I spent the pandemic getting into reading again. As an introverted kid with a huge imagination, I was a voracious reader, but I lost some of my love for books when college required reading texts didn't quite grab me. Anyone else get totally burned out on required reading in school?? Now, however, I am slowly turning back to books, my old friends, as a source of comfort, entertainment, and learning. And man, have I learned a TON in the past 2 years from reading all sorts of personal finance books. So, I wanted to share my favorites along the way!
Full disclosure: I am an now affiliate of Bookshop.org (!!!!!) where your purchases support local bookstores. I will earn a commission if you click through any of the links below and make a purchase. PS in 2021, 81% of their gross profit margin went directly to independent bookstores, which I think is pretty darn great.
ON TO THE BOOKS!
Here are 3 of my must-reads:
THE PRICE WE PAY
If you’ve ever been confused about the American healthcare system, raise your hand.
This book is an eye-opening look at the cost of medical care in the medical business; because the healthcare industry is a business after all. Dr. Marty Makary uses a combo of research and stories from folks across the United States to uncover the actual cost of medical care and how it affects all of us. This book is tough to read at times. It is full of devastating stories of folks negatively affected by the medical billing system, including one true story about a city where 95% of hospital patients had been sued by the hospital. I said, out loud, on almost every page, “No way. Are you kidding me?!?!” The first half of the book looks at our medical systems and how we got to the current American healthcare model. (Spoiler: it’s not great.) The second half of the book focuses on what we can do to shift the status quo and disrupt the system. As someone who has always been mind-boggled about how the medical business works, this was a fascinating and educational read. I learned so much about insurance, medical billing, and how to advocate to get myself the best cost of care.
Especially if you are involved in philanthropy, but also if you aren’t, please read this book. Edgar Villanueva details a path to heal from the internalized, colonist structures & beliefs within our financial systems that urge us to use the money to divide, control, and exploit. Instead, he offers an Indigenous view of healing; a look at the number of resources that can be used as medicine (even money), and ways of decolonizing financial institutions that would lead us towards balance.
Racism and colonization are heavily ingrained in American financial systems. I loved this book because Edgar compassionately and directly outlines the internalized colonial belief system, and also, how we all can heal from the trauma of the process of accumulated wealth in this country. It’s a truly masterful book and one that I continue to come back to.
THE FEMINIST FINANCIAL HANDBOOK
One of the things I realized as I read all these personal finance books (especially the spiritually-minded ones) was a lack of intersectionality or acknowledgment of privilege. This book was by far the most intersectional personal finance book I read in the past few years; in fact, intersectionality was the whole point of the book, which I found very refreshing.
The book focuses on challenges faced by women and non-binary individuals in both the US and Canada. It “takes a deeper look at economic inequality as it applies to earning, managing, and saving money within the context of oppression.” And that is a line straight from the book itself because I don’t think I could sum it up in a better, more concise way. It is also filled with real women’s stories and actionable steps you can take today to fight the system while also working strategically within it, which I loved.
I can’t wait to hear what you think. Leave a comment if you read one of the books from this list!
PS. If you thought I was going to only recommend 3 personal finance books to you, you are sadly mistaken and don’t know me at all. More to come!!