Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

My Favourite Personal Finance Books


Hello friends,

Today I’m excited to share with you my all-time favourite personal finance books!

Sure, I could talk about Rich Dad, Poor Dad or The Four Hour Work Week, like most people do, but I’d rather not. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is extremely vague, unhelpful, and dated, while The Four Hour Work Week was written by a fraud & sociopath. I mean, come on – at one point, while discussing how he outsources his work and exploits human labour, Tim Ferriss actually writes “I would tell you how to do this, but I don’t want to. I want to watch Family Guy. So the next part will be written by my virtual assistant.”

What the fuck?

(Not at the outsourcing; at the arrogance. He then shares the story of a man who uses his virtual assistant to talk to his wife on his behalf and help with their deep-seated marital problems.)

He also boasts of his achievements & titles and how he gained them without actually earning them. It’s not about the journey for him; it’s all about the destination. At one point he encourages his readers to take notes from books on a certain topic, give a talk at a university, go to a Fortune 500 company and say that they’ve given a talk at the university, give a talk at the Fortune 500 company, and in doing so, be able to say, “I’m an expert who has given a talk on so-and-so at a Fortune 500 company.” You’re kidding me, right? You’re encouraging and empowering people… To be frauds?

Now that I’ve had a spontaneous intro rant, I’d love to share with you the books I did enjoy, as well as the real ways in which they’ve impacted my personal finance journey. Here are my 6 favourite personal finance books!


6 | Mindful Money – Canna Campbell (Australia, 2019)

Mindful Money is ‘a real guide to building and managing financial independence in a busy world’, written by Australian Canna Campbell. She’s very big on authentic financial freedom via earning passive income, so this book has a nice balance of looking into your money mindset, values & goals and nitty gritty numbers and calculations. I liked that everyone is taken into account – examples include single people earning different incomes, single mothers with young children, and a couple in their early forties, all to answer the question: “What’s your number?” – ie. how much money do you need per year to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in accordance with the needs, tastes & desires that you value?

This is a great book to read whether you’re new to personal finance or not. The only criticism I have is that it lacks excitement and can read like a manual, but it’s written in simple English that’s straightforward and easy to understand. Perfect if you’re wanting an all-in-one handbook!

What I loved most about this book:

  • It starts with identifying what authentic financial freedom means to you, and clarifying your money values and priorities. A lot of people find it underrated, but it’s so important to know your why behind everything you do – including building wealth.
  • Chapters are super thorough, including ‘Your Banking Ritual’, ‘Successful Savings’, ‘Property’, and ‘Your Money, Your Priorites’ – all with a focus on your money mindset throughout.
  • The ‘Extra Cash to Cash In’ chapter, offering plenty of ideas for side hustles & generating extra income.
  • It’s quite interactive, from insightful personal questions to creating your own financial snapshot (listing your assets & liabilities).

5 |  Smashed Avocado – Nicole Haddow (Australia, 2019)

Smashed Avocado is about journalist Nicole Haddow’s first home buyer journey and how she got onto the property ladder. The book title references The Australian demographer Bernard Salt’s commentary that millennials would be able to afford their own homes if we all just stopped going out for brunch and ordering smashed avocado.

I found Smashed Avocado very inspiring. I loved reading about how Nicole bought her first home in Mordialloc, Melbourne and became a ‘rentvestor’ in Richmond; how she took charge of her own owners corporation management (what we call body corp in NZ), and her general musings on millennial homeownership and money along the way: going out with friends, dating & romance, feeling lonely, the emotional stress.

It was also relatable for me because, like Nicole, I am a millennial, female homeowner and experienced a lot of the same things she did. Unlike Nicole, I didn’t have any issues with romantic relationships due to different financial positions, or live in my own house alone for an extended period of time (which put financial strain on her to meet her mortgage repayments and expenses). It made me reflect on the time I did live in my house alone for two months before I rented the other bedroom out. I recall that at times, it was tough; but ultimately, I feel grateful because that is how my candle side hustle started and grew. (Lighting candles made the house feel a lot more cosy, and perfecting my new hobby gave me something to do!)

