If the recent news of financial disasters leaves you wondering how this happened, or makes you want to crawl into a fallout shelter for the next 50 years, you should read these six books right now. Some will inform you on how we got here, and some will help you ensure that your life doesn’t collapse along with the financial markets.
Finance Books to Explain How the Financial Crisis Happened
If you want to know more about how this happened, read these two books. They don’t offer a lot of solutions, but at least you’ll understand we got here.
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown – It’s a brief (very brief) and easy to read exploration about the recent history of the financial markets. Charles Morris explains how even more recent deregulation allowed the big investment banks and mortgage companies to spin out of control. His predictions are dire, but given the bloodbath we’re currently witnessing, he doesn’t seem that far out of reach.
Supercapitalism – Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains how lobbying and corporate power have resulted in a decline of regulation and an increase in the risk we all face due to corporate shenanigans. He doesn’t offer many solutions, but it’s a sobering look at the how our political and business systems became so broken.
Books to Help You Recover Your Finances
There’s nothing you can do to stop a bank or investment firm from collapsing (unless you’ve got a few million dollars to spare), but you can take steps now to ensure that your personal finances don’t collapse, too.
The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom – If you’re not in debt, but don’t yet have your financial house in order, read this one. Suze Orman explains the basics about affordable mortgages, retirement accounts, wills and trusts, and insurance.
The Total Money Makeover – If you’re deep in debt and can’t seem to find your way out if it, read Dave Ramsey’s book to get on the path to debt freedom. His step-by-step instructions are hard work, but simply explained. In this economy, getting out of debt is the best thing you can do to secure your future.
Your Money or Your Life – Read this book if you’re not yet in debt, but are trying to maintain a lifestyle you can no longer truly afford, are wondering where all your money went, or are in debt due to overspending on consumer goods. Although it does offer debt relief advice, the true value of the book is the way it helps you figure out how you value money, and how that’s reflected in your spending.
A Book to Teach You Frugality
Getting out of debt and living within your means usually leads people to embrace frugality. Here’s my favorite book to help you discover how to be more frugal.
America’s Cheapest Family – Despite the name, I don’t consider this family to be overly cheap. What they are is frugal. You don’t have to adopt all of their advice, but they do have some great tips that will help you find ways to cut back on your own spending without suffering.
I could list more books, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. The news does enough of that, already. Although the first two books will scare and depress you, the other four will inspire you to do what you can to rescue yourself from financial collapse. It’s never too late to start.
What are you favorite personal finance reads?