Ask the Readers: Do You Read Personal Finance Books?

By Ashley Jacobs on 30 April 2013 (Updated 7 May 2013) 77 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to MK, Joshua, and Monica for winning this week's contest!

There are many ways to learn about personal finance: attending seminars, talking with experts at panels, taking classes on specific topics, reading blogs (ahem!), watching videos or TV programs — and reading books!

Do you read personal finance books? Which book was the most helpful to you? Are there other books you would recommend to others? If you don't read personal finance books, where do you learn about improving your finances?

Tell us about the personal finance books you read and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Guest's picture

I read personal finance books back when I was a teenager. I really don't remember the titles--it was too long ago. Now I read books on investing.

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Mary Happymommy

I haven't read personal finance books. I tend to get my personal finance information from the web.

Guest's picture

no...I have very little money to keep track of so financial advise is not needed.

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Jennifer

I love reading personal finance books! Dr. Lois Frankel's "Nice Girls Don't Get Rich" and Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" are two of my favorites. Many personal finance books are repetitive. We all know how to get out of debt and save money...earn more, spend less. But the reason I like both of these books is because they give valuable examples of how people can get out and stay out of debt. I particularly like Dave Ramsey's books because he himself went bankrupt in his 20's so he knows how difficult it is to be a slave to debt.

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Olena

I've read several in the past including "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton, "The Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker and "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki

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Karen

Right now I'm reading "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi. I like his no-nonsense style and it's easy to understand, especially since most of the time I'm lost when it comes to finances.

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Christie

Sometimes. Depends on the author and the subject matter. If it is "how to save $400 a month on groceries", it's something to skip, as I don't spend that much in total every month. But if it is how to save for the future and different strategies that help, I will most likely read it.

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shouldbeworking

I don't read personal finance books, though I do read many blogs and stay current with a few financial magazines.

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Paul

I read "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi about your finances. I found it very helpful with alot of good ideas.

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Olivia

Yep. Blogs and articles as well.

I avoid spending money on information obtainable free. So seminars don't seem particularly helpful. Older folks are a wonderful resource. They can suggest cheap recipes, ways to make your garden better, teach you how to fix things, and are examples of contented simpler living, etc. Plus they are cool to talk to.

Books are readily available at yard sales, thrift stores, and through interlibrary loan. Some favs are by Larry Burkett, (dealing with overall priorities), and Amy Dacyzyn's The Tightwad Gazette, (nuts and bolts how to's). Philip Brewer's mention of "Possum Living", led to the question, "What do I REALLY need in life?", and got me exploring a whole new realm. I also own a dog earred copy of the "More with Less" cookbook and Mel Brtholomew's "Square Foot Gardening".

Cover to cover reads include "Wisebread" and "The Dollar Stretcher". Blogs related to specific topics, (right now it's "small house living"), challenge conventional thinking and priorities and have had a direct impact on current finances. ("Do I really NEED another serving bowl, even though it's only a quarter?") There's great information out on the Internet, covering everything from foraging, wine making, canning, to building a solar cooker.

So yes, I read.

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Elena

I read personal finance books. I liked Dave Ramsey book the best

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KathleenC

There are many books and magazines on the market to give you the basics on personal finance. They all provide pretty much the same information about budgeting, saving and investing. However, I have found that personal finance is greatly effected by the lifestyle a person chooses, which is in turn effected by a person's core values and how that person feels about themselves. I have two books that are my all time favorites, and I re-read them almost every year. They've been around for a long time and their message is as good today as when released. I call them my financial "mind-set" books and they help me keep my priorities in focus. The first is Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The second is The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.

Another author I would recommend Elaine St. James, author of Simplify Your Life and other related titles. Long before Peter Walsh was on the scene, Ms. St. James was discussing the value of "less is more" in all aspects of life.

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Tabathia B

I usually read books about couponing or saving money but not really personal finance but I do have a copy of the money code

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Guest

My favorite personal finance book is, "Shoo, Jimmy Choo!" by Cate Hill. A great primer on personal finance for young women. I read it about once a year.

Guest's picture

I've read a lot of Suze Orman books, she knows what she's talking about!

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chris

Not in a while. I have read them in the past. I still look for them, but haven't found anything with any real new approaches. I also like to read books, not with financial advice, but those which look into lifestyle, trends and results of financial habits and situations.

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Mommymore

I am always reading personal finance books now. Among my favorites are: Jane Bryant's "Making the Most of Your Money Now," Crystal Paine's "Money Saving Mom's Budget," Charles Schwab's "Charles Schawab's Guide to Financial Independence," and Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko's "The Millionaire Next Door." I believe everyone should be taking better care of their personal finance, and I love the insights people share who have gained wisdom from their own quest for financial independence.

