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Financial Book Suggestions

Financial Book Suggestions

Open laptop propped against a stack of financial literacy books.

In a world driven by financial complexities, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the knowledge and principles necessary to navigate the intricate landscape of personal finance. Whether you’re a recent graduate entering the workforce, a seasoned investor, or someone looking to improve their financial literacy, reading the right books can be a great starting point on your journey to economic well-being.

Landmark National Bank is here to help connect you with the literature you need to adopt the right financial mindset. This blog will provide a curated list of the best financial literacy books that offer practical tips, insights, and strategies to educate you on managing your money.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki’s classic book offers a paradigm shift in how we perceive money and wealth. Through the contrasting stories of his “rich dad” and “poor dad,” Kiyosaki imparts timeless lessons about financial independence, the relationship between assets and liabilities, and the importance of financial education. This book lays a solid foundation for developing a wealth-building mindset.

“The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey

Ramsey’s approach to personal finance is straightforward and action-oriented. In this book, he outlines a step-by-step plan for getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, and investing for your future. Ramsey’s principles, including the debt snowball method, resonate with many seeking a practical guide to financial freedom.

“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham

Considered a classic in investing, Graham’s book provides timeless principles for successful long-term investing. Known as the mentor to Warren Buffett, Graham’s insights on value investing, risk management, and market behavior are invaluable for those looking to navigate the stock market wisely.

“The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel

A modern gem in personal finance literature, Housel’s “The Psychology of Money” delves into the complex relationship between human behavior and financial decisions. Through captivating storytelling and insightful analysis, Housel offers valuable perspectives on navigating the unpredictable world of personal finance, making it an essential read for those seeking a nuanced understanding of money management.

“The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason

Set in ancient Babylon, this timeless classic imparts financial wisdom through parables and stories. Clason’s principles, such as saving a portion of income and making your money work for you, are presented in an engaging narrative that helps you easily digest the concepts. These lessons remain relevant and applicable to modern financial challenges despite the historical setting.

“Get Good With Money” by Tiffany Aliche

One of the most highly regarded modern books about financial literacy, Aliche’s “Get Good With Money” is a comprehensive guide offering practical advice on budgeting, debt management, and wealth-building. With an engaging writing style and relatable anecdotes, Aliche makes financial concepts accessible, making her book an invaluable resource for those striving to achieve financial wellness.

“I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

Sethi’s book offers a practical, no-nonsense approach to personal finance. Focusing on automation, optimization, and sensible investing, Sethi outlines a plan for building wealth without sacrificing the joys of life. His humor and relatable anecdotes make financial concepts accessible to readers of all backgrounds.

“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Stanley and Danko’s extensive research on millionaires challenges common misconceptions about wealth. By exploring the habits and characteristics of everyday millionaires, the authors reveal practical insights into accumulating wealth over time. This book serves as a reality check, dispelling myths and providing a road map for building wealth steadily.

Seek Expert Advice From Landmark National Bank

Landmark National Bank strives to help you understand your financial situation and make informed decisions for your future. We provide a range of services for checking accounts and savings accounts that can help you set up a budget, choose the right credit card, and pay off any debt you have. Contact Landmark National Bank or find a bank branch near you to get started today!

Resolutions That Pay Off: How To Improve Your Credit Score in 2024

Resolutions That Pay Off: How To Improve Your Credit Score in 2024A cartoon person pushes the needle on “credit score,” scale.As you begin thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to set some financial goals for the upcoming year. Set a goal of improving your credit score to help ensure a bright financial future. A good credit score can help you achieve other goals, such as buying a home, renting a new apartment, or purchasing an automobile.

What Is Credit? Understanding Credit and Credit Scores

If you don’t know much about your credit and credit score, you’re not alone! In fact, in a 2019 study, CNBC found that four out of 10 Americans had no idea how their credit score is determined. For many U.S. consumers, a credit score can feel like a black box shrouded in mystery. In this blog, we hope to clear up some of the fog surrounding credit scores.

