The books I’ll be reading on my next vacation

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I love to read books when I fly and lounge by the pool.  There’s just something about reading that transports you to a different world or helps you find ways to improve your life.  I just returned from a knowledge-filled weekend at FinCon 2016 in San Diego, and, WOW, my mind was blown with all of the inspiration on how to improve myself and the Bald Thoughts blog.

While at FinCon (besides being nominated for a Plutus Award), I reconnected with so many great people I met in years’ past and met many, many amazing new friends.  And some of these friends wrote books that will change your life!

I have several long flights coming up from Los Angeles for the Chicago Seminars, BACON in DC (Boarding Area Conference), a wedding in Cabo, our $12,000 romantic vacation in Italy, and a $246 mistake fare to Sweden.  These books will be perfect reading material on the flights!

I like the feel of a paperback book, but my wife Anna is always trying to get me to switch to an eReader.  If you’d like to read these eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App, it works on most devices, even iPads.  And pair that with the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial, you can download most of these books for free.  Then, when the 30 days are up, decide whether or not the Kindle Unlimited plan is worth the $9.99 a month.

Some of you may not be into reading books and would prefer to listen to them, so we’re partnering with Audible. With our special referral link, you can try Audible and get two Free Audiobooks.

To order any of these books for your library, please click on the pictures to use our Amazon referral link to support the site.  We appreciate it!


jason-vitug-you-only-live-onceYou Only Live Once by Jason Vitug

I had the pleasure of seeing Jason, the founder of Phroogal, during his The Road to Financial Wellness Tour in Pasadena, CA at one of the final stops before FinCon16 in San Diego.  It was amazing to hear the stories of Jason, Melanie Lockert of DearDebt, and Kristin Wong of TheWildWong with Jackie Lam of Cheapsters as emcee.  I was able to receive a copy of Jason’s book, thanks to the generous sponsorship by Wescom Credit Union.

I think we’ve all encountered money struggles in some shape or fashion in our life.  Jason’s book isn’t preachy and the approach isn’t simplistic (like the “latte factor” – cutting out one coffee a day advice).  This book is focused on having a positive relationship with your money that goes beyond having a budget or tracking what you spend.  Instead, it is about having goals and making sure that where you spend your money aligns with those goals.


amanda-abella-make-money-your-honeyMake Money Your Honey by Amanda Abella

Amanda’s book is about having a relationship with your money (sense a pattern here?).  This book offers strategies to shift your mentality and practical action steps that you can implement from Day 1 of reading the book.  With many books, you need to wait until you’ve finished before you can see results and understand a plan of action.  Not so with Amanda’s book!

When Amanda is not writing excellent books, she’s a money coach for millenials.  On her site, you can read excerpts from the book and sign up to receive a free email class where you learn how to pay down debt, boost your savings, and earn more money.


pat-flynn-will-it-flyWill It Fly by Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn is the hugely (or should I say “bigly”? haha) successful blogger from Smart Passive Income and many other successful online ventures that has made almost $1.7 million in the last 12 months!  In other words, Pat knows quite a bit about starting businesses.

In his book, Will It Fly, Pat teaches you not to rush into business born of “half-baked ideas, misguided theories, and other forms of self-delusion.”  Instead, he provides practical solutions to help you evaluate business ideas and concepts by designing your mission, uncovering potential pitfalls, assessing market conditions, performing a beta test on your sample market, and the final analysis whether to proceed with your business idea or not.

If you are thinking of starting a business, Will It Fly, is a must-read before you take your next steps!


sara-li-cain-cha-ching-a-money-coloring-bookCha-Ching! A Money Coloring Book by Sarah Li Cain

Sometimes, you just need a mental break from reading, and Cha-Ching! A Money Coloring Book helps you rest your brain for a few minutes.  Sarah has filled this book with a mixture of simple and complex outlines of pictures related to money.  Some are whimsical and fun, while others are parodies of classics, like American Gothic.

There are 30 hand-drawn illustrations for you to color and melt away the stress.  I’m not usually a fan of adult coloring books, but I found that Cha-Ching! was a great way to explore money topics with my 5-year old son, Timothy.  He enjoyed coloring these pages just as he would have had they been filled with Minions, Legos, and superheros.


emily-guy-birken-making-social-security-work-for-youMaking Social Security Work For You by Emily Guy Birken

I’m still 25 years away from collecting my full Social Security benefits, but my Mom and Mother-In-Law are retirement age, so this book is an important read since I help them evaluate what to do with their money.  I read and shared Emily’s first book, The Five Years Before You Retire, and it was a really valuable action plan to prepare for my MIL’s pending retirement.  It’s amazing how many decisions you are faced with as your retirement date approaches!

Emily’s book is an in-depth Social Security resource that answers just about any question you can think of.  No matter how simple or complex, Emily has thought through just about everything.  As luck would have it (or Murphy’s Law), just as the book was about to be released, Congress changed a number of Social Security rules, including the “file and suspend” benefit that many couples use to maximize their benefits.  Emily re-wrote every section of the book that was impacted by the new rules… that’s how thorough she is.


lauren-greutman-the-recovering-spenderThe Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman

Lauren is an accomplished writer, having written 3 books and running her blog.  Her other books Insufficient Funds and How to Coupon Effectively were written over the last couple of years – one about her struggle to get out of debt and the other a primer on using coupons ot stretch your budget.

In her current book, The Recovering Spender, Lauren discusses “how to get rid of bad money habits, pay down debt, and stay within a budget.”  I’m pretty frugal myself, and probably use plenty of the same tactics Lauren does in my own life, but it is educational to read other peoples’ stories and pick up little tips and tricks that you may not have thought about.


valerie-rind-gold-diggers-and-deadbeat-dadsGold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads by Valerie Rind

I hate to say it, but this book reads a little like financial porn – but in a good way.  Valerie does a fantastic job telling the stories of how people were suckered and swindled out of their money (and credit) by the people who were supposed to love them: husbands, wives, parents, children, and siblings.  Literally, nobody is safe… including Valerie.  Yes, even she opens up about her horrible personal experiences.

We have all loaned someone a $20-spot that never got paid back.  And, we’ve questioned whether or not that person deserved our trust in the future.  Now, imagine it was $10,000, or $100,000, or more!  I can’t even imagine how bad that betrayal must have stung.  With this intriguing book by Valerie, you get a sample of just how crappy it feels to be taken advantage of financially (and emotionally) by people you care about.

Frankly, these stories scare the bejeezus out of me!!!  It for this very reason that Anna and I have quarterly financial reviews where we discuss what’s going on with our money and what our goals are so that neither of us is ever in the dark and surprised by something crazy.

This book is a page-turner that you won’t want to set down until you get to the end.  And you can read even more stories at Valerie’s blog.


The Bottom Line

When I read, I tend to gravitate towards books that will help me learn how to improve in some aspect of my life.  Even though I feel I’m pretty financially fit, I know that there are things I can improve on.  The books above are focused on personal finance, but they have great lessons that will even benefit people who don’t like to balance their checkbook.  Read these books and follow their guidance, and I can assure you that in one year from today, you will be in a much better financial position than right now.

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