So let me start off with saying that I wanted to add 2 tags (or similar) I couldn't find: soft-question, non-investing.

I've been looking online for the most recommended books on personal finance, but find that everyone just seems to consider this synonymous with investing, so the recommendations are books such as Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor.

Now on itself there is of course nothing wrong with such recommendations, often the books are amazing. But they rarely if ever delve in to intelligent ways to manage money and spending habits; I haven't been able to find recommendations saying something akin to: from income spend 30% on living costs, 20% on the market etc. Of course this is a vast oversimplification but I think it makes the subject I'm looking for clear.

Do note that in specific, I'm looking for an analytical approach to the subject of personal finance; one that actively seeks to minimize their own biases and provide ideas, or handles, which help people develop the systems that work best for them personally.

To recap: I'm looking for book recommendations on the subject of personal finance with specific non-focus on investment strategy. It would be amazing if someone has some of these!

  • 3
    It's a great question (and kudos for wanting to improve) but it is off-topic for this forum as it's opinion-based and changes over time. If you google "good personal finance books" you'll get some (mostly) very good suggestions. If there are specific aspects of personal finance you're interested in (saving? budgeting? debt?) you might get more helpful answers.
    – D Stanley
    Jan 5, 2018 at 16:55
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    @DStanley In technical Stack Exchanges, questions like "What's a good book about programming that doesn't focus on technologies" are perfectly acceptable.
    – Lan
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:31
  • @Lan not sure I agree, but in this realm there's much more difference of opinion than technical realms. Some follow debt-free plans like Dave Ramsey's to a T, while others don't feel the same way about debt and use it as a tool. All that to say that since personal finance is, well, personal, it's harder to get a consensus on "best practices" that it is in technical realms.
    – D Stanley
    Jan 5, 2018 at 18:06
  • @DStanley Though I see the point you're making, I believe it is fundamentally flawed. Where I act on the assumption that people have a certain maturity that allows for evaluation free of preference. Example: A day trader probably doesn't care a lot about The Intelligent Investor, but everyone knows it's a good book. Or in fiction: Noone will deny The Martian to be good, whether they enjoyed it or not. Whereas no one can make the argument that the Fifty Shades trilogy is good, even when they liked it. (Spoiler alert: It is intentionally poorly written.) Good books tend to be universally good. Jan 5, 2018 at 18:11
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    @Lan - actually, on the software engg related exchanges, such questions are acceptable in the softwareengineering SE, and not on the stackoverflow SE. The latter is about technical questions, dealing with specific technologies, whereas the former deals with the broader aspects, should I say, softer, aspects of software engineering/programming. Money SE does not have this distinction, so I wonder if this question should be allowed?
    – talonx
    Sep 8, 2018 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


Honestly, I don't see a need for books about PF. It's too simple a subject.

That's because it's all about:

  1. Knowing where your money goes. (All of it!!!)
  2. Living below (not within) your means, so that you can save.
  3. Setting (reasonable) limits on your spending.
  4. Creating a schedule for paying your bills.

From those four principles derive details like:

  1. Making sure that you at least take advantage of tax-deferred accounts. (In the US, that would be things like making 401(k) contributions to get the max company matches and contributing to an IRA.)
  2. Paying off CC debt ASAP.
  3. Having an emergency fund.
  4. Automating your bill payments.
  5. Tracking your spending, so you don't over-spend.
  6. Shopping for lower insurance premiums.
  7. Etc, etc.

None of this mentions anything about 30% here, 10% there, ... Spend what you have to spend, but don't spend to much, since living below your means is the only way to save. If the result is that you can't buy a $300K house or $1200/month apartment, in addition to paying $500/month for a car... so be it. Make those adjustments.

  • 2
    -1 for answering an obviously off-topic question. Jan 5, 2018 at 17:06
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    Wanting to learn more about PF is completely on-topic, no matter what the Help Center says.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:10
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    -1, because you did not answer the question that was asked.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:23
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    The -1 is also because I don't agree with your first paragraph. Personal Finance is a subject worthy of books, and there have been some good ones written.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 5, 2018 at 17:45
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    @RonJohn It actually does not answer my question. I asked for book recommendations and your oversimplification forgets to take critically important things in to a count such as opportunity cost. Nor does it define any of the points you are making. What does "within means" mean? How about "reasonable limits", what does that entail? Knowing where your money goes is a tool, not a goal. If I know I spend 9k a month on ice-cream that does nothing to fix the situation. All in all your answer does not answer the question, and is submissive of the underlying concepts. Jan 5, 2018 at 18:06

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