Great Finance Books For All Ages

J.D. at GetRichSlowly was asked by a reader for suggestions on good presonal finance books to give as a gift this year. He points out that giving such a gift is a sensitive matter, since it can be received poorly if the recipient isn’t in the right frame of mind. On the other hand, he writes, “It was because a friend gave me a copy of Your Money or Your Life that I finally turned my finances around.” Here are his suggestions for books geared toward children, teenagers, young adults, and “old folks.”

Young Children

  • It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!
  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
  • The Money Savvy Pig (not a book, but highly recommended)


  • Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids
  • The Totally Awesome Money Book for Kids
  • What Color is Your Piggy Bank? Entrepreneurial Ideas for Self-Starting Kids


  • The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of
  • Street Wise: A Guide for Teen Investors
  • Cash Cache

Young Adults

  • Debt is Slavery (his favorite)
  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke
  • Saving for Retirement without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery
  • Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties
  • You, Inc. – The Art of Selling Yourself

Old Folks

  • Your Money or Your Life
  • The Total Money Makeover
  • The Complete Tightwad Gazette
  • The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

If you want to thank J.D. for these suggestions, visit his site and click on the titles from there so that he’ll get the referral fee. (No, we don’t know J.D.—we’re just trying to be all Christmas sprit-y.)

“Ask the Readers: Personal Finance Books as Gifts?” [GetRichSlowly]


Edit Your Comment

  1. mconfoy says:

    No “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” which is in it umpteen printing?

  2. jpx72x says:

    Two thumbs down for the Suze Orman’s “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke.” Most of her suggestions are either common sense (cut back on Starbucks) or really dumb (get 10 haircuts a year isntead of 12. The $40/year will really add up!)

  3. Major-General says:

    @jpx72x: Monthly haircuts? Slow down there, some of us can’t afford to light our preferred inhaled narcotic with c-notes.

    Generally, I think I do pretty well to get five haircuts a year.

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I may be a no-consumer-debt-having, cantankerous, contrarian, gold-investing, back-to-the-land pseudo-hippie, but it was a book called Mortgage-Free that taught me I could get along without a mortgage if I traded back some temporary security and bought freedom with it. Rob Roy may be a cheerfully full-fledged hippie type himself, but his book teaches you how to build a sturdy and decent home on a piece of country land and furnish it adequately, out of your own savings and pocket, just like people were once able to do. His life is an object lesson in the value of money and the genuine transformative power of a little easy effort. He’s practiced what he preaches for decades, lives well and indulgently, and is a happy man today.

    With our nickle-and-diming about airlines, our gripes about cable TV, and our poisonous infighting about fast food, we could use a little of that happiness, I think.

  5. jwestfall says:

    Or don’t get any haircuts per year and save even more. Suze should take her own advice and ditch the 90s butch look. I’m surprised anyone listens to her any more. I’ve heard her ramble on about finance for about a year now — at random — any just about everything she says is utter common sense. How can she sustain her credibility this way?

  6. Akamaru says:

    The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke is really good.

    I’ll check out the rest as well. Seems like a decent list.

  7. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @jwestfall: Hey, don’t knock common sense. It’s not all that common.

    Besides, it could be worse. Imagine if she was spouting nonsense like so many others (*koff rich dad poor dad koff*)…

  8. Whoyaa says:

    Making the most of your money, by Jane Bryant Quinn.

    Covers it all. Probably the only book you’ll need. Although published 10 years ago, and some financial laws have been changed since, its the most comprehensive book I’ve read. She has a newer book out, too, called “Smart and simple financial strategies for busy people”.

  9. moodytunes says:

    I also like The Truth About Money by Ric Edelman. My parents gave me that after college and it is well-worn by now…helped me put together a good plan for getting out of debt and into an affordable home.

  10. BigNutty says:

    Suzie Orman is the talking parrot for women who have no idea how to think for themselves.

    Idiot Dad, Poor Dad by R.K. is a joke and he is a liar. All it takes is the right title and marketing to fool millions.

    I’ve read most of the others and they are not too bad. Personally, I decided to wait to hit the lottery to get my financial situation in order.

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @BigNutty: Oh, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t by any means recommending Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

  12. zyodei says:

    I once had the misfortune to have to spend two nights sharing a hotel room with a guy involved in Quixtar (Amway) who was a big fan of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. He was trying to sell me into his MLM crap the WHOLE time, despite my consistent disinterest. The best part was the hard sell based around the line “you don’t have to sell it, it to anyone, it sells itself.” Eventually, I had to get rude.

    He claimed that RD,PD told him that the best way to get rich was to start your own business. He could not be dissuaded from the argument that buying into someone else’s get rich scheme was not starting your OWN business…

  13. reno74 says:

    I’m a big fan of Andrew Tobias’s “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need”. Good, solid advice that covers the whole spectrum, from how to get out of debt to what to do with your money when you become a millionaire. It’s also an enjoyable read, as it’s filled with funny stories of how Tobias has lost money by ignoring his own advice.

  14. Timbojones says:

    “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason is pretty fantastic for teens on up.