The last one that I just finished was "The Millionaire Next Door", about financial planning and how millionaires get to be how they are and what they do and how they act.
Interestingly enough, they act cheap. They invest wisely. They run businesses where they earn a decent income, but they don't have to be "showy" with their money, they sell mobile homes or work as auctioneers, that sort of thing.
The book defined wealth as net worth, not how much money you make. They say there's a magic formula...
[annual income]*[age]/10 = [what your net worth should be]
If it's less, you're not investing or saving enough. I'm about 30, so I should have 3 times my income. (LOL P0NIES!)
Of course I read this and was in SHOCK, all I could think about was my little CD at the credit union as my entire net worth, I sucked at scottrade and pulled my money out last year after too much proof that I should not be buying my own stocks. I still own a few that were huge losers and selling them would be admitting it but that's another entry.
But then I remembered my 401K, which I have to admit I had no idea what it consisted of, I just know that every article I read ever said "put in whatever your company matches AHHH!" so that's what I did, since I was 22 years old, and so yay it is worth way more than my credit union CD, about an income and a half actually. I made a mental note to check on it once a year or so, just for trivia purposes.
I'm still convinced that "investing" is just beyond me, after the scottrade mess, and my only hope is to bump up my savings rate. And pay my house off faster. Right now that's where my extra money is going... I figure since I can't earn a reasonable interest rate anywhere, might as well get out of the mortgage. This is not what any financial expert is saying, I'm just making it up as I go along.
A lot of the book makes me feel like I should be wearing nothing but burlap sacks and eating ramen but really, I think a lot of what I'm doing is okay. We try to avoid recreational shopping. My home mortgage is less than two times my annual income (that was another rule in the book). I feel no pressure to show off in front of wealthy friends or brag about stuff I've bought. At least half the baby's clothes are from thrift stores. My car is 12 years old.
Back to that net worth rule they had... is it just me, or is it kind of a crappy rule for young people? I mean, at 25 was I supposed to have 2.5 times my income saved up, even though I'd only been working for 2.5 YEARS? Talk about eating ramen.
I'm going to just keep doing what I can.
And reading free books. I'm sure the authors would love that.