Personal Finance

Five financial books that changed my life

“Living is about learning. It is a lifelong quest.” – Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem

I’ve had a love of reading for as long as I can remember. My mum is an avid reader and there were always shelves of books around us as we were growing up as well as regular trips to the library. Since I moved to Canada 14 years ago, I’ve expanded my reading list to include a lot of books related to personal and professional growth as well as fiction. I’m not sure why those books weren’t on my reading list before – it might have been my age, or perhaps because there seems to be something very deeply ingrained into English culture that encourages you to appreciate the station in life you were born into and discourages you from aspiring to be anything more. It’s hard to say that without sounding critical of my heritage and I don’t want anyone to think I’m anything other than extremely proud to be British. I do believe though, that a large part of anyone’s personal journey is to look at everything they’ve ever accepted as truth and to examine it with an open mind to see if it really is. This is just as true for finances as it is for every other aspect of our lives and so, over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to share ten of the financial books which have opened my eyes to a different perspective on life and wealth.

The richest man in Babylon by George Clason

I think that this is one of the first financial books that I ever read and it opened my eyes to the huge impact that saving even a small amount of money on a regular basis can have on your financial future. I liked the fact that the lessons were wrapped inside a simple story that was easy to read and yet made you think much more deeply.

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

I loved this book for many of the same reasons that I loved “The Richest Man in Babylon” – it contained practical information and lots of useful advice wrapped up in a story that was easy to read. I could identify with the characters and their questions and I learned a lot from it. The original edition is no longer in stores but Chilton’s latest book “The Wealthy Barber Returns” is also an excellent financial book that has lots of valuable information coupled with new insights and I definitely recommend it.

Related article: Jim’s review of The Wealthy Barber Returns

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

This financial book totally transformed the way I look at money and wealth and started me on a much different path to building financial freedom. Not only did it introduce me to the concepts of the psychology of money and passive income streams but it also generated lots of further reading and “a-ha” moments which have been the inspiration for several of my posts for Retire Happy.

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

I remember listening to this on audiobook while I was on a long drive through the States. I think it took me through the entire journey and then I listened to it all over again on the way home! I’ve read several of Bach’s financial books, including “Smart Women Finish Rich”, but the reason this one made my list is because it focuses on strategies for making the whole process of money management automatic. I know from my own experiences, and from watching my friends and clients, those good intentions are at the root of almost every missed goal. Intentions alone just aren’t enough to get you to your goals; they have to be combined with consistent action steps. Making those steps automatic so you don’t even have to think about the fact you’re taking them is a very powerful way to amplify your chances of success.

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay

I spent two years (and covered 500,000km) driving between Canada and the US while I was working for an expedited courier company based in Windsor, ON. I discovered very quickly that there is only so much top 40 music you can listen to before your brain starts to melt and so I switched to a combination of audiobooks, NPR and talk radio. The first time I heard The Dave Ramsay Show I was hooked; Dave’s common sense, no-nonsense advice and his commitment to helping people conquer their debt mountains and build financial security inspired me. I love this book because it is a practical guide to taking charge of your financial health and giving your money a “makeover” and it works. I have used his debt snowball strategy with clients with great success and I’ve heard some amazing testimonials from others who have done the same.

One of my friends tells me all the time that he’d “rather know everything I don’t than know everything I do” because there’s so much more to know than any one person can possibly hold in their brain. I feel so fortunate to live in a world where so many people are willing to share their experiences and expertise through books, online resources, and live events and I’m always on the hunt for new information and new ideas that might help me, both in my journey to achieve my own goals and to help others achieve theirs. If you have suggestions for financial books or resources that have impacted your journey, I’d love to hear them.

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