Young adults face enormous financial challenges with very little preparation. They must contend with limited incomes, student loan debt, building credit, and much more, often with only the most rudimentary financial knowledge.
If you’re in this position, you may have to educate yourself, and you may not have much time to do it. These finance books for young adults will help you get off on the right foot.
1. How to Money
By Kathryn Tuggle and Jean Chatzky
How to Money is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to improve their understanding of personal finance. The authors provide actionable advice on multiple personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt.
The content is divided into five sections: Earn It, Manage It, Use It, Get Schooled, and Look to the Future. Readers learn how to make informed decisions about their money through easy-to-read language and real-life examples.
Key takeaways: This book is designed to introduce young adults to personal finance. It provides the foundation they need to build a better financial future and avoid the pitfalls that put so many young people in a financial hole before they even get started.
About the author: Kathryn Tuggle and Jean Chatzky are financial journalists and authors. Tuggle is the managing editor of LearnVest and a contributing writer for Forbes, while Chatzky is the financial editor of NBC’s TODAY show and the author of several books. They are financial literacy advocates and have collaborated on several projects, including the Money School online course and the How to Money book.
By Steve Burkholder
I Want More Pizza, by Steve Burkholder, focuses on the crucial basics of money management, such as budgeting, saving, investing, and credit. It also provides a wealth of practical advice on topics like getting a job, applying for scholarships, and making the most of student discounts.
The book is built around the pizza analogy, which helps younger individuals understand the linkages that connect fundamental financial concepts.
The book is short, only around 100 pages, and is designed to be accessible to teens.
Key takeaways: I Want More Pizza is packed with helpful information but written in a direct, easy-to-follow tone. It’s widely used in school personal finance programs and is an excellent resource for teaching teenagers, students, and young adults more about finances. The book is filled with the author’s real-life examples of his money troubles during his younger years, giving readers real-world lessons that they can relate to.
About the author: Steve Burkholder is a CPA with degrees in finance and accounting. He teaches corporate finance and devotes much of his spare time to providing accessible basic financial education to young people.
By Erin Lowry
Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry is an insightful and practical guide to financial success for young adults. The book is filled with helpful advice and tips on managing finances, from budgeting and saving to investing and debt management.
With simple language and engaging true stories, learning about finances turns into a fun experience quickly.
Key takeaways: Broke Millennial avoids the common trap of approaching personal finance from the perspective of an older author who is already financially stable. It’s a realistic, sympathetic viewpoint that will resonate with people who have made mistakes (like all of us) and need help, not judgment.
About the author: Erin Lowry is an engaging author who writes in an approachable and straightforward style. She draws on her own experiences and provides examples to illustrate her points. She has written several other outstanding finance books, including Broke Millennial Takes On Investing and Broke Millennial Talks Money.
Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties
By Beth Kobliner
Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner is a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide to taking control of your finances. Catering primarily to young adults, it covers topics such as setting financial goals, budgeting and saving, investing, understanding taxes, buying a home, insurance, and other critical financial matters for this age.
Kobliner breaks down complex financial concepts into easy-to-understand language, making it an excellent guide for those just starting their journey to financial literacy.
Key takeaways: Get a Financial Life was first published in 1996 and served as a financial bible for young people struggling to get started during the 2001 and 2008-2009 recessions. Despite its age, this New York Times bestseller is as relevant as ever. It is straightforward and accessible and is an ideal pick if you want a general introduction to personal finance.
About the author: Beth Kobliner is a financial journalist, personal finance commentator, and best-selling author. Her primary mission is to help people improve their financial lives by providing valuable insights, tips, and tricks. Her book Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties is a New York Times bestseller, alongside her other book, Make Your Kid a Money Genius.
By Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad has become a personal finance classic since its publication in 1997. Not everyone agrees with its approach – our review digs deeper into those issues – but it remains one of the most popular personal finance books in the country.
Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens is an adaptation of a well-known bestseller aimed at younger audiences. Reviews of the book are mixed – some readers found it short, and a bit repetitive – but they are still generally favorable…
Key takeaways: Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens takes the lessons from Rich Dad Poor Dad and reframes them for a younger audience. Not everyone finds those lessons useful, but if you liked Rich Dad, Poor Dad and you’re looking for a personal finance book for your kids, it’s worth a try!
About the author: Robert Kiyosaki is a businessman, entrepreneur, and author. He’s the founder of Rich Global LLC and the Rich Dad Company. In addition to being a successful businessman, he provides personal finance advice and educates others on managing their finances.
By Elizabeth Walter and Debra Thro
Paying for college is an almost ubiquitous concern among college-bound young adults. Pay Less for College is a valuable guide that helps students take care of their finances and teaches them how to afford their degree without plunging into a lifetime’s worth of debt.
After seeing how confusing and misleading college financial aid information is, the authors created a guide that will allow young adults to plan their college funds and make the most of the available financial aid. The result is a simple but comprehensive guide to making college affordable.
Key takeaways: Most of the books on this list cover general personal finance topics. Pay Less for College is much more specific and aims at a very specific audience: college students, soon-to-be college students, and their families. It helps students navigate financial aid and take control of various college costs. It also teaches them how to get more free money through scholarships and grants and save tens of thousands of dollars throughout their higher education.
About the author: Debra Thro is an ASCA Certified College Admissions Specialist and a PACAC member. She collaborated with Elizabeth Walter in writing Pay Less for College.
By Michele Cagan and Elisabeth Lariviere
Some people are visual thinkers and find it easier to absorb information when it’s laid out in a graphic form. If that sounds like you, The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance is the perfect personal finance book for you. It contains informative lessons about finances delivered through captivating graphics.
