Spring brings plenty of reasons to celebrate – after all, it's all about new beginnings, and the warmer weather brings weddings and parties galore. And with school coming to an end, it’s a time when both high school and college graduates can celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to what’s to come.
For college graduates specifically, this is can be one of the most exciting times in their lives. Now that they have earned a degree, they can move onto the next phase of living– a time that commonly includes building a career and even buying a house or starting a family.
10 Personal Finance Books Perfect for the College Graduate
If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for the college graduate in your life – or even a high school graduate preparing for their first job -- a personal finance book is always a good bet. Not only can a solid personal finance book introduce new grads to a range of economic concepts they’ll soon face, but it can help them prepare for the financial realities of their new adult world.
The following books should be considered must-haves for all of the college graduates in your life:
'Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money' by David Carlson
David Carlson takes a novel approach to helping people with their debt. To get out of debt faster, suggests Carlson, individuals should strive to make more money – either with a part-time job or with a “side hustle.” Through stories and examples, David shows young people how to harness their own power and talents to find a side hustle that is both profitable and rewarding.
Students drowning in student loan debt or any other type of debt could benefit from the lessons shared in "Hustle Away Debt," but even people without any debt can learn new and exciting ways to boost their incomes. While many young people waste more time complaining about their student loan debt than really doing anything about it, Carlson helps people take control of their financial lives.
- Related: How to Make Money
'The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams' by Stefanie O’Connell
Millennial money expert Stefanie O’Connell shares how she pursued her big city dreams on a budget and how others can do the same in her new book. With a fun twist on personal finance concepts, Stefanie is able to offer practical advice that almost any young person could relate to.
Anyone hoping to pursue their dreams without sacrificing their financial future should read this book, say fans, who find her advice both “practical and relatable.”
'Confessions of a Credit Junkie' by Beverly Harzog
Young adults who hope to buy a house or borrow money to start a business would be wise to keep a watchful eye on their credit scores. But, what does your “credit score” actually mean? And what power do you have over your score anyway?
Harzog answers these questions and more in her book "Confessions of a Credit Junkie." Through the use of powerful personal stories and truthful anecdotes, Harzog explains the whole point of your credit score, how you can improve it with responsible credit use, and how you can ruin your credit, too – not that you want to do that.
If your college grad has student loans up the wazoo, this book also offers strategies for using credit to get out of debt. Those not in debt can use the book to learn how to avoid it in the first place. Since all young people will deal with their credit at some point in their lives, "Confessions of a Credit Junkie" can serve as a valuable tool.
'I’ve Graduated, Now What: 4 Steps to Take After College to Find a Job and Start a Life You’ll Love' by LaTisha Styles
Graduating from college can seem like a huge feat on its own, but what’s next is enough to send any young person into a tailspin. After graduation is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to find a job, get your financial life on track, and use the lessons you’ve learned to create a life that is both rewarding and enjoyable.
LaTisha Styles uses her expertise on millennial money issues to create a roadmap for new graduates. Readers will learn how to create a rockin’ resume, leverage it to find their first entry-level job, and get their money straight once those first paychecks start rolling in.
Graduating college is the end of one journey, but the beginning of a new one. This book answers the lingering question, what’s next?
'Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence' by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, and Monique Tilford
"Your Money or Your Life" forces readers to ask profound questions about their work and how it affects their lives. Drawing on the connection between the time you spend at work and your life force, authors Robin, Dominguez, and Tilford explain how proper money management is the key to getting what you really want – and buying your freedom.
While the text can be slightly outdated, this book shares personal stories that can make any young person think about their role at work, and even the whole purpose of living. With the right tools and attitude about money, say the authors, anyone can create the future they desire. Is it your money or your life? At the end of the day, you decide what you want most.
'Step by Step Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to the Best Investments in Stocks and Bonds' by Joseph Hogue
Young people interested in investing should start by learning the basics, and that’s exactly what they’ll be exposed to in "Step by Step Investing." By poring through this resource, new college graduates can learn investing basics that can help them choose their investing style, discover how to avoid big mistakes that can cost a ton of money, and decide how to pick the right investments for their specific needs and goals.
Since time (and with it, the power of compound interest) is one of the biggest assets every young person has on his or her side, now is the time for any college graduate to learn about investing. While there’s plenty to learn, this book will give anyone a running start.
'31 Days to Drastically Reduce Your Expenses: Less Stress. More Savings' by Kalyn Brooke
Every new college graduates needs to face the realities of their budget constraints. With entry-level wages, and perhaps student loan debt to deal with, it’s crucial to prioritize spending and learn to live on less.
This book offers actionable tips that can help you cut down on your living expenses without sacrificing life’s small pleasures. From mortgage payments to car insurance and groceries, 31 days offers tips to reduce your outlay and pocket the difference.
'How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?' by Todd Tresidder
Young people with plenty of time until retirement could benefit from a cursory education on what “modern retirement” will require. While some calculators show you need millions of dollars for a comfortable retirement, they fail to mention the many concepts, like passive income, that can make retirement a more feasible concept for today’s youth.
Through encouragement and personal stories, Tresidder shows how that average person can leverage complicated and not-so-complicated investments to retire – and even retire early.
While retirement might be decades away for the average young person right out of school, it can be achieved much sooner if they get in the game quickly. This book shows them how.
- Related: The Number That Matters Most
'Make Money Your Honey: A Spirited Entrepreneur's Guide to Having a Love Affair with Work and Money' by Amanda Abella
With the world transitioning toward a digital economy and a nomadic workforce, new college graduates drawn to entrepreneurship could benefit from the knowledge of someone who's been there. Life coach Amanda Abella offers a wide range of tips on how young entrepreneurs can leverage their skill sets to find their dream careers, then balance their love of work with their pursuit of cash.
In addition to showing how millennials can create the work-life balance they want and need, Abella offers actionable advice on building a business around your life’s passions.
If the college graduate in your life is destined to forge their own path, this book is a must-have.
'The Millionaire Next Door' by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D.
The gift of youth can lead to a lifetime of wealth if you start investing early. At least, that’s what the authors of "The Millionaire Next Door" illustrate through various stories, equations, and examples.
Getting rich isn’t about scoring a huge inheritance, Stanley and Danko say, nor does it require being a CEO, a doctor, or a lawyer. With some personal restraint, a commitment to saving and investing, and some knowledge of financial basics, nearly anyone that earns an income could build a giant nest egg over time.
With plenty of years ahead of them, today’s college graduates would be wise to get started as early as they can. This book highlights both the how and the why of saving and investing, all while encouraging others to get excited about the future.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the graduate in your life, you can’t go wrong with a book that offers advice they'll actually use. And since everyone has to deal with money in one way or another, a personal finance book is always a good bet.
Today’s graduates might have bright futures ahead of them, but their lives will become immeasurably easier if they learn basic financial concepts and money management skills sooner rather than later.
What is your favorite personal finance book? What are you getting the new college graduates in your life for their graduation gift?