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Financial Books to Give as Holiday Gifts - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

As the holiday season is gearing up – I’ve been hearing Christmas music since October – it’s time to start thinking about presents to give our loved ones. And what better to get them than a book about financial planning? Sure, this may not be the first thing on their wish list, but think about the benefits you’re providing them. If you gave your kids or your spouse a gift card to the movies, it’d be spent before you can take down the tinsel. But if you purchased them a book about better spending, you could be giving them a lifetime of solid financial practices. That’s worth so much more than a two-hour flick. And I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more I enjoy than curling up next to the fire with a cup of cocoa and a book about making the most of my budget.

I’ve selected a handful of basic financial planning books from different sides of the spectrum. Not only are these selections written by experts, but all of them are enjoyable reads. Take a look for yourself and make the most out of your gift giving.

“I Will Teach You to Be Rich” – Ramit Sethi

Cost (Amazon)

Paperback – $8.30

Kindle – $5.58

If you’re looking for some quick-witted humor and a kick in the financial pants, Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” is the book for you. This is not your parents’ money management book. Sethi’s the ambitious sort who not only takes into consideration your spending, but also the psychology behind your habits. Targeted at millennials, this practical approach breaks personal finance into four pillars: banking, saving, budgeting and investing. Unlike authors of other financial planning books, Sethi fully acknowledges our desire to treat ourselves every once in a while. Instead of resisting these urges, he suggests you first discover what’s important to you and then pursue it. It’s more about priorities than denying yourself. My favorite part about this book is that it doesn’t end when you get to the last page. Sethi’s website is a great place to continue your financial education, especially if you’re interested in being an entrepreneur. And most of his content is free.

Who’s This Book For?

“I Will Teach You to Be Rich” is a great book for your teenager or college student or anyone who’s getting their financial life off the ground. Parts of Sethi’s philosophy run counter to the teaching of other financial thought leaders, like Dave Ramsey, but it does a great job showing how fulfilling a life with good financial goals can be.

“Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals” – Thomas C. Corley


Paperback – $10.19

Kindle – $9.99

Tom Corley spent years researching the habits of the rich and fabulous, compiling his findings into 10 principles that secured their financial success. In “Rich Habits,” Corley suggests that the way to become wealthy is to emulate the behaviors of people who are already wealthy. He encourages readers to recognize their poor habits and replace them with successful habits.

What sets “Rich Habits” apart from other financial planning books is that it goes beyond theories or principles alone, Corley provides direct stories taken from his personal research. If you’d like a taste of Corley’s work, take a gander at his website.

Who’s This Book For?

“Rich Habits” is an ideal book for the goal-driven family member. Corley clearly lays out the habits that are keeping you poor and the habits that will make you rich, and then he gives you the encouragement needed to make the change. It may also be a good book for that friend who’s always complaining about their lot in life. “Rich Habits” encourages you to put the responsibility upon yourself, instead of blaming the world for your hardships. It asks you to take a hard look in the mirror. As Corley puts it, “A simple and foolproof approach to assessing ourselves is to look at our daily patterns of living, our daily habits.”

“The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams” – Stefanie O’Connell


Paperback: $14.99

Kindle: $8.99

Blogger Stefanie O’Connell has outdone herself in “The Broke and Beautiful Life,” combining powerful storytelling and a hilarious wit. As an actress trying to pursue her Broadway dreams, O’Connel shares her experience moving to New York, highlighting her financial struggles and successes along the way. O’Connell not only promotes frugal living, but she also gives encouraging ways for her readers to make more money.

What I like most about this book is that it feels like a conversation with a long-term friend. It’s not a run-of-the-mill, beat you-over-the-head-with-a-checkbook kind of tale. It’s a genuine story with genuine advice. That being said, O’Connell isn’t afraid to tell you the hard facts. She focuses on a wide variety of topics, everything from “Financial Building Blocks” to a “Beginner’s Guide to Couponing” and even “Travel on a Shoestring Budget.”

Who’s This Book For?

“The Broke and Beautiful Life” would make a great gift for that friend or family member that believes finances are boring. This book turns that thinking on its head. Furthermore, it shows that you don’t have to be dull as a brick to manage your finances. This is an ideal book for angsty teens, young millennials, starving artists and anyone who wants to hear a good story.

“The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke” – Suze Orman


Paperback: $8.98

Kindle: $12.99

If you or your loved ones are interested in the financial basics, “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke” is a great place to start. Have you ever asked yourself questions like, “What is a credit score and why does that matter?” or “What’s a 401(k) and how do I get one?” Author Suze Orman takes you on a journey through 10 chapters to get your finances in order. What I like about Orman is that she’s not as extreme as some of her financial guru counterparts. She’s not quite as financially liberal as Ramit Sethi, and she’s not as severe with her advice as Dave Ramsey. She’s perfectly practical in every way. If you want to see more, check out her Money Tips video series.

Who’s This Book For?

Much as its title suggests, “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke” is a great book for young adults who are financially wet around the ears. It’s not going to dive deep into theory or spend a great deal of time discussing economics. It’s just going to give you easy point-by-point lessons to create a financial foundation. It also has a great section on handling finances when you’re married. For this reason, it may make a great gift for newlyweds.

“The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” – Eric Ries


Paperback: $11.99

Kindle: $12.99

While “The Lean Startup” is more about entrepreneurship than basic finances, I still think it should be added to the list. First of all, who here among us doesn’t have that uncle who wants to start an organic bee farm, or that best friend who’s always trying to open a cupcake shop. America is filled to the brim with people who are just crazy enough to start their own businesses, and they need some help getting there. Seriously, our friends at Forbes say that a whopping 90% of startups fail. Those are painful statistics. Author Eric Ries, a successful technology entrepreneur, points out many of the common errors that startups make. While he does touch on finances, one of his main points is that most startups take on too much risk, such as creating extravagant products before putting them to the test with customers. His thorough look at the startup field is a great way to learn about the ins and outs of starting a new business.

Who’s This Book For?

As I said, this would make a great gift for anyone wanting to start their own business. I wouldn’t call it a traditionally romantic look at starting a business, but it does provide excellent facts and ideas that could be the difference between success and failure. If you come from a family of thinkers, this might also be a good holiday gift. Ries neglects the pomp and circumstance of other financial gurus and takes a methodical look at the effects of risk in business.

“The Total Money Makeover” – Dave Ramsey


Paperback: $16.06

Kindle: $12.99

Even though “The Total Money Makeover” came out in the early 2000s, it still packs quite the punch. Dave Ramsey is one of the leading people in his field, known for his good ol’ boy persona and discipline-heavy philosophies. Much like the rest of his teachings, “The Total Money Makeover” promotes a no-debt lifestyle, bringing to light the dangers of student loans, car loans and, most notably, credit card debt. It also guides you through the process of creating an emergency fund, as well as an intro to investing. Strategic investments are an important step in Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover,” and he has a great investment calculator on his blog. More than anything, Ramsey urges his readers to be disciplined, encouraging them to “live like no one else so that later (they) can live like no one else.”

Who’s This Book For?

I should mention that Ramsey’s a polarizing figure; people either love him or hate him. He can be very direct with his opinions, which tends to offend people. Ramsey’s not the kind to pull punches. In some ways, though, this makes him more endearing. As long as your loved ones have a tough skin, “The Total Money Makeover” would make for a great gift.

Have we missed any great personal finance books? Let us know what they are in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to read them!

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