15 Best Personal Finance Books in Canada 2021: Mentors On a Page

Need some recommendations for light reading? Looking for gift ideas for loved ones? In today’s list, I’m going over the best personal finance books in Canada so you can up your economics game.

Whether you want a funny or more serious read on budgeting tips, better-investing strategies, or want to reconsider the relationship you have with your money, there’s something for you in this list.

I’ve separated the books by Canadian and American authors for your convenience. Most financial tips are universal, but because certain topics such as pension plans, taxes, and investment vehicles vary with each country, I thought that this would be best.

I also included books in this list that are about more than just numbers, budgets, and investment strategies.

What many people rarely talk about is the attitude and mindset we have about our money, and I believe this is just as important as making more, spending less, and investing strategically. I’ve included some books on this topic, and I hope you’ll check some out.

Let’s get into it!

Personal Finance Books In Canada

Best Canadian personal finance books

Here are my top picks for the best personal finance books written by Canadian authors.

1. Wealthing Like Rabbits: An Original and Occasionally Hilarious Introduction to the World of Personal Finance by Robert R. Brown

This book is a Canadian classic and one of my personal favourites, especially because I know that personal finance, or finance in general, can be daunting and even a little tedious sometimes to read up on.

Brown’s Wealthing like Rabbits gives you the advice you need to get your financial house in order while also getting in a laugh, and sets you up to further your knowledge on topics that best suit and interest you.

Get this book if: you’re looking for a light, engaging, and humorous read on personal finance and money management basics.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy Wealthing Like Rabbits on Amazon

2. The Wealthy Barber: Everyone’s Common-Sense Guide to Becoming Financially Independent by David Chilton

First published back in 1995, the contents of this book continue to be notably relevant to this day. Sensible money management and financial independence do not go out of style, neither does pleasant and straightforward writing.

In the book, Chilton uses a fictional character, a barber named Roy, to combine good storytelling with financial advice you can keep in your back pocket going forward, and shows that you do not need any more than an average salary to become financially independent.

Get this book if: you are interested in becoming more knowledgeable on steady financial growth and/or looking for tips on how to adopt a successful financial plan on an average salary.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

3. Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam

One of my personal favourites, this more recent personal finance book is the financial literacy go-to in Canada and worldwide.

Formally a high-school English teacher, Andrew Hallam shows you how you can become rich not by using some get-rich-quick scheme but through means that are steady, smart, and guaranteed to push you in the right direction towards the future that you want.

Get this book if: obtaining financial literacy is your number one goal. This book will give you the basics that you may feel you missed out on in your younger years.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon.

4. Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!: The Five Simple Rules of Financial Success by Preet Banerjee

Stop Over-Thinking Your Money! is a simple and very good book on personal finance. It sets out 5 simple rules on how to think about and manage your money.

It’s a no-nonsense book on money management that cuts through all of the contradicting information out there, and it’s a really good place to start if you’re new to finance books or if you need a refresher on the basics to remain on track.

Get this book if: you’re looking to get past all of the complicated finance lingoes and get to what you really need to know about finance. This book is good for personal finance newbies or those who need a straightforward refresher to stay on track on their financial journey.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

5. The Wealthy Barber Returns: Dramatically Older and Marginally Wiser by David Chilton

The sequel to David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber, this book keeps his tongue-in-cheek style with further information on financial independence. Touching more so on investments in this second version, Chilton also speaks on the psychology of money and spending in this long-awaited sequel.

If you feel like you recognize the man on the cover of this book, by the way, that’s Chilton himself, and you’ve maybe seen him on Canada’s popular entrepreneurial TV show, Dragons’ Den.

Get this book if: you enjoyed David Chilton’s first book, The Wealthy Barber, and are looking for another nudge in the right direction when it comes to your spending and finances in general.
Level: intermediate

How to buy: Buy this book online on Amazon

6. Easy Tax Tips for Canadians by Peggy Ireland

If you’ve been paying attention to author names, you may have noticed that the world of Canadian finance books is dominated more by men than women.

But Peggy Ireland is an exception to that trend, and her book Easy Tax Tips for Canadians is the book you need if you are still dishing out tens or hundreds of dollars each year getting your taxes by accountants.

If you don’t understand Canadian taxes and never want to miss a deduction ever again, this book is a really good place to start.

Get this book if: you are ready to understand what happens (and why) during tax season and to finally take control of doing your own taxes and saving money each year.
Level: intermediate
How to buy: Buy this book on Amazon.

7. The Ultimate TFSA Guide by Gordon Pape 

If you are a Canadian, the Tax-Free Savings Account is a crucial investment vehicle that you should know more about to maximize your earnings, save on tax, and build your wealth.

In this book, Gordon Pape goes through everything you need to know about the TFSA and gives you investment tips on how to build your wealth in a tax-free way.

I know that the sole topic of TFSAs may not be the most riveting of topics, but being literate in this type of saving and investment is an important step in growing wealth as a Canadian. He also has a book on RRSPs, which I’ll link below.

Also note that this book was published in 2010, right when the TFSA came out. It might be a bit dated, but it’ll teach you the basics of the TFSA.

Get this book if: you’re a Canadian who’s not yet taking full advantage of the Tax-Free Savings Account.
Level: intermediate
How to buy: Buy the TFSA book on Amazon as well as on the RRSP.

American personal finance books

And here are the top-ranked personal finance books written by authors to the south of the Canadian border. These range a variety of topics, from investments, saving, budgeting, becoming financially independent, and raising a family and touch on subjects accessible to readers from all over the world.

8. Millennial Money: ​​How Young Investors Can Build a Fortune by Patrick O’Shaughnessy

O’Shaughnessy claims that young people must start investing early in order to build their wealth, and I agree. I quite enjoyed this book and its advice on investing.

