It’s Financial Literacy Month, so we’ve decided to take that literally, and bring to you the nine classics of financial literature. These books have been read by millions, changed lives, gotten the seal of approval from financial experts, and set their readers on the path toward financial independence, stability, and growth.

Add these to your reading list (save money by checking them out of the library!), to gain the confidence and skills you need to understand your financial basics as easily as you understand the plot of a beach read.

Total Money Makeover by David Ramsey

Ramsey has published several personal finance books, as well as classes, workbooks and a podcast. But this is his most notable contribution, with two years on the New York Times Best Seller list and 5 million copies sold. His advice is collected into seven easy steps, which will help you get and stay out of debt, invest, save, increase your cash flow, and change your attitude about money. The exercises and activities inside make following his steps out of debt and toward security easy.

The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Based on a 20-year-study of millionaires’ habits, this book lays out seven simple rules to follow so that you accumulate wealth on a normal salary. While some rules are commonsense – spend less than you earn – others might surprise you. Everything is backed by both data and interviews with people with accumulated net worth of $1 million or more, for a compelling blueprint for attaining a stable upper middle class life.

Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By” by Cary Siegal

Siegal originally wrote this book for his five children, but its easy-to-read concepts make it a convenient lesson plan for anyone. Consider it the education that you should have gotten in high school or college, but have the opportunity to pick up now for a few bucks. It features eight lessons with 99 principles that will quickly revamp your financial habits. You can read it in one sitting, or pick it up and put it down when you have time in your busy schedule.

Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson

Hey, maybe this isn’t the book you want to bring on your business trip to impress your clients, but it’s become a favorite for its solid explanations of every financial concept you need to know in your adult life, including investing, budgeting, debt, and taxes. It’s a must-read for life transitions, such as buying a home or starting a family, or if you feel like your financial situation is getting out of control.

You’re So Money: Live Rich Even When You’re Not” by Farnoosh Torabi

A shout-out for diversity! We shouldn’t be getting all our financial advise exclusively from middle-aged white men. Don’t get us wrong, though – this book stands on its own with the greats. It’s geared toward people just starting out who have an entry-level salary and rent, and don’t feel equipped to properly manage either. Torabi gives practical advice for splurging without racking up credit card debt, and living your life in a way that allows you to hang out with your friends, while still planning for the future – advice that every young person needs.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

True to the title, Sethi has a brash style of writing that will give you the kick in the pants you need to get it together – financially, anyway. His six-week personal finance program lays out a roadmap for getting your finances in order, with less hand wringing and hair pulling, and more laughter. His tips are astoundingly simple and actionable. So get going!

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin

This book goes beyond tips and tricks, and takes a hard look at the psychology of money. In the process, it revolutionizes the way you think about, talk about, and deal with your finances. It teases apart the reasons why we spend (and overspend) and reframes our quest for financial independence as not a quest to afford stuff, but to have a happy, good life of health and security. That’s not to say spending money is bad, as long as you spend it for the right reason. Because it will make you question and explore your values as related to money, it’s been called a life changer.

The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money” by Carl Richards

Richards, a financial planner, goes over the most common, repeated financial mistakes that we make, such as buying thins that aren’t meaningful, and why. Then he gives you tips and suggestions for how to avoid these mistakes yourself.  And once you’ve read the book, also check out Carl’s recurring Sketch Guy series in the New York Times, where he continues to illustrate personal finance concepts in his simple and unique style.

The Investment Answer” by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray

When you’ve mastered budgeting and paying off debt, turn to this book, which covers the financial decisions you’ll have to make when deciding to grow your net worth through the market. Goldie and Murray cover whether to invest on your own or with the help of a professional, how to diversify, and when to buy or sell. It’s a brief, easy-to-read book that won’t leave your head spinning.


Alden Wicker

Alden Wicker

Alden Wicker is a freelance journalist specializing in personal finance and sustainable lifestyle topics. She lives in New York, and is an expert at finding new and interesting ways of generating extra income. Her biggest budget weakness is eco-friendly fashion. Follow Alden on Twitter and Google+