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5 Personal Finance Books Everyone Should Own

Well, not just own. But read. They're great.

We could all be better with money. Even if you have your savings in good shape, your kid’s 529 on lock, your retirement accounts handled, your mortgage figured out, your investments diversified, and all that adult stuff in good shape, there’s always more to understand. The world of finance, after all, is complicated and a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re doing it for your family. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read up, for both advice and inspiration. There are, shall we say, a lot of personal finance books out there promising to help set you on the path to success. Many are helpful, many only claim to be. These five, however, are the books we think everyone should have on hand. From a manual that offers advice on the finer points of how to talk about money with your partner to tips on getting a handle on debt, they’re straightforward, useful, and full of insight that can make you more confident in all things finance.

Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate by Jacquette Timmons

Honesty and intimacy are well understood as bedrocks of a healthy relationship. But without complete transparency around finances, they aren’t possible. In this book, financial coach Jacquette Timmons provides a practical, energetic guide to talking about money matters in a way that’s healthy for your relationship — and delves into all the factors couples have to keep in mind when having such conversations to ensure they go smoothly. As Timmons explains, it’s not that couples aren’t talking about money, it’s that they’re talking about it in the wrong way.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is one of the foremost financial gurus around today — and for good reason: He offers easy-to-understand advice in a way that isn’t bloated or condescending. Through a compelling narrative, this guide lays out the steps to get yourself out of debt, build an emergency fund, stay within a set budget, and have a generally firmer grasp on your money. It’s a frank, down-to-earth guide. Consider it required reading for anyone looking to be in better financial health.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

No, this isn’t strictly a financial book per se. But in their popular behavioral science book, Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein go spelunking into the myriad reasons we naturally make shitty decisions (biases are everywhere) and what we can do to rewire our brain to make better ones. It’s a fascinating, useful book written by two brilliant minds that offers a clear look at what compels us to make terrible financial choices and how we can truly leap over the mental hurdles that cause us to trip again and again.

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? By Todd R Residder

Penned by Todd R. Tresidder, a former hedge fund manager, How Much Money… offers a common-sense approach to a topic that keeps most Americans up at night: saving for retirement. It walks readers through such principals as how to calculate much money you’ll need to retire, how to maximize spending without dipping into funds, and calls b.s. on a bunch of logic often thrown out in the world of money management. It’s concise, straightforward, and, most of all, refreshingly blunt take on getting to the end of the financial road.

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Sometimes, the best way to be better with money is to understand the habits of those who have been successful in the past. Standing on the shoulders of giant bank accounts, if you will. This book does just that, offering insight into how wealthy people live, act, and handle their money. Turns out, it’s about frugality, driving a modest car, and generally living a life that isn’t showy or overtly wealthy in the first place. It’s a matter-of-fact read that blows up the idea of performative wealth and provides a financial blueprint for those who want to intelligently build capital.