Photo: Sander Spolspoel via Flickr
Let’s face it; young consumers could use a lesson in financial literacy.In a basic personal finance quiz administered to college students nationwide by Higher One, seven out of 10 respondents failed the quiz.
That means that more than half of college students didn’t know financial basics such as how much to save in an emergency fund.
Today’s young consumers in their teens to late twenties are known as the Millenial generation, the most technologically connected generation in history, more likely to pick up an iPad than read a book.
However, Millenials are also coming of age during the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, facing bleak job prospects, a volatile stock market, and weak economic growth.
For 20-somethings who are getting a paycheck and climbing their career ladder, learning money basics is one of the most significant steps towards financial independence.
While reading books may have lost its sexiness around the time we all discovered Wikipedia, these books have the best conventional and unconventional financial advice you no longer have to spend hours Googling for.
Millenials, here are the money books you need on your bookshelf– or hard drive.
Generation Earn: The Young Professional ‘s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, by Kimberley Palmer.
For Everyday Money Matters: If every high school and college campus had enough sense to have a mandatory personal finance course, this book could be the curriculum. Not only does it cover the basics of practical financial advice for 20-somethings, such as how to control spending and buying your first home, but it’s also written in the reality of a post-recession economy.
Aimed at helping young professionals build solid financial futures, it’s the modern financial companion to your netbook and smartphone. Plus, it even covers a key Millenial trait of feeling “empowered to change the world.” Palmer’s last section covers ways for young professionals to promote positive change in the world through volunteering and other philanthropic efforts.
Bookmark: Every “Quick Tip” section, The Upside of Debt, and Job Juggling
One-liner: “Before the recession, I never thought credit card debt was a big deal. The recession changed all that and this book taught me to buckle down so I can be where I want to be financially in the next five years,” said one 22 year old.
Also add to your reading list: The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke, by Suze Orman. Read it just to get a taste of her sassy brand of financial advice: “I am not going to feed you some head-in-the-sand position that credit cards are the devil in plastic.”
How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
For the Workplace: First published in 1937, Carnegie’s book sold 15 million book copies to date and is still widely downloaded for e-book readers. Don’t misunderstand the title; the book teaches strategies on how to influence people without being deceptive. Why is this for the Millenial?
It offers uncommon common sense on people skills, a sort of blueprint of how to navigate social situations in the office, networking events, and beyond. For Millenials who may be well versed in social networking etiquette, it’s valuable to brush up on face-to-face etiquette as well. Be genuinely interested in people. Remember their name. Talk about their interests, not yours. There’s a reason people have sworn by this book for decades; it’s a timeless classic that works.
Bookmark: How to criticise—And Not Be Hated For It and Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
One-liner: “It’s a logical breakdown on how illogical people can be when communicating. Once you read the book, you’ll recall all the illogical ways you’ve tried to influence someone by putting them down or being fake,” said one 23-year-old.
Also add to your reading list: Bossypants, by Tina Fey. This may not give you a list of tips and strategies, but it does have family pictures and tons of jokes. It’s a funny, anecdotal memoir on how hard you have to work to make your career dreams come true. Here’s a nugget of Fey wisdom: “In most cases, being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
For Financial Peace of Mind: A repeat offender on “best personal finance book” lists and a global bestseller, many readers proclaim this book “changed their lives.” Makes sense. 20 of the most powerful words you’ll find in any book are written here: “Breaking the link between work and money in actual fact will exponentially expand the possibility of discovering your true work.”
The book really shines in its approach to money, something that career-driven, spend-happy Millenials would be wise to consider. Along with typical financial advice, it’s a philosophical reminder of the value of wealth and money. Mainly, that it’s not about working to accumulate possessions, but saving in order to live the life you love. Turn your money philosophy upside down and it’ll inspire positive financial actions, like saving money.
Bookmark: Valuing Your Life Energy – minimising Spending and Valuing Your Life Energy – Maximizing Income
One-liner: “The book taught me the concept of enough—the goal of life wasn’t to live like a frugal pauper, it was to make sure I had enough to spend and to save,” said one 26-year-old.
Also add to your reading list: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert Pirsig. This isn’t a financial book by any means. It’s a philosophical novel that teaches you how to be comfortable with an uncomfortable journey, whether that is on a motorcycle cross-country trip, or maybe paying off student loans, hustling to land a job, and moving out of the parents’ house.
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