Just about nobody would say 2016 has been smooth sailing. Between a divisive election, the loss of a host of cultural icons, and seemingly endless international turmoil, it seems like this year has been determined to wear us all down with bad news and hard times.
But 2017 can be different. You can't do much about celebrity mortality rates or foreign wars, but you can determine that you're finally going to give yourself the cushion you need to handle just all the lunacy the world seems determined to throw at us. You can vow to finally get your financial house in order.
Sorting out your personal money situation isn't necessarily about aiming for great wealth or financial independence (though go for it, if that's your goal), it's also a great way to take control of your time, your career, and your ambitions -- all while reducing your day-to-day anxiety.
How do you get started on this important but tricky project? Read up on these beloved personal finance titles before the end of the year and you'll be well on your way to having a more profitable, less anxious 2017.
1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
There's a reason just about every list of recommended personal finance books includes this classic of the genre. "While most money books focus on saving money and specific types of investment tools, Kiyosaki's book is more focused on an idea: getting your money to work for you through the concept of cash flow," explains U.S News' Josh Felber. If you haven't read it yet, get through it before the new year to give yourself the best shot at a profitable 2017.
2. The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Clason
Another oft-recommended title, The Richest Man in Babylon is, surprisingly, just what it sounds like -- a compilation of parables about wealth set in ancient Babylon. Don't expect new-fangled finance tricks, obviously, but rather solid, age-old money principles everyone would do well to live by, such as "pay yourself first."
Forbes' Garrett Gunderson attests that this sturdy principle changed his life: "In hard times, when every extra penny went to sustaining my business, I still found a way to stick 15 percent of my income into our personal savings account every single month. Even when that meant scrounging around the house for old complimentary hotel soaps and shampoos."
3. The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time by Maria Konnikova
Not all personal finance books are dry. A select few are genuine page-turners, like The Confidence Game by New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova. A highly readable romp through true-life cons with a little bit of psychology thrown in, the book won't just entertain you but might also you help dodge a few scams yourself.
4. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Want to get rich next year (or at least a good bit richer)? Your best starting point is to learn how others have managed to accumulate great wealth. Napoleon Hill can tell you. He "researched more than 500 self-made millionaires over 20 years," to write this 1937 bestseller, which boils down his findings into 13 principles, Business Insider explains.
5. The Millionaire Next Door by Dr Thomas J. Stanley and Dr. William D. Danko
Of course, people have been getting rich for 75 years or so since Hill penned his finance classic. What's changed in that time? Stanley and Danko, who have been interviewing millionaires for more than 20 years, should know. The Millionaire Next Door is the result of all that research and is one of the fastest-selling business books of 2016.
6. The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini
Stuck with your 9-to-5 for the time being? That doesn't mean your money moves are restricted to sensible saving and investing (though no one's knocking those ideas). Setting aside the eight hours when you're working and the eight when you're sleeping, "there are eight hours of our life that we control, and it is those eight hours that define us, define our financial freedom, and in many cases define our happiness in life," writes AOL Finance recommending this book.
7. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
Tuning up how you spend your time is one aspect of improving your finances. Another essential is getting your spending under control. The Automatic Millionaire will help you do just that with its famous "Latte Factor." The book will help "you understand the amount of your money that goes to waste" explains lifehack and "will also help you in identifying where you unconsciously use your money and how those little expenses can be used to make you financially strong."
8. The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack
A little overwhelmed by the range of financial advice out there? Then The Index Card is for you. "University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack made a splash in 2013 when he offhandedly noted during an interview with financial journalist Helaine Olen that the correct financial advice for most people can fit on a 3-by-5-inch index card," explains BI. "His point was that personal finance doesn't have to be complicated," a point he and Olen expand on in this book.