5 Books That Your Future Self Will Thank You for Reading

In Frugal Living, Personal Finance by Kelby2 Comments

As our long, leisurely summer days are coming to an end and most of our vacation has been exhausted, now’s the perfect time to kick things back into gear and finish the rest of the year off strong. The days of lounging around the pool with a mojito in hand are dwindling fast and with fall right around the corner, we should begin to replace said mojito, with…well, books.

I know what you’re thinking: “You want me to replace what with what?!?! M-O-J-I-T-O or boring books? There’s nothing sexy about books. Come on Kelby!”

I’ve got to admit, you make a good argument. But, before you completely disregard the rest of this thoroughly researched and carefully crafted literary labor of love, keep in mind that you’re here because we share the same goal – financial freedom.

When it comes to embarking on this freedom journey, figuring out the right direction to take can be overwhelming to say the least. Just try searching ‘Personal Finance Books’ in Amazon and you’ll quickly find thousands of titles that claim to help you spend less, save more, and increase your income; but how do you know which one to choose?

Of course, not all advice is created equal and many of the highest rated books may not speak to your specific needs. I think it’s safe to say, many of us are looking for solutions to the same issues of budgeting for purchases, paying down student loans and learning the basics of investing. To help you in this endeavor, I’ve researched many of the titles out there and found the top five that I feel provide the most actionable advice to our specific demographic while still actually interesting to read.

Debt Free by 30

Debt Free by 30 – by Jason Anthony & Karl Cluck

Most of the personal finance books aimed at the millennial generation are under the assumption that you are just starting out with a clean, blank slate. I’m sure it’s all great information but if you’re anything like me, you’ve made a fair number of mistakes and are trying to figure out how to dig yourself out before getting on track.

Debt Free by 30 is written by two ‘money misfits’ (their words, not mine) who spent years piling up unnecessary debt, only to realize how much those decisions were preventing them from living the lives they desired. In this book, they detail how they buckled down and got their finances back on track with a humorous and light tone that you’ll surely enjoy.

Why you should care

Anthony and Cluck have experienced the deep despair of debt and fought their way through it. So when you read about the basics of prioritizing your debt, finding extra money to pay it down and handling temptation, you know that you’re getting advice from two people that have practiced what they preach.


 The Millionaire Next DoorThe Millionaire Next Door – by Thomas Stanley and William Danko

The Millionaire Next Door is really one of my all-time favorite books on personal finance. The basic premise of the book dispels the societal myth of what wealth looks like and details the reality that most actual millionaires live a very simple lifestyle.

Why you should care

The authors not only conducted extensive research of people whose net worth defined them as millionaires, but they also interviewed people that matched this criterion to get a first-hand account of exactly what made them successful. *Spoiler alert: You won’t find your typical prestigious careers or lofty titles among the interviewees. Overall they are just frugal people that found success through strong individual planning.


Rich Habits

Rich Habits – by Tom Corley

Do you want to know the main difference between the rich and the poor? Well according to Tom Corley, it all lies in our daily habits. We’re all well aware that there are ‘good habits’ and ‘bad habits’ but this book really digs deeper into the subject matter and makes you conscious of those ‘second nature’ activities that make up nearly 40 percent of our day.

Why you should care

Corley spent years studying the differences in habits between our country’s rich and poor. While the results were staggering, what ultimately came of the research was essentially an instruction manual on how to reach and maintain your wealth potential.


 The Behavior GapThe Behavior Gap – by Carl Richards

The subtitle to the book is: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money. I guess I could just stop there because that really gives you everything that you need to know – but of course, I won’t (sorry to disappoint). This book is decidedly more investing behavior than general personal finance information. Richards coined the term ‘behavior gap’ to describe the gap between investor returns and investment returns, a phenomenon that occurs when individuals make decisions that work against their best financial interests.

Why you should care

The path to success in any area requires managing emotional responses and this is certainly the case with investing.  In The Behavior Gap, Richards offers straight talk about the ways that self-discipline, awareness, and accepting uncertainty are key factors in people gaining control of their financial lives.


 Smart is the New RichSmart is the New Rich – by Christine Romans

In Smart is the New Rich, Christine Romans shares her three rules that we should live by: living within our means, living with less debt, and being less vulnerable. While these concepts are nothing new, the book does a great job of detailing how these simple changes in your financial perspective can lead to a much healthier relationship with money.

Why you should care

This book is not only a good read, but it takes the material one step further by providing you with actionable steps while you read. Each chapter opens with a question to begin the internal dialogue about your money. There are also quizzes and checklists throughout that help you re-evaluate your money habits and map out your new goals toward prosperity.

*Note: This post does contain Amazon affiliate links where I may receive a commission on purchases that you make after clicking the link. This in no way affects the price that you pay.

Did I leave anything off? What are some of your favorite personal finance books? Join the conversation!


  1. I love to read but I’m not going to lie, financial books are usually what you find on my Kindle. I did read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover a couple years ago and found it pretty eye opening. I’m thinking I should give it another read as well as some of your recommendations. I’m especially interested in The Behavior Gap because I am interested in learning more about investing in general.
    Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. Author

      I love pretty much anything that Dave Ramsey puts out! Some of his methods are a bit extreme, but if you follow the process he lays out; it WILL produce results. I’ve followed Carl Richards for a while, mostly because I think his drawings on the paper napkin with a sharpie are so simplistic and genius at the same time. Once you check out The Behavior Gap, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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