The Best Personal Finance Books for Beginners Who Want More from Life

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Want to learn how to manage your money better? This list of personal finance books for beginners is the culmination of many years of obsessive reading of personal finance books and investment books.

I’ve read all of the below books about finance for beginners. They are from the all over the world including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

The specifics aren’t important when you’re just starting out on your money journey, motivation and inspiration are what you need to take action. The books for finance beginners below have it in spades.

The Best Personal Finance Books for Beginners

To clarify, all of the links below are to Amazon but you could probably get these from your local library.

Quick tip: some of the below books are available as audiobooks through Audible. Get a free trial to Audible here.

1. The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave Ramsey is a huge deal in the personal finance world. His book ‘The Total Money Makeover’ has been topping Amazon bestsellers lists for years and it shows no signs of slowing down.

His advice is to the point and he can be a little blunt, but his system has helped millions of people get out of debt and start living life on their own terms.

>>Read the reviews and check the price here<<

2. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your roadmap to financial independence and a rich, free life

If you just read one finance book for beginners, let it be this one. This book has taken the personal finance blogging world by storm, and I’m picking it will become one of the best personal finance books of all time, due to the practical and enjoyable nature in which it is written.

JL Collins (of the blog of the same name) wrote this book, inspired by a series of letters to his daughter, who is rather more interested in other things in life than money, but knows she needs to look after her money.

So, like any good dad, he wrote one of the most thorough and useful finance books for beginners, to pass on his knowledge to his daughter.

It covers everything from avoiding debt, building an emergency fund right through to putting your money to work for you. This is my pick for the best investment book for beginners.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

3. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Some say Your Money or Your Life is the original book on financial independence as it eschews consumerism and questions norms such as the costs of working (daily coffee, professional wardrobe, transport etc) and their impact on your real earnings.

I’d recommend this for people who know they need to save and maybe have a budget in place but can’t really cross the divide between living frugally and building wealth.

This book requires some time work through – yes I said work. There are some exercises involved which can completely change the way you view your money.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

4. Smart Couples Finish Rich, Revised and Updated: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner

If you are your partner aren’t on the same page about money, this is the book you need. I’ve long known that the only way to achieve our goals was with a solid team effort. I wish I had this book when I pitched my crazy dream to my husband.

It’s practical, enjoyable and highly likely to change your life.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

Some of my personal favourites

When I decided to get my finances sorted after being terrible with money, the first step was to educate myself in money management.

I would hang out in the finance aisles at bookshops and the local library, picking up books that appealed to me. At the bottom of this post, I have a list of my personal favourites.

Some were way over my head with technical detail. Some were just plain boring. In the beginning, the books that appealed to me the most were personal stories. I wanted to read about how other people had gotten out of debt, saved for a house deposit, purchased investment properties or built wealth.

After that, I wanted to learn more about putting my money to work, and I sought out investing books for beginners to further that area of knowledge.

5. The Four Hour Workweek

I read The 4-Hour Work Week when I was 1 million weeks pregnant (in 2012) and facing a decision on whether I should quit my job to stay home with my baby or keep working and surrender half of my income to daycare whilst also never seeing my child.

It was a GAME-CHANGER. Like a lot of bloggers, the 4HWW was the catalyst for a new career as a remote virtual assistant and now a full-time blogger. I work way more than four hours a week, but I work on my own terms, and still believe in the main ethos of the book.

If you are thinking of pursuing financial independence via a digital career, definitely pick up a copy.

>>Read more reviews and check the price here<<

6. How I Lived for a Year on Just a Pound a Day

I picked this up purely out of curiosity. Why on earth would anyone choose to live on just a pound a day? Well, the author wanted to buy her brother a very expensive wedding gift. She only worked part-time and didn’t want to change that, so she had to scrimp on her living costs.

Now I think back it was a very simple concept, but at the time I ate out for almost every meal and spent hundreds each week on non-essentials like handbags and vodka.

