Essential personal finance e-books

A few days ago, I released The Get Rich Slowly Guide to Roth IRAs as a free e-book. Readers who are interested in opening a retirement account can download this short book — which draws from a series of articles I wrote two years ago — and use it as a reference as they work through the process.

Though this is my first e-book (it won't be my last), there are a variety of other great personal-finance e-books available for free download. You can pick up others for just a couple of bucks — or by subscribing to an e-mail newsletter. Here's a quick overview of some I've found lately.

Free E-Books About Money

First up, Robert Pagliarini is offering his Plan Z: How to Survive the Financial Crisis as a free download. Pagliarini is a certified financial planner and the author of The Six-Day Financial Makeover. Plan Z is his guide to preparing for — and living through — the worst. If you're struggling with your personal finances, this free download may help you gain some ground.

On a similar note, my friend Leo from Zen Habits has created a free e-book entitled Thriving on Less in a Tough Economy. This book is all about taking charge of your life, exercising power over the things you can control. By cutting back and focusing on the essentials, by making small changes, you can actually live a very rich life.

Next, Money Management International has a free e-book at their financial literacy website. Tips for Change contains “tips submitted by financially savvy consumers”, including this one from yours truly:

Here's one excellent way to begin your retirement savings: When you've finished paying off your debt, take the amount you were using for this each month and, instead of spending it, stick it into a retirement account. You've already developed the habit of using the money to improve your financial life; this is just another way to do it!

Mike Piper, The Oblivious Investor, has temporarily made his latest book available for download. Mike writes a series of books that are like CliffsNotes for financial topics. His latest volume is called Investing Made Simple, and covers topics like:

  • asset allocation
  • how to pick mutual funds
  • the difference between Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and 401(k)s
  • how to avoid frequent mistakes

This isn't really an e-book — it's literally the PDF version of his latest book, and will only be available during the month of September. If you're interested in this, download it today!

NCN at No Credit Needed has a short-and-sweet 8-page guide to getting out of debt available as a free download. If you're in that first stage of personal finance, check out the No Credit Needed Debt Reduction Guide.

Finally, the United States Federal Citizen Information Center offers many free and inexpensive books and pamphlets. Here's their list of money-related publications. You can use this form to order print versions of each item, but also note that many of these items are available for free download. There are publications on building credit, buying life insurance, investing in mutual funds, and more. I highly recommend bookmarking this site for future reference.

Tip: As I've mentioned before, my favorite FCIC money publication is the annual Consumer Action Handbook. This 182-page book is well worth ordering, but you can also download the most recent version for free. Or you can download specific sections, as needed.

E-Books With a Cost (or a Catch)

While preparing this post, I also found a handful of worthwhile e-books that can be had for a small cost — or a small catch.

For example, Trent at The Simple Dollar has created a number of e-books built from the content on his site. These books aren't free — but they're nearly so. For just two bucks each, you can download the following:

  • 31 Days to Fix Your Finances, a month-long program for taking control of your financial life.
  • The One-Hour Project, which lists a series of 30 small one-hour projects you can use to put your finances on a better path.
  • Twenty Big Ideas, detailed summaries and reviews of great personal-finance and personal-development books.
  • Building a Better Blog, a guide to creating and growing a blog community.

Over at Squawkfox, Kerry has put together The Insider's Guide to Frugal Food and Fitness. This polished package is filled with tips and tricks not just for saving money, but also for getting in shape.

Finally, Jim from Bargaineering has created a couple of e-books. The first is his College Grad Money Guide, which you can obtain for free by subscribing to his RSS feed. The second highlights 100 Easy Ways to Save Money, which is free when you subscribe to his e-mail newsletter.

Have you found any worthwhile personal-finance e-books? How much did you pay? Where did you get them?

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Gordie Rogers
Gordie Rogers
10 years ago

I’d also recommend Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad” series. They are excellent at getting your head in the right place to get into investing. A good foundation.

Mike Piper
Mike Piper
10 years ago

Hi J.D.

Thanks for including my new book.

I’m excited about this–several of these are new to me.

Also, for anybody interested, I can vouch for Trent’s “Building a Better Blog” ebook. It’s got plenty of great tips that helped me get my blog rolling when it was brand new. 🙂

The Incidental Economist
The Incidental Economist
10 years ago

I not able to get your book at the first URL you give in this post (page not found), but I can get it at https://www.getrichslowly.org/images/GRS/The%20GRS%20Guide%20to%20Roth%20IRAs.pdf

Also, there are some good, free educational materials available through America Saves (http://www.americasaves.org/) and its affiliates.

