NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Keeping money in the forefront of your mind is one of the best ways to make sure you stay on track financially. Technology makes this easy, with apps like Mint and You Need a Budget. I encourage all of my clients to download a money tracking app and check it daily.
Even still, there are times when you need extra guidance to help you save money and invest more. Fortunately, there are a lot of excellent personal finance books out there. Request a few from your local library, and start reading. If you find one you really love, buy a copy for yourself, and a few extras for friends. I've done that with most of the titles on this list.
If you're older than 25, this book probably isn't for you, but it makes a good gift for a recent college graduate. Although there are plenty of young, fabulous people who are not broke, the reality is most of us start out with very little. As a result, we have to find a way to build our net worth overtime. Suze Orman does a great job of breaking down the path to financial success.
Written for another niche audience, Ron Lieber's book should be essential reading for all parents. He takes a unique approach to the challenges parents face when it comes to raising kids who are smart about money. While you won't find every answer in this book, you will walk away with top-notch ideas to try as well as a good framework for establishing your own philosophy about raising financially literate kids.
Although geared towards doctors, this book is a great read for any professional with a high income, especially those with student loan debt. Plenty of Americans who earn six-figure salaries are living paycheck to paycheck, and this book provides the guidance they need to begin saving and investing for the future. Some of James Dahle's advice could be called tough love, but it's exactly the message many high earners need to hear so they can take their finances to the next level.
For most people, the best way to manage money is to make it easy. Ramit Sethi outlines an effortless approach to taking care of your day-to-day expenses as well as building wealth for the long run. This book is a good choice for entry level financial advice at any age, especially if you struggle with time management. Sethi gives you practical ways to make your life easier as well as financially secure.
Benjamin Graham was Warren Buffett's mentor, and he was a successful investor in his own right. Graham thought that investing could be accessible to the average person, and he spent much of his later years simplifying his methods for finding low risk, high return investment options. Anyone interested in learning more about the stock market would be wise to start with this book.
This book is aptly named, since Kevin O'Leary isn't in the business of sparing anyone's feelings. But when it comes to personal finance advice, his tone softens, and he writes with the common sense and toughness you expect from a father. He offers sound principles for saving money and investing more, along with the kick in the pants many people need to get started. As he makes clear, achieving long-term financial independence often means making uncomfortable changes in the short term.
One of the secrets to successful investing is minimizing the amount of fees you pay. John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, is the industry's most vocal proponent of low-cost index investing. Bogle provides a peek into the financial services industry and, as always, keeps the average investor's best interest at heart. If this book turns you into a Boglehead, as his fans call themselves, check out one of his other books, such as Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life.
Being smart and successful doesn't always translate into making good decisions with money, and the best way to understand this disconnect is through the fascinating field of behavioral economics. If money were straightforward, it would just be about the math. But most people allow their emotions to get involved, which inevitably leads to poor financial choices, like selling low and buying high when it comes to investing. This book provides an entertaining overview of the psychology behind money mistakes, as well as actionable ways to stop making those mistakes.
The single easiest way to save more money is to make more money, but an overwhelming majority of workers do not regularly negotiate their salary. Although this book is marketed to women, it provides practical tips for anyone looking to increase their income. There's a lot on the line when it comes to negotiating, as one study mentioned in the book found that women who negotiate their salaries earn $1 million more during the course of their career.
If you only plan to read one book from this list, make it this one. It's my personal favorite, and it provides the framework that many personal finance books are built upon. This book profiles a wide variety of Americans who have achieved the elusive millionaire milestone and provides plenty of insights along the way. The authors found seven consistent principles among the elite group they interviewed, and they present them as rules that are digestible and inspiring for anyone else looking to become a millionaire himself.
At the end of the day, we all want to enjoy the freedom and security that comes from having our financial house in order. Each of these books will move you closer to that goal. Once you get there, remember to pay it forward to others who are still on the journey.