For so many, 2020 was a year that upended finances. We are most often tested during unexpected circumstances and the upheaval and uncertainty of the past twelve months have certainly posed a test to many.
While there are dozens of podcasts, YouTube channels, and Reddit threads to learn from, somehow nothing compares to a good old-fashioned book and here is a list of the best personal finance books of 2021 to get you started on the right track.
Often cited as the one personal finance book to read if you’re going to pick up anything in the genre, Ramit Sethi’s prose draws you in with its conversational tone and actionable items. You’re guaranteed to see monetary returns if you follow the steps in this book—and fast!—but it offers tips for experts, too, not just beginners.
As such, it helps readers to establish systems to effectively grow their wealth, regardless of the external circumstances in the world at large.
Lowry, a personal finance expert, aims her book at 20 and 30-somethings, making this the perfect first stop on your personal finance journey. Whether you’re stuck paying off debt or trying to plan more long-term for the future, the approachable tone of this book makes it easy to understand the basics in a relatable manner.
Not only does it dive into investing and saving for retirement, but it also touches on the emotional relationship younger folks have with money, especially in the millennial generation as this group, more than any other, has experienced monetary hurdles from the 2008 financial crisis to the unexpected pandemic in 2020.
As such, it’s worth picking up just to see your struggles epitomized in writing and actionable items stem from that, too.
This book really compels readers to think carefully about the “why” behind their personal saving and spending goals as getting clear on that “why” enables you to more easily contribute to your 401(k) or invest.
The book underscores the fact that every day, we’re all trading our life and our energy for money, so it better be really worth it, from that perspective, to earn and save that money long-term. This book is also a good introduction to the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early) as it emphasizes shifting your goals towards spending your time and money towards activities that maximize your happiness, at the end.
This one is fascinating and delves into the emotional and psychological factors that drive some people to spend more and others to save more. These behavioral differences are ones we can control, if we only understand them better, so in uncovering the brain chemistry behind monetary decisions, one can make better choices with their money, too.
Naturally, if you want to be rich you should study what rich people do. This book just does that, though exposing surprising and unexpected habits as most millionaires are among the most frugal people in America. As such, it seems evident that millionaires acquire their money not necessarily through flashy high-end jobs but rather by managing their money in the right way—and this book will teach you how you can do the same, too.
Told in a memoir-like format, Rich Dad Poor Dad is a quick read, highlighting the differences in what wealthy parents teach their kids and what middle-class parents teach their children. Naturally, if you’re a parent this might be an interesting read but even if you’re not, it’s fascinating to read Kiyosaki’s take on debt—not all of it is bad—and how you can work your way toward wealth without a staggering income. While Kiyosaki’s childhood reminisces may date this book, its teachings remain relevant.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how your financial advisor invests their money, this book is for you. Spanning advice from over 25 different financial planners, this is your one-stop shop to determine which method of investing is best for you and how to excel at it.
While there are a growing number of personal finance books aimed at women, Torabi’s tackles the fact that more and more women are their household’s breadwinner and how those monetary dynamics play into relationships. From delving into brain chemistry differences between men and women and how they approach money, to discussing the imbalances in earning and parenting, this is a fascinating read for anyone in a relationship.
Inspired by a series of letters to his daughter, Collins outlines both simple and complex financial principles in this, ultimately emphasizing simpler investments for long-term money growth. From social security to Health Savings Accounts, this one targets a lot of the nitty-gritty and unglamorous financial details you might miss from more commercial best-sellers, making it a must-read.
This list wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Dave Ramsey. One of the most influential personal finance advisors out there, Ramsey’s tips aren’t a get-rich-quick strategy but they nevertheless deliver results, lowering debt substantially and setting you up for a secure future.
Keertana Anandraj is a recent college grad living in San Francisco. When she isn’t conducting international macroeconomic research at her day job, you can find her in the spin room or planning her next adventure.
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