Basic finance is not taught in schools, but is a critical skill every guy must master. Here is my list of the top 15 finance books every guy should read in order to build and maintain their wealthy lifestyle.
I will be the first to tell you that money is the means to provide life’s basic necessaries but it is never an end to itself. Money is a means to an end. Only you can know what you want your money to do to improve your life.
In my opinion, these are the best books every guy should read to improve their financial position, but reading is never enough. You must take action on what you learn.
The basics of money are divided into several topics to help you. This categories are Minimalism, Budgeting, Income, Saving, and investing.
Minimalism and Budgeting
The first step in any wealth building activity is to always live below your means.
There are 2 ways to achieve this. You can figure out what lifestyle you can afford and live below it (Budgeting), or you can lower your lifestyle to its most simple level (Minimalism).
When you minimalize, you simplify your lifestyle and enjoy life on less. Think about this for a minute. By changing your lifestyle, you quickly learn that you dramatically increase your happiness in life by buying less and living more. You have spent your whole life believing advertising that you can buy your way into happiness. When you practice minimalism, you realize this was a big lie and actually the opposite is true.
When you budget, you take your existing income and make it fit into your existing lifestyle allowing for a portion (usually 10%) to go towards saving and investing.
The key difference between minimalism and budgeting is in your belief on what makes you happy. If you believe stuff makes you happy, you budget and try to afford to buy happiness. When you believe experiences make you happy, you minimalize the stuff to afford more time to experience life.
Both methods produce savings which can be invested. Investing over time produces income and when that income is also invested, you build wealth.
In order to build wealth, you need to save the money you get from minimalism and pay off all debt. I consider budgeting to be common sense and if applied right, will be the stepping stone to you building wealth beyond your dreams.
Income and Savings
In order to save, you will need to have an income to meet and exceed your current lifestyle. Budgets and minimalism will reduce your lifestyle, but these books every guy should read will increase your income and savings.
If you budget and minimalize, you will you have a extra money going into savings, and be happier to boot. You are happier because stuff created stress, lots of it. When you start savings, you start to dramatically improve your life because you build a financial safety net to take care of you and your family when times get tough.
The other side of saving through budgeting and minimalizing is to increase your income. This is done by increasing your value to your employer and customers. When your value goes up, you can increase your income, and therefore increase your savings.
Once your debt is gone through budgeting, then you start to invest the money.
Once you have money to invest, you will learn how to have your money work for you and build even more wealth. There are a lot of different ways to have your money make more money and I have included these books every guy should read on some of the most common.
The easiest way to invest is in the stock market. The best books teach you how to do this on your own through index funds and how to rebalance them regularly.
The stock market is not for everyone. The risks and ups and down of the market can drive some people insane. For some, real estate investment is a much better way.
It doesn’t matter how you invest, as long as you do, and do it wisely. When done right, you can easily live off your money and finally have the life you desire.
This is a gentleman’s life. Once your money is working for you, you no longer need to spend your time to get money to provide for your basic necessaries. Your life is your own.
These 15 finance books every guy should read will teach you all the things you need to do for each step. The steps are not easy, but very simple, and if you are willing to put the time into it, it produce exceptional results.
Personal note. I have read this list of 15 of finance books every guy should read and if I were to recommend just one book, I would recommend “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason, but just in the audio version. Highly entertaining and extremely simple. I reread this book at least once a year. An incredible book!
For additional reading and collecting in your study, I also recommend the 25 classic books every guy should read.
15 Finance Books Every Guy Should Read
Saving Books Every Guy Should Read
By George S. Clason
I loved this book and highly recommend the audio version. The narrator does an excellent job of making the story very entertaining and fun. The lessons are core to anyone looking to build wealth and are truly timeless. If you can remember just one lesson from this book, it should be “A part of all you earn is yours to keep”.
Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
- Start Thy Purse To Fattening: Pay yourself first. Save at least 10% of what you earn – no matter what. Work hard at your current job and only spend 90% of what you earn.
- Control Thy Expenditures: Saving more means spending less – and it won’t hurt as much as you think.
- Make Thy Gold Multiply: Invest your savings. Once you start to build up some savings, invest that money so that it will make more money for you.
- Guard Thy Treasure From Loss: invest wisely and manage your risk.
- Make Of Thy Dwelling A Profitable Investment: Own your home, but purchase wisely.
- Insure a Future Income: Make sure you save enough for retirement and to care for your family when your life comes to an end.
- Increase Thy Ability To Earn: Improve your knowledge and skills consistently to increase your earning power. Work hard, look for opportunities, and educate yourself.
- Seek Advice Wisely: Only seek advice from those that are wise and knowledgeable on the subject.
- Be open for opportunities: Luck and fortune is found in opportunities. Don’t let opportunities pass you by but always remember the 4th law.
