Money tends to be a taboo topic, and that hurts women the most. Research shows that women do not invest enough, despite being better investors than men. That, paired with the pay wage gap, means women have to try harder to earn as much as men do in a lifetime. According to data from the US Census Bureau, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women's median annual earnings are $10,086 less than men's. As you can imagine, that really adds up over the years. That's why I'm trying to learn all that I can about paying off debt, saving and investing.
As I've previously mentioned on Fairygodboss, I didn't exactly always have my finances together. Only in the past few years have I really started to think about what I want to achieve financially, and how I do, in fact, want to retire before I am 90. My foray into the world of personal finance led me to discover a bevy of Personal Finance blogs (many of which are written by people who have also authored a book or two), and a list of great books on saving, paying down debt, investing and just being all-around better with my money.
Here are some of the books I inhaled in my quest for more personal finance knowledge that have really helped me shape the way I treat my financial future:
1. "The Broke Millennial" by Erin Lowry
This is such an easy-to-read page turner all about Millennials and their money — or lack thereof, am I right? She breaks each chapter down into key personal finance topics and need-to-know chunks. You can read cover to cover, or jump around as needed. Plus, Lowry is a young millennial living in NYC, so it's safe to say she has a little bit of experience in stretching her dollars.
2. "The Financial Diet" by Chelsea Fagan
The book is named after the website that Fagan created in 2014, originally used to track her budget and progress. It is the accompanying guide in teaching you how money works when you don't have a clue — and it is entertaining and witty in the process.
According to the official description, "The Financial Diet is the personal finance book for people who don’t care about personal finance. Whether you’re in need of an overspending detox, buried under student debt, or just trying to figure out how to live on an entry-level salary, The Financial Diet gives you tools to make a budget, understand investments, and deal with your credit. Fagan has tapped a range of experts to help you make the best choices for you, but she also knows that being smarter with money isn’t just about what you put in the bank. It’s about everything—from the clothes you put in your closet, to your financial relationship habits, to the food you put in your kitchen (instead of ordering in again). So The Financial Diet gives you the tools to negotiate a raise and the perfect cocktail recipe to celebrate your new salary."
3. "The Year of Less" by Cait Flanders
Cait is a twenty-something who realized that, despite making more money and having more things, she didn't feel like she was getting any farther ahead. Her writing is intelligent and thought-provoking, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her experience.
According to the book itself, "In her late twenties, Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy--only keeping her from meeting her goals--she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year."
4. "You Are a Badass at Making Money" by Jen Sincero
You might be familiar with Sincero's You Are a Badass. Take that, and throw dollar bills into the equation. The book focuses on the most important tool needed to make more money: mindset. Do you believe you can gain control of your money and make a ton of it? Sincero does, and she will guide you to start believing, too.
According to it's official description, "You Are a Badass at Making Money will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results."
5. "Invested: How I Learned to Master My Mind, My Fears, and My Money to Achieve Financial Freedom and Live a More Authentic Life (with a Little Help from Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, and My Dad)" by Danielle and Phil Town
This book wove a great background tale of how the author arrived to where she is today (though it's worth noting that she was in a considerably better starting position than many with a dad who is an investment guru). That being said, it walks you through the very real scenario of a daughter learning the ins and outs of investing with entertaining commentary from her dad.
The best part?: "In Invested, Danielle shows you how to do the same: how to take command of your own life and finances by choosing companies with missions that match your values, using the same gold standard strategies that have catapulted Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger to the top of the Forbes 400. Avoiding complex math and obsolete financial models, she turns her father’s investing knowledge into twelve easy-to understand lessons."
This is definitely the kind of book you'll want a physical copy of... and take notes!
6. "The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life" by J.L. Collins
This is another book that I would recommend getting a physical copy of. It is heavy on information that you'll likely want to refer back to at times. This book grew out of a series of letters to Collins' daughter concerning various things—mostly about money and investing—that she was not yet quite ready to hear. He broke it down into simple concepts that anyone can implement to improve their relationship with money — and their future.
Each of these books may have a different story, but they have a similar message message: having control of your money equals freedom. Not only in the financial sense, but overall. Gaining control of your financial life allows you to make decisions that will leave you less stressed and more happy in your day-to-day life. I certainly want that freedom. And I think reading these books was a great start.