A Readers’ Guide to Financial Independence

Many people who know me are aware that I am a voracious reader! I am often asked for book recommendations on the topics I am most passionate about: personal finance, investing and financial independence. In an attempt to answer that question, and to offer a response that I can easily direct anyone toward, I have compiled a list of some of the top books that I feel may offer the biggest impact on one’s own journey toward financial independence.

The books listed below are available at a most libraries and I encourage you to use your library as a source for anything you may be interested in reading. However, if you choose to purchase a book instead, please consider using the links provided here to make your purchase. MarksMoneyMind is a member of Amazon Affiliates and will receive a small commission of any sale. There is no additional cost to you. All proceeds aid in supporting the costs associated with this website.


The Two Books that Started It All for Me

Before I started on my path to financial independence, I was of the impression that millionaires were the people with big houses and flashy cars. This book opened my eyes as to who the millionaires in this country really are – certainly not who I thought they were. This book goes into detail profiling the true millionaires’ characteristics.

After reading this book over 20 years ago, my wife and I set a plan in motion to follow many of the lessons learned – hard work, diligent savings & investment, and living below our means. It truly set us on our path to accumulating wealth. The Millionaire Next Door is a must read for anyone seeking financial independence.

A companion book to this one is The Next Millionaire Next Door which was recently published updating many of the findings in the original book. I suggest you read the original edition first, then read the its sequel afterward.


In this fictional story about a local wealthy barber, the basic tenets of financial planning are taught in an easily understandable story that is enjoyable to read. The Wealthy Barber was the book that introduced me (and my wife) to the concepts necessary to achieving our financial independence.

Reading this book turned out to be the “we can do this” moment for us. It transposed potentially mundane topics into entertainment that was very educational!


Books on Investing

Often the easiest way to be successful in investing is to keep things simple! Passive index investing has proven to be a logical approach to capturing the markets’ returns with minimal cost. It is not necessary to hire investment professionals to what can easily be accomplished on your own. Jack Bogle, the father of the index fund, details how this can be done in his compact book The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.

You don’t have to take my word for it, here is what Warren Buffett says about Jack Bogle: “If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle.”


The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing goes beyond the basic index investing concepts discussed in Jack Bogle’s book The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. It expands on building a simple, low cost investment portfolio including the benefits of maintaining a frugal lifestyle, saving, asset allocation, debt management, insurance and estate planning.

This book covers a diverse array of topics specific to achieving financial independence.


At nearly every Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting that I have attended over the past few decades, Warren Buffett has said Chapter 8 (The Investor and Market Fluctuations) and Chapter 20 (“Margin of Safety” as the Central Concept of Investing) in Benjamin Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor (Revised Edition) contain some of the most important lessons for any investor to comprehend.

Whenever the stock market gets volatile, I have found re-reading these chapters very reassuring. In this new revised edition, Jason Zweig’s commentary after every chapter adds additional clarification and insight into Benjamin Graham’s timeless words. The entirety of this classic investment book may be more than the average investor needs to digest, still, many of the lessons within are valuable to investors at any level.


Books on Financial Planning & Retirement

This fun, easy to read book is a great first read for those new to the word of personal finance. I often give copies of The Index Card to students I teach a financial literacy class to at our local high school.

Once you learn the 10 simple rules discussed in this book (which can be condensed onto a 5×7 index card) you will be well ahead of the majority of the population in personal finance knowledge.


The Bogleheads have done it again. This comprehensive guide encompasses every aspect necessary for a complete retirement plan. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning is detailed and thorough, with all T’s crossed and I’s dotted. Following the Bogleheads’ roadmap will ensure no stone is left unturned when it comes to your retirement planning.

 


I read Can I Retire Yet? shortly after my own retirement. I was curious as to whether I had made a sound decision. After reading the book, my concerns were alleviated and the answer to my burning question was a definitive yes. I consider this book valuable for anyone pondering this major financial decision in order to help determine their readiness for retirement.

 


Books on Financial Independence and Retiring Early

JL Collins truly does a superb job laying out The Simple Path to Wealth. There are many important lessons you will learn on your path to wealth presented in this book.

One of the interesting concepts discussed is the idea of “F-You Money”. I feel that everyone would benefit from understanding its true value. I had my own F-You Money experience when I walked in to the office and quit my job in order to move West for a better quality of life. (Interestingly however, I was asked to stay on remotely, and I did so for a few more years.)


I read the original version of this book and there are two concepts that I found particularly impactful. One, the value of things in relation to the time required to earn the money to purchase them. And two, the “crossover point”, when your investments generate enough income to support your expenses.

Vicki Robin has recently released this new edition of Your Money or Your Life which I am anxious to read and see what has been updated for recent times.


I read How to Retire Early after Tanja at OurNextLife referred to it in a post. What I found interesting about this couple’s story is that they figured out their road to early retirement on average incomes. Following their progress on the road to financial independence is encouraging and informative for anyone interested in retiring at a young age. The information contained within, however, is not solely for the early retiree, but also valuable for anyone planning their retirement.


David Bach, who may be best known for coining the phrase “The Latte Factor”, offers simple achievable ways to automate savings, debt repayment, investing and more in this expanded and updated version of The Automatic Millionaire.

Putting important goals on autopilot is simple to do and it works. It truly is possible to become a millionaire by automating your financial life.


In Retiring Sooner, Darrow Kirkpatrick walks the reader through the process to achieving financial independence in a logical step-by-step format. Beyond discussing the primary tenets for a successful retirement, he also discusses the opportunities available for those seeking to accelerate their retirement goals.

The book starts off with the introduction of the concept of establishing your “Financial Dashboard”, something I wish more personal finance books would emphasize. This concept is one of the primary lessons I teach in my financial literacy classes.


I hope you find this list of recommended books helpful in your own pursuit of wealth accumulation and financial independence. These books will be the cornerstone of the Library accessible from the main menu on the MarksMoneyMind homepage (coming soon). I will be adding additional titles to the Library as I come across books that I believe are interesting and insightful.