It’s that time of year when we all pause for a brief moment to reflect on how we can become better human beings. For most of us, that includes a money goal or two. No matter what it is, one of these books can probably help you get there faster.
“The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated”
Remember the days of prepping for an exam by writing out topics, theories or formulas on index cards? Helaine Olen, a financial journalist, and Harold Pollack, a professor at the University of Chicago, say everything you need to pass life ’s money exam can fit on a 4×6 card, too. In their book , they outline the eight bottom-line rules that set you up for financial success—from paying your credit card balance in full to saving 20 percent of your income. But if you only have an hour to to spare, read… Chapter 9 of “The Automatic Millionaire”*
(*Although we recommend you read the rest of the book, too.) In the ninth chapter of his newly revised book , David Bach, a well-known financial advisor and New York Times best-selling author, offers a simple action plan to create a “foolproof, no-brainer, ‘set it and forget it’ financial plan” that, he says, will take you less than an hour to organize. Need it broken down further? He also created a diagram that he’s shared in workshops with hundreds of thousands of people since the book first came out in 2003 (the revised edition was released in late December). If you read nothing else, read this page. Then rip it out and stick it on your fridge or your mirror or somewhere else you’re sure to see it daily, until you’ve ticked off the seven steps. Simply doing those alone should set you on the right path to financial success. (Check out our Q&A with Bach here , in which he shares how he became a millionaire by 30. ) If you need a crash course on budgeting to slay your debt, read… “Zero Down Your Debt”
In their new book out January 10, co-authors Holly Porter Johnson and Greg Johnson explain the “zero-sum budget”—the black belt of budgeting styles and an effective way to pay off debt quickly . They should know: It helped them wipe out $50,000 of debt . The zero-sum budget’s primary tenets are giving every single dollar earned a purpose—whether that’s for bills, debt repayment or savings—and using last month’s earnings to cover this month’s bills. (So you’ll need at least a one-month cushion to start.) If you need extra cash to hit your goals, read… “Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money”
We’ve all heard that side hustles are a great way to hit money goals faster. But how do you just pick up a second job when you’re already overworked and aren’t sure you have special skills to monetize? In this book , author and blogger David Carlson unpacks these questions and explains how to maximize your earning potential. P.S. You don’t need to have debt to benefit. Feel free to pretend this book is titled “Hustle for More Vacations,” “Hustle for a Down Payment” or “Hustle for Financial Freedom” if that’s more motivating. If you need financial role model inspo, read… “How to Be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom”
TV anchor and Reuters’ personal finance columnist Bobbi Rebell’s book “ How to Be a Financial Grownup ” has inspiration in spades: It includes interviews with the likes of Tony Robbins , Jim Cramer, Drew Barrymore and Kevin O’Leary (aka “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank), plus a roadmap to success on topics like investing, real estate, career and smart spending. If you need a total mindset reboot, read… “How to Think About Money”
If your relationship with money needs more therapy than your family after an election-year Thanksgiving dinner, Jonathan Clements, the Wall Street Journal’s personal finance columnist, is here to help. In his book , Clements teaches five key ideas (like how to buy happiness ) that are meant to stop our brains from short-circuiting each time we think about money.