This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.
One of the things that separates the wealthy from the poor is… they read. A lot.
Honestly, I’m not sure how much of this statement is backed by fact but I do know one thing; reading brings knowledge, expands our creativity, enhances our vocabulary, and exercises our brain.
So I’ve decided to make a list of the top-rated, most valued, best selling personal finance books that every woman could benefit from reading this year.
If you’d like to join me in reading one personal finance book per month, feel free to join the challenge. I’ll be posting my progress in my close-knit Facebook group specifically for mamas who want to save money, budget better, get out of debt, and begin to build wealth.
It is my goal to share with you the tools you need to improve your finances.
I truly believe that reading about personal finance from multiple perspectives will not only give you the opportunity to pay off debt, change your mindset about money, and save massive amounts of money but it will also give you the opportunity to think creatively about your finances.
We are all so very different in our beliefs, our homes, our lifestyles, and our goals. Following one plan or one person will limit you in my opinion.
It is time to expand your mind to the many options available to you so that you can thrive in YOUR life and in YOUR finances.
Personal Finance Books to Read in 2020
- The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Roadmap to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life
- Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
- Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money
- The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Second Edition: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
- Invested: How I Learned to Master My Mind, My Fears, and My Money to Achieve Financial Freedom and Live a More Authentic Life (with a Little Help from Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and My Dad)
- Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
- Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to up Your Earnings and Change Your Life
- The Art of Money
- Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties
The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Roadmap to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life
If you decide to read only one of these personal finance books in this list, it should be this one. JL Collins keeps it real with a simple and understandable approach to investing and building wealth.
A popular choice among the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community, it is a game changer when it comes to setting up your plan for the future.
I was paralyzed by investing. I knew nothing of the stock market. But I knew I had to start investing somehow.
I had already paid off my debt, saved my emergency fund and was now ready to invest. I wish I read this sooner because I would have started investing a whole lot sooner than I did.
JL Collins approach is to avoid and eliminate debt as much as you can AND where it seems logical. Then find a way to live below your means. Next, invest in low-cost index funds. That’s it!
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the market always goes up. I no longer need to worry about wasting my time trying to time the market. I no longer need to stress over missing out on the next Amazon or Bitcoin or Tesla.
As long as I choose a low-cost total index fund, keep pumping money into it, and stay in the game for the long run, I’ll reach my goals.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
This book is focused more on finding your WHY, which I always preach. There have been many times where I think, I want to retire early or nah, I want to enjoy life now. I get torn between the two almost constantly.
I don’t want to wait until retirement to have fun so my hope is that this book will reinforce my wants.
As a critical care trauma nurse, I know that life doesn’t care what your plans are. You can be gone in an instant. This book seems like it will help me figure out what I really want and how to get there.
5-Star Review: Jenn says, ” I’ve read a lot of personal finance books and this one has been my favorite because it takes such a holistic and practical approach to the role that money plays in our lives and infuses it with an attitude of you controlling your finances and not the other way around. Even though I enjoy a lot of the advice from younger FI people, listening to an older FIer who is thinking about ‘what will my life look like as I age’ really helps answer a lot of critiques I have of some FI advice I’ve read. I will definitely be returning to this book again and again.”
You may also like: The Frugal Habits of Debt-Free Families
Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money
I grew up with the mentality that I would never depend on a man’s or anyone’s income for my well-being. Most of it stemmed from my mother working her butt off when my dad was laid off for periods of time.
It sounds like this book is geared towards women who have made financial mistakes, who are drowning in debt, and were previously dependent on another person financially.
Even though I do not fit this target audience, I am still interested in this book. I am drawn to the words women, smart, and money. I will be sure to come back with my own review.
5-Star Review: Kaite says, “I love this book! Straightforward, funny and oh so practical. The book takes you through a simple process of getting a handle on your financial life, and has easy to follow action steps to help you get clear and get momentum. This book is a lifesaver if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by your personal finances – it’s a very kind book, full of anecdotes and humor and gentle but straightforward nudging to get you in motion, and foster your financial empowerment. Highly recommend if this is an area where you get stuck!”
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Financial Plan for Financial Fitness
This was one of the first books I read when I started my debt-free journey. Dave Ramsey is a personal finance guru who has popularized the debt snowball method of paying off debt.
Some find him a bit abrasive and believe that his arrogant undertones are offensive. I actually appreciated the bluntness. I needed to be told of my “stupid” mistakes.
This book is filled with tons of testimonials (a bit much in my opinion) from everyday people who have freed themselves from debt. Most of the debt they incurred were from poor mistakes in the past, overspending, and not really knowing how to manage their money.
