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3 Personal Finance Authors Share Their Summer Reading Lists

This summer, while lounging by the pool, why not pick up a little summer reading to help you learn something new?

As a kid, summer reading was likely the bane of your existence, but as an adult, it’s truly the opportunity to soak in a little knowledge as you soak up the sun.

To help you expand your library we asked three personal finance authors a little bit about their own books as well as their advice on what else you should read next, finance-related or otherwise. Check out their answers below.

Cary Siegel, author of Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?

Stacey Leasca: What can people learn from your book?

Cary Siegel: What I hope people learn is that managing their money is not as complicated as others make it seem to be. If they do a few basic things (like always live below their means and have a budget), they will be much better off in managing both their money and their life. And importantly, that it causes them not to be intimidated by the subject and to continue learning about money management.

Leasca: Besides your own book, which finance book is your personal favorite?

SiegelRich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I like that (similar to me) it seems like he truly wrote the book to help others.

Leasca: What’s the biggest financial mistake you see people making?

Siegel: Simple – spending more money than they make. They don’t want to have a written budget because they don’t want to know they have to change their spending habits. Just pay with plastic now and worry about the consequences.

Leasca: What’s on your summer reading list?

Siegel: Honestly, nothing. I’m working on another book and my entertainment time is spent watching Netflix!

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Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial

Leasca: What can people learn from your book?

Erin Lowry: How to get their financial lives together. The book is written so each person can determine the path based on his or her own personal financial journey. It covers everything from the very basics of budgeting and credit scores all the way to investing, home buying and even how to talk to your friends and partners about money.

Leasca: Besides your own book, which finance book is your personal favorite?

Lowry: That’s a really tough pick! The Thin Green Line by Paul Sullivan is great and The One Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards. I also really connected with Farnoosh Torabi’s When She Makes More.

Leasca: What’s the biggest financial mistake you see millennials making?

Lowry: Feeling as if there’s no need or point in facing money issues right now. I can’t tell you how many times I hear things like, “I just can’t save,” “what does it matter if I add a little more debt” or “why should I bother investing yet?”

Leasca: What’s on your summer reading this?

Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties

Leasca: What can people learn from your books?

Beth Kobliner: Honestly, the financial stuff they should have learned in school but didn’t because it’s generally not taught. You can graduate with an Ivy League education and still not know how a credit card or mortgage works. I wrote Get a Financial Life to teach money skills to a whole new generation of young people, who were dealt a bad hand by coming of age during the Great Recession and a time of skyrocketing college costs. They need to know how to pay off student debt in a smart way, avoid credit problems, save for their future, and start investing. It’s a lot to take in, but they can’t afford not to do it.

Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not), which came out this year, tells parents what they need to know so that they can teach their kids money basics to help them live the lives they want them to live when they’re adults. It’s packed with age-appropriate advice for kids starting at three years old—yup, research shows preschoolers can understand basic money concepts—and going up to 23 years old. Knowing the importance of saving early, the perils of credit card debt, and the magic of compound interest can change lives.

Leasca: Besides your own book, which finance book is your personal favorite?

Kobliner: I’ve been obsessed by the genius of Princeton professor Burton Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing. The guy single-handedly changed the way the average Joe and Joanna—as well as finance hot shots—make money in stocks without paying ridiculously high fees. Expense ratios on stock funds have come down significantly, and that’s due largely to Malkiel. I also recently read the update of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke. It so smartly explains how we got into the financial mess we are in now. Aside from a new introduction, she wrote it when she was a professor at Harvard. It’s so easy to read, and no matter your politics, it explains why the middle class is facing so many challenges. It should be required reading for all politicians.

Leasca: What’s the biggest financial mistake you see millennials making?

Kobliner: First off, let me say that millennials are doing a lot right. One example: They have much lower credit card debt than my generation, Gen X, did. And they are into bargains and finding discounts just like their grandparents who grew up in the Depression did. I think the biggest mistake they make—and frankly, it’s understandable but avoidable—is to get so focused on paying off student debt that they miss other opportunities. Let’s say your federal student loan rate is 4%. Paying that off is the equivalent of earning an immediate 4% on your money, after tax. Now if you have a 401(k) with a dollar-for-dollar match, for example, that’s the equivalent of an immediate 100% return on your money. You can decide to stretch out the term of your student loans, which reduces the amount you pay each month and use the extra money to max out your 401(k) contribution. The next raise you get can go toward paying off your student loans faster. And one more point: Start early. Say you put away $1,000 a year in a Roth IRA from age 20 to 30 and then stop. If you earned 7% interest, you’d end up with $187,000 when you’re 65. But if you don’t start saving until you’re 30, and then save every year from age 30 to 65—a full 35 years—you’d have just $143,000 after investing a lot more money.

Leasca: What’s on your summer reading list?

KoblinerYawn: Adventures in Boredom by Mary Mann. It’s surprisingly scintillating!

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Timeby Arianna Huffington. I think she is brilliant.

Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means by Michael Krasny. Krasny is an American literature professor as well as a radio host in San Francisco. I saw him speak recently, and his jokes are still cracking me up.