JerichoHill
JerichoHill
10 years ago

JD

One guide to investing that you had mentioned previously is available on

http://www.TransparentInvesting.com

and is a very excellent guide to index fund investing.
http://transparentinvesting.com/Step_1.html
or the longer version
http://transparentinvesting.com/uploads/wholestory.pdf

I would recommend these be added to anyone’s reading list if they are new to index fund investing. And they’re free.

Little House
Little House
10 years ago

Thanks for this list of books. I think I will definitely check out the Investing Made Simple, especially if it is a Clif Notes like read. This will help my overall investing plan.

thanks again-
Little House

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
10 years ago

essential |iˈsen sh əl|
adjective
1 absolutely necessary; extremely important.

J.D.
J.D.
10 years ago

@Tyler (#6)
Guilty as charged. 🙂

I confess to engaging in hyperbole for this morning’s headline. But really, that’s because I could not come up with another way of saying “here are a bunch of personal finance e-books”. I spent several minutes cogitating on this before just giving up and using “essential”. I knew it was a cheap out, but I used it.

Shannon @ Ace Cash Express
Shannon @ Ace Cash Express
10 years ago

Yes those Robert Kiyosaki books are very entertaining and of course imformative. Thanks for the suggestions I will check them out.

Squawkfox
Squawkfox
10 years ago

Hey J.D. Thank you so much for including my eBook! There’s no catch though to downloading it — it’s totally free and readers don’t need to subscribe to my blog if they use the secret link you provided. Free is sooo frugal. 😉

Cheers,
Kerry

Damilola @ Kaizen
Damilola @ Kaizen
10 years ago

Great List. I have already started on Mike’s Investing Made Simple.

Will someone remind people that the “Rich Dad” Series does not fall under E-BOOKS or FREE?

David@DINKS Finance
10 years ago

“Over at Squawkfox, Kerry has put together The Insider’s Guide to Frugal Food and Fitness. This polished package is filled with tips and tricks not just for saving money, but also for getting in shape.”

Gotta love killing two birds with one stone – save money and have better health!

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
10 years ago

@J.D. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it except that I’ve been on a bit of a minimalism kick lately (well, for the last two or three years, probably), and so I examine words like “essential” and “important” and “necessary” with scrutiny. That’s just me being me. This morning, after reading this post (and posting my sarcastic definition comment), I didn’t download any of these e-books, but instead rode my bike to the beach and went surfing for an hour or so before coming back to start work. There’s some comment about passions and priorities in there, waiting to be extracted… Read more »

Jenzer
Jenzer
10 years ago

Tyler has an excellent point, one that can applied broadly to all life choices (not just the financial ones). What do we define as essential / important / necessary for ourselves, and are we aware of when others try to define those elements for us? Sometimes when I’m waiting in line at a grocery or discount department store, I scan the headlines on women’s magazines and note how often said headlines contain phrases like “must [verb] now!” (… must try now! … must have now! … must do now!), or words like “gotta,” “need,” and “should.” Um, no, I’ll decide… Read more »

friend
friend
10 years ago

I checked out a couple of these and can highly recommend Squawkfox — there is some good original thinking here, and attractive presentation as well. A keeper.

Sorry but “Thriving on Less” was just a rehash of the same ol same ol, and a big promotion to buy his $$ book.

Robert
Robert
10 years ago

I purchased a personal finance/investing book on Amazon the other day to brush up on things. Perhaps I will check one of these e-books out. Thanks for the heads up!

Lizard631
Lizard631
10 years ago

Thank you! I downloaded the free books and started reading Thriving on Less right away. What a breath of fresh air!

Austin
Austin
10 years ago

Whoa! Solid personal finance advice e-books for free? Don’t mind if I do! 🙂

Kim McGrigg
Kim McGrigg
10 years ago

Great list. Thanks so much for including the Tips for Change e-book — it is in great company! Working on another free e-book right now and will let you know when it’s complete.

Penina
Penina
7 years ago

Great stuff.Thirty steps to Financial wellness is very good.
I will also recommend it to my readers.

Harwood
Harwood
4 years ago

Another thing I have noticed is that often for many people, poor credit is the results of circumstances outside of their control. For example they may be really saddled with illness so they have more bills going to collections. Maybe it’s due to a job loss or maybe the inability to go to work. Sometimes divorce can send the financial situation in an opposite direction. Many thanks sharing your ideas on this site.

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