If you’re looking for financial advice from the pros, one place to search is at your local bookstore. Classic financial books include “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.
Since those books were published, however, many more writers have written and published wonderful books on inspirational financial topics, exploring money issues with depth and thoughtfulness. These books are timeless in their advice, but they also manage to look at many financial issues through a modern eye. Here are four great inspirational personal finance books published in the past few years.
“You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want”
This book by Jesse Mecham, founder of the personal finance platform YNAB, outlines a simple and thoughtful four-step system for breaking free from paycheck-to-paycheck living: Give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches and age your money.
The goal behind these four rules is simple: Every dollar you spend should be purposeful in terms of what you value in life and what you want from your life over the long term. If you go through your credit card statements and find purchases that have little or no long-term meaning or value in your life, those are the costs you need to cut. This book not only guides you through that process, but moves you to the point where you’re making purposeful choices for your money even before you spend it, putting it aside for long-term goals and eliminating debt.
“Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?”
Written by filmmaker Scott Rieckens, this book is an expansion of the ideas he explored in the documentary of the same name. It focuses on a major goal that many people have in life: achieving the level of financial freedom that enables them to walk away from the need for a career.
This goal centers around two major pieces. First, you must strive to spend as little as you can by practicing extreme frugality. Second, you must do all you can to maximize your income in the short-term of your career. That creates a large “gap” between your spending and your income and, if you bank that gap, you’ll be on the road to rapid retirement. Rieckens covers these issues using the same method as his documentary, by examining these changes through the real lives of several people, including himself.
“Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living”
This book by Elizabeth Willard Thames describes how her relatively affluent family found ways to cut back on spending without sacrificing the soul of their life, so they could achieve bigger financial goals.
The approach this book takes isn’t that you should give up every luxury or perk in life, but that you should figure out which ones add genuine value and meaning and drop the rest. This requires a careful look into what you truly value and care about and, by comparison, which things hold comparatively little value for you. Holding onto the high-value things makes letting go of the little things much easier, and that can be a big win when those little things happen to also be expensive.
“The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life”
Written by J. L. Collins, a popular author and speaker on financial independence topics, this book is a thorough guide to the nuts and bolts of financial planning with an eye toward building a firm financial foundation for your future.
This book starts with the notion that you’re aiming for financial independence as early as possible in life and digs into the specifics of what you need to do to get there. How do you invest if that’s your goal? How do you maximize the value of 401(k)s and Roth IRAs? Most importantly, how does investing terminology really connect to the big meaningful goals that we all have for ourselves? Collins does a wonderful job of connecting the specifics of an investing plan with the big dreams people have for their lives.
These books will each provide inspiration, ideas and plans for your own financial future.
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