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!

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Simple Path to Wealth

Why did I love 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.

By J.L. Collins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Simple Path to Wealth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“In the dark, bewildering, trap-infested jungle of misinformation and opaque riddles that is the world of investment, JL Collins is the fatherly wizard on the side of the path, offering a simple map, warm words of encouragement and the tools to forge your way through with confidence. You'll never find a wiser advisor with a bigger heart.” -- Malachi Rempen: Filmmaker, cartoonist, author and self-described ruffian

This book grew out of a series of letters to my daughter concerning various things—mostly about money and investing—she was not yet quite ready to hear.

Since money is the single most powerful tool…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Kristy Shen, Bryce Leung,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quit Like a Millionaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From two leaders of the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, a bold, contrarian guide to retiring at any age, with a reproducible formula to financial independence.

A bull***t-free guide to growing your wealth, retiring early, and living life on your own terms.

Kristy Shen retired with a million dollars at the age of thirty-one, and she did it without hitting a home run on the stock market, starting the next Snapchat in her garage, or investing in hot real estate.

Learn how to cut down on spending without decreasing your quality of life, build a million-dollar portfolio, fortify your…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Your Money or Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have Enough Money for a Rich Life-Without Winning the Lottery
How much money is enough? Vicki Robin has made it her life's work to explore this question. Her remarkable discovery: money is energy-and conscious awareness is the key to finding its real value. On Your Money or Your Life Robin shares the nine-step program originally created with her teaching partner Joe Dominguez, which has helped nearly three quarters of a million people worldwide reach new levels of comfort, competence, and consciousness around their personal finances. Updated for the 21st century, this two-CD program offers hands-on tools and practical insights to…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Millionaire Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don't live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue-they live next door. This new edition, the first since 1998, includes a new foreword for the twenty-first century by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

By Robert T. Kiyosaki,

Book cover of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Why did I love 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.

By Robert T. Kiyosaki,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Rich Dad Poor Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been nearly 25 years since Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad first made waves in the Personal Finance arena.
It has since become the #1 Personal Finance book of all time... translated into dozens of languages and sold around the world.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert's story of growing up with two dads his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in personal finance, millionaires, and wealth?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about personal finance, millionaires, and wealth.

Personal Finance Explore 76 books about personal finance
Millionaires Explore 9 books about millionaires
Wealth Explore 51 books about wealth