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- People in debt can experience a variety of emotions, including shame, guilt, and stress.
- Learning about your mindset around money can help you get out of debt.
- We spoke to financial experts about the best books for understanding debt and managing your money.
Spending more than you make is easy to do, especially if you’re not keeping track of every expenditure or have unexpected expenses. It’s also a very common problem: According to a 2021 CNBC study, the average American is $90,400 in debt, which can come from student loans, mortgages, or credit cards. And yet, money management is something that’s rarely (if ever) taught in school.
Books can be a great, affordable resource for learning how financial systems work and providing actionable steps to start saving money.
Reading financial books “made me far more comfortable than in a classroom setting,” says Markia Brown, a certified financial education instructor who shares her teachings through Money Plug. “It allowed me to make my finance journal personal, which allowed me to be more transparent and open in my process.”
Plus, books — which sometimes feature personal stories from authors — can help readers feel less alone or self-critical. “Money is emotional, and when we look at past spending — it’s a story of our lives, our values, and our mistakes,” explains Andrea Ferrero, a financial coach and the co-founder and executive director of Pockets Change, a financial education platform. As a result, “debt often feels like a horror story; it brings up guilt, shame, self-recrimination, and stress.” Books remind us that even the most financially stable people could have been in debt at some point in their lives.
Tackling debt isn’t easy, which is why it can help to read a few different books to get a fuller picture. “When we learn about the different types of debt and the financial systems behind them, then we can take action to handle debt in a way that works for our lives and goals,” says Ferrero.
To help, we rounded up the best books about paying off debt, from beginner’s money-saving guides to in-depth looks at how to build wealth.