Best personal finance books for beginners

Introduction

Finance is one of the most important subjects one should master in the course of a lifetime. For the majority of us, some simple, basic personal finance knowledge can help in the long run.

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”

– Benjamin Franklin –

Schools and colleges seldom delve into the subject. Many of us come out of our colleges with close to zero knowledge of finance. Have you ever wondered about the reason? When I pondered over the question, I got only one logically acceptable answer.

If we are given the financial knowledge, many of us wouldn’t prefer to complete a college degree at all. And the respectable educators won’t be able to earn at all. Well, let’s keep that conversation for later.

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with a list of books that introduce us to the scary world of finance. Reading a book on personal finance can be so daunting, especially when we have zero idea on what we are going to read. But stay calm as this article will stand cover for you. 

Let’s get going.

Remember, the list is highly subjective and personal but will help you for sure to understand how to step ahead in your financial goals of life. The list doesn’t rank any books, so the order of appearance is based on how easy one might find the book and not on its content.

The richest man in Babylon

The richest man in Babylon is a simple but straightforward book on personal finance. It tells us a story and teaches us financial wisdom through its characters. It gives us simple advice and helps us learn more on the way to earn more. It is a collection of parables that give us each a valuable lesson that could help us attain financial freedom.

A part of all you earn is yours to keep

George S. Clason

Understanding that we know little is the primary key to success. If we want to get rich, we have to follow the process and love the same. This book provides simple insights that could influence our financial decisions and help in getting better day after day. 

‘It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep’.

Pros – 

  • Reads like a story.
  • provides simple financial wisdom
  • Easy to understand and follow.

Cons – 

  • Reads like a story (Yes, it turns out to be both a pro and a con).
  • Doesn’t provide a deep understanding of the knowledge.
  • Can feel oversimplified in some places.
The richest man in babylon
  • Title – The Richest Man in Babylon
  • Author – George S. Clason
  • Year – 1926
  • Purchase on – Amazon.in , Flipkart

The millionaire next door

Are you confused about why your income disappears at the end of every month? This book provides a deep insight into where our incomes go and what steps should we take to have a simple savings plan. Thomas Stanley, the author of The millionaire next door, educates the readers on why financial planning is crucial in becoming debt-free and rich. He emphasizes the need for investing rather than spending our money.

He provides a practical guidance on where we go wrong and how we should rectify to get back on the right track. The book also suggests ways in which accumulating wealth can be influential over the long run. The author provides a formula to calculate a person’s net worth. One of the must-read personal finance books.

Age X Yearly Income /10 = Net worth 

Pros – 

  • Easy to understand
  • A practical guide to follow.
  • Comparatively recent book

Cons – 

  • Examples might seem a little outdated.
The millionaire next door
  • Title – The millionaire next door
  • Author – Thomas Stanley
  • Year – 1996
  • Purchase on – Amazon.in , Amazon.com

Rich Dad Poor Dad 

Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of the most important books ever written in the history of personal finance. The language of the book is pretty simple and easy to understand. The book starts as a story. The author describes his growing phase with the help of his two dads, one rich and one poor. This part establishes an interesting perspective on how a person looks at money and growth. He sets up an interesting conversation that gets the point he tries to make more enticing.

“I’d rather welcome change than cling to the past.”

Robert Kiyosaki

The author provides an idea of how things should be going. He informs us of where we are wrong. He advises changing our thinking in the correct direction by using examples. However, the book doesn’t provide any solid steps to begin with. It leaves the readers to think and implement their strategies to achieve their modified ideology. 

He pinpoints the regular mistakes of people in confusing the liabilities for assets. The expensive car, the latest gadgets are all liabilities and not assets.

Pros –

  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Small in size.
  • Beginner-friendly.
  • Highly informative

Cons –

  • It gives readers only a vague idea of how our thinking and actions should be. It doesn’t provide any solid steps to follow. 
  • Repetitive in certain places.
Rich Dad Poor Dad

Learn to earn

Well, this book is not exactly for understanding personal finance. But this book provides the basic technical know-how for investing your money in stocks. That being said, once you understand the power of investing in stocks through some of the books mentioned above, this book is the perfect place to begin.

The author deals with the technical terms involved in stocks, how stock markets work, and various other aspects of shares. It is a little outdated in terms of how the stock exchanges work – most of those processes have been automated or done online. However, this book provides much of the knowledge required for a person to start his adventures in stocks. 

Pros –

  • Detailed explanations of technical terms
  • Ample examples to aid readers’ understanding.
  • Acts as a perfect guide for beginners in stock market.

Cons –

  • Not so beginner-friendly language – needs some basic financial knowledge.
  • The working of stocks and certain terms differ from country to country.
  • Needs a deep focus to gain something out of the book.
Learn to earn

The 4-hour workweek

Tim Ferriss is a new age entrepreneur, investor, podcaster, and author. His ‘The 4-hour workweek’ book is one of the most widely celebrated books of the last decade. His idea of ‘working less and living more’ captivates the minds of the Millenials. He provides a witty idea of how to enjoy life while working for a few hours in a day.

” What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”

Tim Ferriss

His approach is to work efficiently for a few hours so that the person has sufficient time to travel, spend time on his/her hobbies, and with families. He suggests various ways to achieve them and provides charts and timelines to encourage readers to take baby steps. Though it might seem improbable in the beginning, on a deep level thinking it is achievable. He suggests how to become financially independent through various lively incidents. A must-read book even outside the subject of finance.

Pros – 

  • Eye-opening ideology
  • Language is easy to understand.
  • Practical ways to follow.
  • Helpful guides at various places.

Cons – 

  • Not deep enough – certain terms are explained with unconvincing examples.
  • Many examples make us think that luck plays a key role than the actual work.
  • Various examples sited may not be applicable to all countries.
The 4-hour workweek

The intelligent investor

The intelligent investor is a book by Benjamin Graham, an economist, who is regarded as ‘the father of value investing.’ His ideology is to take little risks and do heavy calculations before deciding on the stocks. His book is known for safe investing and tips and formulas for determining the stocks.

‘You will be much more in control, if you realize how much you are not in control.’

Benjamin Graham

Warren Buffett describes this book as ‘by far the best book on investing ever written.’ This book deals with practical advice on how to choose a company. It advises on the precautions and calculations every investor must do before jumping to a decision. The ideas of the book still inspire many investors who prefer less risk and high profits.

This book is a definitive guide for an individual’s personal finance.

Pros – 

  • Valuable practical advice.
  • Technical know-how explained in detail.
  • Deep analysis of various factors.

Cons- 

  • Heavy book
  • Language is not so beginner-friendly.
  • Not recommended as a starter for personal finance.
The intelligent investor

Summary

As informed at the beginning, this is a personal list of books which influenced me in a way or other. That being said, there are dozens of books out there which can be helpful in achieving your dream of financial freedom. But, these books lay a brilliant foundation for what lays ahead. The list is updated as when an interesting book arrives. So keep watching . . .

Remember, at the end of the day,

‘It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep’.

If this interests you, do check out the other blogs on books and films

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