The best personal finance books in 2020

With the economy in a tailspin and coronavirus quarantines persisting into the summer months, this is a good moment to catch up on your reading while boosting your personal finance know-how. Sure, there’s an infinite number of websites, influencers and apps to help you manage your money — but few of them are equal to a good book. 


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Here are some of the best personal finance books, including some of my own personal favorites and some from Amazon’s best-seller list. A few are brand new and others have stood the test of time for decades. A couple of them aren’t even about money per se. But all of them are good reads stuffed with worthwhile financial lessons. 


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has been around for 30 years, and with good reason. It’s been named one of the most influential business books of the 20th century. Though it’s considered more of a self-help book than a finance-specific one, there are plenty of lessons about money therein.

The basic premise is that if we can change our perception of the world, we can change our outlook for life. Some tips: Challenge yourself to be proactive, consider the ending before you begin — and take a look at how you prioritize the different components of your life.

Originally published in 1949, this book might seem to be from too distant a past to be relevant today. But this revised edition, with commentary from prominent modern investors including Warren Buffet, explains why you should seek to minimize losses over maximizing profits. It’s a true investing textbook — with lessons for long-term investors and day traders alike. It emphasizes the need for discipline, having a plan and sticking to it whether you’re investing in stocks, bonds or other securities. 

You don’t need a high-flying job to become rich. Making smart decisions about your money is vital — regardless of your salary or income bracket. That’s the premise of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Geared towards parents, this book will help you better understand money so you can teach your kids about it. Given that most schools don’t teach personal finance, it’s more important than ever for parents to educate their children on how to make smart choices when it comes to money.

A true Renaissance man, 50 Cent is so much more than just a platinum-selling rapper. A huge contract for executive producing the crime-drama show Power has made him one of the highest-paid executives in the media. And his early investment in Vitamin Water netted him millions.

The book contains some autobiography, some self-help lessons and plenty of personal finance tips. Curtis Jackson explains how the risks he took laid the groundwork for his success.

Sometimes the best finance books don’t have much to do with money, but rather, how you approach different aspects of your life. The Maxwell Daily Reader encourages growth and change within yourself and then passing the benefits along to others.

This book is more about leadership than money and finances, but you can use the tools you learn through this book in your financial journey. Leadership shines with constant practice — the more you do through thoughtful action, the better leader you’ll be. You can practice through getting your budget on track.

Success in personal finance can start from other areas. Gladwell asks, what makes successful people stand out?

Instead of focusing on what they do, pay attention to how they got there. Look at what makes someone the best at something or how they built one of the most successful companies in the world. Learn some secrets of the most successful people in the world and use that knowledge to organize your money. Use those people’s tools to build and maintain solid personal finance skills.

There’s more to operating than action-no action, normal action and no action — there’s also the fourth degree: massive action. This book delves into the myth of time management and details how some people fail while others succeed. If you’re ready to go to the “next” level, it’s time to use the 10x rule. 

Even though this book is geared toward management and leadership positions, it’s also a good fit for tackling your finances. There are some people who fail at money management — you can learn how this happens and what steps you need to take to crush your money goals.

Personal finance has a little to do with money and a lot to do with organization. Time management references like this book help teach you to earn more in less time, outsource when you can and adapt the right kind of shortcuts to success. Author Timothy Ferriss says you don’t have to be born into wealth to achieve it. You just have to use the right resources. 

Sometimes it takes spending money to make money. Think of things like outsourcing taxes and auto-paying your utilities to free up time to work on real projects. Case studies include real-life examples of successful people who have reduced their work to free up time for more important things. You can use these templates to set up personal finance hacks for everyday wins.

Nearly 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Breyer put together a step-by-step guide in this book to getting out of debt, building up an emergency fund and avoiding major budget traps.

If you’ve never made a budget or you want to give yours a makeover, you’ll find what one looks like here, as well as how to maintain one. Budgeting sounds daunting but it’s one of the most vital tools you need to get out of debt and save money. The book is less than 130 pages — a quick read so you can delve right into overhauling your finances.

Dave Ramsey has built a career telling people how to fix their money woes. His book, The Total Money Makeover, is still one of the most bought money books on the market. It has seven steps towards financial freedom, including how to save a quick $1,000 for an emergency, using the debt snowball method, and building three to six months of savings. There are also some sections on saving for retirement, investing and paying off your mortgage. 

It also uses a cash envelope system: Every dollar should have a purpose, so put it towards something. That could range from paying off debt or saving for a major purpose. Create a plan, set goals and you’re on your way to financial freedom.

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