Guest's picture

I'd be lying if I said yes. Most of them are over my head.

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sharon

no, I just don't have the time. I tend to read articles and follow blogs instead.

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Betty D.

I don't read personal finance books. Too boring, and a lot of the info doesn't pertain to my life. I like to read blogs and forums, where I'll get a few different views.

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Therese

I have read several personal finance books, but I mostly read blogs now.

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Megan

I have read and re-read two. The first is "The Millionaire Next Door" and the second is "250 Personal Finance Questions Everyone Should Ask." Both books are dated, but when I am yearning for something extravagent or I just need to refocus on my financial goals they are the prefect remedy to get my head back on track.

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Jessica

I read a lot of financial books. One of my favorites was Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Another good one is The Money Class by Suze Orman.

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Jen

No, I never have, but I watch Suze Orman every Saturday!

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NJ

Yes, I definitely read personal finance books I've read quite a few by Glinda Bridgforth Suze Orman Farnoosh Torabi and Jean Chatsky So far I think all their books have pretty good advice

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michelle

Yes! I've read JD Roth's book as well as Ramit's, which I didn't enjoy.

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KelR1

I occasionally read personal finance books (Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, etc.), but I get most of my info from websites and magazines (WiseBread, Kiplinger's, and so on).

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Kirsten

I've read personal finance books and the most helpful was Smart couples finish rich by David Bach. It helped my husband and I (early in our marriage) learn how to talk to one another. 11 years later we are still talking. Currently I find The Simple Dollar website the most helpful in terms of personal finance and MSNMoney in terms of economic news. When people ask, I suggest all three.

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Sazzy

Yes, Suze's books are my favorite!

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Jupiter5

I have read the personal finance book, "Spend Well, Live Rich" by Michelle Singletary. It was entertaining and included some good, hard, common-sense personal finance advice.

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Claire P.

I just finished reading "I Will Teach You to Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi. It's a great book about finance basics for beginners. I also read "The Four-Hour Work Week," which isn't really about your finances, but it teaches you to rethink your 9-5 job, and what wealth means to you. Loved both books and highly recommend it to all.

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MK

Th"The Richest Man in Babylon" by George Samuel Clason. Classic, good and true.

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Lori P

Yes, I read personal finance books, but I also get a lot of info from magazine articles and off of the web.

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Lynda

i did before but not now. i am wanting to start reading about investment though.

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Sweta

Yes I do read pf books but I really prefer to read pf blogs.

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MELISSA HANSSON

I really don't. I always feel like I ought to, but I'm really just getting by and I think personal finance books would just make me feel guilty.

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Guest

Voraciously. From the Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. As long as it isn't David Ramsey or Suze Orman.

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Lisa

I've read some books on personal finance in the traditional sense but have gleaned more knowledge from Jeff Yeager's "Cheapskate" books.

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ashley

the wealthy barber is an easy read to start

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monique

I have enjoyed reading a few personal finance books, especially some recent books on investing for retirement. One book I read recently that I highly recommend (as have others here) is "I Will Teach You to Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi. It's quick read and has some great, easy to implement advice.

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Kay

No, I prefer to get my finance information online as books become too quickly dated.

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Ivan

I love reading personal finance books!

The most recent one I've read is Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" (I can see that a few others have mentioned this one too). The next one on my list is going to be "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko.

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represso@excite.com

I read them all the time. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is great and I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi are both great.

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Sazzy

I love Suze's books!

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J. Pario

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is classic. Their advice about Treasury Bonds isn't as helpful as is the invitation to NOT follow someone else's plan, but instead learn how to get your spending to match your values.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko was also an eye-opener.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

Guest's picture

Yes, but it's been a while. I know I read "Debt-Free on Any Income," by Lyle and Tracy Shamo. I also have Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover," but haven't read it, yet. My sister suggested it to me, and I know it has worked for a lot of people. :)

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Ben

I don't.

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Guest

I have but I've never read one that's totally my thinking. I do secretly love Suze Orman (and Kristen Wiig's impersonation of her).

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Monica

I don't read finance books much anymore but the wealthy barber was the one that had me interested in saving and being frugal. Since then I mostly read blogs because I am too lazy to get to the library!

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KF

I use the internet way more than books. I like to get the latest info as quickly as possible.

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Patrick

I used to read more personal finance books than I do now. I've read the Millionaire Mind, Millionaire Next Door and multiple Suze Orman Books. I've also read multiple investing books. Now, I read more personal finance magazines and blogs and regularly watch the Suze Orman Show.

