15 books to read in your 20s if you want to get rich

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Benefits of Book Swapping

We all know the importance of starting early when it comes to managing our money and saving for retirement.

However, it can be difficult to know where or how to start, especially if your parents didn't teach you much about money or if you've never taken a personal finance class.

The good news is that there are a bunch of resources out there designed to jump start you on a path to financial success, and we've highlighted some of the best.

We can't guarantee you'll get rich, but here are 15 books for 20-somethings who want to start building wealth today:

Lydia Dallett contributed reporting to this article.

'You're So Money: Live Rich, Even When You're Not,' by Farnoosh Torabi


"You're So Money" is a savvy, realistic finance book written for those who are making entry-level pay but love their lattes and nights out with friends. Torabi teaches readers how to splurge without draining the bank and where to find easy places to save money to balance it out.

Why it's great for young people:

Torabi's book is funny, concise, and tackles the issues college grads are most likely to come across in their first few years handling their own finances. More importantly, says John Ulzheimer, a credit expert at CreditSesame.com, "You're So Money" "was written by someone who is actually IN the personal finance space and not just someone who churns out books, so she actually understands the things about which she writes."

'I Will Teach You To Be Rich,' by Ramit Sethi


In a breezy, irreverent style, Sethi lays out a serious six-week personal finance program for 20- to 35-year-olds who want to master their money with the least amount of effort and then get on with their lives.

Why it's great for young people:

"'I Will Teach You To Be Rich' is hands down the BEST book out there for the younger generation," says J. Money from Rockstar Finance. "It's funny, educational, and full of exact 'how tos.' And a super easy one at that — which anyone with A.D.D. can appreciate (like me!)."

'If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly,' by William Bernstein

Efficient Frontier Publications

"If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly," was written by William Bernstein, cofounder of investment management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, for his grandchildren's generation. In it, Bernstein offers a short, 7,000-word guide to retiring with $1 million in the bank. You can read an excerpt on Business Insider.

Why it's great for young people:

Bernstein debunks the "you won't get Social Security by the time you retire" myth, and explains the hurdles specifically facing the millennial generation. Plus, any cash-strapped 20-something can get access: He's giving the book away for free on his website.

'The Millionaire Next Door,' by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko


First published in 1996, "The Millionaire Next Door" distills Stanley and Danko's findings from more than 20 years of research into seven key characteristics that explain how the elite club of America's millionaires became rich.

Why it's great for young people:

"'The Millionaire Next Door' is great for people in their 20s because it talks about the basics of personal finance," says Rob Gough, cofounder and president of Eckim (DefinitiveDeals.com, CouponChad.com). With simple, commonsense lessons like "spend less than you earn," "avoid buying status objects," and "diversify your investments," the book helps readers develop good habits from the very beginning.

'Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own,' by Dara Duguay


High school students, college students, and recent graduates alike will get a lot out of "Please Send Money," which couples smart advice with real-life stories detailing the most common financial mistakes made by young people.

Why it's great for young people:

"This is the single best personal finance book I've read for people under 25," writes Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar. "If you're in that category, whether you're 16 and just thinking about college or 24 and just getting started on a career, there's a ton of meat in this book for you to think about. Duguay hits a perfect balance between stories of how real college-age people are dealing with these issues and the concrete advice that's needed."

'Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program For Taking Control Of Your Money,' by Alexa Von Tobel

Crown Business

Alexa von Tobel, author of "Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program For Taking Control Of Your Money," is known for her role as the founder and CEO of financial planning startup LearnVest. Her book distills the financial planning insight her company gives to its clients.

Why it's great for young people:

Von Tobel herself is a millennial who started her company in her 20s, and her book is snappy, accessible, and full of relatable anecdotes, like why a fire in her friend's home made her forever an advocate of renters' insurance. "Financially Fearless" provides worksheets in the book, and can be accompanied by LearnVest's online offerings and app.

'Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,' by Thomas Corley

Langdon Street Press

Author Thomas Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less), and managed to segment out what he calls "rich habits" and "poverty habits," meaning the tendencies of those who fit in each group. In "Rich Habits," he outlines his findings.

Why it's great for young people:

Habits take a while to build, and the earlier you start, the better. If factors as simple as regular exercise and calling friends on their birthdays can increase your chances of attaining wealth, what have you got to lose?

'The Investment Answer,' by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray


In "The Investment Answer," Goldie and Murray provide a general guide to investing by focusing on five decisions every investor has to make. These include whether to invest alone or with a professional; how to allocate among stocks, bonds, and cash; and when to sell or buy assets.

