Over the past five years, I’ve read several books that have been incredibly helpful in finding my financial footing. I’ve listed out several of these below. Many of these can be found in your local library, or are available on Amazon in hardcopy.
The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing is written by an emergency physician doctor. I discovered the White Coat Investor after moving in with Mr. Graduate Investor and realizing my soon-to-be husband had nearly $400,000 in student loans with no real plan to pay it off. This is the perfect introduction to any other shell-shocked physician or physician’s partner. It couples sound investing advice with the mantra to “live like a resident.”
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi was one the earliest books I read about personal finance. Ramit’s book was published in 2009, the same year I graduated college into the era of the great recession. At that time I was making a $12.50 an hour and living in a sunroom I rented from my former college roommate. But this book inspired me with its upbeat promises that you didn’t have to invest and the best time to start was now. But the real reason to read this book is the section on optimizing finances. Ramit’s money automation was a game changer for me – I grew up in a house where my Dad physically drove to the bank every month to pay bills (and still does!) – and has helped me increase my savings over the last nine years.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. This is a book is a classic, and it was inspiring to me because it focuses on how if you’re fortunate enough to make just a little extra (i.e. $50,000), and you’re disciplined enough to save a good portion (i.e. $15,000), you will eventually be a millionaire. I read this book at a time when I never dreamed I would have my current household income, and I’ve found the principles and anecdotes to be as relevant now as they were eight years ago when I first picked up the book.
The Doctors Guide to Eliminating Debt. This book is applicable to any moderate to high-income professional who has obtained significant debt from student loans, cars, recreation, and their home. It’s a quick and snappy read – which I highly recommend – in which the author discusses his journey out of debt using the debt snowball method. I discuss this book in my post about tackling massive debt with the snowball method.
And two recommendations, that while not strictly personal finance books, I’ve found to be helpful in building wealth:
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex. Okay, so technically this isn’t a book about finances. But it is a book that has been helpful in my relationship with Mr. Graduate Investor, and it’s sound financial advice to stay married. Nothing will decrease your net worth by half faster than a divorce.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Similarly, this book isn’t strictly about personal finance, but it was the book that opened my eyes to the retirement benefits that woman can give up when they leave the workforce to raise children. For example, leaving the workforce for 5 years early could mean losing out on $100,000 in your 401(k) (assuming moderate short-term returns and a company match, the maximum contribution currently is $18,500/year). The loss of a $100,000 30 years later at historic returns could mean a loss of $1,000,000 in the stay-at-home mom’s retirement account. This is an in-depth topic I’ll write about more, but it’s clear that the calculation to stay at home includes more than just the present cost of childcare versus base salary.
Lastly, I’m currently reading The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need, which comes highly recommended by other finance nerds and seems promising so far. I’ll update when I’m finished.