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It’s a great idea to begin investing as soon as you start earning a paycheck—whether you’re looking to start a retirement savings plan or earn a little extra income passively.
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to understand the basics of investing and the different options available to you, so you can choose the smartest path for your financial future. As your income grows, your investment portfolio can also expand.
It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college or a teenager who’s realized how significant investing can be—these picks of the best books for young investors will help you succeed.
Best Overall: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
Most experts, including the Investopedia Financial Review Board, agree that John C. Bogle’s best-selling financial guide is akin to an investing bible. No matter your age, this book is a must-read before you start investing. First published in 2007, this 2017 edition includes two new chapters on asset allocation and retirement investing options.
“The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” provides a framework for building a low-risk portfolio and teaches you how to make the smartest investment decisions. Bogle also explains the importance of index funds and advises readers to ignore investing fads and focus instead on constructing a broad and diversified portfolio.
Best for Beginners: A Beginner's Guide to the Stock Market
Young investors who do not have experience with the stock market will learn the ins and outs of the market with this guide. Matthew R. Kratter breaks down the types of stocks and how they work, while explaining how to analyze stocks to find ones that should perform well in the short-term and long-term.
One key area this book addresses is the mistakes beginning investors often make and how to avoid them. “A Beginner's Guide to the Stock Market” also dives into investing strategies and the methodologies that are ideal for new, aspiring investors, making this a great first read among investing books.
Best for Financial Basics: Broke Millennial
“Broke Millennial,” as recommended by members of the Investopedia Financial Review Board as one of the top picks for young investors, addresses what many other investing guides fail to acknowledge: understanding personal finance and addressing your spending habits are crucial if you want to become an effective investor.
Erin Lowry explains how to take control of your finances, even if you don’t make much money, and how to begin investing. Young investors will learn tips for how to stretch their paychecks and how to get started on building a retirement fund at an early age. Unlike many traditional financial guides, this book is written by a millennial for millennials in simple terms that novice investors will grasp quickly.
Best for Rental Property Investing: The Book on Rental Property Investing
Young investors might immediately think of the stock market when building an investment portfolio, but it is not the only place you can invest your money. Rental property investing can help diversify and grow money, if you know what you're doing. This book covers the entire process of buying and renting properties, while offering advice on choosing the right property, deciding between selling and renting, and flipping houses.
The author, Brandon Turner, provides a complete framework for growing wealth with real estate investing. "The Book on Rental Property Investing" explores the basics of the financial impact of being a landlord, and it touches on common landlord challenges and how to overcome them.
Best for Investing Basics: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need
Learn how to get started building an investment portfolio with $0 using this guide. Finance writer and co-host of the PBS series "Beyond Wall Street: The Art of Investing," Andrew Tobias walks young investors through the importance of building a financial foundation for investing and focuses particularly on establishing a healthy savings account.
Readers will find sound investing advice that can be applied to all aspects of their financial lives in this guide. "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" was originally published in the 1970s and was completely updated in 2016 with more commentary on modern-day investing, including the author’s thoughts on the 2008 financial crisis.
Best for Expert Investing Tips: One Up on Wall Street
In this tell-all financial guide, Peter Lynch reveals some of the best-kept secrets straight from experienced investors on Wall Street. "One Up on Wall Street" revolves around the rise of internet stocks and breaks down the ways in which modern investing has changed in the years since. Lynch explores the opportunities that exist for amateur investors, particularly young and new investors.
Peter Lynch is the former manager of Fidelity and their multi-billion dollar fund. He details how to research and find stocks that may be likely to perform, focusing on helping new investors find “tenbaggers,” or stocks that are likely to appreciate tenfold into a top performer. This pick has been selected by the Investopedia Financial Review Board for young investors.
Best for the Psychology Behind Investing: Thinking, Fast and Slow
Why do we make decisions based on a gut feeling rather than on facts and statistics? Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, economist, and winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, dives into the methodology we often use to make major decisions, from choosing who to marry to investing our money. This New York Times bestseller hones in on how many of us make choices based on instinct and intuition and how this can impact your life, including your financial future.
"Thinking, Fast and Slow" will also reveal how to make smart investing decisions by removing emotion from the equation. Young investors will learn more about the psychology behind how leading investors choose stocks that are likely to outperform others. All in all, Kahneman demonstrates how to make “better” decisions based entirely on logic, even if these decisions feel uncomfortable.
Best for Investing in Stocks: The Modern Guide to Stock Market Investing for Teens
"The Modern Guide to Stock Market Investing for Teens" covers key tips and strategies for those interested in investing in the stock market. Published in 2020, this quick read was written by a teenager in California, Alan John, who wanted to help young people see the importance in beginning their investing journeys early.
The author urges teens and college students to start investing with any amount of money they can spare, explaining how this invested dollar can grow over time, thanks to compound interest and market growth. Young investors hesitant about investing will find simple strategies for starting a portfolio, while also gaining personal finance and retirement investment knowledge. Overall, this book tackles often complex and out-of-reach topics in an approachable way.
Best for Passive Real Estate Investing: Investing in REITs
Passive real estate investing is often overlooked by young investors who might equate investing in real estate with becoming a landlord or property manager. The fourth edition of “Investing in REITs” breaks down how young and new investors can begin diversifying their portfolios and earn some of the best returns on the market through REITs.
Written by the late Ralph L. Block, an expert advisor on REITs for 40 years, this book offers a comprehensive exploration on REITs, the history of this investment type, and how to begin incorporating them in your portfolio. Block received the 2004 Industry Achievement Award from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).
If there’s only one book young investors need to learn about the stock market, retirement investing strategies, and real estate investment opportunities, we recommend “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” by John C. Bogle. This guide provides the core framework young investors need to begin their investing journeys, while also offering updated advice about investing in the modern marketplace.
Why Trust Investopedia?
Courtney Johnston is a freelance writer with over nine years of experience in the real estate, personal finance, investing, and small business industries. All books have been reviewed objectively based on the topics covered, readability, and guidance offered. Many of these books were New York Times bestsellers and award winners. A few were personally selected by the Investopedia Financial Review Board. The writer personally owns and recommends “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”