Whether you’re nearing retirement or are decades away from it, knowledge is key to a successful transition into this exciting, new stage of your life. Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) literature is gaining popularity among younger generations, and for good reason. This principle is giving thousands the courage they need to embark on a life of their choosing.
It seems these days an increasing number of people are looking to quit their 9-to-5 jobs in search of greener pastures. With FIRE books and the world wide web at your disposal, doing so has never been easier. If you are ready to ditch your full-time employment and explore freedom, retirement may be a great option. But before you can begin making plans for the future, it’s important to know exactly what early retirement entails.
What does it take to retire early? More and more people are learning to ditch the complexities of daily life and instead embracing a lifestyle that thrives on minimalism. This means cutting spending on everything from groceries to clothing, and instead setting money aside purely for retirement. FIRE books teach you exactly how to do this.
Best Financial Independence Retire Early Books
Here are 12 of our favorite FIRE books to help you acquire the knowledge you need to retire early and begin living your very best life.
The Simple Path to Wealth
Many people consider the prospect of investing once they’ve saved a bit of money. But with so many options to choose from, where does one begin? How do you know which method of investing will really serve you well in the long run?
The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to investing. Your unique financial situation is yours alone, and only you and a trained professional can together figure out how to best make use of your money now and in the future. You will likely need some guidance to get started on the right path. This book by JL Collins can help. Here, you’ll learn all about the foundation of investing, such as the difference between stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and a Roth IRA, for example. From what they are to what fees to expect and where to invest to yield the biggest returns, you’ll gain valuable insight into the principles of financial freedom and how to get there.
The 4-Hour Work Week
Entrepreneur Tim Ferris is a revolutionary thinker when it comes to retirement. He has changed lives with his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, which screams the praises of a less-traditional form of retirement. Instead of looking at retirement as the means to an end, The Four Hour Work Week emphasizes frequent, smaller bouts of retirement. For example, you can work for five years and save enough money to retire for a year or two, then get right back to your professional career. By living frugally and working smarter, not necessarily harder, your dreams of sporadic bursts of retired life can become reality.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
Many of us equate retirement with happiness. While this rings true in some aspects, that’s not to say there aren’t still challenges to overcome. The Art of Possibility dives into one of the lesser touched-upon topics of retirement – the negative effects of living a life seemingly without purpose. Many retirees find that adjusting to a life without professional goals takes some getting used to, and may even evoke feelings of loss. The Art of Possibility helps you move past this mindset and instead embrace all of the many possibilities for happiness coming your way. It’s smart, it’s impactful, and it’s extremely helpful in pushing through the downside of retirement.
Can I Retire Yet?: How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life
Before you can retire, you’ll need to make sure it’s even a feasible option for you. This book by Darrow Kirkpatrick will help you figure it out. And he’s not leading you blindly, either. Kirkpatrick retired at 50 and maintains a blog documenting it all. With this book, you’ll learn to focus on many of the financial aspects of retirement and how to make them work for you. Here, you’ll learn about investment options, healthcare, the 4% rule, and plenty of other tools and resources to help you navigate your retirement with a sunny outlook and money in the bank.
How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You’ll definitely want to imitate how Robert and Robin Charlton have done retirement. This couple, through their book How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less, shows us how they retired from full-time work at the age of 43 and began living a life of their very own. You’ll learn from their methods for achieving early retirement and turn these into actionable steps to help you embark on your own. This inspiring book can help instill confidence in your decision to retire early, no matter how old you are.
You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think
There’s a common misconception that one must have millions in the bank in order to retire early. This just isn’t true. Wes Moss, in his book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, provides his 4-step process for early retirement. Not only does he squash the rumor that one must wait until they reach millionaire status to focus on the future, but the book is also filled with practical tips about how to make your retirement the happiest period of your life. While his tips are more geared toward wealthy couples, you may still find some great information if you give it a shot.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
Saving can be difficult. Knowing the “why” behind your saving can give you the motivation you need to do it consistently. That’s what Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence is about. This book by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez explores the correlation between your money and your happiness and gives you a pathway toward pursuing your passions rather than just a paycheck. This book is also a wonderful introduction to the FIRE philosophy, helping you carve out time for your happiness and use money as a tool to do it.