As a portfolio manager, the author provides good strategies that can build and grow your wealth, especially if you’ve got a long time ahead of you to weather the market and come out on top.

Get this book if: you’re looking to know more about investing as a young person and want a good strategy personalized to where you are at in your life.
Level: intermediate
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

9. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer, Taylor Larimore, et al.

This book, another one of my favourite reads, highlights the investing wisdom of John C. Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group and the creator of the first index fund.

I specifically liked the information in this book about ETF investing, which I’ve written extensively about on my website before. The book is straightforward and easy to read, and it goes over complex financial topics using accessible language. It also has a foreword from Bogle himself.

Get this book if: you’re interested in finding out more about the investment wisdom of a famous American investor, John C. Bogle, and getting tips about how to create your own personalized investment strategy.
Level: intermediate
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon.

10. The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber

Have kids? This book might be a good one for you. In “The Opposite of Spoiled”, Ron Lieber writes all things finance and children.

Specifically, he goes over how important it is to have a conversation about money with your kids, regardless of your financial situation, and how it actually presents an immense opportunity to set them up for financial success in their futures.

The book is not only about personal and family finances but also about philosophy, touching on subjects such as the tooth fairy, allowance, saving, birthdays, banking, clothing, jobs, and tuition.

Get this book if: you want to think more about the intersection of personal finance and children, and how you can set up the youth of today for financial success in their futures.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

11. A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

Published in 2020, this book is a valuable addition to a personal finance reader’s book collection.

In “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” the author puts a lens onto Wall Street’s finance terminology and advises on investment strategies that are applicable to volatile markets, such as the ones we saw with the onset of the pandemic.

Get this book if: you’re looking for a financial strategy ready to weather any volatility in the markets and to set yourself up for a secure future.
Level: intermediate
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

12. Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry

Erin Lowry is a financial advisor who writes finance books for a younger audience.

Her book “Broke Millenial” is unique and cuts through the unnecessary jargon; it covers realistic situations that young people go through with their finances as they try to gain a footing in their careers and gives concrete advice on how to get your financial house in order as a young person. 

Get this book if: you’re a young person trying to master your finances and want a refreshing and easy read with good tips, real-life situations, and encouragement. If you enjoy this read, her book “Broke Millenial Takes on Investing” is a good one to follow it with.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

13. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is a TV and radio personality focused on personal finance, and his book “The Total Money Makeover” is ranked a #1 bestseller on Amazon Canada.

The rules and steps he lists in his book aren’t necessarily brand new in nature but reinforce your knowledge to push you towards paying off your debts, setting aside money for retirement, and saving for emergencies and your kids’ futures.

25 years ago, Ramsey himself worked his way out of a lot of debt and now shares his insights, along with guided plans towards what he calls “financial peace”.

Get this book if: you are looking to get out of debt, move toward financial dependency and want a plan with a strong foundation to stick to.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

14. The Secret Language of Money: How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer Life by David Krueger and John David Mann

David Krueger is a former psychiatrist turned business coach. In this book, he and John David Mann talk about the relationship humans have with money, and how we can become more financially successful through being more mindful and conscious about the meanings we attach to wealth.

Touching on subjects such as debt, luxury spending and the dread that comes along with feeling like you never have enough money, these two authors shed light on our own minds so that we can approach the numbers with more positivity, joy, and mental wellbeing.

Get this book if: you would like to reevaluate the relationship that you have with money, and are open to reconsidering the meanings and sentiments you attach to it. This book may also be suitable for you if you find that you are spending more than you would like, or afford, on expensive or unnecessary items.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

15. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

Step 2 in having more money? Spend less money. That’s what Cait Flanders talks about in this book; how she stopped spending her money on things in a consumerist world that encourages everyone to spend more and how spending less can lead to a more prosperous financial life (or life in general).

Get this book if: you’re looking for a personal finance book that’s intertwined with lifestyle tidbits and unlike other traditional finance books out there. Also suitable for you if you find that you are buying more than you truly need and spending unnecessary amounts of money in the process, hindering your financial success.
Level: beginner
How to buy: Buy it online on Amazon

What are the 5 levels of personal finance?

As you may have noticed, many of the books in this list speak about, and market themselves as, helping readers get to “financial independence”. This term seems to be the end-all-be-all of personal finance, and indeed, it may be. Here are the five levels of personal finance, ending with full financial independence.

Level 1 – Dependence

  • Income covers basic needs only
  • Savings insufficient to cover any unexpected or emergency situations
  • Dependency on others for large expenses
  • Inability to make debt payments

Level 2 – Solvency

  • Income sufficient to cover monthly costs of living
  • Ability to pay back debt
  • Savings are not decreasing

Level 3 – Stability

  • Enough savings to cover unforeseen or emergency events
  • Ability to pay back debt at a faster rate
  • Ability to put aside money for long-term investments

Level 4 – Comfort

  • Free of all debt
  • Savings can cover large periods of time without employment
  • A steady income stream from investments

Level 5 – Full independence

  • Savings can cover not working for the rest of one’s life
  • Complete financial independence from jobs, people or institutions 

You can work away at becoming fully financially independent with the knowledge you can gain in the books on this list, as well as the content on my website.

I know that many people are hungry to make it there, and that level 5 is attractive. But do note that there is happiness and joy that comes with each of these stages, and you do not have to be at level 5 in order to lead a comfortable life.

Conclusion

Today we went over some of the best personal finance books to get you closer to your financial goals. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading them and find the information useful.

If you’re looking for more information on personal finance in Canada, you can download my FREE Personal Finance Booklet for Canadians, which comes equipped with a load of up-to-date information to help you to level up your finances.

You can download that on my website by entering your name and email address. 

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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