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What’s Your Motivation for Writing a Personal Finance Book?

We’re going to get absolutely, down-to-pencil-nibs honest here.

Nobody writes a book just for other people. Not novelists. Not “memoirists.” Not people writing personal finance books.


And don’t kid yourself – that Nobody category includes you.

One of our goals in writing a book might very well be to help people or to entertain them. Those might even be our highest goals.

But it ain’t the only one, so stop preening your feathers over what an utterly selfless person you are. You’re not.

Again, none of us are.

We authors and authors-in-the-making want to make back our money from our expenses. We probably want to make a profit too. Perhaps even a living.

Then there’s recognition… the goal of reaching J.K. Rowling or Stephen King or Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) levels of fame… having adoring fans flock to any convention we’re featured at… gaining the respect that comes from having thousands and thousands or tens of thousands of glowing reviews about how awesome we and our writing are.

Admit it: You crave at least some of that to some degree.

Now admit that that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit or be recognized. Just as long as you treat your readers to-be with respect in the process.

It’s frustrating enough to pick up a novel and find it filled with snobbish preaching and/or uninspiring storytelling.

It’s teeth-grindingly obnoxious to pick up a historical or science nonfiction book filled with snobbish preaching and/or factual inaccuracies. Like Nicole Eustace’s 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism, one of the most biased examples of academic “integrity” I have ever seen in my whole life.

(Rant over. Moving on.)

But it’s downright awful to pick up a personal finance book that doesn’t deliver. That's because when you're writing a personal finance book...

You’re playing with real people’s money here.

Which means you shouldn’t be playing at all. Give worthwhile advice that real people can grow from, and not just from an intellectual or emotional perspective, but from a financial perspective as well.

If they’re in credit card debt when they begin your book, they should have a practical guide to getting out of it by the end. If they’re looking to build a comfortable retirement, they should have a practical guide to having a comfortable retirement. And so on.

When writing a personal finance book, that’s your job. You deserve to be paid for that job, yes, but only if you do it well in the first place.

That job of yours mentioned above? It probably needs to be clarified real quick. Otherwise, you run the risk of going insane with guilt in the process of writing a personal finance book.

As mentioned in Thursday’s post, the audience that needs you is most of the Western World thanks to shopping habits, government meddling and poor education.

(Why isn’t fiscal responsibility taught in schools or at home anymore?)

But just because they need you doesn’t mean they’re going to recognize that and buy your book. Similarly, just because they buy your book doesn’t mean they’ll read it.

And just because they read it doesn’t mean they’ll put your wise words into practice.

That’s on them. Not on you. So there’s no need to stress out in the process of writing a personal finance book. About that, anyway.

What you do need to stress is your motives, your advice and your presentation:

  • Make sure you honestly want to make your personal finance book a worthwhile transaction for both you and your audience.

  • Make sure your advice is doable for the average reader.

  • And make sure your writing is non-snobbish and non-boring.

Once you accomplish all of that, you’ve got a strong personal finance manuscript ready to put out to that giant audience that needs you so bad.

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