Dave Ramsey talks you through his 7 baby steps to financial freedom:
- Step 1: Save $1,000 as fast as you can for smaller emergencies
- Step 2: Pay off debt (except mortgage) using the debt snowball
- Step 3: Save 3-6 months worth of expenses
- Step 4: Invest 15% of your income into retirement
- Step 5: Save for your children’s college fund (ESA/529)
- Step 6: Pay off your mortgage early
- Step 7: Build wealth and give
After following the first 3 baby steps, I have since moved on. This personal finance book is great if you’ve still got massive amounts of debt, are low-income, and struggling to get afloat. Once you get past baby step 3, it’s time to move on to more complicated/advanced ways to manage your money and build wealth.
You may also like: Debt Snowball Vs Debt Avalanche: Which One is Right for You?
I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Second Edition: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works
This book is one of the most popular books that I have come across in recommendations. The review below pretty much sums up why I feel it is an important read for this year. Once I read it, I will be sure to write my own review.
Most helpful 5-star review: It doesn’t matter how much money you do or don’t make. It doesn’t matter how much you have or haven’t saved. It doesn’t matter how much you are or aren’t in debt…
I have been missing out on SO many simple investment opportunities over the years that could have been building my wealth while I sleep. I have been stuck in a financial mindset hell (save save save, never spend on anything!) for most of my life.
Now, I don’t have an amazing rags to riches “I got out of $54k in debt” story like some may have. But that’s why this book is so amazing. It’s for more than people who are in debt. It’s for anyone and everyone who wants to take control of their finances in a way that FEELS good for them. No more scrimping and skipping lattes. Enjoy your life, enjoy your money, and set up systems to automatically save and earn while you sleep. It’s not magic, it’s math.
Whether you need to get out of debt, want to have more $$ in retirement and in day to day life, get blurry-eyed when you look at your investment accounts, or just feel like there’s something you’re missing (or could be doing better), this book is for you…”
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
As one of the most recommended personal finance books, I’m eager to see what kind of valuable information I can get out of this book. Although, I already know that most millionaires are everyday people. I have a feeling that this book emphasizes frugality, living below your means, and investing early which I believe I am already doing. I’m hoping for some “how-to” from this book. I will let you guys know after I am done reading it.
Most helpful 5-star review: “…This book is primarily a collection of statistics repacked for consumers in a friendly way. The authors interviewed many millionaires over a long period of time, asked them lots of in-depth questions, and built profiles on them. After doing this for a long time, the authors wrote this book, which explores these interviews, stats, and profiles to give you a meaningful look into what makes a millionaire.
I was fascinated while reading the research. So many things stand out.
I’d strongly recommend this book to just about anyone. Not only is it fun/interesting to read, but it contains valuable insights into what makes wealthy people wealthy, how to raise your children in such a way that they will be successful themselves, how to buy a car, etc.
I fell in love with it and I’m sure you will too. “
You may also like: How Moms Can Start to Dig Themselves Out of Debt
Invested: How I Learned to Master My Mind, My Fears, and My Money to Achieve Financial Freedom and Live a More Authentic Life (with a Little Help from Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and My Dad)
I LOVED this book so far! I didn’t get to finish this as life happened and I got distracted but the few chapters I did read were so relatable as a woman who fears the stock market.
Although it’s not a “how-to” book per se, it does seem to start from the beginning and gives you steps to take. Danielle was taught to start investing from her father, Phil Town, a successful investor and author of Rule 1 and she explains her point of view when taking on this new skill.
This book follows the Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet approach to investing and states that you CAN earn returns of 15%+. I haven’t finished the book but definitely one of my top 5 personal finance books to read for women.
Top 5-star review: “As a woman, I find it inspiring and refreshing to read about investing from a woman’s perspective. Danielle not only walks us through her journey from total fear of investing to total excitement about buying great companies but she engages us with the story of how she and her dad mended and strengthened their relationship through this process.
Danielle makes you feel like you are learning about all this right alongside her, with zero expectation that you understand the math behind valuation or know the jargon of the investing industry.
Invested explains in plain English what all the other investing books assume you know. And Danielle’s warm wisecracks never fail to amuse.
This book is by far the most engaging and helpful investing guide I’ve read. I’m completely inspired to start my journey with Danielle’s help. Fantastic all around!”
Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way
Gosh, this title gets me. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a nurse but I would love going to work because I want to not because I have to.
Having a sizeable nest egg and knowing I could quit anytime I want would give me that freedom and independence I crave. I cannot wait to dig into this one.
Top 5-Star Reviewer: Maggie says, “A lot of “early retirement” books are written for high-income earners and people who are already financially secure.
