What single book did more to change your financial life?
Personally, it was the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe. Sorry for getting a little off topic but for me this book was the one that inspired me to read more. Without it I would not have benefited from the hundreds I have read since.
Specific to personal finance; The Millionaire Next Door convinced me that financial independence is withing grasp of virtually everyone. The Richest Man in Babylon showed me that it’s a marathon not a sprint and Jim Cramer inspired me to finally get serious about investing even though I’ve elected to rely heavily on index funds.
All these books and many more have educated and inspired me, but the book that changed my world was a book that was read by someone else; a book read by my wife.
For years I read and pondered and talked about money and eliminating our debt. Frankly, I was obsessed, I nagged and cajoled my wife to eliminate our debt. To her credit, she listened and she even worked to help get our debt under control. However, she was never an enthusiastic participant, she was more of a reluctant follower.
Several years after we had eliminated our non-mortgage debt, my wife found herself stuck watching Dave Ramsey as I was flipping channels. As she puts it, something about his laid back, non-judgmental style (she hadn’t seen him often). These few moments inspired my wife to read his book titled The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.
Over the course of a few nights she would periodically share some new revelation she gleaned from it’s pages.
– “Did you know that our housing expense should only be 25% of our take-home pay?” “Yes dear”, I replied, “actually it’s only 14.5% if we paid the minimums. Just think where we would be if we bought the house you really wanted!”
– “Did you know that 56% of Americans don’t invest routinely for retirement?” “Yes dear, and we were one of them until we paid off all our debt.”
– “Did you know that only 3% of people 65 years old are financially secure?” “Dear, I know it’s low but I planning on being one of the few.”
Upon completing the book she remained quiet for a couple of days. Then one afternoon she came to me and asked if we “could talk?” These are words that send shivers down any married mans back. When the wife “wants to talk” it usually means you’ve done something wrong without even knowing it.
The first sentence out of my wife’s mouth sounded like gold coins flowing from a one-armed bandit. The bells were ringing, the lights were flashing and the best part was I didn’t even have to deposit a coin to play.
She said… “I want to pay off our mortgage, how soon do you think we can do it?”
As you may expect my response was the only appropriate one, “Who are you and what did you do with my wife?”
My wife has been a best friend for decades, she has been a wonderful companion for nearly 14 years but having her engaged and involved in our pursuit for financial freedom is icing on the cake.
What book has changed your financial life?