The Five Laws of Gold
- Gold comes easy and in greater quantities to the man who safes the tenth part of his income for his future and family.
- Gold works with speed and diligence for the wise owner that finds for it a productive use.
- Coins of Gold maintains itself under the protection of prudent persons who invests with the counsels of wise people.
- Gold escapes from people who invest without a purpose in places that are not familiar.
- Gold runs away from people who force gold to impossible profits and follows the seductive counsels of impostors.
by David Bach
The Automatic Millionaire starts with the powerful story of an average American couple–he’s a low-level manager, she’s a beautician–whose joint income never exceeds $55,000 a year, yet who somehow manage to own two homes debt-free, put two kids through college, and retire at 55 with more than $1 million in savings.
Through their story you’ll learn the surprising fact that you cannot get rich with a budget! You have to have a plan to pay yourself first that is totally automatic, a plan that will automatically secure your future and pay for your present.
My Take: This approach here is very simple. Pay yourself first, make it automatic, and forget about it and let compounding interest work for you in the background. Pick your investments well at the start, make minor adjustments along the way, and let it grow. It really is that simple.
9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence:
By Vicki Robin
Money or Your Life has a 9 Steps program to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence dare to express the idea that cheap is better and living frugally will actually make you happier.
Think about it: You have a choice between two jobs. One pays really well. The other doesn’t. But the well-paying job involves something — maybe coworkers or the nature of your duties — that will make you really, really dread the sound of your alarm clock in the morning. Which job do you accept? Robin, Dominguez and Tilford think it’s a no-brainer. Earning money should not mean misery. Go with the one that makes you happiest and trim your budget accordingly.
Your Money or Your Life tells you how. Millennial Money has called it “the best book on money period.” The Los Angeles Times says it’s “the new morality of personal money management.” It’s not so much about learning to budget as it is about living within your means by changing your habits and enjoying life every step of the way.
Whether you’re just beginning your financial life or heading towards retirement, this book will tell you how to:
- Get out of debt and develop savings
- Save money through mindfulness and good habits, rather than strict budgeting
- Declutter your life and live well for less
- Invest your savings and begin creating wealth
- Save the planet while saving money
- And so much more!
Income Books Every Guy Should Read
By Napoleon Hill
Here are money-making secrets that can change your life. Inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s magic formula for success, this book will teach you the secrets that will bring you a fortune. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. Once you learn and apply the simple, basic techniques revealed here, you will have mastered the secret of true and lasting success. And you may have whatever you want in life.
The well-known & long time best selling book by Napoleon Hill is a classic that contains lessons for anyone who wants to find their purpose in life.
If you want to feel like a success or just feel there has to be something better to life than this, you must read this book. For most of us, this is a book that needs to be read, reread and then read some more until the secrets and principles of this book have sunk deep and hit home.
Here is the list of the 13 principles covered in this book
- Auto Suggestion
- Specialized Knowledge
- Organized Planning
- Power of the Master Mind
- The Subconscious Mind
- The Brain
- The Sixth Sense
by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.*An interesting fact, the story of the 2 dads is completely made up and was created just to make the point.
My Take: It seems to me that Mr. Kiyosaki appears to teach people to be rather greedy. I am not a fan of this approach and prefer the “do what is best for the community and everyone does better”. The most important takeaway from the book is you will do much better in life if you work for yourself, and not for someone else. This is why I have it on my recommended book list.
by Timothy Ferriss
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches: how Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week;
- How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
- How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
- Eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
- How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements.”
My Take: This is a very interesting book but do not be fooled by the catchy title. His ideas are core for any entrepreneur and his get going approach is admirable. If the title is taken literately, then it would seem to be just a scam. If read for its interesting ideas on business and life, then it is totally worth the read. Core ideas I will take away are:
- Starting a business doesn’t need to be hard, just take the first step.
- Living your life is critical in your life purpose. Find balance and commit to it.
- Apply the 80/20 rule where you can so you can apply your time where it matters.
- Be effective, not efficient, not busy.
- “Doing something unimportant well does not make it important”
- Charge a premium, have fewer clients, apply the 80/20 rule here.
- Validate a business idea before jumping in with time and money.
- It’s easier to achieve something great than something that’s just “good”
Minimalism Books Every Guy Should Read
The New Japanese Minimalism
By Fumio Sasaki, Eriko Sugita – translator
I enjoyed this book a lot. Mr. Sasaki is an extremely good writer and has a way to use his words to make his points very clear and understood. His form of minimalism is very extreme but I cannot help but admire his simple and happy life.
I believe the simple life is where most people find happiness in this over complex world we have created for ourselves. Minimalism is the solution, but maybe not as extreme as Mr. Sasaki portrayed.
