Ready to start living the life you’ve always dreamed of? In this article, I’ll break down the best financial independence books to help you get there.
I remember when I first heard about the FIRE movement.
At the time, I was working 60+ hours per week at an unfulfilling desk job. The idea of ‘Financial Independence Retire Early’ sounded almost too good to be true.
Even still, I began to read books about financial independence in my spare time. And it was, by far, one of the most important things I have ever done.
Today, I’ve achieved the financial freedom to live life on my own terms.
That’s why today I want to pass this gift on to you and show you the best financial independence books which helped me get to where I am today.
I truly hope that you will find them as life-changing as I did.
The 11 Best FIRE Books to Retire Early in 2023
We start our list with Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.
Why? Because, well, the book establishes what, for me, is the fundamental purpose of all the books on this list.
Simply, financial independence is not about an endless pursuit of ‘more.’ Rather, it’s about achieving the freedom to live the life you want.
To follow your passions and do what makes you happy every single day.
It’s about, as the book puts it, knowing the difference between making a living and making a life.
The book provides a road map to transform your relationship with money and lays out a simple step-by-step guide to achieving both financial success and personal fulfillment.
As you begin your journey to a new financial future, Your Money or Your Life is a great place to start.
- Financial independence isn’t about an endless pursuit of more money. It’s about the freedom to live your perfect life
I have always been afraid of the stock market.
To me, it seemed like gambling, and frankly, I am probably the worst gambler in history. Seriously, I once went to Las Vegas, and could not even bring myself to play at one of the tables.
That’s why for years, I avoided investing in the stock market … until I discovered index investing and The Simple Path to Wealth.
Index investing means that rather than betting on individual stocks, you invest in Index Funds like Vanguard, which mirror the performance of the entire stock market.
In short, it’s a way to get into the stock market without taking big risks.
In The Simple Path to Wealth, JL Collins lays out a practical guide that anyone can follow to get into index investing and start making money.
- Index investing is a simple and low-risk way to build wealth through the stock market
I first came across The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss while on a beach in Sicily on vacation.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Actually, it kind of wasn’t. At the time, I was working endlessly at a job I didn’t like, save for an all-too-short one-week holiday in the sun every year.
This might be why Ferriss’ work really spoke to me.
Before writing the book, he had been like many of us, working long hours at a job that offered neither freedom nor fulfillment.
Then, during a three-week sabbatical, he began to reassess his conception of work, developing a new way of thinking which would become the foundation of The 4-Hour Workweek.
In the book, Ferriss lays out the proven path he used to achieve the type of freedom we all want while working just four hours per week!
- Create streams of passive income to support your life without being chained to a desk every day
One of the criticisms often levied against the FIRE movement is that its focus on early retirement can come off as anti-work.
I actually enjoy the work I do, you may be thinking, retiring early sounds boring.
I hear you. I enjoy the work I do now, too.
It’s just that … I also enjoy lying on a beach in Sicily.
And that’s where Work Optional by Tanja Hester comes in.
The point of the book is not to teach you how to retire and never work again. It explains how to get to the point where you have the freedom to work when, where, and on whatever you choose – the point where work is optional.
The book gives you a straightforward guide to the financial steps you need to get there and provides powerful advice on how to construct a plan for a dream life designed entirely by you, not an employer, clients, or society.
- It’s not necessarily about never working again. It’s about getting to the point where work is optional
Kristy Shen’s Quit Like a Millionaire is one of my favorite financial independence books right now.
Actually, it is one of my favorite books, period, right now.
It tells Shen’s incredible story of going from growing up dirt poor in rural China, where her family lived on $0.44 per day, to her experience as a new immigrant to Canada, and finally, to her retirement at age 31 with a net worth in the millions.
As a novel, it’s brilliant; as one of the best financial literacy books, it’s even better since, throughout the inspirational success story, Shen teaches you the critical financial steps she took to get there.
If you find yourself having trouble getting into books on financial independence, try starting with Quit Like a Millionaire.
Note: A lot of the more practical financial advice in this book is aimed at a North American audience. But I still think the book is valuable irrespective of where you live.
- Resolute and continuous action can obtain financial freedom no matter where you start from
Jacob Lund Fisker is known as a kind of a mythical old guru in the FIRE movement.
