Why Most Personal Finance Books Won’t Help You

piles of books

Most personal finance books are like fad diets. They fail because they’re not specifically tailored to what we want and need in the first place. Much like New Year’s resolutions, they’re great at motivating us temporarily, but temporary change is not change.

With the mounds of personal finance books that people read each year, we should all be millionaires who don’t need to read any more personal finance books. For some reason though, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s not because we’re dumb. It’s because many of the books out there are written by people who write these books only to support their own bank accounts.

Now there are some good books and resources to help people learn about personal finance topics, such as how retirement savings and credit works. These are typically more like textbooks in appearance and are certainly not what I’m writing about today. I’m referring to the personal finance books that usually have the author’s giant face on the cover along with a guarantee that you will become rich simply by denouncing your morning Starbucks.

The simple truth is that all you need for financial success, both now and in the future, regardless of your income, is a smart budget that allows for the things you enjoy and a budgeting process that is fun so you stay on top of it.

This simple truth is why I wrote Budgeting Doesn’t Have To Suck. It’s a really unique approach that shows you how to arrive at your budget based on what you value and tells you about the best free tools to maintain it.

Every one of us could sit down right now and draw up that “perfect budget” that excludes most of the things we enjoy and consider fun. We would include a nice savings cushion and know that retirement would be full of 6am breakfasts, followed by lots of golf. We already know that formula from many of the personal finance books out there. And it looks great on paper. But then why doesn’t it work?

The reason is simple… they are putting you on a fad diet that doesn’t match the foods you enjoy or that your particular body needs for short and long-term success. Before you even consider sitting down to create a budget for yourself, you need to really explore what matters the most to you and what truly makes you the happiest in life. Once you have that list, you have the foundation of YOUR budget.

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