Mel Evans/AP/File
Shoppers browse at the newly opened Barnes & Noble book store at The College of New Jersey, Aug. 19, 2015, in Ewing Township, N.J.

Ten favorite personal-finance books

Great advice for the financial stages of life.

While great literature is said to transcend audiences, the best personal finance books are arguably most impactful when they address a particular stage or challenge of your financial life with practical insight and advice.

With this in mind, here are 10 ValuePenguin favorite personal-finance tomes — many of them among Amazon’s best sellers and’s most loved — for four different aspects or times of managing your money. 

Resetting Your Finances

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

Authors: Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez and Monique Tilford

Goodreads rating: 4.07 / 5

Published during The Great Recession, in 2008, this book looks at personal money management (i.e. getting out of debt, starting to save) in the context of ethics as opposed to spreadsheets. It touches upon mindfulness, building good habits and even being a more environmentally-friendly consumer.

2. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Author: Dave Ramsey

Goodreads rating: 4.28 / 5

Like other books in the financial-management genre, the title tells you what you need to know. Ramsey’s may be best for readers who are looking to climb out of debt before worrying about the ensuing stages in their personal-finance development.

3. I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Author: Ramit Sethi

Goodreads rating: 4.04 / 5

If you’re more likely to gain from a step-by-step and goal-oriented approach, Seithi’s book may be worth picking off the shelf. He offers a practical approach to what he calls the “four pillars” of personal finance: banking, saving, budgeting and investing.

Building Wealth

4. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy

Authors: Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Goodreads rating: 3.99 / 5

Taking the tack that much can be learned from those of us who have already made it, so to speak, these two authors, both with Ph.D.s, examine the best practices of America’s very rich. The book’s success and value lies in how it makes those takeaways apply to those of us with a lot less in our portfolios than the lux types.

5. The Richest Man in Babylon

Authors: George S. Clason, Charles Conrad

Goodreads rating: 4.22

This 100-pager, while nearly a hundred years old, retains as much value as when it was first published, in 1926. Some of the authors of the other books on this list have this classic on their bookshelves, and look fondly on its timeless advice for aspiring wealth-builders.

6. Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook

Author: Tony Robbins

Goodreads rating: 4.14 / 5

While some of Robbins’ work focuses on get-rich-quick schemes for the everyman, his latest book offers more traditional advice on investing. It’s at its best when it borrows from the strategies and methods of top investors.

7. The Wealthy Barber

Author: David Chilton

Goodreads rating: 3.97 / 5

Unlike Robbins’ effort, this book claims to empower even the average salary-earner to help him or her to gain financial independence. It’s more readable than the average personal finance book, in part through its use of a successful barber’s experiences to illustrate Chilton’s most powerful points.

On Personal Finance and Parenting

8. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even if You’re Not)

Author: Beth Kobliner

Goodreads rating: 4.25 / 5

Also the author of “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties,” Kobliner addresses this 2017 book toward readers who have grown into parenthood, and now want to instruct their kids in managing money. She offers a guide teaching toddlers to teens everything there is to know about money, whether it’s how to use a credit card or how to pay for college.

9. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not

Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Goodreads rating: 3.92 / 5

Kiyosaki takes the stories of his own father, and the wealthy father of his best friend, to explore how parenting affects a long-term outlook on money and investing.

On Retirement

10. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor

Author: Ernie J. Zelinski

Goodreads rating: 3.71 / 5

At times, this may feel less like retirement wisdom than quiet wisdom you might receive from your yogi. Zelinski goes beyond dollars and cents to address how everything that’s important in your life is connected to the time after your work life ends; it also aims to get you to that milestone more quickly.

This story originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Ten favorite personal-finance books
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today