While attending the Warrior Leaders Course or WLC, (or Professional Leadership Development Course for the old schoolers, or Basic Leaders Course for the youngsters), my small group leader kept reminding everyone that the best place to hide a secret was in a book. His justification was that no one ever looks for anything within a book.
I am often asked how I know about something in particular. My answer is that I am continually reading. In regards to my personal finance education, I have gathered most of my knowledge from reading this financial books.
The following are a collection of personal finance books that I have read which have greatly increased my understanding of the financial world. If there are any financial books you believe should be on this list, then let me know and I will gladly read it and share it for everyone else.
1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
I was given this book as a gift back for Christmas while I was deployed several years ago. The Soldier who had given it to me had received it as a gift years prior. And I have since given out several copies of this book since then.
No matter where you are in your financial situation, this is the book for you. Dave provides the baby steps he used and recommends for anyone to overcome debt, live without worry, invest for your retirement and your children’s college, and plan for retirement.
If you could only read one book on this list, I would not even bother looking at the other books and buy this one now.
2. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko
If you think that being a millionaire looks like someone with a big house, fancy cars, and lavish spending then you are totally wrong. Dr. Stanley and Dr. Danko provide their research into what millionaire truly looks like.
Spoiler alert, but the person who you think is the millionaire is on the verge of losing it all. Meanwhile, your humble neighbor next door with the reasonably sized house, ten-year-old car, and doesn’t keep up with the Joneses may actually be the millionaire.
This book is a great eye-opener into what you must do to change your perspective so that you become a millionaire.
3. How to Manage Your Money When You Don't Have Any by Erik Wecks
You may feel completely helpless when you are in so much debt that you have no clue where to go next. Serving in the military may also take away the option of a bankruptcy as it may jeopardize your security clearance. Without the clearance, you could lose your job. Without your job, your financial problems may feel even worse.
Erik Wecks has counseled numerous clients on how to overcome their debt issues in ways that may not require you to file for bankruptcy. The most important thing I realized from reading his book was that your loyalty is to your own survival and that of your family. Paying for the neccesities to keep them alive must always come before paying off your debt.
If you are at the end of your debt limit, creditors are calling you, and you have no clue what to do next, then this book may be able to shed some light on how to remedy your situation.
4. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson
This is truly an inspiring story about, you guessed it, the richest man in Babylon. Instead of being a down your throat textbook on personal finances, this books gives great advice in the form of several stories.
Even though this book is nearly 100 years old, the financial principles taught here are very valid. Not only will you enjoy the stories, but if you take the time to reflect on their meanings, you will gain great insight to use in your daily life.
I highly recommend this book, so come learn the remedies for an empty wallet and the laws of money.
5. Living Large in Lean Times by Clark Howard5
Clark Howard is well known as the host of his very own syndicated show which focuses on helping consumers cut expenses. This book is a compilation of over 250 ideas he has shared with his audience on how to save money almost immediately.
At the beginning of your journey for financial security, cutting expenses is often a must. Maybe you need to make ends meet, or you want to pay down debt faster, or have a little more to invest every month. Either way, you need to cut your expenses to make this possible.
After reading this book, I learned some interesting ideas to incorporate into my life. There were some recommendations related to technology which were a little dated. But if you read between the lines at his intent, you can figure out a way to use those in your life as well.