What I loved most about this book:

  • Refreshing and relatable, while super detailed and comprehensive. Sure, when it got really Australian (ie. went into depth about Australian cities & suburbs), I zoned out, but for the most part it’s very relatable for New Zealanders.
  • Nicole didn’t just share her story – she shared other millennials’ stories, too; and how they afforded their first home. You’ll find plenty of inspiration!
  • It encourages people to look at the big picture, and to make sacrifices – but sustainable sacrifices that are in line with your values & long term goals.
  • Inspired me regarding ‘rentvesting’, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Rentvesting is renting your own home out while renting in a more desirable suburb yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but I know that I’m better equipped for when I take the leap!

4 | Rich Enough? – Mary Holm (New Zealand, 2018)

A best seller in New Zealand at the moment! Rich Enough? is described as ‘a laid-back guide for every Kiwi’, from killing high-interest debt to boosting your savings painlessly and joining the best Kiwisaver fund for you. The fact that this is written by a New Zealander makes it very relevant and relatable, especially when resources are recommended, such as free budgeting services from FinCap and helpful calculators from Sorted. (You gotta try them, they’re fantastic!)

I love that this book feels like you’re having coffee with Mary Holm as your own personal financial adviser. Like it claims, it feels laid-back, with a genuine tone of truly wanting to help you better your relationship with money and learn all that you need to know. You’ll read about tackling debt, choosing insurance, boosting your savings, spreading your risk, buying or selling a home, and more. Plus, of course, there’s a chapter focusing on happiness – the ultimate goal of everything we do with our money.

The only thing I’ll note is that some of the information can easily be Googled and read in an afternoon – such as income tax & PIR rates and Kiwisaver HomeStart Grant eligibility. Perhaps I am biased, given I’ve always been a person to proactively do my own research on things I care about – I practically studied the Kiwisaver HomeStart Grant eligibility criteria when I first set out to buy a house – and had seen all this information readily available when I worked in banking, tax, insurance, and at Citizens Advice Bureau. But personally, I would’ve liked more expert financial advice and insights from her, not simply things I could look up and compile into a book myself.

However, I also get it – people are busy, plus not everyone knows where to start looking, so it can be super helpful to have all the information in one place!

What I loved most about this book:

  • It’s refreshing, honest, and very relevant and applicable to New Zealanders.
  • It’s comprehensive, sharing a lot of knowledge and ways to understand your money, but makes it easy. The calculations you need to do aren’t complicated and only fit for financial analysts.
  • This is pretty much the New Zealand equivalent of Mindful Money – it’s an all-in-one guide that covers everything, so even if you dislike personal finance books, you can read this and you’re sorted!

3 | Money Diaries – Lindsey Stanberry (USA, 2018)

I discovered Money Diaries from the online series, and was overjoyed when it became a book. Money Diaries is very much written for millennials; it’s young and down to earth. Things like ‘Why budgets are bullsh*t and what to do instead’, ‘How to have fun without going broke’, ‘How to make getting out of debt as painless as possible’ make this an enticing and relatable read for most, because who couldn’t use some help with all of that?

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the universal, money mindset advice much more than the actual money diaries in the book, because unlike the online series, all of them are America-centric. I thoroughly enjoyed its honest, refreshing tone, and all of the ideas it gave me for everything from reducing expenses to living on one salary. The latter is not an exaggeration – my partner and I really did experiment with living on one salary by putting away a whopping 50% of our take-home pay for a while!

Money Diaries is well worth the read, and while not life-changing, will inspire you to assess, tweak and upgrade your personal finances.

What I loved most about this book:

  • The chapters. They’re named “Life & Money”, “Love & Money”, “Work & Money, Debt & Money”, “Home & Money”, “Kids & Money”, etc – this book makes sure to cover everything.
  • The unique ‘financial challenges’ scattered throughout – such as taking a money mental health day, making a money date with your partner, and finding a side hustle.
  • It’s got a great balance between the money diaries, nitty-gritty numbers, and money mindset / lifestyle advice!

