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The Money Books to Read to help you control your finances

The Money Books to Read to help you control your finances

Feige Lewin

We’ve curated a list of South African Money books that cover everything you need to know about finances. From earning, to saving, to investing, to taxes and more, these books are a must read.

 

Generally (or historically) when we publish a reading recommendation list, we’ve read the books cover to cover and include an overall summary of what you can expect from the book. This month is going to work a little differently…

 

As you may have seen on our homepage (if you haven’t, go look, it’s beautiful 😊), Instagram stories (follow us if you’re not already hanging there) or newsletter (subscribe if you haven’t, we include exclusive content) – our theme this month is Money Matters. We chose this theme because despite money being central to everything we do, it’s something a lot of us know so little about. As Sam Beckbessinger says in her book Manage Your Money Like A F*cking Grownup;

 

“We never get an instruction manual about how money works. We never have to pass a test to get our money license before we take a new credit card for a drive. Most of what we learn about money comes from advertising or from other people who know as little as we do. No wonder we make such basic mistakes. No wonder we feel disempowered and scared.”

 

I am no expert on money or how to manage your finances and have made my share of money mistakes in my life. So many, that when I read that 25 is the age you need to start doing x,y and z and how delaying by 5 years has a dramatic impact… I look at my age and start having heart palpitations.

 

For money matters month, I wanted to curate a list of books on finances that;

  1. Are South African. It doesn’t help to read books written by an American for Americans, they need to be applicable to us, the products we have available and the legislation that governs us. And;
  2. Cover three sections of money matters that I believe sum up lessons on finances that we aren’t taught and need to know about; Taxes, Savings and Investments.

 

Below are 4 books that I’ve chosen that fit the criteria. They’re written by experts in their fields and I believe these books can teach all of us more about finances than we can find in an article. Definitely more than we learned in school. (Seriously, why are these topics not a compulsory subject in school?!)

 

1. Manage Your Money Like A F*cking Grownup by Sam Beckbessinger

 

About the Author

Sam Beckbessinger is a writer and a fintech entrepreneur. Her website’s bio says “she’s on a quest to help young people learn to Adult better. She’s still trying to figure it out herself.” Well, she’s 32 and so far, from what I’ve read – she has finances figured out a lot better than most!

 

What the Book Covers

The book’s tagline is “The best money advice you never got”. The eight chapters cover a wide range of money topics from giving you a crash course on understanding money, introducing you to tracking your spending and wrangle your spending, choosing accounts, savings, investments, making money and more.

 

My Thoughts so far

Sam starts the book by telling you she swears like a sailor. Yes, the title should give that away, but it does hurt my precious ears every time she does. I grew up in a home with no swearing, I don’t swear. THAT BEING SAID. Being a mature adult who realises my way isn’t everyone else’s way, I am able to look past the ‘unnecessary’ verbiage and appreciate Sam’s amazing style of writing.

 

The book is so readable. She is smart and she makes a scary and technical topic understandable. This book is no doubt written for a younger audience, which is fantastic. If today’s youth read and apply the contents, the next generation of South Africans will be a lot more financially stable. From the first page I knew this was a book I wouldn’t struggle to consume and when she gave one of my favourite books about behavioral economics as recommended reading, I felt that it was a book that I’m going to love.

 

Get it here Currently R166

 

2. Make Your Money Work For You by Anthea Gardner

 

About the Author

I was introduced to Anthea Gardner when I used to listen to CliffCentral. She has a segment called the Money Shot, which I made sure I listened to daily. She gives such amazing insight on South African markets, the economy and money in general. Anthea is the founder and managing partner of an asset management business called Cartesian Capital. She is also a popular South African financial commentator. When I saw her book come out, I had to get it.

 

What the Book Covers

Anthea’s book covers her expertise, Investing. In the thirteen chapters she takes you from understanding why you need to invest to explaining ways to do it, interest, risk, designing a portfolio and even avoiding scams.

 

My Thoughts so far

The book is written in Anthea’s voice. If you’ve heard her commentating, you are getting what you expect. What I love about her approach is how gentle it is and don’t confuse gentle for weak. She has a way of teaching you in a way that is both sternly matter of fact but comforting. She is not judgemental, and she understands real people financial woes. I love her paragraphs on whether it makes sense to save while you have debt. Most advice I’ve read says no. she says, “I don’t believe the answer is straightforward.”

