If you’re tired of living pay cheque to pay cheque, you’re struggling to buy your own home, or you’re looking to invest in the future, you may be looking for guidance to do just that.
Blogs are great (amiright?!) but there’s something about investing in a book and curling up on the sofa with it that feels somewhat committal. When you buy a money book, rather than just reading money blogs, you’re saying to yourself ‘I’m serious about this! I’m really going to turn things around!’
That alone can really help you get into the money mindset and do whatever it takes to overhaul your finances.
There’s just one problem. There are a lot of shitty personal finance books out there that somehow manage to gain a lot of publicity despite often being written by people with little understanding of how ordinary people live.
Others, like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, blame those with little money and suggest that if you Just Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps your finances would turn around.
Well I say fuck that! Here are 10 personal finance books that will help you be better with money without shaming you or blaming you.
You Are A Badass At Making Money
You Are A Badass At Making Money is without a doubt one of my favourite books of all time.
I read it for the first time last year and a few months ago, I read it a second time. Well! Let me tell you, reading it again (this time as someone who’s been plunged into self-employment) has really helped to change my perspective on things.
Can’t Swing a Cat recently celebrated its five year anniversary and I’ve often wondered why I’m not raking in as much money as other writers in the personal finance world.
But as I flicked through Jen’s book, one thing became incredibly clear: I’ve been standing in my own way of success, derailing my progress, preventing myself from making money, and massively holding myself back.
I’ve made a list of all the self-destructive actions that have prevented me from achieving what I consider success and I hope that in a few months’ time I’ll be in a position to share that list with you and reflect on all the ways I’ve improved.
If you’re looking for a book that gives you practical money tips, this one is probably not for you. It doesn’t teach you about pensions and it doesn’t explain the various types of investment. But it will give you a kick up the arse and make you realise that financial security, success and your dreams are all within reach if you only give yourself a chance to show the world how fucken awesome you are.
Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads
Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads is a truly magnificent book that shares countless stories of financial incompatibility, financial abuse and exploitation. It also shares some actionable steps you can take to improve communication with partners, friends and relatives so that everyone is treated fairly and to decrease the likelihood anyone is mistreated.
As dramatic as this might all sound, when you read the book it’s easy to see how small money secrets and little white lies can spiral out of control.
You’ll also learn about Sexually Transmitted Debt, which, as you can probably imagine, is when you inherit debt problems from a partner and have to deal with the inevitable fallout that comes with it.
Money conversations often focus on tips and tricks to save money, but we often overlook the fact that our finances are largely psychological and very much rooted in the relationships we have with others. When we’re in happy relationships, we tell ourselves this stuff could never happen to us, as if hundreds of formerly happy relationships don’t end each and every day with often devastating financial consequences.
Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life
Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life by Alex Holder is absolutely fantastic and I loved every word of it. Of all the personal finance books I’ve read over the last few years, this has earned itself a spot in the Top 3 alongside You Are A Badass At Making Money and Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads.
If you’re looking for practical tips & financial product recommendations, this isn’t the money book for you. Instead, it focuses on the psychological and social aspects of money in an extremely relatable and non-judgemental way.
One of my favourite sections of the book looks at the impact that recreational drugs can have on people’s finances. Rather than approaching the subject with a judgemental ‘stop doing drugs if you ever want to save a deposit’ standpoint, Alex argues that if you’re going to get absolutely obliterated every Friday, you need to be honest with yourself and budget for it. She also speaks to a London cocaine dealer to weigh up the costly repercussions of buying a £20 bag of weed every other day instead of half an ounce for £100. Of course, there’s always the risk that if you buy half an ounce, you’ll go through it faster.
“It’s not like taking advantage of a two-for-one deal on dishwasher tablets,” Alex says. “You’re not going to get drunk, lose your inhibitions and put the dishwasher on all night, but I’ve seen what happens when people ‘stock up’ on cocaine.”
The book also investigates who should pay for the first date, how to talk to your colleagues about money, and the importance of talking about the connection between mental health and money.
Oh! There’s also a really great chapter about the complexities of discussing money with your housemates. I learned a LOT about myself and came away with some ideas as to how I can be a better housemate in future, if the time comes when I no longer live alone.
You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich
You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich is a really practical book filled with actionable tips without being boring or overwhelming. It’s also written in an understanding and non-judgemental way, giving you the need-to-know info without shoving strict money rules down your throat.