A credit score is essentially a three-digit number ranging from 300-850 that indicates your credit risk level, especially when you’re applying for a loan or financing. You may hear your credit score defined as a FICO score. This is because the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) created the credit score model. 

Why Do Credit Scores Matter?

For those who are new to learning about credit and credit scores, you may not understand why having a good credit score matters. The reality is that your credit score is taken into account in many different situations.

Credit scores are considered when you need a home loan or mortgage, if you apply to rent an apartment, when applying for credit cards, and more. Lenders typically offer significantly better interest rates on loans to those with better credit scores.

How Are Credit Scores Determined?

You may be wondering how credit scores are determined. FICO breaks down factors influencing your score into percentages, where higher percentages mean a higher impact on your score:

  • 35% payment history. Have you paid off past debt on time (credit card bills, loans, etc.)?
  • 30% accounts owed. How much debt do you have? What percentage of your credit do you use? 
  • 15% length of credit history. How long have you had credit accounts? 
  • 10% credit mix. Do you have a variety of credit accounts? 
  • 10% new credit. Have you opened several new accounts in a short period of time?

How To Improve Your Credit Score Through Good Financial Habits

Apply for a Credit Card if You Don’t Have One

Woman smiles while holding a phone and credit card.

If you’re a student or a younger adult, you may not have many credit accounts yet. While you don’t need a credit card to build your credit score, responsibly using a credit card can go a long way toward improving your score.

When you do end up getting your first credit card, be sure to spend responsibly by paying your balance as soon as possible and only using your credit card for items you can afford. Many consumers opt to use their credit cards exclusively for necessities they can afford, like gas and groceries.

Regularly Monitor Your Credit Usage

Whether you have installment loans, a credit card, or another type of credit account, keeping track of your credit utilization is essential. Look for credit cards that allow you to view usage online, such as Landmark National Bank’s credit cards.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your overall limit. For example, this would mean a consumer with a $10,000 credit limit should keep their balance below $3,000. To keep your credit utilization low, pay off your statement frequently. 

Make All Payments on Time

Since payment history is a significant factor when it comes to your credit score, it’s essential to pay credit card bills, loan installments, financing accounts, and mortgage loans on time. Late payments can lower your score and stay on your credit report for months or years.

If you have trouble remembering to make payments, try these strategies:

  • Use autopay when available.
  • Create a reminder on your smartphone’s calendar app to make payments.
  • Set up bill pay reminders if possible.

Review Your Credit Report Frequently and Request Corrections When Needed

Businesswoman reviews credit report for errors, using a laptop and calculator

Your credit score is broken down in detail on your credit report, which is a summary of your credit history and usage. In short, your credit report basically determines your score. Checking your credit report frequently can help you catch potential errors made by the credit agencies that generate the reports and possibly improve your credit score. You can get a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com, a website run by the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.

Build Your Credit With Resources From Landmark National Bank

If you’re ready to take the first steps toward a better credit score, let Landmark National Bank help. Check out our personal credit card options, which can be a great first step toward building credit. If you’re improving your credit score to buy a home, Landmark has home loans that can help you through the process.

Start on your path toward meeting your financial goals with the support of a truly excellent bank. Locate your nearest Landmark National Bank branch to get started. At all our Kansas bank branches, you’ll find friendly banking professionals happy to help you with your banking needs. You can also find more helpful articles on personal finance, budgeting, estate planning, and more on our blog.

5 Must-Know Financial Literacy Topics

A man drawing the words "Financial Literacy" on a board.

Five Must-Know Financial Literacy Topics

Knowledge is power, but it’s also health. With the right information and understanding of certain subjects, the way you treat money can entirely change—hopefully for the better. It’s Landmark National Bank’s goal to make sure as many people are financially literate as possible, so we as a society can make well-informed decisions beneficial to ourselves and others.

