The best books to start your journey to financial freedom

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated law school in 2015 with over $200,000 of debt. As the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in a low-income community in the Bronx, I was overwhelmed by how little I knew about money. I turned to books to build healthy money management habits, improve my credit, and, importantly, pay down my debt. I have since read dozens of personal finance books, built a community of over 60,000 on social media, and spoken to audiences nationwide about personal finance. Given the impact that books have had on my journey, I wrote my own from the perspective of a first-generation Latina that went from six figures of debt to a six-figure net worth. 


I wrote...

Book cover of Overcoming Debt, Achieving Financial Freedom: 8 Pillars to Build Wealth

What is my book about?

In Overcoming Debt, Achieving Financial Freedom: 8 Pillars to Build Wealth, lawyer, business owner, and first-generation professional Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez delivers a practical and actionable blueprint for financial independence. You’ll learn: strategies to create a realistic and actionable debt repayment plan that will save you money and time; strategies for budgeting, saving, investing, building credit, and increasing your income in and out of the workplace; the money strategies that the author put into place and resources that she used to go from having six-figures of debt to a multiple six-figure net worth.

An essential money resource for students, professionals, entrepreneurs, young families, and anyone else hoping to reduce their financial stress and improve their lives, Overcoming Debt, Achieving Financial Freedom is the simple and powerful money guide you’ve been waiting for.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did I love this book?

When I started my financial freedom journey, I discovered the Clever Girl Finance platform and gained great value from their blog posts and resources. When their book was released, I immediately picked it up because I needed guidance and encouragement in my journey to pay off over $200,000 of debt. This book provides actionable tips on how to create a debt freedom plan and, importantly, how to stick to the plan. I appreciated its balanced approach, which emphasized rewarding yourself (even in small ways) during the journey and managing your debt-free goals alongside your other financial goals. 

By Bola Sokunbi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clever Girl Finance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take charge of your finances and achieve financial independence - the Clever Girl way

Join the ranks of thousands of smart and savvy women who have turned to money expert and author Bola Sokunbi for guidance on ditching debt, saving money, and building real wealth. Sokunbi, the force behind the hugely popular Clever Girl Finance website, draws on her personal money mistakes and financial redemption to educate and empower a new generation of women on their journey to financial freedom. Lighthearted and accessible, Clever Girl Finance encourages women to talk about money and financial wellness and shows them how to…


Book cover of I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did I love this book?

There’s a reason that this book is a New York Times Bestseller. I have recommended this book to family and friends for its practical, no-nonsense approach to personal finance. My favorite thing about this book is the author’s emphasis on automation. The author teaches that automating your financial goals, including saving and investing goals, is key to actually accomplishing those goals. The author’s humor and experience as the child of immigrants adds to this book’s authentic insight. 

By Ramit Sethi,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked I Will Teach You to Be Rich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking NEW YORK TIMES and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER that taught a generation how to earn more, save more, and live a rich life—now in a revised 2nd edition.
 
Buy as many lattes as you want. Choose the right accounts and investments so your money grows for you—automatically. Best of all, spend guilt-free on the things you love.
 
Personal finance expert Ramit Sethi has been called a “wealth wizard” by Forbes and the “new guru on the block” by Fortune. Now he’s updated and expanded his modern money classic for a new age, delivering a simple, powerful, no-BS 6-week…


Book cover of Broke Millennial Takes on Investing

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did I love this book?

Want to start investing but have no idea where to start? Get this book. I first read this book when I was about a year into my investing journey. I had started investing in my retirement through my company’s 401K plan but was stuck. I didn’t understand much of the investing lingo, lacked the confidence to buy and sell investments, and was unsure whether my strategy of balancing my student loan repayment with my investing goals was wise. Erin, Broke Millennial, provided exactly what I was looking for! Learning from a fellow millennial woman provided a fresh perspective on investing while making the topic interesting and approachable.  

By Erin Lowry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Broke Millennial Takes on Investing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to investing basics by the author of Broke Millennial, for anyone who feels like they aren't ready (or rich enough) to get into the market

Millennials want to learn how to start investing. The problem is that most have no idea where to begin. There's a significant lack of information out there catering to the concerns of new millennial investors, such as:

  *  Should I invest while paying down student loans?
  *  How do I invest in a socially responsible way?
  *  What about robo-advisors and apps--are any of them any good?
  *  Where can I look online…


Book cover of Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did I love this book?

