10 Personal Finance Books Every College Student Should Read

Check out these 10 personal finance books for college students. Learn how to take control of your future, pay off debt, and achieve financial independence.

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by Steve Bailey

Updated February 11, 2022

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10 Personal Finance Books Every College Student Should Read

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Most people learn about personal finance relatively late in life. But by taking control of their finances early on, college students and recent grads can set themselves on a path to a brighter financial future.

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Learning about personal finance can help you get out of debt quickly and free up more of your income for travel, investing, purchasing a home, and reaching other financial goals.

The list below contains some of the best personal finance books for college students. These books can help learners conquer student loans and other debt, develop and maintain effective financial habits, and make sound long-term investments.

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Top Personal Finance Books for College Students

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

By Erin Lowry

This personal finance book offers helpful insights for young people just starting out on their path to financial independence. Readers learn how to take control of their money, starting with a monthly budget. They then learn about proper investing, financial planning, and avoiding credit card debt.

"Broke Millennial" helps college students begin planning for their financial future early on, allowing them to avoid the common pitfalls that affect many people in their 20s and early 30s. The author often uses humor to get her point across, making for an enjoyable read.

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence

By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

One of the best personal finance books for college students for more than two decades, "Your Money or Your Life" details nine simple steps young adults can take to achieve long-term financial independence. Readers learn how to avoid debt and incorporate sound financial habits into their lives without the need for strict budgeting.

The book takes an ecological approach to personal finance, focusing on how good financial habits help protect the environment and reduce waste.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

By Dave Ramsey

Financial guru Dave Ramsey offers a variety of tips and advice for getting out of debt, avoiding the pitfalls of cash advances, and creating a solid budget that can lead to long-term financial success.

Long considered among the best personal finance books, "The Total Money Makeover" helps college students understand how to engage in sound financial planning and begin paying off student loans as quickly as possible. Doing so empowers them to reach their financial goals without the burdens of large amounts of debt.

You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life

By Jason Vitug

In this book, financial expert Jason Vitug helps readers understand how sound financial management serves as a pillar of overall health and well-being. The book empowers college students and young adults to set feasible short-term and long-term goals and provides a roadmap for achieving them.

This personal finance book covers budgeting, how to prioritize spending, and how to take control and make the most of your money. For college students specifically, these concepts can make all the difference when it comes to paying off student loans and forging a debt-free future.

I Will Teach You to Be Rich

By Ramit Sethi

Paying off student loans and escaping other debt serves as the foundation of "I Will Teach You to Be Rich," one of the best personal finance books for college students. The book provides real-world advice on a variety of topics — even supplying scripts readers can use to get out of paying late fees.

In the later chapters, the author introduces tips for straightforward investing without having to pay for financial advisors. He also covers the best methods for buying a house and making other life-changing purchases.

Your Money Life: Your 20s

By Peter Dunn

Considered one of the best personal finance books for young adults, "Your Money Life: Your 20s" offers advice on paying off student loans, avoiding unnecessary debt, and effective budgeting strategies. This advice includes determining what percentage of your budget should go toward housing, groceries, bills, entertainment, and other expenses.

Readers also learn about the important role their credit score plays in key financial decisions throughout their lives, including the interest rates they pay when taking out loans.

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

By Thomas Stanley and William Danko

In one of the best personal finance books of the past 20 years, seasoned educators Thomas Stanley and William Danko detail the seven characteristics common to individuals who have built and accumulated wealth. While most people think of the wealthy as living in large mansions or penthouses in New York or Los Angeles, the fact is that most financially successful people live mostly typical lives.

This book offers guidance on how young people, including college students, can start the process of building wealth early in life.

The learning doesn't need to stop here

Explore the rest of our collection of financial education resources to continue your journey to a healthy financial future.

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Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money

By Erin Lowry

Geared toward millennial readers, lauded author Erin Lowry's popular personal finance book helps college students and young adults learn how to get started with investing. The book tackles common issues for students and recent graduates, including whether they should focus on paying down their student loans, how they can invest in socially responsible ways, and whether low-cost investing apps are worth the time and effort.

Readers can also find useful tips for getting their financial house in order before starting their investing journey.

Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need

By Grant Sabatier

Finance expert Grant Sabatier offers one of the best personal finance books for college students who aim to reach financial independence as quickly as possible once they graduate. Known as the "Millennial Millionaire," Sabatier provides helpful tips as he recounts his journey going from broke to someone with $1.25 million in assets just five years later.

The book covers an array of topics, including traveling the world on a budget, negotiating higher pay from employers, and forming lucrative side hustles that can eventually become small businesses.

The Personal MBA: 10th Anniversary Edition

By Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman, the founder of PersonalMBA.com, offers one of the best personal finance books for those who'd like to learn key concepts taught in business school without the cost of getting an MBA. Readers learn how to create value for customers beyond simply providing products and services.

Covering four critical methods businesses use to increase revenue, this book will likely appeal to entrepreneurial college students interested in starting their own businesses.

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