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10 Personal Finance Books to Inspire Young Adults

Written by
Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose is a personal finance writer covering financial literacy for OppU. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Read time: 5 min
Updated on December 11, 2023
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Top picks to add to your reading list.

Experts agree: the earlier you start learning about money, the better. Bad money habits are hard to break, and they can take a toll. Good ones, on the other hand, set you up for success, whether you’re managing a $5 allowance or buying a house.

Personal finance is rarely top of mind for young people. So how do you equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to develop healthy money habits?

Here’s one answer: books.

Forget what you know about personal finance. Contemporary authors are reimagining financial literacy; witty stories, fun activities. This new batch of experts inform, inspire, and entertain.

Young people, these books are for you. Add one, or all 10, to your reading list.

No. 1: “O.M.G.: Official Money Guide for Teenagers”

Author: Susan and Michael Beacham
Age: High school

O.M.G.: Official Money Guide for Teenagers” offers practical money advice for teenagers in 48 succinct pages. Written by Money Savvy Generation founders Susan and Michael Beacham, it won the 2015 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education award. It uses graphics and simple language to break down confusing topics and provide real-world tips.

No. 2: “The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of”

Author: David and Tom Gardner
Age: High school

Have you heard of The Motley Fool? Founded by David and Tom Gardner, it provides in-depth financial advice. Little-known fact: the Gardner brothers are also best-selling authors.

The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens” covers saving, budgeting, spending, and investing, all in the same witty, easy-to-understand tone as the website. Teens will learn important financial lessons, such as every dollar spent is an investment.

No. 3: “Financial Basics: A Money Management Guide for Students”

Author: Susan Knox
Age: High school and college

Financial Basics” is written for college students, but the lessons will resonate with high schoolers. Knox is careful to never patronize her readers. She uses interactive resources, like worksheets, to teach the basics. Young people will learn about emergency funds, credit cards, and student loans. All the basics they’ll need in college and beyond.

No. 4: “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together”

Author: Erin Lowry
Age: High school and college

Erin Lowry is a millennial personal finance expert. Lowry’s book, “Broke Millennial,” teaches financial newbies how to effectively manage their finances. She promises to turn the flat-broke 20-something into a financial pro. Her book offers a youthful, fun, and relatable alternative to traditional finance books. Teens will learn how to split the bill. College students will learn how to manage student loans.

No. 5: “Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By”

Author: Cary Siegel
Age: High school and college

Don’t be intimidated by the 99 principles mentioned in the title. Siegel has an MBA from the University of Chicago, but his book refers to the basics. No matter your age, “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?” contains relevant anecdotes to inspire better financial habits.

No. 6: “You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth”

Author: Jen Sincero
Age: High school and college

Jen Sincero is a New York Times best-seller, and for good reason! “You Are a Badass at Making Money,” her second book, provides straightforward financial advice. Be prepared to laugh out loud. Sincero relates personal and candid financial stories to help readers identify and overhaul their bad habits to live a healthier financial life.

No. 7: “The Personal MBA”

Author: Josh Kaufman
Age: College

The Personal MBA” is touted as the sparknotes version of business school. Save money on an expensive business degree and learn the same principles at home.

Author Josh Kaufman breaks down the art of business with lessons that span psychology and systems theory. Further, he encourages wealth building as a stepping stone to financial freedom. “The Personal MBA” shows how to achieve it.

No. 8: “Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!”

Author: Robert Kiyosaki
Age: College

Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is part memoir, part financial advice. There’s a reason why it’s one of the best personal finance books ever. Published over 20 years ago, the financial lessons stand the test of time.

Kiyosaki writes about his experiences, comparing his father and the wealthy father of his childhood friend. The book highlights how to manage your finances even when you don’t have a large income. It also explains the importance of creating generational success. One of Kiyosaki’s most referenced lessons is that there are different types of debt, not all of them bad. Pick up the book to learn why.

No. 9: “The Total Money Makeover”

Author: Dave Ramsey
Age: College

When Dave Ramsey talks, people listen. He’s one of the pioneers of personal finance with an education platform, radio shows, and multiple New York Times bestsellers. “The Total Money Makeover” is one of those books.

This book tackles budget-busters, like college, marriage, and debt. Ramsey’s “Dave Rants” will inspire young people to pay off debt, save money, and reach financial freedom. Unexpected costs shouldn’t derail your financial goals. Ramsey will make sure they don’t.

No. 10: “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”

Author: Ramit Sethi
Age: College

Ramit Sethi published “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” more than a decade ago. The book was so successful that it was updated and re-released in 2019.

This game-changing financial book is based on the systems and tools young people need to conquer their financial goals. It demonstrates how to attain wealth without the gimmicks. Sethi doesn’t promote frugality to reach wealth. He focuses on life-changing wins that impact overall financial health. The book also includes insider tips, such as how Sethi manages his personal finances and his observations about popular companies’ finances.

Bottom line

Personal finance doesn’t have to be boring, and these books prove it. This summer, set yourself up for a healthy financial future and have fun, too.

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