This guide is useful, practical, and can apply to anyone regardless of the current financial situation. It has exercises to help you visualize what you actually want as well as the ways to calculate how to make the money work to get to financial independence or early retirement or even how to make traditional retirement be what you want it to be.
Tanja’s story is compelling and she includes several other stories that are also inspirational (and useful to get many different ways of doing it). Well written. Easy to read.
As someone that is not super close to early retirement, I’m excited to work through the exercises every couple of years along the way to make sure I’m on the right path and have considered all the things.”
You may also like: Flexible Jobs for Moms to Do at Home or On the Side
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
In some reviews, I read that this personal finance book contradicts The Millionaire Next Door. I am interested to see in which way.
There are so many paths to financial freedom, financial independence, and managing money. But, this book isn’t a best-seller for nothing. So, read it I will.
Most Helpful 4-Star Review: “…Some people complain that this book does not give a step by step process for change. I would counter that one size shoe does not fit all feet. There are many individual paths to wealth, and Kiyosaki sets the guiding stars to navigate by, but you have to walk your own individual road.
Some key concepts of this book are:
1) Assets put money in your pocket even when you are on vacation. Liabilities take money out of your pocket, therefore your house is a liability [unless you rent out rooms and the garage as one person I know did while rebuilding his asset base].
2) Wealthy people buy assets first, and then let their assets buy their luxuries from the surplus cash flow.
3) Wealthy people continuously increase their assets by reinvesting their surplus cash flow in more assets.
4) There are 3 primary asset classes: Real Estate, Businesses, and Paper assets (stocks bonds notes, etc)
5) Cash Flow is more important than Net Worth. Net Worth is similar to potential energy, to use it you have to spend it, then it is gone. Cash Flow is like power from a hydroelectric dam, constantly replenished.
The rich don’t work for money, they work for assets.
The tax laws are fair from the standpoint that the laws that the rich spent billions of dollars to have modified and interpreted apply to everyone who learns how to use them.
A great foundation book for beginning to improve your financial intelligence so that you don’t work 4 or more month’s of every year for the Tax man, more months for the banks that hold your mortgage and credit cards, and whatever is left making the company you work for wealthy. Good luck on your journey to being Rich, poor, or middle class.”
Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to up Your Earnings and Change Your Life
There comes a point in time where the only other option to reach your financial goal is to increase your income. That is where I believe this book will come in handy.
Most helpful 5-star Review: Joua says, “Great book!! This book is all about fixing your personal insecurities around money narrative, how you self-manage money, talk of money, or of other’s people money, and overall actionable and mental tips to be more confident with money.
I’m glad I bought this book because it was the NEXT thing I needed in my life. My husband and I were debt free 5/24/2019 by following Dave Ramsey (check him out!).
I knew I needed to make more money so I can live my dream life, so her book was the perfect money mental preparation for the next money goals we planned to embark! Take this book seriously and manifest what she says; if not, it’s going to be read as “just another motivational book”.
…The social and cultural issues she does address in this book are collectively tied to gender discrimination, women’s financial literacy, and women empowerment…”
The Art of Money
This is one of those personal finance books that seem to resonate with a lot of women. Confidence, self-awareness, and behavior play a lot into how we deal with money.
Since women tend to be more emotional human beings, it changes the way we manage our money. I’m curious to see how Cindy uses that to help guide us.
Most Helpful 5-Star Review: Cindy says, “My confidence with making money decisions has grown exponentially since reading the pre-release of The Art of Money.
Bari walks you through a Body Check-In that seems so simple but is so powerful in increasing your awareness of how you react to money flows in your life, money decisions and your money legacy.
Her framework for making money decisions helped guide my husband and I on our “Money Date” through a non-emotional discussion around money and how we each make our decisions.
Lastly, I love the 3 pot method of stopping and asking yourself the questions: Do I have the Time, the Money and the Energy for this expenditure.
The Art of Money is brilliantly well organized and covers all the money issues we face on a day to day basis. I highly recommend this book as it will exceed your expectations.”
You may also like: How to Budget by Paycheck and Finally Gain Control of Your Money
Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties
This book is fairly easy to digest as it doesn’t use overly complicated financial jargon.
One of the reasons that I love and recommend this book is because it gives you a guideline to follow in almost every part of your financial life. It tackles credit card debt, student loans, health insurance, savings plans for retirement, and even bits on the stock market.
She notes general information such as the downsides to leasing a vehicle, the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, and goes into detail when it comes to renting versus buying a home.
This personal finance book offers a great foundation for everyone. Even though I am debt-free, I learned a few things from the debt chapter. It’s a great book to have in your home or to give as a gift.