The basic notion is to exchange things you care little about for time which you care greatly about. Everybody’s things take up more then space and Goodbye Things explains that once you part with these things, you gain back money, peace, time, and happiness.
Minimalism is not for everyone. You need to be confidant in yourself and not care or try to compete with the image other people portray to the world. Most people think that possessions are the trophies for success, but in reality, they are anchors you need to carry with you and constantly worry about. Shedding these trophies frees you to live your life.
Live a Meaningful Life, Second Edition
By Ryan Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn
”Minimalism is a lifestyle choice. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous to your life.”
Minimalism is going to look different for everyone, and it doesn’t mean you can’t have a house, car or job. It’s about decluttering yourself from material possessions and ridding your life of anchors.
Minimalism is the tool that allows you to focus on only the important things. It allows you to live your life more deliberately and with meaning.
There are five values that allow us to live a meaningful life
Minimalism is a lifestyle, it’s a journey that takes daily focus and commitment to improvement. Making small, daily improvements is key. Debt goes first. Get rid of your financial crutches to finally feel free.
Use the TARA method to become more accepting of other people in your life.
- Tolerate their quirks.
- Accept they will always exist.
- Respect the time they dedicate to them.
- Appreciate that aspect of their lives, as it’s a little part of your life too.
You are not your job. Don’t let your work define you.
Material possessions are not going to bring any happiness. You cannot buy your way to an easier life!
Take an inventory of your life
Write down anything that makes you feel stuck or stunts your personal growth. These factors are called anchors.
Divide these anchors into two categories; major and minor. This is where you can set your priorities.
A major anchor is often significant debt such as mortgages or personal anchors such as relationships and careers.
Minor anchors are often smaller details, bills, clutter, wasted time etc.
To really begin you have to start with the major anchors. Pay off your credit card bills, eliminate debt wherever you can.
Finally, start removing material possessions that don’t bring you any joy. Keep only the things that you use regularly and enjoy.
Ryan and Joshua identify five values that allow us to live a meaningful life
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.
Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home-and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
Budgeting Books Every Guy Should Read
By Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.
This book looks at the seven common traits that continue to show up among people who have accumulated wealth. Most people picture wealthy people as living lavish lives, but a lot of truly wealthy people live right down the street, due to living below their means and investing well.
There is a lot of data and common sense in this book that proves to have surprising results. It is also full of information about both the emotional baggage and the freedom that money provides.
Regardless of your age when you begin to read this book, you will certainly be able to recognize people from your own social circles in it. Additionally, you will recognize a vision of yourself. And if you are willing to do an honest assessment of your financial habits, you will be able to recognize some areas that could use improvement.
While some statistics in this book may be outdated (as it has been around for 15 years), the principles remain the same. If you are able to follow these principles and create a plan, you can be well on your way to financial success.
My Take: This book was an eye opener for me not realizing that regular people could be very rich and still live normal lives. This book clearly separated a person’s lifestyle from their bank account and became a corner stone for my financial planning.
The 7 rules from the book are:
- Always live well below their means.
- They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
- They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
- Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
- Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
- They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
- They chose the right occupation.
By Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is a businessman and entrepreneur who accumulated a $4 million real estate portfolio, only to lose it all – and nearly everything else he owned – by making the same mistake millions of Americans make every day: he got too far into debt to get out.
Dave Ramsey is also a Christian family man who, through the turmoil of his financial nightmare, discovered a new way of life. He shared the lessons he learned by writing Financial Peace, a simple but powerful guide that offers practical lessons on how to get out of debt – and stay out.
My Take: I love Dave Ramsey and his very simple approach for managing finances. This was one of the first books I’ve read on personal finance and has completely reshaped my approach to spending money. My takeaways are:
Follow the Baby steps
- $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
- Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
- 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
- Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
- College funding for children
- Pay off home early
- Build wealth and give!
Be 200% focused on getting and staying our of debt
Apply a old fashion, common sense approach to finances because it works.
By Dave Ramsey
This personal finance book by Dave Ramsey is especially great for younger people who are just starting to really manage their money. Ramsey provides budget forms and worksheets for the reader to reference to make things simple.
While it may not be a very exciting book, The Total Money Makeover provides a lot of real-life success stories that can help inspire the reader to properly manage their own money. It is like taking your own personal finance class in college. It may not always be “exciting” but the information presented is top-notch and essential to long term success with money and finances.
Ramsey helps readers relate to their personal finances in this book by asking the important question of “Would you fire yourself if you managed the money for a company like you manage your personal money?” This helps the reader to reflect upon their own situation and apply the lessons in the book to their own life.
While it is not meant for retirees, this book lends a lot of knowledge to people in their early 40s and younger.
