As I progress through my goal of retiring early (my target is to retire within the next 7 years), I am finding daily confirmation that I have chosen the right path.
I’ve found blogs, websites, and literature emphasizing that the right path to early retirement is not to make more, but to spend less (actually, both are useful, but spending less is more important). Today I want to talk about some of the books I’ve read over the past few months, that helped me get some additional confidence and motivation.
First, Jacob Lund Fisker’s popular “Early retirement extreme: a philosophical and practical guide to financial Independence“. Jacob also has a famous blog that talks about the same subjects the book does. The site and the book greatly complement each other.
I’ll be honest here, this was the first book I found on the subject when I first thought about retiring early, and it gave me cold feet. The amount of dedication and sacrifices one has to do to reach Jacob’s spending habits (spend less than 25% of your income to guarantee retirement within 7 years) frightened me. As I read the book, I thought “this is not for me, or my family”. The book is about spending less on every single aspect of your life, down to minimum details. The lifestyle associated to Jacob’s habits will not be for everyone.
I later on found about Mr Money Mustache’s blog, and that gave me my strength back. Today I can read back Early Retirement Extreme with a “pinch of salt”, I’ll take from it what I think is achievable, and I’ll ignore some of the recommendations. At this point, any progress in reducing my expenses is progress for me.
Another book I read recently was 6 months to 6 figures, by Peter Voogd. This one is on the other side of the scale, and does not talk about spending less, but about making more. It’s one of these motivational books that try to teach us how we can take action to increase our revenue. The basic message of the book is that you shouldn’t wait to take action, it’s time to plan your income goals for next year, and actually write and act on a schedule to reach the goal. The book is empowering and inspirational, but still has a very simple and direct message, unlike many of the motivational books one can read.
Last but by far the most interesting to me, bestseller “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley. The result of 20 years of research on America’s millionaires. The findings of this book comforts me in my choices. Long story short, the authors have found that wealthy people do not live in expensive neighborhoods, do not drive fancy cars or wear fancy clothes. Unlike what most people assume, millionaires are very good at not spending money on useless stuff. This book is a goldmine of information and I’m sure I’ll refer to it a lot in the future. I’m still halfway through it, but I’ve never been so motivated to reach my goals of financial independence by cutting on expenses, knowing that this is the path that many millionaires have chosen.
If you were to get only one of these three books, I definitely recommend to get The Millionaire Next Door.