Set for Life: Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream
If you’re hoping to retire early, you must work twice as hard, right? Wrong. According to Scott Trench, author of Set for Life: Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream, the magic liessaving rather than earning. As one of the FIRE movement’s most popular pieces of literature, Set for Life delves deep into how the American dream is based upon debt and that good investments are key to unlocking the type of freedom the younger generation craves.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
What are some habits millionaires from all over the world share? There are several, and you’ll learn about them in The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. Written by professors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, this book reveals the secrets behind seven traits uncovered in their studies about the wealthy. And they’re not what you would typically think. From driving inexpensive cars to living in middle-class houses, the ultra-rich are taking steps to make sure they stay as such. One read of this book and you’ll be surprised to find how much you’ll view things differently.
Playing with FIRE book
A lot of people equate work with self-worth and happiness. All too often this isn’t the case. So, how do you make that shift in mindset? How do you go from workaholic to retiree? Ask Scott Rieckens, the author of Playing with FIRE. This incisive book introduces the reader to the concept of FIRE and how one man used it to turn his life around. By cutting his family’s expenses by half, he was able to maximize his family’s wealth and enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life. In this book, you’ll find a world of wisdom and excellent advice into how a simpler mindset can result in a richer well-being.
The Instant Millionaire
Wealth, as a concept, is complicated. How does one know when they are wealthy? Mark Fisher dives deep into this question as he explores financial security and all the ways we can achieve it if we really try. With The Instant Millionaire, you’ll access Fisher’s brilliant insight into what it takes to build real wealth and all the ways it has the power to affect the way in which we live our lives. Be warned: this book has the potential to completely alter the way you see money, and it may be just what you need to create exactly the type of life you want.
The Elements of Investing: Easy Lessons for Every Investor
So while this book isn’t FIRE based, per se, that’s not to say it doesn’t have plenty to teach us about how to live out our dreams. The Elements of Investing is a fantastic tool for the younger generation hoping to earn as much as they can about the principles of investing. Author Burton G. Malkiel makes this book simple and easy to read as not to deter those intimidated by the prospect of investing. It’s a worthwhile book for anyone wanting to brush up on investment techniques and how they can lead to real gains in the future.
FIRE principles and how you can get started
One of the biggest misconceptions there is about retirement is that it’s based upon age, not upon wealth. In reality, anyone can retire before the age of 65 if they really want to. But this isn’t easy, and it’s not something that can be done without a clear-cut path and commitment to follow-through.
And so, unfortunately, early retirement isn’t for everyone. The FIRE method is best used with a fresh, new mindset that approaches finances from a different perspective. This perspective may be vastly different from anything you’ve ever known. It helps to know the basic principles of FIRE before diving in. Here are a few of the key principles of FIRE and how you can enjoy early retirement.
It’s never too soon to start thinking about retirement. In fact, the sooner you start, the better position you will be in. Say you find a steady job in your early 20’s. You can start considering the prospect of retirement before you even begin a family. Leading with a retirement mindset will set you up to make wise financial decisions well before you are ready to finally pull the trigger.
Keeping expenses low
Cutting your spending is a lot easier said than done. It can, however, be done. Millions of people do it every day. But it will take some planning on your part, and may even take a collective effort from everyone in your family to achieve. By diving deep into your current finances and expenses, you can identify in what areas you can afford to come back and how these savings will impact your financial future. Maybe you’re living in too extravagant a house or are driving a car that costs way more than you know you should be spending. The main focus is to realize that there are luxuries you can live without in order to achieve your long-term goals. Getting honest and serious about your expenses will put you on a path toward better spending choices from here on out.
Exploring new areas of income
If you’re saving for an early retirement, that doesn’t mean that the earning stops once you quit your job. On the contrary, early retirement may not even be possible unless you have alternate, steady flows of cash coming your way. In fact, you should have multiple sources of income to acquire the kind of wealth you want to have one day, but they won’t fall into your lap. There are endless ways to make money and you can start looking for opportunities now. Begin exploring new options for earning now and in the future and see, over time, which methods work best for you.
Focusing on saving and investing
It’s possible to cut expenses without worrying too much about saving. This is the opposite of what you want to be doing if you are hoping to retire early. Cutting expenses paired with a realistic savings strategy will put you in the kind of financial situation you need in order to retire early and comfortably. But along with saving, there still comes a need to invest. Investing will play a large role in your ability to grow your wealth over time. Focus on saving and investing, and your dreams of early retirement are much more likely to come true.
Now that you know the basics of FIRE, you can begin your research and prepare for the future.
The prospect of early retirement is an exciting one, and a reality you can certainly enjoy if you commit to staying on track. These books should help you make sense of all the ways the FIRE method can positively impact your life and how to take real steps toward exactly the life you want.