimillion dollar business from a card table in his home. The book shares leadership tips for those within a business and those who want to become business owners one day.
Dave is a no-nonsense writer and is a master motivator in describing why integrity and responsibility are important business values to uphold.
The book’s framework can you set up a business that serves others while earning profits and matching your personal values.
11. Pinteresting Strategies
Did you know the average millionaire has multiple income streams?
Pinteresting Strategies will tell you exactly how to add mostly passive income to your online business through Pinterest.
She shows how she’s promoted her blog and earned hundreds of thousands of page views using Pinterest.
Those page views can result in funding your retirement plan 100%.
The book shows in detail how to
- set up a Pinterest account the right way
- how to pin content that serves the Pinterest audience well, and
- how to increase engagement
It’s a definite value add for startup business owners who want to grow their traffic without paying ad agencies to do the work.
This book also shares the strategies she uses to increase her readership without paying schedulers like Tailwind.
BONUS: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a text-based course that teaches how to monetize your website using affiliate links.
The course has 6 modules and shares how Michelle grew her Making Sense of Cents blog to earn over $1 million each year.
I wrote a more detailed review of her course in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review.
Michelle has mastered earning income in a digital world and shares this through her course.
This is a great course to pave the way to being financially independent and/or retired early using a business with an online presence.
- We’ve paid off $51,000 of our home!
- 101 No Spend Activities
- Grocery budget: 10 tips to spend $25/person each week
What are you favorite financial independence books you’d add to the list?
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