This book helps readers become financially “whole” by providing practical guidance, dos and don’ts, and action items. One of my favorite parts about the book was the author’s discussion on insurance. Before reading this book, I found much of the conversation around the various insurances to be overwhelming, muddled, and quite “salesy.” In this book, the author breaks down the importance of determining your insurance needs, selecting the right policies for you, and understanding specifics about health, life, disability, and property insurance. I also enjoyed the author’s discussion on selecting financial professionals, including practical advice on choosing accountants, financial advisors, and estate planning attorneys. 

By Tiffany Aliche,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Get Good with Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • A ten-step plan for finding peace, safety, and harmony with your money—no matter how big or small your goals and no matter how rocky the market might be—by the inspiring and savvy “Budgetnista.”

“No matter where you stand in your money journey, Get Good with Money has a lesson or two for you!”—Erin Lowry, bestselling author of the Broke Millennial series

Tiffany Aliche was a successful pre-school teacher with a healthy nest egg when a recession and advice from a shady advisor put her out of a job and…


Book cover of Broke Millennial Talks Money

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did I love this book?

Another book by Broke Millennial! When starting your journey to financial freedom, it’s necessary to learn the practical advice on the topics you may not have learned in school—budgeting, saving, investing, etc. But something else we’re not taught is how to talk about money. This book dives into everything from how to talk to your parents about how their retirement will be funded, how to talk to coworkers about salaries, how to talk about money with your partner, to how to set boundaries with friends. I have referenced this book on several occasions and strongly believe it’s a must-have for your bookshelf.   

By Erin Lowry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Broke Millennial Talks Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A comprehensive guide to talking about money in every aspect of your life, including at work, with friends and family, and in relationships, from the author of the Broke Millennial series.

Let's face it--talking about money is always awkward. In this user-friendly and approachable guide, finance writer Erin Lowry helps take the stress out of these tricky conversations. With scripts, tips, and troubleshooting advice, she takes you through every possible money talk scenario, including:

how to tell your friends you can't afford the same lifestyle they can how to ask your parents if they can afford retirement and if they'll…


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Trial, Error, and Success: 10 Insights into Realistic Knowledge, Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence

By Sima Dimitrijev, PhD, Maryann Karinch,

Book cover of Trial, Error, and Success: 10 Insights into Realistic Knowledge, Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence

Sima Dimitrijev, PhD Author Of Trial, Error, and Success: 10 Insights into Realistic Knowledge, Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My core value is realistic education—learning from each other’s errors and successes, but with full awareness of the difference between the determined past and the uncertain future. We can benefit from uncertainty, which I’ve been doing for a living as an engineer, academic researcher, and inventor. I make use of knowledge and science as much as possible, but I also know that strategic decisions for the uncertain future require skepticism and thinking to deal with the differences in a new circumstance. With my core value, I am passionate about sharing insights and knowledge that our formal education does not provide.

Sima's book list on realistic knowledge and decision making

What is my book about?

Everything in nature evolves by trial, error, and success—from fundamental physics, through evolution in biology, to how people learn, think, and decide.

This book presents a way of thinking and realistic knowledge that our formal education shuns. Stepping beyond this ignorance, the book shows how to deal with and even benefit from uncertainty by skeptical thinking, strategic decisions, and teamwork based on enlightened self-interests.

This bottom-up thinking is thought-provoking for leaders who wish to build teams rather than herds. The insights in the book will help you to be better prepared for the unexpected, less likely to conform when you…

Trial, Error, and Success: 10 Insights into Realistic Knowledge, Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence

By Sima Dimitrijev, PhD, Maryann Karinch,

What is this book about?

Everything in nature evolves by trial, error, and success. They didn't teach you this in school, even though you should know why the rigid laws of physics don't rule nature and don't inhibit your free-will decisions to try, fail, and succeed. As a guide to success, this book shows how skepticism, prudent use of science, and thinking lead to strategic decisions for the uncertain future.
 
Presenting real-life examples, the thinking in the book combines sharp analyses with broad analogies to show:
 
How to identify realistic knowledge and avoid harm due to overgeneralized concepts. How to create new knowledge and solve…


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