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Personal Finance Book Reviews

Updated on August 15, 2014
Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Personal Finance & Young Adults

In the United States it is becoming more and more common for young adults to graduate from college with student loans and credit card payments. If you were anything like I was when I graduated college I had mountains of student loans to be repaid and credit card bills started piling up because I quickly started using my credit cards to get my "adult life" started.

Fast forward to a year out of college...I was back at home living with my parents with about $60,000 in student loans and had put about $5,000 on my credit cards at a job making roughly $25,000 dollars a year!

My parents tried to teach me about money and finances growing up, but of course I didn't listen to them. While I was in college I changed majors probably 7 times and had taken a few business and accounting courses during my college career, which of course made me a "financial genius" in my mind. I had money spread all over the place chasing the best interest rates, trying to invest when I had the extra money here and there, and thought for sure in a few years I would be living comfortably. Well of course that didn't work out the way I had "planned" and found my self living paycheck to paycheck. By this time I had met a girl, now my wife, we bought a house and were living what we considered "okay" but still not enough enough money that I was comfortable with. I still felt the pressures of financial burdens, so I decided to start reading some books on personal finance to figure out what I might be doing wrong or what I could do better. Well, I went in with the attitude that I still knew everything and that all of these personal finance books were just get rich quick schemes. The first book I read was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and did it ever shock the financial knowledge that I thought I had and positively changed the way I will forever think about my financial life!

Below I have listed the 5 books that I found the most influential on my quest for personal financial guidance, information, and change the way I thought about money. I am always a skeptical person, and still a full believer in that no single person has all the answer to life's problems. For this reason I have included all 5 books as I took a little information from all of them to come up with my personal financial plan.

After the list I will briefly review these 5 books. And to be clear this will not be a financial planning page, just a review of the books I found most helpful while learning about personal finances.

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Books Any Adult Should Have on Their Shelf

[1] Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill

[2.] Automatic Millionaire - David Bach

[3.] Total Money Makeover - David Ramsey

[4.] How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street - Allan S. Roth


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I know my wife thought I was crazy after I finished reading these books because I really did get over the top excited about getting debts paid off, she would sigh and roll her eyes because I figured out quickly that pocket change adds up quickly and that it can be found anywhere and everywhere! She hated finding couch cushions overturned and pockets turned inside out on every pair of pants in the house!!! But she has supported me the whole time and has even gotten a little into this herself!

*Note - Nothing in my reviews should be taken as advice from a professional, these reviews are simply my reviews of these four books that I really enjoyed reading and I feel that everyone can learn a little something from them.

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich was published in 1937 as a self-help book, which really turned me off to reading it initially, however after it being mentioned in almost everything else I had read up to that point I figured it couldn't hurt to read it and I am forever grateful that I did! Think and Grow Rich was written based on Hill's 20 year research on successful business owners compiled in the book The Law of Success. Think and Grow Rich may or may not be the best personal finance book to create a plan to make you successful, but the reason this book is at the top of my list and the first book anybody should read is because it is the most motivating book I have ever read! And I whole heartedly believe that an individual's mindset going into any en devour is what ultimately makes that effort successful. After reading Think and Grow Rich if you do not have the most positive attitude towards yourself and your personal finances you might want to check and see if you are alive!!!

The Automatic Millionaire

I really enjoyed this book! It is very simple in its plan and the author does a tremendous job in explaining why the different steps will help you in your personal finance journey. At first I felt like the concept of automating your finances was way to simple to make you a "millionaire" but after finishing the book and really thinking about it, I realized how simple it made to budget or really the lack of having to make a budget if you followed the advice of the author's automatic plan. One of the things this book is really good at getting across is the idea of paying yourself first, for savings and retirement, and the author does a great job at explaining how paying yourself a percentage rather than a dollar amount can really add up as you begin to get raises and make more money in your career. The only thing I did not like about the book was its lack of importance of getting out of debt. I realize that planning for retirement is extremely important, especially in recent years with a down economy, but if you are still in debt when you reach retirement then to me you still wouldn't feel financially sound. Regardless I give this book a lot of credit for showing you how to use modern banking such as bill pay to help you being to become financially sound, and that the author's plan is in fact a plan and not a get rich quick scheme.

The Total Money Makeover

This may have been the most intense books I have ever read! Yes, go ahead and laugh, I said that I found the book to be intense! The author of this book has a really enthralling way of presenting the bad habits of using credit cards and accruing debt, and how the mindset of the average person is extremely passive about getting out of debt. The author really makes you look inward to see how focused you are on gaining ground on paying back loans and debt, and he puts it as "having a gazelle like intensity". And when I say the most intense book I really do mean it. As you are following along with this book and the baby steps he lays out, you will see progress very quickly and you really do get into personal finances and changing the way you look at money! This book is the perfect example of why I chose several books and took a little here and there from each book to create my own personal financial plan. There were a couple opinions of the author that I didn't agree with. His opinions on college and investing for retirement we really didn't see eye to eye one but were still somewhat similar. The plan laid out by the author is a very great plan to help you get out of debt and to get a great view on your own finances. He is an author who you feel like you can trust because he has definitely been there and done that as explains in the book that he has had millions and lost it all, twice. Another think about the book is the motivational aspect from so many success stories from all walks of like and all ages.

How A Second Grader Beats Wall Street

How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street is probably one of the most interesting books I have read on personal finance. It was definitely not what I expected. A lot of people will try to sell you a song and dance to get you to believe that you can make millions of dollars using their investment methods. But the author of this book does not do this by any means. Yes using the advice given in this book can make you millions but it first takes you having the money to invest and time. Roth does a very good job explaining what we as adults do wrong and that is we tend to overthink things way too much. The book is written as a conversation between him and his second grade son, so if you are like me, it made it very easy to understand.

Book I am currently reading

I Will Teach You to Be Rich Review

I just finished reading this book this week and found some very useful personal finance tips in the book. I like the idea presented that being able to save money does not have to make you a penny pinching miser to build up a good savings/

It is definitely written for the younger crowd, the ones that want to still go out on the town without using money they do not have. However, just about anyone can pick up a few tips that will be very beneficial to your personal finances

Building Credit or Repairing Credit

It is important for young adults to be aware of what having credit means, what their credit score is, how to build and maintain their credit, and why their credit score is important.

What does having credit mean?

What are credit scores and what does my credit score mean?

Credit scores range from 350-800 with the average score being in the 600-700 range. Having a credit score above 700 is excellent!

Credit Score Ranges

720 - 850 Excellent

690 - 720 Good

650 - 690 Fair

350 - 650 Poor

000 - 349 No Credit

How to a build credit?

How to repair credit?

The time is now to plan for your financial future

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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      Sandra 3 years ago

      Hi, ...Did you check out the book that Dave referred you to. I have purchased Valerie Williamson's "Personal Finance tor Young Adults" workbook and found it to be very useful for anyone, young and mature. -Sandra

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      Dave P. 4 years ago

      Nice Read!...I'm glad I seen this hub, and will check this list of books out. Your next Review should be on Valerie Williamson's "Personal Finance for Young Adults." It would be interesting to get a good gage as to where these resources stand in contrast to 'student progress' and 'near-future-usability, stats.

    • brokenmeadows profile image

      brokenmeadows 4 years ago

      Great Hub! I'd recommend adding "The Boglehead's Guide To Investing" to that list. It explains everything you need to know about getting started with stock investing, and planning for the long-term instead of trying to beat the market and get rich quick. Very well-written and easy to understand, and gets you up to speed on everything you'll need to know.