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5 Money Books Every Millennial Should Have on Their ‘to-Read’ List

Debt Lifestyle Personal Finance Saving
A man lie on the floor and reading a book

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Looking to d­elve deeper into financial topics like creating a budget, paying off debt and saving for retirement?

These five books offer advice that’s relevant to the financial concerns and needs of Generation Y:

“Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner

In this New York Times bestseller, Beth Kobliner, financial journalist and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, offers twenty and thirtysomethings a crash course in personal finance, from dealing with debt, choosing insurance policies, saving for retirement, renting or buying a home, and more.

A “Financial Cramming” section at the end of each chapter recaps key takeaways and sidebars and tables sprinkled throughout help explain concepts in a straightforward manner.

It’s one of the first personal finance books I read after college and the updated edition reflects new developments in retirement savings, taxes and more.

Key takeaways:

  1. Having an emergency fund is important. Kobliner suggests keeping at least three month’s worth of living expenses in a bank savings account or money market fund.
  2. Once you’ve created a three-month savings cushion, invest in stock and bond funds.

Learn more about “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties.”

“No More Mac ‘n’ Cheese! The Real-World Guide to Managing Your Money for 20-Somethings” by Lise Andreana

Certified Financial Planner Lise Andreana uses several composite characters in their twenties to illustrate concepts like setting financial goals, buying a home and calculating net worth.

The level of detail given about these characters’ financial situations makes them seem relatable and illustrates in real numbers how these financial concepts work.

At just 154 pages, this is the slimmest of the books on this list, so it might be a good introduction for someone who’s intimidated by longer volumes.

The book also comes with a companion CD-ROM with supplemental tools and resources.

Key takeaways:

  1.  Compare the full compensation package rather than just salary when considering multiple job offers.
    After all, a lower-paying job with benefits may ultimately bring more value than one without.
  2.  Understand your money style (geek investor, emotional investor or cautious investor) so you can avoid the associated pitfalls.

Learn more about “No More Mac ‘n’ Cheese! The Real-World Guide to Managing Your Money for 20-Somethings.”

Kimberly Palmer quote on investing

“Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back” by Kimberly Palmer

Personal Finance columnist Kimberly Palmer talks to experts and young professionals in their twenties, thirties and forties about new, post-Recession financial realities about choosing simplicity over materialism, dealing with student loan debt, living in intergenerational households, and more.

It’s more focused on narrative than specific numbers, but Palmer uses a friendly, upbeat tone throughout.

Most personal finance books for young people focus on the importance of paying down debt and saving for the future. Palmer adds the element of giving back, so this book would especially interest those who are charitably minded.

Key takeaway:

  1. Align your investing strategies with your values through socially conscious investing.
  2. Stay in the stock market even when things get rocky.

Learn more about “Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back.”

“I Will Teach You to be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

Author of the popular blog by the same name, Ramit Sethi cuts through the clutter of personal finance advice and breaks it down to simple steps young people can take to automate savings and minimize needless expenses over the course of six weeks.

Sethi holds a psychology degree from Stanford so much of the book covers the psychology of money: why consumers make poor decisions, waste time debating money minutiae and give excuses for not saving.

Some readers will find Sethi’s irreverent, no-nonsense approach refreshing, while others may be put off.

Key takeaways:

  1. Call your credit card issuer to negotiate a lower interest rate and request a fee waiver
  2. Invest without the help of a financial advisor (Sethi feels most people don’t need one).

Learn more about “I Will Teach You to be Rich.”

“The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke” by Suze Orman

Financial expert Suze Orman applies her signature, no-nonsense attitude to twenty and thirtysomethings struggling with debt, unemployment and other financial challenges.

Much of the book uses a problem-solution format, so it’s easy to flip through and read the sections that are most applicable to you.

The chapter on student loans is especially detailed but it may not contain the most up-to-date information on new repayment options.

Key takeaways:

  1. Understand the differences between secured (like a car loan) and unsecured debt (like a credit card where there’s no collateral).
  2. Unlike other money books that stress the importance of a budget, Orman takes a contrarian approach in comparing strict budgets to a “crash-diet” and urging readers to “find” money for their savings goals rather than enslaving themselves to a spreadsheet.

Learn more about “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.”

Your turn!

What books have taught you the most about personal finance?

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