Personal Finance Resources That Have Helped Me

I don’t think it’s any secret that working as a performing artist is not the instant way to riches.  And if that is a secret to you, now you know why music and other types of artists prefer you buy their work instead of downloading it for free. 🙂

Most performers I know are debt strapped and struggling to keep their head above water.  Much like the rest of the world.  And while I’m no Richie Rich, I have managed to get myself set up so that I don’t have bad debt and I’m able to sock away money every month to invest and retire on.

So today, I just wanted to share some of my favorite books and resources that taught me how to get out of debt and only have to worry about money part of the time instead of all of the time.  And yes, some of these are affiliate links that give me a little commission if you buy or whatever.  I only recommend them because I’ve used them too.  And every penny counts to us performers. 🙂

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – If the idea of laughing out loud at a good joke in a personal finance book seems as likely as laughing during your own heart surgery, you need to check this book out.  Ramit has fantastic information, geared toward the 20-something set (but great for everyone), for getting rid of debt, staying out of debt, and automating your life to do as little thinking about money as possible.  And the dude has a wicked sense of humor to boot.  You should also check out his fantastic blog at

The Money Book For Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan – Besides their tapping into my own penchant for overly long titles, this book has a lot of really good finance ideas targeted to the self-employed set.  A group I’ve happily been a member of for 17 years.  A lot of personal finance books don’t take into account the ups and downs on working for yourself.  This one does.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley – Want to know how the other half really lives?  Do they really buy fancy cars and bottles of Dom at the club?  Living like a millionaire isn’t necessarily what you think it is.  If you want to get there and stay there, learn how real millionaires live.

More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey – For me to recommend a guy that talks about money on conservative talk radio and tends to inject Jesus into his writing, you know he must have some good things to say.  Recently, when going through my book shelves to get rid of a few things I nearly held onto my Dave Ramsey books.  The only reason I didn’t is because, in flipping through them, I realized I’d already internalized and used all the stuff he talks about.  “More Than Enough” is a good starting point, but grab anything the guy has written.  He really knows his stuff.

Get Rich – This site has been around for quite awhile, but I’m just starting to get into it.  Fantastic information.  No hype, no get-rich-quick.  Just ways to increase your net worth without a bunch of risk.

Investing Without A Silver Spoon by Motley Fool – This book was my first foray into stock investments.  It teaches you how to invest directly with certain large companies.  And you can do it with small amounts of money.  If the idea of a brokerage account scares you or you want to just start dipping your toes into investing, this is a good place to start.  In fact, their whole website is chock full of good info.  It can be a little overwhelming though.  Read a couple of their books first.

Multiple Streams Of Income by Robert Allen – This guy is a hose beast.  Whatever you do, avoid getting on his mailing list at all costs.  And don’t follow any of his get rich quick crap schemes.  With all that being said, this book is the reason I still maintain multiple streams of income, giving me the freedom to keep a more consistent income and keep life interesting by having a variety of money making activities.  The big idea is a great one.  His little ideas tend to be sketchy.

Lending Club – This is an actual place to invest some of your money.  I’ve just started with them so I can’t give you a great idea of my results, but I think it’s an intriguing idea.  This is a peer to peer lending site.  The returns are decent and they seem to be rather strict about who they give a loan to, which is best to avoid defaults.  If you’re looking to consolidate your debt, this is a good place to try for a low rate loan.  If you’re looking to invest, this is a good place to stash small chunks of money that you won’t need for 3-5 years.  If you like the peer to peer idea and want to do it on a charity level without a return, is the place to go.

Now, don’t go grab all these books at once and try to change your financial picture over night.  Habits are created through slow repetition.  Start with the first one and work your way down the list.   None of these books is a perfect catch-all for your personal finances.  But they each have their own merits.

You’ll notice that some of these resources are on the old side.  The information in them is still valid for the most part.  I read the new books coming out too, but they tend to repeat information I’ve already gleaned from these other sources.  Got a recommendation for something good that I’ve missed?  Put it in the comments below.

Phil Johnson

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