The best books on early retirement and financial independence

Robert Charlton Author Of How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less
By Robert Charlton

Who am I?

Robin and I are passionate about early retirement because we’ve lived the journey ourselves. At the age of 28 we had just $16.88 to our name, with bleak job prospects and college and car loans to pay off. Fifteen years later (despite average combined gross salaries of just $89,000), we had achieved our dream of retiring early to travel the world. Another fifteen years have passed since then, and we’re still happily retired with more than $1.5 million in investments and plenty of world travel under our belts (with more, hopefully, to come). We think the very fact that we’re so ordinary is what makes our journey interesting – because guess what? What we did is easily repeatable by you


I co-wrote...

How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less

By Robert Charlton, Robin Charlton,

Book cover of How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less

What is our book about?

How to Retire Early proposes a slow-and-steady approach to financial independence and is aimed primarily at those working 9-to-5 jobs who earn middling rather than super-high salaries.

What makes this book different from all the other books out there on early retirement? We think it's the amount of personal financial detail we provide. We don’t hold back! You can use this information as a kind of financial yardstick to measure what is possible in your own life. We retired from full-time work at the age of 43. In this book we share with you the roadmap we followed to get from full-time work to financial independence in less than 15 years. If we can do it, so can you!

The books I picked & why

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The Simple Path to Wealth

By J.L. Collins,

Book cover of The Simple Path to Wealth

Why this book?

This book is short, sweet, and to the point – and frankly, a delight to read. It provides straight talk about investing and doesn’t overcomplicate things. I like its homespun flavor and its emphasis on just how simple it can be to become financially independent and retire early. Oh, and it includes a forward by Mr. Money Mustache himself, one of the gurus of the FIRE movement.


Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required

By Kristy Shen, Bryce Leung,

Book cover of Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required

Why this book?

A page-turner about personal finance? This one comes close! Humor is a key ingredient throughout, along with an approachable, off-the-cuff writing style. The chapter on retiring early with kids does a superb job of overturning myths by telling the stories of parents who have actually achieved it. The advice on "Don't Follow Your Passion (Yet)" is spot-on, as is their fun-to-read revelation that traveling the world can actually be cheaper than staying at home.


Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

By Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez,

Book cover of Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Why this book?

This perennial favorite transformed our view of money when we were first getting started. It asks you to consider how much “life energy” you’re putting into each purchase you make. Now, the concept of life energy may sound new-agey at first, but trust me, in the end, you may be thinking differently about both earning and spending. You’ll be asking yourself, How much, exactly, is enough? And can I live happily (not miserably) on less? Depending on your answers to these questions, you may even be able to shorten your own journey to early retirement.


The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

By Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko,

Book cover of The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

Why this book?

This book offers a good reminder that appearances can be deceiving. Those who flaunt their luxurious lifestyles may actually be deep in debt, while those frugal souls who live next door may actually be quite wealthy. Since we ourselves like to wear blue jeans and sport cheap Casio watches, this book’s message appealed to us on a visceral level. It’s not so much a how-to manual on retiring early as it is a guide to the seven traits that tend to be shared by wealthy individuals.


Rich Dad Poor Dad

By Robert T. Kiyosaki,

Book cover of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Why this book?

I like this book specifically because it challenges so many of my own deeply cherished financial beliefs. If you’re a budding entrepreneur who finds the idea of minimalism and self-sacrifice off-putting, then you may like this book better. It focuses on the making-money side of the equation. The author advocates building wealth through investing in assets (e.g., real estate, your own business, stocks, and bonds). His approach is not for everyone – but if nothing else, it will make you think, which is never a bad thing.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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