By BOB CUNNINGHAM
Ever since I became enamored with personal finance and, more specifically, unearthing guru-promoted myths, I have developed my favorites from the list of all the PF books I’ve read over the last decade-plus.
Now before I go any further, I want to point out that just because a book may not have earned a mention in this space doesn’t mean that the book in question doesn’t offer some value (how ’bout that artfully crafted triple-negative?!). There are money authors out there who I personally believe are way off the mark in several areas of finance philosophy (mostly those who insist government programs are the best way to save and invest), but I nevertheless agree with them on other topics.
With that caveat out of the way, the following is a summary of the books that are the most worthy of you spending your money to obtain, simply because they offer information that, in my opinion, is generally spot-on with what is best for the vast majority of people. These selections are easy to understand, follow, and implement, yet don’t dumb things down to a juvenile level.
Many of these books support somewhat unorthodox solutions, and are even outright contrarian to some of the most popular conventional advice. In many instances, the courage demonstrated by the writers is a primary reason I like the work.
All are available through normal sources, so I won’t be delving into individual websites, book costs, etc. Just titles and authors, and why I believe they’re worthwhile:
1. The Bank on Yourself Revolution, by Pamela Yellen
A topic of this blog in the near future, and indeed it will be arguably the most important post I’ve ever written, will be about how the correct type of whole life insurance is far and away the best tool available for short-term and long-term savings, retirement planning, funding college educations, and more. Yellen, who should not be confused with Janet Yellen, the current Chairperson of the Federal Reserve, summarizes the in’s and out’s of this strategy in the most contemporary sense considering the philosophy itself is more than a century old.
Earlier works, such as Become Your Own Banker, by Nelson Nash, are better known in the financial publishing sector, but Pamela Yellen’s most recent release is the best guide to understanding and implementing the approach now.
2. Last Chance Millionaire, by Douglas R. Andrew
The author of two preceding and related works, Missed Fortune and Missed Fortune 101, Andrew lays out an extensive strategy regarding the value of mortgages, tax management, and arbitrage… this was the first book that led me to conclude that so much conventional personal finance wisdom is hokum.
In my opinion, combining the strategies laid out in this book, and the Bank on Yourself approach in No. 1 above, can put folks of numerous financial categories onto a path that results in superior overall results.
3. Money: Master the Game, by Tony Robbins
Better known for his dominance of the personal development niche, and a guy who gets a lot of unwarranted flak in my view, Robbins put together a marvelous all-star team of financial experts and lays out an outstanding overall plan to take care of virtually all areas of finance.
Robbins didn’t try to pretend he is the expert, although he comes off a bit arrogant in acknowledging that his celebrity gave him the ability to contact, and sit down with, literally dozens of influential, acknowledged money master minds. His newest spin-off release, Unshaken, was mostly a disappointing re-hash of many of the points he was able to make in MMTG (i.e., a not-so-subtle attempt to milk the cow twice during the same dawn), but that misfire doesn’t detract from his successful initial foray into personal finance education.
4. Multiple Streams of Income, by Robert G. Allen
Another author who strayed from his primary expertise — in this case, Allen is a noted real estate investing pioneer who has penned numerous best-sellers on that subject — to delve into areas related to personal finance.
Talking about a myriad of ways to increase income (and thereby, cash flow) is admittedly a bit of a stretch, especially compared to the direct impact of the first three publications on this list, but Allen covers so many straight-forward, self-generating income concepts that you can’t help but significantly improve your bottom line just by implementing one or two of them in addition to how you currently make your living. I had to include it here, because it has been so influential on me.
5. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
Okay, so I had to go a little conventional on you, but for good reason. Simply put, no credible listing of top financial books can omit this one. It’s the one that started it all, so to speak.
To be blunt, I only took a few things from this book that have had direct impact on my personal finances or life approach, but to be fair, that is because I got my start in this type of information-seeking relatively late in life. For anyone who wants a solid foundation from which to begin seeking legitimate wealth, this is the one and only book to start with.
As a special show of respect, I will give one other title a mention in the same “breath” as TAGR, separating it from my list below of others worth reading: Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. Interestingly, I have found myself drifting away from Kiyosaki’s line of thinking for the last few years because he’s gone somewhat in the direction of doomsayer, but I admire the unique perspective he brings as well as his obvious enthusiasm for what he believes to be the smartest philosophy there is on money. I’ve learned a great deal from his series of books in addition to the one that started it all for him.
Automatic Wealth, by Michael Masterson; Start Late Finish Rich, by David Bach (author of another good work, The Automatic Millionaire); The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read, by Daniel Solin; The Index Card, by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack.
DISCLAIMER: This post represents the author’s opinions only. In no way should any part of the content of this post be interpreted as official financial advice, nor does it represent an intention to solicit readers into a specific company or investment. Results are never guaranteed. Utilize the information as you see fit, make all money decisions at your own risk.