WASHINGTON — Read Across America Day is Friday, so we thought we’d celebrate with a list of books that educate and empower anyone interested in building and preserving wealth.
These authors reflect our belief that managing your money is not only about knowing the technical jargon or smartly managing your taxes, but also about staying aware of your emotions and how they may play a role in your decision-making and how you feel about your money.
Educating the younger generation
Here are some picks that provide good core skills in money management — for educating your kids about how to grow up to be financially responsible and independent adults.
- “Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)” by Beth Kobliner: It’s never too early to teach your children about money, and this practical guide has ideas for kids ages 3 to 23. One of our favorite things about this book is that it gives parents the tools they need to have money conversations with their children. Kobliner stresses the importance of talking early and often about family money matters.
- “You’re So Money” by Farnoosh Torabi: We are big fans of Farnoosh because of her work aimed at women. What’s special about this particular book is how well it encourages and instructs young adults on the trappings of living in today’s materialistic and leveraged society. Her straight talk will help even spendthrift young adults think twice about their daily gourmet coffees or extravagant spending on the latest fashions.
- “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss: With Read Across America Day coinciding annually with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge how his works can be used to teach money lessons for young children. We find the quote “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better” reminds us to face financial challenges with the courage to change, and to consider introducing the next generation to the benefits of charitable giving.
Financial independence for all women
We continue to emphasize the benefits of financial education so that women can enjoy financial independence. There are encouraging signs of our increasing economic power and voice in the world, yet the gap between male and female financial strength remains.
Whether you’re single and managing finances on your own, or part of a couple, we want to support the process of you taking more control of your finances. Our picks include books that broadly support women’s empowerment and those that assist you in developing a mindful approach to your wealth.
- “Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose” by Melanne Verveer and Kim K. Azzarelli: Verveer currently serves as executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University. She has worked with Hillary Clinton and was with Clinton when she uttered her famous quote: “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” We think women will find her book both encouraging and informative as she takes the reader on a journey through the women’s rights movement and its tremendous progress in recent years.
- “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money” by Barbara Stanny: This book may appeal to women and men who care about raising financially savvy daughters or empowering their partners. It outlines some of the interpersonal reasons women may avoid addressing money matters head-on. In our day of increasing gray divorce and more bread-winning women, this is an important read for those who want to understand what underlies many women’s reluctance to take full control of their own financial future.
- “On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance” by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kendra: Like other books in this category, Thakor and Kendra aim to motivate women to take control. This is one of our picks because it provides some basic principles for effective money management. Common challenges such as monitoring spending and building an emergency fund are addressed, alongside good advice for not letting debt get in the way of longer-range retirement planning.
- “Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms” by Amanda Steinberg: Having led women through major transitions in their life, we’ve seen firsthand how a woman’s overall confidence in herself plays a role in her ability to seize control of her finances. We’re fond of online resources that help shed light on money attitudes, and Steinberg’s use of a “Money Type” tool accomplishes the goal of gaining greater insight into your own personal situation.
The power of behavioral finance
A milestone was reached last year when the American economist Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in the growing field of behavioral economics. He was recognized for his “contributions that have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making.”
Lessons learned from reaction to the 2008 market declines are just one example of the financial industry’s growing awareness of how much individual emotions and financial experiences affect daily financial decision-making. We know that changing any habit can take time, but often the most important step is awareness around how attitudes are influencing our actions. Her Wealth coined the term “practicing intentional wealth” and encourages you to take the steps necessary to improve your personal money habits with help from these authors.
- “Nudge” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein: This book explores one of the common behavioral challenges in financial decision-making — the tendency to maintain the status quo. Thaler is famous for his insights on how human traits affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes, and this book provides a deeper understanding of how human nature plays a part in real decisions related to our finances.
- “The Art of Money” by Bari Tessler: For those interested in meditation and mind-body relationships, this book shows you how techniques like yoga breathing or mindfulness relate to personal finances.
- “The Debt Escape Plan” by Beverly Harzog: If you’re looking for more practical advice about getting out from under a mountain of debt, this may be a good choice for you. The author personally overcame crippling debt, so her advice is both relatable and practical. Whether you’re a new graduate with high student loan debt or in middle age with a big mortgage, this is a must read.
While this article is all about books, we’d be neglectful if we didn’t mention the many online resources (like HerWealth.com) that are available to support financial education for you and your family. For more information about what to consider in your own personal circumstances, check out What Are Your Dimensions of Wealth?
Dawn Doebler, CPA, CFP®, CDFA® is a senior wealth adviser at The Colony Group. She is also a co-founder of Her Wealth®.
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