It’s time to start managing your money better
Updated November 21, 2019
Image by Alex Dos Diaz © The Balance 2019
We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.
Some people manage their money like they were born with calculators in their hands. Others…not so much. Maybe they fall prey to their own instincts to spend more than they should. Maybe math just isn’t their strong suit or they find it unbearably tedious to keep track of pennies and dimes, let alone dollars.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Just look at the statistics. The American Psychological Association does a survey every year in an attempt to pin down where folks think they stand financially. The most recent survey indicated that a walloping 70 percent of us believe we’re on shaky financial ground. Even more — 75 percent — are of the firm belief that we’d be a whole lot happier if we just had more money.
So what can you do to get a grip on your finances and make your money grow? Learn. Educate yourself. That’s how Elon Musk and Warren Buffett started out, and they haven’t stopped reading now that they’re at the top of their respective games. These books should give you a great start.
The Best Overall: Rich Dad Poor Dad
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! is something of a memoir with lessons attached. It celebrated its 20th birthday in 2017 with an updated edition, and author Robert Kiyosaki has a lot to celebrate. This is this one of the bestselling personal finance books ever.
Kiyosaki walks readers through some childhood reminiscences, a contrast between his own not-very-wealthy father and the dad of his friend who happened to be one of the richest residents of Hawaii. The comparison shines a spotlight not just on how to best manage your money or lack of it, but also on helping your kids to do so as well. According to Kiyosaki, not all debt is bad, and you can work your way toward wealth even if you don’t enjoy a staggering income. It’s all about how you handle the money you do have and figuring out ways to lead you away from that paltry paycheck.
This updated edition of Rich Dad Poor Dad is particularly enjoyable and insightful as it compares life 20 years ago against what it is today.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: You Are a Badass at Making Money
You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth is from Jen Sincero, author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Published in 2017, this second Badass book takes more of a financial angle than the first one did.
Prepare to chuckle and roll your eyes. This book is candid and funny, and if you’re like many of us, you’ll recognize yourself and your own habits in its pages. It’s based on Sincero’s personal experiences as she emerged from her salad days to living very, very well. You Are a Badass #2 is designed to help you nix the financial habits that hold you back and introduce some simple, easily understandable concepts into your life that will help you improve the way you handle your money.
New York Magazine says it’s “a cheerful manifesto on removing obstacles between yourself and the income of your dreams.” Who says good money management has to be tedious?
The Best Book About How to Get Rich: The Automatic Millionaire
OK, you don’t want to sit down with something that’s minutely detailed and overwhelming. We get that. The beauty of David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich is that it delivers exactly what it promises: a one-step plan.
The book almost reads like fiction at first with a success story about a couple who earn a modest income but nonetheless owns two mortgage-free homes and they can look forward to some really significant retirement savings, too. From there, Bach explains a simple one-step process that will put you in this couple’s shoes—and it doesn’t involve budgeting, gritting your teeth or earning six figures a year, either.
You can trust Bach because this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s previously published three other bestsellers. The Automatic Millionaire spent 31 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List when it was published in 2004 and it’s sold more than 1.5 million copies. Recently updated, it’s still immensely popular.
The Best Book About Wellbeing: AgeProof
Chatzky and Roizen aren’t simply financial gurus. Their combined expertise lies in the correlation between your bank account and the state of your health. Chatzky is the financial expert for NBC’s TODAY Show, and Dr. Roizen is the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic.
Their suggestion in AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip is that you should safeguard your finances in much the same way you stay healthy, and if you do both concurrently, your golden years really will be golden. Just as you don’t want to consume more calories than you burn off, you don’t want to spend more money than you earn. That’s a widely accepted maxim, but Chatzky and Roizen don’t preach. Rather, they offer tips and techniques for modifying your behavior so you can achieve both.
It makes sense—all the money in the world won’t make you happy if you can’t get out of bed, and money-related stress can hurt your health. Released in 2017, AgeProof is a relatively quick, easy, enjoyable read. Amazon calls it one of the best books of 2017.
The Best Book About Retiring Young: How…