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How would you rate your knowledge on money matters and personal finance?

Regardless of your views on earning, saving, or budgeting, most of us would agree that money has psychological consequences which include a huge impact on your lifestyle and what you’re able to afford.

I started off relatively clueless about financial matters. As a teen, part-time jobs made me feel like I’d temporarily struck gold. It was only much later that I started putting in more serious effort towards improving my financial literacy.

Reading plenty of books on the subject certainly helped me on my journey. I became less fearful about money now that I had a better understanding of what to avoid and what to plan for.

Here are eight personal finance books in no particular order with tons of practical advice. They’re a fantastic starting point to help you get ahead financially.

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1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich

If you don’t appreciate practical advice dished out in tough love style, I Will Teach You to Be Rich probably isn’t the best of personal finance books for you to start off with.

However, I’ve included it on this list based on recommendations from professionals that I work with and trust.

With the subtitle “No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works,” and chapter headings like “Why Indian people love negotiating,” you’ll be receiving lots of powerful finance advice delivered with panache!

Sethi will show you that you can’t argue with math or logic when it comes to budgeting and wealth building strategies. He also provides word-for-word scripts you can follow to negotiate your bills and more.


Listen to Ramit Sethi on “How to Use Credit Cards Wisely” in Episode 1142 of Optimal Finance Daily.


2. Get Money

Get Money is divided into three key sections: powering up, optimizing, and growing your money.

Serious topics are written about in a fun and engaging way. The chapter on building an emergency fund will show you what’s possible without stirring fear or dread in your mindset. The chapter on how not to let money destroy your relationships which includes money scripts you can use to start a conversation. There are additional tips on how to avoid fighting over money matters with your romantic partner.

Wong shows you how to plan in order to live the life that you want, instead of the life you can afford. The author’s personal reflections on her own financial journey demonstrates the practical tips that she shares in action.


Listen to Kristin Wong on “The Power of Speaking Up” in Episode 734 of Optimal Finance Daily.


3. Your Money or Your Life

A hugely influential book, Your Money or Your Life starts off by discussing happiness, prosperity’s impact on the planet, and questioning whether more is better.

It helps you think about how you are living your life through the life energy that you spend through the works on work. If you have a job that pays well but makes you thoroughly miserable day in and day out, is that really the best way in which you’re using your time and living life?

The foreword is written by Mr. Money Mustache, a well-known finance blogger who became financially independent in his early 30s.


Listen to Mr. Money Mustache on “The Power of Frugality & Discipline” in Episode 1107 of Optimal Finance Daily.


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4. The Total Money Makeover

Wondering how you can quickly boost your financial acumen? This book will give you a solid introduction to proven methods that will get you going in the right direction.

Ramsey’s “7 Baby Steps” are clearly outlined in The Total Money Makeover. These classic steps include saving up for an emergency fund, creating a debt snowball, putting 15% towards retirement, and building wealth through investing.

You’ll get to read many personal stories of other people’s struggles and triumphs. If you're going through a similar path as the featured profiles, you can take solace in the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel once you set your mind to it. If your financial circumstances aren’t as dire, use the stories as motivation to STAY out of debt and avoid bad habits like lifestyle creep.

5. The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door was first written in the late nineties, with an updated version in 2010.

It gives a thorough overview of the importance of living a frugal lifestyle, and how this can be a key component to the goal of building wealth over time.

If you think that it’s only the super rich who get richer, or that you have to be born into wealth to have a shot at amassing wealth, authors Stanley and Danko will show you a different picture.

You’ll learn how a substantial percentage of millionaires in America are “self-made,” and that a good number don’t live opulent lifestyles typically associated with the rich and famous. In fact, many millionaires took decades to build wealth and lived below their means. It gives you not just hope but proof that being a millionaire is within reach over the long term, even if you weren't born wealthy.

6. Smart Women Finish Rich

As I'm a woman, this was the first book I chose to read by David Bach.

Smart Women Finish Rich has sold over one million copies to date and remains one of the most popular personal finance books for women. Financial expert David Bach takes you through chapters on investing, taking control of your financial future, and why women can’t afford to not participate when it comes to handling money.

There's also The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by the same author.

If you’d like to motivate your partner to get on board with financial planning, get a copy of Smart Couples Finish Rich. While you can’t force your partner to do something if they’re not willing or ready, you can be a living example of the positive changes you’re committed to making in your financial life. A partner who loves and respects you will eventually see why this matter is of so much importance to you. After all, shared plans for the future are part of a healthy partnership.

7. Broke Millennial

Specifically geared towards the millennial age group, Lowry writes in a casual and friendly style without missing out on the essentials that you should know.

If you know nothing about money and have never read any personal finance books, don’t feel ashamed or scared that you’ll never be able to learn the basics. Lowry’s strength as a writer and financial expert is in breaking down financial subjects into relatable concepts that are easily understood.

Broke Millennial will show you how to get off the hamster wheel of debt and living paycheck to paycheck, with checklists to help you take stock of where you’re at and where you’d like to be financially.

8. The Art of Money

For a more spiritual approach to money and living intentionally, try The Art of Money by financial therapist Bari Tessler. She goes through concepts like money shame and the money stories we hold close to our hearts, because money is not just about cold hard numbers. It’s about a relationship you have with yourself.

Power, monetary value, and under-earning (and the impacts these have on you psychologically) are topics you’ll get to explore through Tesslar’s wise and practical approach.

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Jess Chua

Jess writes and edits content for the Optimal Living Daily podcast network. Her interests include personal growth, cooking, and spending time with her pets.
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