This book is an easy read and I recommend it for the complete beginner. There are no big scary numbers in it. It was this book that spurred me to question how different life could be if I just stopped spending.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

7. From 0 to 130 Properties in 3.5 Years

I’ve always had an interest in investment property, as it’s in our family. But getting my first cash deposit together seemed impossible as I couldn’t save money because I spent it all.

This book was a really interesting read about how Steve McKnight built a property portfolio from scratch using a variety of different methods and creative financing.

I really liked the simple breakdown. I’d recommend From 0-130 properties for anybody interested in property investment as a vehicle for building wealth. It’s Australia-centric but the basic concepts are applicable anywhere.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

8. The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way To Be Smart About Your Money

As far as financial planning books for beginners go, the one-page financial plan is a must-read. It’s simple, actionable and written by a financial advisor.

Full disclosure – I was given a copy of this book to review last year. And I still loved it because it was easy to understand and, more importantly, easy to implement.

The premise is simple, get all your financial goals on a one-page financial plan. No screeds of spreadsheets and printouts. Anyone can write a one-page financial plan.

It’s written by Carl Richards of The Behaviour Gap and illustrated with gloriously simple hand-drawn charts.

The author is a certified financial planner so his advice is backed by credentials without being jargony.

I’d recommend The One-Page Financial Plan for people who want to create a big picture plan for their finances.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

9. Your Mortgage and How to Pay it Off in 5 Years

This is another frugality book, which was exactly what I needed when I read it. It details how the author and her husband paid off their home in three years with an income under $50/k per year.

It covers the core concepts of money management for beginners but its strength lies in the mortgage information specifically targeted towards first home buyers.

This includes getting your deposit together, finding the right house and how much you should spend.

Note the examples are outdated when it comes to current houses prices BUT the core principles of budgeting and making sacrifices to pay off your mortgage faster still apply. I’d recommend it for people wanting to buy their first home.

>>Click here to read more reviews and check the price<<

What is your favourite money book? Have you read any of my favourites?

Looking for the best personal finance books for beginners? These five easy-reads are perfect for a newbie trying to take back control of their money and get started on the path to riches.

11 thoughts on “The Best Personal Finance Books for Beginners Who Want More from Life”

  1. Thanks for this list. I’m always looking for book recommendations, I haven’t read the others, but Your Money or Your Life is a great book. It has heavily influenced the life Imlead today and I’d recommend it to anyone.

    • I haven’t read any of Dave Ramsey’s stuff. I’ll add him to my ever-growing list :-). Good luck with the debt repayment, Kecia.

  2. These sounds like great reads! I’ve skimmed through The One-Page Financial Planner at my library, and it looked very good! I didn’t have time to read it then, and I had forgotten about it. I’ll go check it out soon. 🙂

    A book we have is “Money Rules” by Jean Chatzky. It’s very simple, with one financial tip on each page. We’ve found it a helpful incentive to just flip through it sometimes. It reminds us of things we’re doing well and of things we’ve let slip and need to tackle better.

  3. I bought and read Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. I think it’s a good beginners guide. He does explain some more advanced concepts, but it’s definitely for the beginner. I still refer to it from time to time! 🙂

  4. I purchased the savy girls money book about 14 years ago in Australia and it’s a book I pick up every year and re-read. It’s a beginners book but it’s lighthearted and really talks about how modern women can make the most of the money they have through not wasting money, investments, and other ways to generate money. It is Australian so has some things that may noy be relevant to nz.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Liz, I’ll definitely check it out. I like reading books from all over the place, you can always take something from them, even if the specifics don’t apply to your situation.

  5. Thanks for this, Emma – some must-reads in there! My mother sent me ‘Your Mortgage and how to pay it off in five years’ a couple of years before we bought our first house. It completely and utterly changed how we did things: the house we bought, and how we managed our money. We paid the mortgage off in about four years (although thank goodness we bought in 2002 instead of now!). Still, to most people our achievement seemed impossible at the time.

    • Four years is an achievement no matter when you bought!! I love the Anita Bell book, she did a few others which were good too.

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