He helped form the initial foundations of the movement in its earliest days with his Early Retirement Extreme blog, and in his 2010 book of the same name, he presents his masterpiece.
From a straightforward standpoint, Early Retirement Extreme will teach you everything you need to know financially to retire in as little as five years.
But really, it’s a lot more than that.
See, Fisker is kind of a philosopher, and his book is less of a step-by-step plan for your finances and more of a philosophical school of thought.
One which teaches you an entirely new way of looking at the world, a way of thinking which has inspired a movement.
- You can retire in just five years if you’re willing to change your mindset and get ‘extreme’
I was fortunate enough to read one of the final drafts of Grant Sabatier’s Financial Freedom before it was published in 2019, and even then, I knew it was going to be big.
But I did know Grant, his successful Millennial Money blog, and his amazing journey from having $2.26 in his bank account at 25 to a millionaire at 30.
Simply, it’s no surprise his book is filled with invaluable advice.
It teaches you about everything you need to know to fast-track your financial security – from side hustles to hacking your 9-to-5, to saving and investing, to maximizing your happiness per dollar – and without a doubt, it stands as one of the best personal finance books out there today.
- Finding a way to maximize your happiness per dollar is the way to truly reach financial freedom
Having trouble getting started on the road to financial independence?
I know what you mean.
I remember working long hours and trying to find just a few spare moments to boost my financial literacy so that I could find a way out of the endless cycle.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi is all about taking the first step and getting started.
Indeed, it’s basically a crash course in money management that will get you over the first hurdle and teach you the basics of personal finance in only six weeks through a series of easy-to-digest lessons.
If you find yourself stuck at the starting line, I Will Teach You to Be Rich is a great book to get you off and running in pursuit of your financial goals.
- “The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room.”
As I started on my own path to financial freedom, real estate investing was one of the first things I pursued.
In fact, I’d begun investing in real estate before I’d even quit my day job and made financial freedom my full-time pursuit.
My one regret? That I didn’t have Retire Early with Real Estate to help me get started.
The book tells you everything you need to know about how to build wealth with real estate investing, beginning with the simple steps to get started today, and getting more advanced as the book goes on.
What I particularly like is how the book’s concepts are illustrated through real-life stories of successful real estate investors.
It shows you it can be done, and you can retire early using real estate.
- Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to reach financial independence
Sometimes, financial independence books can seem pie-in-the-sky, particularly when you are just starting out and don’t have much money, promising huge returns which are hard to even imagine.
What I especially like about Set for Life is how author Scott Trench approaches people in the real world.
The book is written for who Trench calls the “average Joe” (though presumably, it also applies to the average Jane as well) – a median wage earner making about $50,000 per year with little-to-no initial savings.
Within the book, Trench provides practical advice and a simple three-part progression to build a “financial runway” that any ordinary person can use to grow rich in their financial life.
- Even the “average Joe” starting with no savings can reach financial freedom
There is still a moment from my own journey to financial freedom, which I think about sometimes.
I was sitting alone in a café, taking a rare break from the endless hours of my day job, when I saw a happy old couple walking by holding hands, and I thought, why do we wait until we’re older to enjoy the little life we have left, when we could be enjoying the life we’re meant to live now?
In Die with Zero, Bill Perkins presents the groundbreaking idea that instead of saving money throughout your whole life and then trying to spend it when you can enjoy it the least, you should instead be investing this money throughout your life into memorable experiences.
In his view, the earlier you make memories, the longer you will have to enjoy them, and the more value they’ll have. He calls this a “memory dividend.”
In Die with Zero, Perkins will show you how to reach the freedom necessary to invest in these memory dividends and start reaping the rewards!
Note: I truly recommend this book only to people that are already financially comfortable and, if anything, have trouble spending and enjoying what they earned with their hard work. It’s the last piece of the puzzle to financial independence.
- Don’t save everything intending to finally spend when you’re old. Invest in the ‘memory dividend’ when you’re young
Want to know more about financial independence?
So there you have it, the best financial independence books which helped me on my own journey to living a life I love and following my passion every day.
Want to learn more about financial independence, financial freedom, and how to get there?