To meet that end, in the spirit of financial wellness month, we’ve compiled a brief primer of five of the most important financial literacy topics that we think everyone should know. Hopefully, we’re able to provide you with an intuitive explanation of these subjects so that if you haven’t started to think about them yet, you can begin now.

Why is Financial Literacy Important?

Financial literacy is important because it helps you understand the best ways to use your money in both the short and long term. When you’re skilled and smart about your money, you’ll find yourself less financially stressed, less wasteful, and better able to pursue your goals as it relates to your monetary status.

#1 – Personal Financial Management and Earning Money

Also known as PFM, personal financial management is the simple practice of organizing and tracking your spending, accomplished through the use of a budget. A budget is a plan that helps an individual or family understand what they can and cannot afford, what their anticipated expenses are, and how to measure their different income streams, among other goals orbiting finances. Mastery over a budget and PFM can empower people to feel more in control of their money.

#2 – Protection and Insurance

Insurance exists as a countermeasure against potential loss. In exchange for a premium—a certain agreed-upon sum of upfront payment—as well as consistent, ongoing payments, an insurance company will agree to financially support an individual or company should misfortune befall them in the future. The exact policies and conditions are subject to change based on the insurance company, as well as the type of insurance you’re securing, so it’s important to carefully consider your needs and what insurance might benefit you the most.

Some common types of insurance include: health insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, car insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, and disability insurance, among others.

#3 – Spending

A woman looking at her debit card and phone.

We spend money for a nearly endless variety of reasons. We need to spend money on monthly and annual bills, subscription fees, mortgage/rent, groceries, recreation, property upgrades, medical premiums, and so on. By spending money, we’re stimulating the economy, upholding our responsibility as citizens, and enriching our lives through the things we love.

In the discussion about why financial literacy is important: this is why it’s important to spend money effectively, taking us back to PFM and the power of a good budget. When we know our money coming in versus money going out, we can take the steps to spend money in intelligent, well-considered ways.

#4 – Borrowing

Among the financial literacy topics, understanding the importance of borrowing money is critical. Poor borrowing decisions can deal tremendous damage to the long-term health of your budget and lifestyle, chaining you to frustrating, nonoptimal repayment plans. But loans themselves are not the enemy, and can serve as a boon in some circumstances.

A well-chosen loan can help you out of an unexpected emergency scenario, get your promising new business on its feet, or allow you to make an important life transition. Before committing to any new loan, ensure you understand the institution behind it, the terms and conditions, interest rates, additional costs, and any involved collateral. All of these details should be outlined in the contract you’ll be asked to sign.

#5 – Saving and Investing

Essential to the financial literacy training experience is the understanding of how saving and investing can elevate your financial portfolio. You’ll find many practices surrounding exactly how much you should save and when; but virtually every source of wisdom agrees you should be saving something.

A good savings account can provide lucrative benefits, such as making you more money the longer you have cash sitting in it. Other healthy practices include:

  • Not spending all of your money as soon as it comes in
  • Stowing part of it away in case of emergency
  • Saving money in anticipation of a large purchase, like the down payment on a car

Investing is an extension of saving. It’s wielding your money in a way that the money is allowed to grow on its own. Like everything else on this list, investing is an entire skill unto itself, and can take years to cultivate. However, a strong investment profile can create unrivaled financial security and generate you wealth in addition to your income.

Learn More and Live More with Landmark

The learning never stops. Though we’ve covered some of the basics, remember each of these financial literacy topics can go far deeper. The benefits you can reap from high-level literacy are worth the effort necessary to master each of them.

To continue in the spirit of financial wellness month, Landmark National Bank would like to encourage you to explore the benefits of our personal savings account, designed to help you earn interest and invest in your future. This is a great next step toward learning how financial literacy is important, and how it can directly improve your life.

Find a Landmark National Bank location near you to talk to a banker about your financial needs!