Why it's great for young people:

"Investing is an important part of personal finance for everybody, but most people hate reading about investing," says David Welliver, editor of MoneyUnder30.com. "This brief, easy-to-read book is the most approachable investing book I've come across. There are plenty of other good investing books for those that want to get their hands dirty, but for anybody who doesn't, this is the book to read."

'The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,' by John C. Bogle

Amazon/John Wiley & Sons

"The Little Book of Common Sense Investing," endorsed by Warren Buffett, tells you specifically how to use index funds to build wealth. Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world's first index fund, explains why these relatively straightforward vehicles can be so effective — and warns against investment fads and fashions.

Why it's great for young people:

Buffett read the first edition of Bogle's investing manual at age 19, and if it worked for him, it could work for you. "I thought then that it was by far the best book about investing ever written," he wrote in the preface to the fourth edition. "I still think it is."

'Thinking, Fast and Slow,' by Daniel Kahneman


The Nobel-winning behavioral economist takes readers on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think — one fast and emotional, the other slow and logical — offering practical insights into how we make choices in both our business and our personal lives.

Why it's great for young people:

"Personal finance is really nothing but a series of decisions," says Meg Marco, executive editor of Consumerist. "'Thinking, Fast and Slow' will help readers understand what drives them to make the choices they make," she says, and allows them "access to insights about how the brain works, which can have a profound effect on the decision-making process."

'The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich,' by David Bach


Bach delivers a practical, straight-forward guide to financial security that starts and ends with the maxim: "Pay yourself first." Before worrying about taxes or investing or budgeting, focus on paying yourself for the work you do every day by putting money aside for later. Bach emphasizes the importance of using automated payroll deductions to avoid the temptation of using savings to pay today's bills.

Why it's great for young people:

"I really appreciate how specific David gets in the book and how simple he keeps the message," writes Philip Taylor at PTMoney. "I'd recommend 'The Automatic MillionaireAmazon' to anyone looking for some practical application on simplifying their finances and leaving behind, forever, any excuse for not saving."

'Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties,' by Beth Kobliner

Amazon/Simon & Schuster

This New York Times bestseller offers young adults a crash course in personal finance in a very readable manner. "Get a Financial Life" jumps straight into the details of paying off student loans and credit card debt, investing, tax rules, insurance, basic banking, and saving for retirement.

Why it's great for young people:

"There's not a lot of attitude or fluff, just a lot of good information compressed into a tight package," writes Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar. "If that appeals to you (and you're in the target age range — 20s and 30s), 'Get a Financial Life' is probably right up your alley."

'Debt-Free By 30: Practical Advice For The Young, Broke, And Upwardly Mobile,' by Jason Anthony and Karl Cluck


Written by two 20-somethings who found themselves drowning in debt, "Debt-Free by 30" describes their descent into debt and the methods they used to dig themselves out before their 30th birthdays.

Why it's great for young people:

"'Debt-Free By 30' covers the basics of prioritizing your debt, finding extra money to pay it down faster and handling situations in which you might be tempted to rack up more debt," writes Erin Burt at Kiplinger. "Methodically paying off your credit cards may not sound sexy, but this book will make you a believer and give you the tools to pull it off."

'The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous & Broke,' by Suze Orman


Tackling subjects like student loans, credit card debt, and the basics of insurance, "The Money Book" speaks directly to people having to deal with money issues and budgets for the first time.

Why it's great for young people:

"Most personal finance books seem to be written with the about-to-retire set in mind," writes Geoffrey James at Inc. "In this sprightly offering, TV star Suze Orman helps millennials navigate the basics of the financial world, like coping with huge student loans and a job market that, for young people, is nearly as dismal as the Great Depression."

'Automatic Wealth for Grads,' by Michael Masterson

Amazon/John Wiley & Sons

Masterson takes a unique approach in "Automatic Wealth for Grads," and Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar points out that the advice within assumes that you are fresh out of school with zero debt. Rather than focusing on the nuts of bolts of budgeting and paying off debt, the book jumps straight into building a career and accumulating wealth.

Why it's great for young people:

In a concise and readable manner, Masterson delivers smart advice for ambitious grads looking to jump start their career and grow their money right off the bat. He dives into topics ranging from the miracle of compound interest, to finding a career you're passionate about, to how to start a multi-million dollar business. If you're looking to break free of student loans or credit card debt, this book may not be right for you, but it is a great read for those lucky enough to leave school debt-free.

See Also:

SEE ALSO: 11 short books to read if you want to get rich

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