I am interested in learning more about personal finance. I'm in my early 20's, and I recognise that now is a crucial time to form a solid financial footprint for myself. I live in the UK, but worry that most advice is targeted toward those who live in the US.

Are there major differences in how the financial industries work between the two countries? Is advice targeted at those in the US substantially different to comparable advice for those who live in the UK?

Would reading books like A Random Walk Down Wall Street be beneficial? Are there any books which could be recommended regardless of residency? And I guess, the real question for me: are there any books that could be recommended because I live in the UK?

6 Answers 6


Try this as a starter - my eBook served up as a blog (http://www.sspf.co.uk/blog/001/). Then read as much as possible about investing.

Once you have money set aside for emergencies, then make some steps towards investing. I'd guide you towards low-fee 'tracker-style' funds to provide a bedrock to long-term investing. Your post suggests it will be investing over the long-term (ie. 5-10 years or more), perhaps even to middle-age/retirement?

Read as much as you can about the types of investments: unit trusts, investment trusts, ETFs; fixed-interest (bonds/corporate bonds), equities (IPOs/shares/dividends), property (mortgages, buy-to-let, off-plan).

Be conservative and start with simple products. If you don't understand enough to describe it to me in a lift in 60 seconds, stay away from it and learn more about it.

Many of the items you think are good long-term investments will be available within any pension plans you encounter, so the learning has a double benefit.

Work a plan. Learn all the time. Keep your day-to-day life quite conservative and be more risky in your long-term investing. And ask for advice on things here, from friends who aren't skint and professionals for specific tasks (IFAs, financial planners, personal finance coaches, accountants, mortgage brokers).

The fact you're being proactive tells me you've the tools to do well. Best wishes to you.


Public sector and private industry retirement plans, taxation and estate planning would be the most substantial differences between the two countries.

The concepts for accumulating wealth are the same, and if you are doing anything particularly lucrative with an above average amount of risk, the aforementioned differences are not very relevant, for a twenty something.


I would always recommend the intelligent investor by Benjamin Graham the mentor of warren buffet once you have a basic knowledge ie what is a share bond guilt etc

In terms of pure investment the UK is fairly similar the major difference is the simpler tax structure, ISA allowance and the more generous CGT regime.


I will definitely recommend the following books

  • The Money make over by Dave Ramsey
  • The Complete guide to Money by Dave Ramsey
  • 'I will teach you to be rich' by Ramit Seithi
  • 'Rich Dad poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
  • 'The richest man in Babylon' by George Samuel Clason

The above books will open lot of eyes to exactly know what you are doing with your personal finances in a day to day basis.These books will surely be in the top of my list which I will be giving away to my kins in my later stage.

The concepts are universally the same, feel free to skip the chapters which were US based.

I live in UK and I read most of the above books in late twenties, it surely made lot of changes and also drastically improved my personal finance acumen. I wish I have read these books in my early twenties.


Consultant, I commend you for thinking about your financial future at such an early age.

Warren Buffet, arguably the most successful investor ever lived, and the best known student of Ben Graham has a very simple advice for non-professional investors: "Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s.)" This quote is from his 2013 letter to shareholders. Source: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf

Buffet's annual letters to shareholders are the wealth of useful and practical wisdom for building one's financial future. The logic behind his advice is that most investors cannot consistently pick stock "winners", additionally, they are not able to predict timing of the market; hence, one has to simply stay in the market, and win over in the long run.


As you are in UK, you should think in terms of Tax Free (interest and accumulated capital gains) ISA type investments for the long term AND/OR open a SIPP (Self Invested Pension Plan) account where you get back the tax you have paid on the money you deposit for your old age. Pensions are the best bet for money you do not need at present while ISAs are suitable for short term 5 years plus or longer.

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