When it comes to your finances, there’s always some room for improvement.
With summer in full swing, you can use this opportunity to beef up everything you know about money. After all, the more you know about how to manage your money and the best ways to do so, the more you’ll be able to save in the long run.
Whether you want to work on paying down debt, improving how you manage money, or simply want to learn how to live on a balanced budget, it’s time to add these valuable resources to your summer reading list.
1. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Dave Ramsey, 2009 (updated version 2013)
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Dave Ramsey is one of the most trusted voices in personal finance advice, and his book The Total Money Makeover has been providing people just like you with helpful advice since it was first published. Learn how to create and stick to a budget using a simple envelope system that helps you know how much cash you have to spend, and where you should be spending it. Other essential topics that Ramsey’s book helps with include:
- Building an emergency fund with $1,000
- Paying off your debt
- Saving to cover up to six months of expenses
- Investing in retirement accounts
- Paying for college
- Paying off your mortgage
- Building wealth and giving back
- Ramsey’s primary advice is to stick with your budget at all costs and to focus on paying off any debt you hold as quickly as possible. Without that added interest, you can concentrate on putting your hard-earned money in savings and places it can grow.
2. Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties
Beth Kobliner, 1996 (updated version 2017)
Paperback: 352 pages
According to The College Investor, the average 36-year-old millennial has a net worth of $20,236, while the average 26-year-old millennial has a net worth of -$18,988. With student loans and relatively low entry-level wages, it is no wonder that this generation is having trouble building wealth and balancing finances.
Kobliner’s Get A Financial Life aims to address the specific needs of millennials, with a focus on saving money, living on a streamlined budget and establishing healthy financial management practices. Kobliner includes resources for tech-savvy savers and aims to help anyone start investing in various tax-beneficial portfolios, whether you’re starting with $100 or $100,000.
3. Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together
Erin Lowry, 2017
Paperback: 288 pages
Lowry’s successful blog led to Broke Millennial, a book meant to give anyone helpful advice on clarifying finances, although it is geared towards millennials. Lowry designed the book to be read from cover-to-cover or as a reference for each specific topic covered. Whether you want to learn how to make a budget or figure out how to start investing, there is a section for you.
Lowry’s book is meant to encourage personal reflection to help you better understand your relationship to money. She’ll help you figure out:
- Why you’ve been having trouble with money
- How to build a budget that works for you
- Ways to reduce costs, like splitting a dinner bill without feeling awkward
- How to negotiate your salary and other pay
- How to openly talk to your partner about finances
- How to prepare a personal pathway to retirement
Lowry’s blog makes an excellent companion to her book, and both will provide you with endless ways to get your finances in order.
4. Smart About Money
National Endowment for Financial Education
Are you ready to learn the answers to some of the most common questions about money? Or do you want to figure out a way to better align your spending and budget with your personal values? Smart About Money offers online courses, e-newsletters, and other resources to help you improve your money management.
Courses are focused on topics that are most useful to anyone who wants to know more about their money habits and ways to change them. Choose from options like:
- Emergency Fund
- Financial Well-Being
- Life Events
Each course will help you measure your understanding of the topic as well as how your values and feelings may influence your approach. From there, you’ll get help building your plan for each subject, using what you’ve learned to implement financial success in your life.
5. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine
12 Issues A Year
Whether you prefer to read magazines in print or on your digital device, adding Kiplinger’s Personal Finance to your reading list will help you stay on top of the hottest financial news. Plus, you’ll get helpful personal financial advice delivered right to your inbox.
Kiplinger is one of the most trusted names in finance, with a handful of subscription newsletters available from topics ranging from taxes to retirement. They also offer free e-newsletters where you can get financial advice on a range of different topics.
Teach yourself some money management skills this summer.
6. Green Dot Blog (Bookmark us!)
Green Dot Corporation
The Green Dot Blog was designed to help modern consumers navigate the challenges of managing money in an expensive world. Featuring advice from experts like Marsha Barnes of the Finance Bar and tips on topics like saving money on holiday gifts and maximizing your tax refunds, the Green Dot Blog is there to make sure you manage your money the right way, every day.
What the Green Dot Blog offers that most other finance blogs only touch on is the benefit of using prepaid cards like the Green Dot Prepaid Mastercard® or Visa® Card in everyday scenarios. Learn ways to use your prepaid debit card strategically when you’re traveling with one in the US or just as another way to make sure you stick with your budget. (Find out about Green Dot’s simple fees here.)
7. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Sethi’s website I Will Teach You To Be Rich is full of personal finance advice that you can apply to your life starting right now. Sethi’s book of the same name is a bestseller, but his continuously updated blog houses easily digestible snippets to get you started on a pathway to better finances.
Sethi’s well-researched blog posts typically follow a similar format, where he tells you about a common problem or topic, such as salary negotiation, followed by actionable advice that you can put into practice. If you don’t like to read, Sethi also offers video versions of most of his popular topics, so you can learn how you like, from wherever you like.
8. Money Magazine
12 Issues A Year
To round out the list of personal finance resources you need to be reading, Money magazine is a tried-and-true choice. In each issue, you’ll find practical advice related to financial topics, news about financial events that may impact you, and stories of real-life people who have successfully overcome money problems.
What makes Money a great supplement to your summer financial reading list is that it will introduce you to ideas of investing and retirement planning that are within your reach, no matter where you are starting from. Plus, you’ll get expert advice on paying off debt and ways to make sure you stay debt-free.
Now that you have the resources to improve your financial knowledge, it’s time to put them to work this summer. Start your journey off on the right foot by signing up for a prepaid card that will help you stay on budget all year round: Get your very own Green Dot Prepaid Mastercard® or Visa® Card now and check out their simple fees here.