My Take: I read this book not expecting much new information. If you are a Dave Ramsey fan and listen to his radio program, then you can save your money here and just follow his up to date advice from his radio show. If you do not listen to his program, then you want to get this book because you will be able to adapt all the core lessons from his first book using real life examples.
Investment Books Every Guy Should Read
7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
By Tony Robbins
The best book on investing I’ve read. Particularly important is the goal setting and Asset Allocation.
Step 1: Welcome to the Jungle
- Save as much as you can, automatically, each pay check and start as early as possible.
Step 2: Become an Insider, Learn the Rules
- Mutual funds and institutional investing = bad.
- Index funds are good.
- Roth are good.
Step 3: What is the Price of your Dreams?
- Financial security. Save enough so that the monthly returns on your investment portfolio will pay for your monthly housing, food, utilities, transportation, and insurance.
- Financial vitality. In addition to #1, save enough to cover half of your monthly clothing, entertainment, and “small luxury” costs.
- Financial independence. In addition to #2, add the rest of your necessary living expenses, and you have what you need to never have to work again.
- Financial freedom. In addition to #3, add the monthly payments for two or three significant luxuries (boat, vacation home, exotic car, etc.) to your number.
- Absolute financial freedom. Now dream big – what do you need (things/experiences, not their dollar values) to have everything you want and more?
Step 4: The Most Important Investment Decision
“Rule 1: don’t lose money. Rule 2: see Rule 1. —WARREN BUFFETT
- Vanguard founder Jack Bogle suggests buying into low-cost, low-fee bond index funds that spread out your risk because you’ll own every part of the bond market.”
- Rebalance once or twice a year.
- Asset allocation is everything! So you want to diversify between your Security Bucket and your Risk/ Growth Bucket. You want to diversify across asset classes, markets, and time.
- You don’t want to hesitate to get in the market trying to have perfect timing; instead, use dollar-cost averaging and know that volatility can be your friend, providing opportunities to buy investments cheaply when the market is down.
- Have a Dream Bucket that gives you emotional juice and excitement so you can experience the benefits of your investing prowess in the short term and midterm instead of just someday far in the future.
- Use rebalancing and tax harvesting to maximize your returns and minimize losses.
Step 5: Upside without Downside, a Lifetime Income Plan
- “Ray is showing us that if your money is divided equally, yet your investments are not equal in their risk, you are not balanced!”
- Ray Dalio breakdown:
- 30% in stocks (ex the S& P 500 or other indexes).
- 15% in intermediate US Bonds [seven- to ten-year Treasuries]
- 40% in long-term bonds [20- to 25-year Treasuries].
- 7.5% in gold
- 7.5% in commodities.
Step 6: The Billionaire’s Playbook
- Don’t lose money!
- Risk a little to earn a lot, risk one dollar to earn 5
- Anticipate and Diversify
- You’re never done. Keep learning, saving.
Step 7: Taking action
- How to spend money to make yourself happy:
- Investing in new experiences
- Buying time for yourself
- Investing in others
How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Smart Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing
By Brandon Turner
Practical, real-world advice for those looking to build wealth and cash flow through rental properties!
The Book on Rental Property Investing, written by real estate investor and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast Brandon Turner, contains in-depth advice and strategies for building wealth through rental properties. You’ll learn how to build an achievable plan, find incredible deals, pay for your rentals, and much, much more!
A Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Eleventh Edition)
By Burton G. Malkiel
Another fantastic book. I recommend the 12th edition over the older ones as it takes into account more recent activities and explains them in good detail in a funny way.
There is no wondering why a Random Walk Down Wall Street has been a favorite by so many for such a long time. The advice is rock solid and classic for building and keeping wealth for generations. The book is a great history of how Wall Street has developed over the years and what investment theories are all about.
The main takeaways are to invest mostly in index funds in the correct target allocations. For me personally, this is:
- Cash, 1%
- International Bonds, 2%
- US Bonds, 7%
- International Stocks, 25%
- US Stocks, 55%
- Alternatives, 10%
Depending on your age and designed returns (and risk), your balance will be very different. The older you are, the more that should be in bonds and income producing investments. If you are younger, you can afford more growth investments since you have time to recover if needed.
The biggest take away is to make sure you are mostly invested in well balanced index funds, and balance at least once a year.
This list of the 15 Finance Books Every Guy Should Read is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your life.
We all need money to survive and the information in these books will teach you the critical lessons on how to make, save, and grow money, so in the future, you can live off its dividends.
We all know there are lots of books every guy should read and they all will offer valuable advice on how to manage your finances. There are several other books I could recommend too, but wanted to keep the list simple.
Please let me know what books you recommend in the comment section below and tell us why. Also please signup for my email list and be the first to know about new articles about how to be a modern gentleman.
Thanks for reading my gentlemen guide wealth and this 15 finance books every guy should read!