 

Get it here Currently R181

 

3. How To Get A SARS Refund by Daniel Baines

 

About the Author

Daniel Baines is an admitted attorney with a BA LLB & MComm in Taxation and he works as a tax consultant.

 

What the Book Covers

This book explains the fundamentals of Income tax in South Africa. It is written for individual salaried employees. In the six short chapters he covers everything from understanding individual tax, deductions, exempt income, medical tax credits and capital gains tax. He also touches on commission earners, independent contractors and retirees.

 

My Thoughts so far

This is the one book I have completed and it’s largely due to its size. It’s a very small book (68 A5 sized pages) and is easy to get through in a day. It’s a great handbook of neatly compiled income tax information. In the reference section he mentions that most of the resources mentioned in the book are available from the SARS website. As someone who has tried navigating their website for information, I can tell you this book is a much easier and user-friendly resource to keep on hand.

 

Get it here Currently R103

 

4. Become Your Own Financial Advisor by Warren Ingram

 

About the Author

Warren Ingram is someone else I became familiar with through listening to his Money Show commentaries on radio. He is an award-winning financial planner and respected personal finance commentator. He is the co-founder of Galileo Capital a firm that deals with wealth management, portfolio management and retirement planning.

 

What the Book Covers

This book says it is a Step-By-Step guide to financial peace of mind. In 14 chapters it covers starting out, building up, budgeting, debt management, investments, insurance, taxes, wills, getting professional financial help and financial blunders to avoid. It is essentially a book version of your very own financial advisor.

 

My Thoughts so far

I started this book quite a while ago so am going to have to start again from scratch. His approach and practicality resonate with me. I love how he starts out saying that his book is not a “how-to-get-rich-quick manual”. He sets out to teach the reader how to become financially independent. How to control your money and not be “enslaved” by money problems.

 

As Bruce Whitfield says in the foreward, “Warrens Ingram’s book is full of common sense. In many ways it is about the stuff you already know, but don’t always apply in your everyday life.” I’m really excited to get stuck back in.

 

Get it here Currently R197

 

5. You’re not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich by Mapalo Makhu

 

About the Author

Mapalo Makhu is a personal finance coach, speaker, columnist and the founder of Woman & Finance – a platform that aims to educate and demystify personal finance. Her aim is to provide a unique brand of jargon free financial education aimed at women and reading her book you can tell she’s doing just that.

 

 

What the Book Covers

Mapalo says that she wrote the book because she believes that the road to financial freedom is a road everyone can embark on. It’s aimed at millennials trying to figure out how money works. Through relatable stories she teaches you how to change your mindset around money, get out of debt, stay debt free and invest. The book also covers pertinent topics like black tax, savings, budgeting, emergency funds, financial scams and estate and retirement planning.

 

My Thoughts so far

Mapalo starts the book questioning why financial literacy isn’t taught in schools. We’re told we can have it all – go to school, get a job and be financially free. But what we’re missing she says is financial education. Financial freedom is not about how much money you make, but how much you keep and how you make it work for you.

 

She has a very relatable and easy to understand way of writing. It’s a book that’s not just explaining finances but is filled with stories, practical tips and lessons you can apply. I’ve found her explanations easy to understand and particularly like the Q&A section she has at the end of each chapter which further helps explain what was discussed.

 

In the beginning of the book she does go into a history of South African society. In particular Black South African society, and why there is a lack of conversation around money within that community. With chapters on black tax and stokvels, it’s clear that she wants to provide a resource to Black South Africans, many of who are the first in their families to go to university and work corporate jobs. Nonetheless, whether those topics apply to you or not, the book is filled with 13 chapters of practical advice, information and tips to put your financial freedom in your own hands.

 

Get it here. Currently R165

 

I might be 34 and starting my learning on how to manage finances way late, but the truth is that late is better than never. As Anthea Gardner says in her book Make Your Money Work For You,

 

“Ideally it is best to start investing as soon as you start earning a salary, but I understand that not everyone was given that advice or shown how to do it when they started working. I advocate starting as soon as possible… Even if you’re in your fifties – start now.”

 

For Money Matters months I am challenging myself to commit to learning about money and finances. I’m going to do that by reading all these books from cover to cover and take at least one actionable tool from each. Want to join me? Grab a copy and meet me back here in the comments to discuss. #NutreatsBookClub

 

Shop These Books

* Jonathon Ball Publishers sent us Manage your Money Like a F*cking Grownup. Thank you! All the other books I purchased myself from Loot.

 

*This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase something by clicking through, we may get a small commission. 

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