Over the past month, one of my priorities has been to really focus on money management — we bought our house in early 2017, and since then we have been really trying to figure out how to allocate money for kids, charity, and other expenses. I have a fairly long commute in the morning, and over the last year and a half, I’ve listened to a fair amount of Audible titles related to personal finance. Here are my favorite ten titles.
- The White Coat Investor by James Dahl – This was the first personal finance book that I ever read, and probably the one book that still is the most useful to me — I re-listen to this title at least once every few months, and I get more from it each time. It is still pretty complicated (don’t quite understand the mechanisms of a back-door Roth) but it certainly encourages me to learn more. The author has a great website and does a great job promoting financial independence.
- Financially Fearless by Alexa Von Toble – This title is by the founder of Learnvest, an online service similar to Mint.com. I loved Learnvest and its awesome financial advisors, but it was unfortunately shut down a few days ago. The most memorable lesson this book emphasized was the 50-20-30 rule, where 50% of one’s take-home pay was allocated for necessities, 20% for savings, and 30% for discretionary spending. One take-home point that I loved from this book was calculating a per-visit cost of attending the gym to see if it was really worth it based on usage. Definitely worth reading.
- You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham – I use YNAB on a daily basis to keep track of my budget — it’s an excellent tool, and I can’t tell the times that it has helped me catch money-related errors and unwanted transactions (including ADT and Netflix bumping up monthly subscriptions!). This book is also fantastic and is read by the author. I particularly liked hearing how his kids were competitive about the ‘age of money’ statistic!
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley – This book doesn’t quite focus on the nitty-gritty of budgeting, but it helped me reinforce the idea that it is more important to save than to earn. There’s a great section in the book where he discusses how most millionaires aren’t ostentatious or professionals. There’s also a neat discussion about physician spending patterns. Highly recommended.
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – This book is recommended but only in small doses. Hands down, I don’t think that there is a single narrator who is as abrasive as Dave Ramsey. This book is quite informative, but the tonal style reminds me of the crotchety old dude telling everyone to pull up their pants. I personally wasn’t a big fan of his overblown statements i.e. “God brought a Jaguar into my life”. However, his metaphors are pretty entertaining, and certainly gives a good perspective on debt.
- Meet the Fruglewoods by Elizabeth Thames – Discounting the rather obsequious apology in the beginning of the book, this title is fantastic. This title is read by the author, and it’s interesting to see the mechanisms behind the ridiculously high savings rate they achieved. I also found it neat to see how the authors prioritized their quality of life over income potential — perhaps there is a happy medium somewhere!
- The Index Card by Helaine Oran and Harold Pollack – I listened to this a while ago and didn’t find it particularly memorable, but the main points listed on the titular index card are gold.
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – I listened to this a while ago and found the author to be a little annoying. However, his points are pretty informative and dovetails nicely with the YNAB strategy. One suprising thing that he does is advocate that it is perfectly reasonable to spend 20k per year on clubbing if properly budgeted, which is unusual (but probably accurate).
- Get Paid for your Pad by Jasper Ribbers – One day, I’d like to own beachfront property in Connecticut. This is a neat read about starting an AirBNB buisness — the narrator is quite interesting and the audiobook is very enjoyable. Although I certainly don’t think we have the means or incentive to do now, perhaps in a couple of years!
- How to Retire Wild, Happy, and Free by Ernie Zelinski – This book is a great read about the end-game — what do you do after everything is said and done. I actually bought a couple of books on the mechanics of 401ks and how much to save for retirement, but I have to say that they were all pretty boring. This looks at retirement from a different perspective, and it’s neat to see retirement as something to look forward instead of something to dread. Just my two cents.
And that’s it. Audible books are great for long rides, so I hope this list help another poor sod get through bad traffic on I-95.