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Credit: Photo: Clever Girl Finance, Penguin Random House, Shutterstock; Design: Apartment Therapy

These Are the Books to Read, People to Follow, and Tasks to Finish for Investing Beginners

published Mar 22, 2022
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There’s been an understandable uptick in investing, thanks in part to the gamification of investing (ahem, enter the GameStop millionaires) and plenty of viral personal finance TikToks. According to Fortune, more than 67 percent of women are investing outside of their retirement accounts — a number that has nearly doubled since 2018. While welcome news, there’s still a large population of people who want to invest but don’t know where to start. 

If you’re hoping to enter the world of investing or want to diversify your portfolio in 2022, here are the books to read, people to follow, and attitudes to drop to finally get comfortable with money.

4 Books to Read 

When it comes to building financial literacy, picking up (or listening to) a book is one of the best first steps a beginner can take. They can help expand a reader’s vocabulary and demystify otherwise foreign money concepts. And reading about money shouldn’t be tedious or complicated. That’s why we’ve curated a list for the investing beginner who appreciates no-nonsense advice, easy application, and relatability. Bonus: You don’t have to read a book cover-to-cover before getting started with investing. Consider these reads as helpful guides; flip to the pages when you need them, and dog-ear other chapters for future endeavors.

Clever Girl Finance by Bola Sokunbi

If you have little budgeting experience or consider yourself a true investing novice, this is a great book to dive into. Its focus is on building a solid foundation first. Clear, concise, and sprinkled with humor, author Bola Sokunbi helps lead women to a sense of empowerment by understanding their relationship with money. “Clever Girl Finance” lives at the intersection of introspection, self-improvement, and personal finance.

“One thing I find very important is the author emphasizes that financial goals take time. As a 29-year-old, I often feel like I am behind where I want to be on my finances. However, one of the most important values of the book is to start where you are and take pride in the fact you are taking control of your situation.” Ash G., Amazon reviewer

Broke Millennial Takes On Investing by Erin Lowry

Following the success of her debut book, “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together,” Erin Lowry offers refreshingly honest investing advice with her sophomore effort. Unlike “Clever Girl,” Lowry’s latest effort is for the investing beginner familiar with some words and concepts but is still intimidated by Wall Street experts and finance “gurus.”

“I knew next to nothing about finances before Broke Millennial came into my life, and I’m excited to have this book to step it up a notch! I’m halfway through, and I’m learning many words that were intimidating before. I appreciate the beginner mindset that Erin takes the reader on, with simple examples and stories, and she takes the time to explain concepts in a way that just works.” —Chris M., Amazon reviewer

Financial Adulting by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

Unlike many finance books on the market, “Financial Adulting” offers intersectional topics that often go undiscussed when talking about money: sexual orientation, race, class, and systematic oppression. Ashley Feinstein Gerstley offers history and nuance to personal finance, leaving readers with a better understanding of their money and fostering confidence with cash.

“This book was so refreshing. Not only does it bring to light the systematic issues that cause many people – specifically women of color – to have barriers to wealth, but it contains so much helpful down to earth information that is doable for most people I know.” – Christyv32, Amazon reviewer

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

For “financial DIYers” or those specifically interested in the “financial independence, retirement early” (FIRE) movement, Collins’ book could be the best beginner’s guide available. Noted for his use of psychology and dispensing the ever un-sexy advice of “playing the long game,” “The Simple Path” allows readers a rare sense of control over their investment, no matter their risk aversion. 

“[This book] is perfect for people intimidated by the stock market and want a straightforward, simple way to invest expecting solid returns on a long track record and little risk.” —Amazon reviewer

3 People to Follow 

If books aren’t your first choice of learning, or you simply want a daily dose of digestible information, following personal finance influencers is a great option. However, it is the internet, and there are certainly scammers to be wary of. Here are three people worthy of space on your timeline. 

Amanda Holden, aka “Dumpster Doggy” 

If you’re looking for wealth management advice and want to laugh in the process, Amanda Holden needs to be your next follow. The online influencer spent years working in investment management, and now teaches women to invest sans a suit or condescending attitude. She’s a miracle worker for the individual who thinks they’re “not smart enough” or “not rich enough” to handle the topic of investing. 

Tori Dunlap of Her First $100k

Known for her candor and no-BS communication style, Tori is a personal finance expert specializing in “financial feminism.” She’s taken her expertise to airwaves, hosting the “Financial Feminist” podcast. If you want to make more money this year or become less timid when talking about money, Tori is a great person to follow.

Bola Sokunbi of Clever Girl Finance

If you’re curious about investing but also crave more wealth management resources such as advice on everyday “necessities,” weekly personal finance challenges, and free guides, Clever Girl Finance must be on your list of accounts to follow. Ran by author Bola Sokunbi, her CGF brand delivers daily articles, encourages conversation, and takes an “everygirl approachability.”

2 Attitudes to Drop

“I need a fancy corporate job before I start investing.”

Personal finance and self-care expert Maya Fleming of the Gentler Podcast highlights narratives individuals need to unlearn as they begin to invest. “I think we’ve all [begun to unlearn] the false narrative of Oh, I need to be rich to start investing, but there is still a misconception that investing is a white-collar activity,” Fleming tells Apartment Therapy.

She shares that her current boyfriend works a blue-collar job and recently overcame this common mental block. “Some will wait until they’re at a ‘big girl job’ or an established company before investing. However, most of my career has been in the non-profit space. [From experience], I know there are options for those in differing fields.” 

Fleming encourages investing beginners in adopting the belief that while the options can look different, the opportunity to invest is still there. “Even just understanding what your employer offers is a good first step. Many employers will bring in a financial expert once a year to explain company-sponsored investing options and hold space to talk about wealth management.” 

Similarly, Tori Dunlap of Her First 100k emphasizes the value of time over money in the world of investing. “I cannot stress this enough: when it comes to investing, time is way more valuable than money,” she says. “Thanks to this really cool thing called compound interest, your money has the ability to significantly increase in value over time, and the sooner you start, the better!”

“I need to know everything about investing before I start investing.”

Fleming points out that many individuals don’t explore investing because of the false belief that you must know everything before doing anything. Beyond this being a self-limiting belief, Fleming shares that some of what is being taught online is cringe-worthy. “Examine the advice you’re getting. For example, I’m not a big fan of the advice to invest in the companies you love. You should be researching where your money is going.” She attributes her own literacy to platforms like The Financial Diet, Broke Millennial, and Your Money BFF.

Bola Sokunbi, author of “Clever Girl Finance,” shares a similar sentiment. She advises beginners to simply get a handle on the basics first. “To become a more confident investor, it’s important that you educate yourself on the basics of how investing works so you can minimize any fears you might have around investing, especially with all the short-term news about investing dips and spikes,” she says. “It’s also important that you truly understand your risk tolerance and that you view any investments you make with a long-term approach.”

1 Task to Finish

To kick off your investing journey, sign up for a virtual workshop or online course. Taking your first step toward a financial glow-up can be intimidating, and a classroom environment might help with that. From self-guided teachings to virtual seminars, there are endless options for beginners. Consider signing up for one of the courses from the can’t-miss list below.

As a parting thought, Dunlap shares, “Finally, remember that investing is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Investing is an extremely valuable resource for preparing for your financial future and building sustainable wealth, but it takes time, consistency, and patience.”