2 | You Are a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero (USA, 2017)

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master The Mindset of Wealth is all about transforming your subconscious beliefs about money, abundance, and what is possible for you. Yes, it’s all spiritual. No, it’s not irrelevant. I truly believe that transforming my subconscious beliefs about money is the number one key to achieving and sustaining financial success – it’s definitely how I manifested financial stability.

I credit this book with making me address my own subconscious limiting beliefs about money, even if it meant really having to dig deep, into my childhood and early twenties. By uncovering how I came to be how I was with money (impulsive, frivolous, ‘I’m not a personal finance person, money is too complicated for me to try to understand’), I got to break free and create change in my life. And I love that. I love that I went from knowing nothing about money to learning so much and even writing this blog, Mindful with Money! What a journey.

What I loved most about this book:

  • Its emphasis on manifestation; that your thoughts and beliefs create your reality.
  • It helps you confront your subconscious limiting beliefs about money: you can’t be rich and spiritual; rich people are selfish and shallow; I’m too irresponsible, lazy or clueless to make money, etc.
  • It reinforces the fact that you can have it all. Want to have a fancy, successful career and be a great parent? Be devoted to your faith and make a lot of money? Buy a property and enjoy retirement? You best believe it’s possible!
  • It’s holistic. It drives home the point that money is currency, and currency is energy; and we attract the energy we give out to the world.

1 | Love Your Life, Not Theirs (USA, 2016)

Taking out top place is Love Your Life, Not Theirs! I don’t vibe with most of Dave Ramsey’s advice, but I do with his daughter’s. I love Rachel Cruze, her YouTube channel, and this. freaking. book.

Love Your Life, Not Theirs is about money mindset and contentment. The book has a simple message to help you get intentional with your money: stop comparing your life to other’s. It’s the reason you’re broke. 

What I loved most about this book:

  • It teaches 7 real, actionable habits you can take to quit comparison, clear your debt, save money, give with generosity, and more.
  • It’s not ‘about money’. It’s about happiness, relationships, balance, and loving your life, all by changing your relationship with money. Like You Are a Badass at Making Money and Smashed Avocado, it looks at the big picture. (It’s holistic, but it’s not spiritual.)
  • It encourages gratitude, humility, and spending with purpose.
  • It helps you truly differentiate between wants and needs as well as where your desire for spending comes from: is it truly something you want or need? Is it just to look good? Is it simply an ego boost? Once you’ve worked out what your motive is, you can start to take control of your money, instead of the other way round!

Other personal finance books I’ve read and enjoyed:

The Joyful Frugalista – Serina Bird (Australia, 2019)

The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason (USA, 1926) 

Smart Women Finish Rich (1999), Smart Couples Finish Rich (2001), The Automatic Millionaire (2003) – David Bach (All USA)

Broke Millennial – Erin Lowry (USA, 2017)

The No Spend Year – Michelle McGagh (UK, 2017)

I also loved Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki on minimalist living and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (the July chapter is about spending money with purpose). While not directly about personal finance, they have definitely impacted the way I manage my money and encouraged me to think about money and spending with more mindfulness and intention.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my all-time favourite personal finance books! If you want to ask more about any of the books, share your favourites with me, or anything else, as always you can comment below or contact me here.





3 thoughts on “My Favourite Personal Finance Books

  1. Loved the intro! I’ve read both books and totally agree with you. I think the Four Hour Work Week pushes you to have the grit and courage to do things that seem impossible at first. But going as far as “hacking” your way just to take credit for achieving something goes against my own ideals and takes away the importance of diligence in managing one’s finances.

    It’s great you have a lot of resources that are from your home country or from one that has a similar setting as your own. Living in Philippines, I don’t see a lot of that here but will try to explore more and maybe create one myself to contribute to my community. 🙂


    • Hi Maven, I totally agree with you. The Four Hour Work Week was quite motivational at first, but when it got into the nitty gritty, all the advice regarding the supposed success you’ll have just seemed superficial. You definitely strengthen your diligence & self-control from actually learning to manage your own finances!

      About creating your own personal finance resources for your home country: do it!! It not only inspires others, but is a fun and worthwhile hobby in itself 🙂 Enjoyed your post, ‘A Letter to 2018’!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: You Don’t Need to Be Rich to Be Financially Stable | Mindful with Money

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