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Susan D

I have read personal finance books in the past, and they've helped me a lot. Now I generally read personal finance blogs; they give me ideas for tweaking and improving on what I already practice financially.

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Laura

My reading consists of 90% personal finance. I tend to read at least two personal finance books each month.

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Kathryn

Yes, I've read almost every one at the library. I think all of them offer at least a few helpful tips.

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Ellen

Yes, I do. Not all, but a few a year and I somewhat monitor blogs as well. My salary is modest so I have to do what I can to maximize it.

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Alyson

Without trying to sound like a suck up, one of my favorites is "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget", right next to "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money" by Steve & Anette Economides. I don't read any of the hardcore stuff.

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Tiffany S.

I've never read a personal finance book...I get all my information and ideas from the internet.

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Stephanie

I live and die by Personal Finance Books! I love to read them and take bits and pieces and apply to my own situation!

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Brenda E.

One of my all time favorites is "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke" by Suze Orman. I got this book back in 2005 and was filled with so much advice and realistic scenarios that I have learned drastically from it and have been able to improve in my financial life drastically.

This is a great book for anyone in their teens/twenties.

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Margaret Davis

I read personal finance books from the library :) I don't have much money but reading about the topic keeps it fresh in my mind and helps me pay attention to how I'm using what I do have.

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Guest

I like "Personal Finance for Dummies" as a good, broad overview. There are numerous good books on personal finance, and I've read a few others that seem geared to my situation (I skip the ones aimed at the "one percent," since I don't have enough cash to offshore anywhere at the moment). In the past I've found a whole lot of good information on personal finance right on this website.

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DeeDee

Yes.... I have in the past. Now I mostly read online information about finances, frugal living, self-sufficiency and gardening

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Emily

I don't read whole books, but I definitely read blogs, reports from investment firms, get advice from family members who have done well financially.

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Lisa B.

I like to read and reread personal finance books to keep my spirits up when I'm losing motivation to be frugal. Some of my favorites include The Tightwad Gazette (even though a lot of the articles are almost twenty years old, the principles of saving money still apply today), Your Money or Your Life (more about the philosophy behind how we spend money), and Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (always leaves me fired up to pay off debt). I read blogs like Wisebread too, but I can get a lot of personal finance books for free from the library, so cost isn't an issue.

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Guest

Total Money Makeover by David Ramsey was an eye-opener and has helped me with my personal financial management.

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Spaam

I read quite a few personal finance books, but I think the most useful one was Kiplinger's Guide to Investing. It was easy to understand, highly detailed, and extremely informative.

Thing is that personal finance books are almost all the same; they all have the exact same advice (cut luxuries, have emergency fund, save, buy used, etc). What made Kiplinger's special was that they also offered information and advice on products which is not recommended to the average person simply for information and education.

All in all, though, while I read plenty of personal finance books and think they're a good resource, I still think the greatest personal finance resource is simply the Internet. The books are great, but they just really don't compare to the vast, endless ocean of information for virtually every little thing provided by the numerous finance blogs, discussion forums, and wikis.

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Roger

The best personal finance books I have read is ''Rich Dad Poor Dad'' followed by ''The Cashflow Quadrant'' both by Robert Kiyosaki.These are not step by step how to get rich books but rather financial knowledge presented in an easy to understand manner in order to put you in the Right Financial State of Mind required for becoming financially successful.The challenge though as is with any new knowledge gained is to actually put that knowledge into action.

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Liisa

Dave Ramsey, The Millionaire Next Door, Your Money or Your Life are my faves so far.

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Karen L.

I typically read finance magazines or websites, rather than reading books.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

Yes, I read finance books. I really like Mary Hunt's books, Dave Ramsey's books, and the book Your Money or Your Life.

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prathee chandar

I don't because personal finance blogs give me more updated information than books.

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Bethany

Sometimes...I've read The money saving mom's book and America's cheepest family book.

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Alissa A

I have read a few finance books, but primarily like to read short clips on the web.

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Kim

I've read a few Dave Ramsey books but still find a majority of information online.

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Carmen

I've tried reading a few but then stop. These days I don't have much time to read anything.

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SteveC

The first wealth book I read was "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton. I won't say it changed my life, but it certainly changed the way I approach my finances.
I have since tried to get both my teenage kids to read it - it is a simple read, but no luck so far

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CYCOAMBER

I've loved and read all the book by Economides and my favorite is 'America's cheapest Family'. I also love Suze Orman's book 'The Money Class'. In addition, I read serveral blogs like the Dollar Strecher, Wise Bread, and Blissful & Domsestic.