Take your summer reading list to the next level by finding an enjoyable book that will also fill your head with valuable and practical personal finance advice. Here are five books to toss in your bag as you’re out and about this summer. Each addresses a different angle of personal finance in an easily approachable and thoughtful way, mixing personal experiences and breezy tones with useful financial advice that you can apply to your own life.
- “You Need a Budget”
- “I Will Teach You to Be Rich (2nd Edition)”
- “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness “
- “The Proximity Principle”
- “Your Money or Your Life”
Read on for more information about each financial book.
“You Need a Budget”
This book by Jesse Mecham offers a refreshing look at budgeting by presenting an alternative and highly flexible system oriented around the money you have rather than projecting the money you’ll make in the future. This system is based on the same philosophy as the popular “You Need a Budget” budgeting software.
At its core, the system orients itself around four basic ideas. First, assign every dollar in your checking account a job by deciding what each and every dollar you have should be used for. Next, figure out your true expenses, including all of your irregular ones, and start assigning dollars to those irregular and long-term purposes. Thirdly, roll with the punches by figuring out which expenses are low priority and pulling money away from those expenses. Finally, age your money by gradually moving toward a situation where you’re living on last month’s income, not income as it comes in. This is done by gradually overallocating for each job you assign to your money, so you have a small surplus each month.
Mecham shares these strategies in an engaging way by keeping the chapters short and using a breezy and approachable tone, making this a great summer book for people looking to start getting their finances in order.
“I Will Teach You to Be Rich (2nd Edition)”
Written by Ramit Sethi, this is a revision of a classic personal finance book that outlines a six-week program for rebooting your financial situation by focusing on the big expenses in your life.
The book’s focus is on addressing the 10 or so biggest expenses in your life and looking for radical ways to significantly cut those costs, enabling you to free up money to pay off debts and start investing for your future. This is all framed in a step-by-step program that readers can follow in order to dig through their lives for those opportunities.
The end result is a financial plan that enables you to live the daily life you want while minimizing the big expenses in life, making this a book well worth reading this summer.
“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”
This book by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler focuses on nudge theory, which is the idea that your thoughts and decisions are shaped and influenced by small “nudges.” Those are simple, small ideas or changes that can produce more profound results.
How does this apply to your financial life? There are many little “nudges” you can apply in your own life to bring about surprising financial changes, such as changing your daily commute, so you’re not driving by tempting places every day, or deleting your credit card numbers from Amazon, so it’s not as easy to impulsively order items. These little nudges gradually shift your behavioral patterns away from actions that are financially destructive.
“Nudge” digs deep into this concept, unfolding numerous strategies that can be used – and can be used against you – in all areas of life to produce different results.
“The Proximity Principle”
Written by Ken Coleman, this book takes a refreshing look at how to build a career to generate maximum income, eschewing much of the typical advice about handing out business cards and creating the perfect resume.
Instead, this book focuses on how putting yourself close to people with whom you want to work and places you want to work will open the door to the job you want. Spend time building meaningful relationships with the people you genuinely want to be around professionally. Spend time being involved with the professional communities of the job you want to have. This might involve volunteering, going to meetings or other tactics.
“The Proximity Principle” offers a clear system for jump-starting your career and increasing your income and opportunities.
“Your Money or Your Life”
This book by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is a classic personal finance book that has reached readers with its timeless advice for more than 20 years, but has recently received a timely revision, bringing some of the strategies involved up-to-date.
The book focuses on the connection between your life’s energy and how you spend your money. You burn energy earning money, then spend it on things that aren’t in line with the life you want to live. The first portion of the book recasts money by looking at the amount of energy and time you must spend to earn each dollar in your wallet, then looking at the amount of waking hours you lose in exchange for the things you buy.
Using that concept, the authors develop a more sound approach that leads to a more sustainable life, which gives honor to the time and energy you devote to earning a living.
Fill your tote bag or backpack with these books and take them with you as you head to the beach, park or airport this summer. You may just find your eyes are opened to new financial directions in your life.