5 Personal Finance Books You Should Read in Your 20's (and Beyond)

February 04, 2021

February 04, 2021

Time is on your side

Now is the time to start planning your finances. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you have the major advantage of time - time to find out what works for you and what doesn’t, time to make some savvy investments, time to learn. Getting finance fit builds a foundation for a secure future. Do yourself a favour and learn more about finance before you make costly mistakes. It can mean the difference between living comfortably in the lifestyle you want or struggling with money for years to come.

We know that when you’re just getting started, managing your finances can be really intimidating. On top of regular bills like rent and power, you’re at a time in your life when you can think about buying a home, saving for your retirement, and setting goals to be able to have the lifestyle you envision. That’s why BetterSaver is here to give you advice to get you on the right track. Learning the basics of managing your finances now ensures you get the most value out of every dollar you earn and sets you up for long-term success.

Here are our top five books to help you become more financially literate if you’re feeling a bit clueless.

BetterSaver’s Top Five Finance Books for 20-somethings

1. Rich Enough?: A Laid-back Guide for Every Kiwi by Mary Holm

If you want a ‘set and forget’ plan to grow your money, read this one now. Mary Holm is one of NZ’s foremost money experts and her laid-back approach means you can set up your finances and get on with living your life. She lays everything out in plain, easy-to-understand language and provides resources specific to New Zealand. Learn how to cut your debt, curb your spending and save.

“Mary Holm is in the first rank of New Zealanders offering simple and wise advice to those who want to take effective steps to secure their future financial wellbeing. This straightforward guide should help ordinary Kiwis navigate their way through the various traps they can fall into.” - Sir Michael Cullen, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

2. Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry

Your student loans give you panic attacks. You deserve a raise and don’t know how to ask for one. You break out in a sweat when your mates want to split the check evenly. Sound familiar? Erin Lowry’s step-by-step guide to get from flat broke to financially fit is written just for you. Her conversational tone with a mixture of storytelling and practical advice will make you feel like she’s been inside your mind, had a look around and knows just what you need. Topics covered include your financial mindset (and how the financial environment you grew up in affects it), how to handle specific situations, the basics of investing, buying a home and what to look for in a credit card.

“Every generation has its definitive money book, and in many ways, Broke Millennial captures the financial zeitgeist of this generation so perfectly.” - Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and author of You’re So Money

3. Tales from a Financial Hot Mess by Frances Cook

If you’re ready to get over your financial anxiety and go from cash-strapped to a money master, there is plenty of inspiring advice in here. Sharing her real life story, Frances Cook shares how she navigated the murky waters of finance and the mistakes she made on the way. A graduate of Victoria University in Wellington who got tired of living paycheque to paycheque, she knows what it’s like to face your money fears. She explains how not to be fooled by banks, how to sort your KiwiSaver, write a do-able budget and make smart housing decisions. Read a chapter here and see if this is the right one for you.

4. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

This book has been around for over 25 years, revised and updated to include up-to-date concerns like side hustles, freelancing and online tools for managing your money. Vicki Robin takes an approach based on mindfulness and decluttering your life while saving the planet. Her nine-step program will change the role money plays in your life and show you how to shift focus to living life on your terms. The Los Angeles Times calls it “the seminal guide to the new morality of personal money management.”

5. The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel

Composed of 19 short stories that examine the strange ways people think about money, this book is easily digestible as well as highly entertaining. It examines the way we behave and takes a psychological view of finances as opposed to the usual math-based view. Taking a look at what drives you, your unique worldview and just how much of a role luck plays can help you understand the way you behave with money and teach you how to make better decisions.

“It’s one of the best and most original finance books in years.” - Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal

Bonus Book

For those of you who want to savvy-up on investing we recommend a classic. First published in 1949, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham has timeless advice based on Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” updated for today’s market by financial journalist Jason Zweig. If you want to self-educate on how to make sound, rational investments for the long-term, consider this the textbook that tells you everything you need to know. Warren Buffett says it is “by far the best book on investing ever written” and he seems to have done ok.

Get Advice from Experts

There you have it, our top five - ok, six - finance books to wise up on money matters.

Having knowledge doesn’t make you an expert. Getting advice before you make any major decisions is always recommended. A session with a financial advisor is well worth it to make sure you’re doing what’s best for your specific situation.

When it comes to KiwiSaver, BetterSaver is here to make it easy for you. We’ll help you look at your goals and timeline to get into the best fund with the right provider for you. We’ll make sure you get it right so you can set yourself up for your best financial future.

Get independent unbiased KiwiSaver advice.

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