If you often wonder where the hell all your money is going, the Get A Grip Of Your Money section will help you identify exactly where your income is disappearing to while also giving you gentle encouragement to question which purchases really matter to you and what you can go without.
One of my favourite things about this book is that it’s easy to navigate, meaning you can effortlessly flick back and forth to find the information you need, when you need it.
Go Fund Yourself
My favourite money books are the ones that take the realities of life into account and don’t shame you for being a human being with needs, wants, desires and sometimes a lack of self control – and that’s exactly why I love Alice Tapper’s Go Fund Yourself.
I’ve spent the last 5 years reading, writing and banging on about money so I think it’s fair to say I have a fairly good idea how to manage it.
Nevertheless, I still have blips from time to time. I buy shit I don’t need when I’m feeling blue; I go out for lunch with my pals even though I have homemade curry in the fridge; and a few months ago I made a bet with a lass I’d only just met in the pub that she couldn’t guess my first name in three guesses (I gave her the first letter). This silly game cost me an overpriced vodka & lemonade because she got it right on her third try.
Books like this one serve as a reminder that I’m in control of the numbers I see on my Monzo app and the coins that exit my purse.
If you want to change your attitude to money and do you future self a favour, I’d recommend giving it a read 💸👛💷
Erin Lowry has long been one of my favourite personal finance bloggers. She’s absolutely fantastic and I love how much she talks about the connection between money and relationships, rather than just the practical side of money.
I think one of her strengths is that she focuses heavily on the relationship aspect of finances, offering practical tips to discuss money more openly without causing embarrassment or awkwardness.
In Broke Millennial she explains how to budget, tackle consumer debt, get ‘financially naked’ with your partner, navigate finances & friendship, and negotiate your salary. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Before buying the book it’s worth noting that it’s geared primarily towards a US audience. For example there’s talk about student loans and these operate very differently in the UK to the US.
Nevertheless, even if you are outside the US, I reckon you’ll finish this book with confidence that you can take control of your money situation.
If you’re hopeless with money and eager to get better, but you’re not sure where to begin, Spare Change by Iona Bain is a fantastic starting point.
It covers a lot of ground (debt, pensions, spending habits, financial goals) without being overwhelming.
If you’re already pretty clued up when it comes to your finances, this one might not be for you, but I’m sure it’ll help a lot of people get into the mindset of being more in control of their cash! 💸👛
Money: A User’s Guide
Money: A User’s Guide is a fantastic addition to your bookshelf if you’re the type of person to get turned off by financial terminology.
With Laura’s help you gain a better understanding of how pensions work, key investment terms and processes, and a step-by-step guide to boosting your credit rating in the run up to buying a house.
All in all this is a very practical guide but it has Laura’s personal anecdotes and opinions littered throughout, while still staying concise and cutting to the chase.
I honestly think that by the time you’ve read this book, you’ll have solved at least 3 of your current money issues.
The Money Revolution
If you’re interested in learning about money from a fintech point of view and uncovering tons of new apps in the process, The Money Revolution by Starling Bank’s founder Anne Boden is well worth a read.
One of my favourite things about it is that you could read the other 9 books on this list and still learn countless of new money lessons from Anne’s creation.
If you want a book packed full of opinions and relatable stories, this isn’t the book for you. As you can probably imagine, written by the founder of a bank it cuts to the chase and largely sticks to the facts, but it’s well deserving of a place on your bookshelf if you’re looking for a reliable introduction to investing, banking and mortgages.
Perhaps I should add that I have been paid to review Starling Bank in the past, but I don’t think this has influenced my review of Anne’s book. I really do think it deserves to be on this list.
The Financial Diet
I’ve been obsessed with thefinancialdiet.com since I first started saving a deposit back in 2014. Honestly, I have to stop myself from visiting the website sometimes because it sends me down a rabbit hole of articles and I don’t emerge until two days later, unwashed, unkempt and looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway.
So when I heard that Chelsea Fagan was bringing out The Financial Diet book, you bet I ordered it as soon as I could.
If you’re looking for a finance book that’s relatable, inspiring, and easy to digest, this is worth the money.
I wouldn’t describe this as a practical tips kinda book, especially if you live outside the US, but it’s a great money mindset book and – particularly if you’re career driven – it should hopefully put some fire in your belly and give you the motivation to ask for a raise and make the most of your career.
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