The visually appealing infographics in this book cover a range of personal finance topics, from spending, budgeting, and saving to credit, debt, housing, and investing. If there’s a young person in your life who’s having trouble with traditional finance books – or if you are – this one is worth a try.
Key takeaways: This is not a simple picture book. It takes complex concepts about money and presents them in a visually appealing form that many people will find easier to understand than written explanations.
About the author: Michele Cagan is a CPA, financial mentor, and author with more than 20 years of experience in the field of finance. She has written multiple books and articles about personal finance and investing. She collaborated with Elisabeth Lariviere in writing Pay Less for College.
By Cary Siegel
Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By was written by a business executive who wanted to lay out lessons that would teach his five kids more about finance as they entered adulthood. The book quickly received worldwide fame.
Some readers found some of the advice – especially the suggestion that college students avoid credit cards – dated, but the basic principles have generally been well received.
Key takeaways: Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? covers budgeting, spending, investing, insurance, mortgage, credit cards, and many more topics. It’s packed with valuable tips and tricks that most people don’t learn in school.
About the author: Cary Siegel holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and was a business executive at many marketing and sales organizations. He published Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? book in 2017, while Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School, Too? hit the shelves in 2018.
By Jake Cousineau
How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World has been called “an essential resource for a high school graduate, college student, or any other young adult who needs to prepare for the financial realities of adulthood”. It addresses a range of personal finance topics, from basic budgeting and saving to more complex concepts like investing, retirement accounts, taxes, and insurance.
By equipping young adults with money management fundamentals, this book prepares its readers for the financial realities of adulthood.
Key takeaways: How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World is longer and more complex than some of the books on this list. It might not be the right choice for younger readers or reluctant readers, but it is a book that you can keep on your shelf – and keep consulting – throughout the adulting process.
About the author: Jake Cousineau is an author and educator that shares his knowledge about finance to teach others to manage their money more successfully. He taught personal finance classes in high schools for years, gaining a strong appreciation for the financial education needs of young Americans.
With his book How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World, Jake Cousineau hopes to reach a wider audience of young adults and provide them with everything they need to know about personal finances in the real world.
By J. L. Collins
The Simple Path to Wealth is an investing book for people who know nothing about investing. For young people, investment often seems a remote activity for people who already have money, and that attitude often keeps people from investing early and giving their assets the largest possible time to appreciate.
This book covers everything a young person needs to understand what investing is about and get started early, along with other personal finance knowledge.
Key takeaways: The investment world can be harsh, especially for young adults and beginners who don’t know much about this topic. That’s where The Simple Path to Wealth comes in handy, as it provides readers with a simple map and tools necessary to forge financial stability and build wealth with confidence.
If you’re looking for a general personal finance book, this might not be your top choice, as it is primarily focused on investing. If you’re looking to get started with investments, though, it’s a prime pick.
About the author: J. L. Collins is currently a financial blogger and book author. However, he was also an account executive, consultant, investment officer, entrepreneur, speaker, radio talk show host, and magazine publisher. With so much knowledge and experiences to share, his book The Simple Path to Wealth is an excellent choice.
By Luke Villermin
Luke Villermin’s A Teenager’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market is focused on the advantages of starting investing early. Just because most people wait until they’re in their 30s to start investing doesn’t mean that’s the best thing to do.
By presenting the benefits of investing as early as their teenage years, Villermin hopes to motivate younger generations to start working on their financial stability today.
Key takeaways: The book’s primary goal is to inspire teenagers and young adults to start saving and investing today. The readers can do so thanks to a step-by-step guide to opening an online account, purchasing stock, and putting money to work. The book also covers the stock market’s basics and how to choose the best investments.
This is a focused book with a single purpose. If that purpose lines up with your objectives, it’s a good choice!
About the author: Luke Villermin is a successful author interested in sharing his knowledge about finances and investing. He is the author of several well-received books. Besides A Teenager’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market, Luke Villermin wrote On Your Mark, Get Set, Spending Wisely, INVEST: A Kid’s Guide to Saving Money, and several others.
By Ramit Sethi
Another outstanding read is I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. It’s a New York Times Bestseller published in 2009 that tackles the process of becoming rich. Today’s version is completely updated with over 80 pages of new material.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich is written in a light, irreverent style that one reviewer describes as “part frat boy and part Silicon Valley geek, with a little bit of San Francisco hipster thrown in”. Don’t let the style fool you: the advice is entirely serious.
Key takeaways: I Will Teach You to Be Rich makes some pretty ambitious claims, notably of a “no-BS 6-week program”, a pretty quick timeline when getting rich is the goal! With almost 13,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews, though, this book has clearly made an impression on a large number of readers!
About the author: Ramit Sethi is a bestselling author who has been featured by ABC News, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. He’s dedicated to helping his followers manage personal finances and work on their financial stability. Instead of simply guiding them to becoming financially independent, Ramit Sethi teaches readers how to become rich.
By Jen Sincero
Last but certainly not least, we complete this reading list with You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. You Are a Badass is one of the most talked-about books in the personal finance world.
Most personal finance books focus on the practical steps we can take to put our finances in order. You Are a Badass at Making Money takes a different approach, focusing on the mindsets and mental blocks that prevent so many people from achieving financial progress.
Key takeaways: The connection between mental attitudes and money is well-documented, and that connection is increasingly seen as a key to breaking out of self-destructive habits and replacing them with constructive ones. You Are a Badass at Making Money takes an easygoing, positive, guilt-free approach to help you unlock your financial potential.
About the author: Jen Sincero is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and speaker who has helped thousands of people transform their lives. With You Are a Badass series of books and Badass Coaching Programs, Jen Sincero motivates people of all ages to improve their lives in different aspects, especially the financial one.