Question about books/sites to help people with no background.

10 Replies

Hey Folks,

I hope everyone's weekend has kicked off with a bang (or a hammock)!

I have an employee here in the restaurant I run. He is 19. He is one of the hardest working 19 year olds I have ever met (when he wants to be, he IS still 19). Overall, great person. Honest, loyal, hard-working, driven, wants a future for him and his mama.

I see such potential in him and I want to pass some books or websites or whatever to him to help him start to grasp the understanding of saving, preparing for the futures, etc. I don't think sending him here would help much, at this point. It would be really overwhelming at first, I believe. He didn't finish high school and so is missing some understanding in the mathematics arena. I don't think he didn't finish because he wasn't smart enough. He's a smart kid. It's just his environment. No one in his family finished high school, they dropped out to start working to help support the family.

Rich Dad was the first book that popped into my mind... but I didn't know if there are other books that are maybe more simple to start off with. A sort of personal finance for dummies kind of book. But I don't know if that book is really worth anything or just fluff.

So, can you all recommend some books or websites (or podcasts) that could help introduce these ideas to him? I'm looking in more of a personal finance direction and not REI, yet. Saving, planning for the future, understanding compound interest, no complex math yet. He was an A/B student when he dropped out of school... so he isn't a dummy. But I don't want to just slap him in the face with all the heavier topics all at once.

Hopefully this rambling post makes sense?

I figure between all the folks in here there have to be some good suggestions.

Thank you all so much!

Everyone have a great weekend!

Originally posted by @Paul Allen :

The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards

 Thank you Paul! I like the look of this but worry it is still a bit heavy in regards to terminology and such. Is there something else to just introduce someone to thing like compound interest, retirement savings, etc? Like a personal finance for dummies type of thing. I just don't know if that actual book is any good. 

@Brian H.

Bogleheads is good if interested in index funds 

I think listening to podcasts on real estate investing is a good start. 

For a general overview on finances, i would think there could be beneficial meetups in the area he can attend, like minded individuals will change thinking... which is critical! 

@Brian H.

This is how I see things, Brian. There's a book called How to Study in College by Walter Pauk that I came across when I was a mid-year State University of New York College at Buffalo freshman. I didn't know it then, but the principles first put forth in this book are the basis for almost every college study skills teaching program running in the USA today. It was just a book I ran across at the public library in my hometown in 1993.

I read that book cover-to-cover. Again and again. I had never been given much direction by my parents on how to study, let alone how to study effectively, and I saw the value of this instantly. This was my ticket to the heights of academic performance. I was going to be the kid with the highest grades in the class.

It took a while, but eventually I graduated at the top of my class, summa cum laude, with stratospheric GRE General and Subject Test scores. I applied to six graduate schools for PhD study in my field. Of the six, five accepted me, and I had my pick of four full-ride fellowships and teaching assistantships. One school (University of Pittsburgh) even offered me a TAship to start and guaranteed appointment as a lecturer for the next four years. I turned down Pitt and went to get a PhD for free at Brown and...

Well, that's not the important part of this story.

I have since given copies of How to Study in College to three people. From two of them, I have heard, "Thank you very much." Not a peep after that. I was related to both of them.

The last of the three, whom I am not related to, came to me for study advice. He was planning on preparing for a competitive  national entrance exam to a prestigious postgraduate school in a foreign country in the next year. He took my copy of the book and went home with it.

I got a text message from him 48 hours later: "THIS IS IT! IM GONNA $%@* EM ALL WITH THIS! I DONT BELIEVE IT! YOU ARE THE MAN!"

Guess which of those three people is an internationally-renowned oral surgeon today? The other two...yeah, not so much.

My point is, if you really have the right kid, he's going to be bright and motivated to succeed enough to see the value of what you're handing him, and it's going to be a transformative experience.

For many of us here on this site, it was reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad that lit a fire under us. For me, it was very much How to Study in College but after that, it was another lucky find, an old book called Profits in Buying and Renovating Homes by Lawrence Dworin that got me into rehabbing houses for rent, and then still later in personal finance, it was very much The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko. I devoured every book Stanley wrote after that. My wife was exactly the same way. We locked on and haven't let go since. Living the way Stanley showed us has been extremely kind to our net worth, financial security, and mental health in running out little property business, and every time now I read something on the Web about how The Millionaire Next Door was a myth and a fable about a false cohort of people and no one could possibly take the ideas laid out in it seriously and they couldn't possibly work today to help make anyone financially secure, oh wow do I laugh, and it's the rich, satisfying laugh of a guy who's  laughing last. Of course I don't agree with everything in the book, but what Stanley's trying to show and say is, overall, the best strategic resource on how to live in order to help yourself get from zero to a million on your personal balance sheet that's ever been written in America.

Stanley's gone, sadly, killed by a drunk driver in 2015. His daughter is finishing his last research project and she's coming out with a new book at the end of September. That may be very accessible. But his last book (2009) was called Stop Acting Rich...and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire, and it was a great read, better than the  than The Millionaire Next Door, first published in 1996, and there was a lot of updated specific research in Stop Acting Rich that still applies.

@Brian H. I read "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" bt Ramit Sethi a while ago and thought it was a great primer on personal finance - common sense and well delivered. I don't remember the take on FI or REI, but it really covered the basics.

@Brian H.

Hey Brian,

Looks like you got an abundance of books to pass on to this young man. I even wrote down a couple for myself. 

Another good read to add to the list of personal finance books is The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. It's informative and simple to apply to his current situation, which will give him so much future value.

Best regards,

De'Andre Williams

@Brian H.   I would definitely recommend the following: 

  • The Richest Man in Babylon (very easy read)
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Anything you can find by Jim Rohn (there are videos on Youtube as well)

That should get him started! :)