Top 5 Books to Launch Your Path to Financial Independence

Top 5 Books to Launch Your Path to Financial Independence

5 min read
Whitney Hutten

Whitney is a real estate investor and personal finance trainer whose vision is to launch 10,000 families on the path toward financial independence.

Experience
After purchasing her first rental in 2002 and hitting a home run, then nearly losing it all on her second deal, Whitney took control and figured out how to invest in real estate the right way. She realized that success must leave clues. So, she studied and replicated the very personal finance and wealth creation strategies the wealthy use to create financial freedom.

Today, Whitney is a partner in $500MM+ of real estate assets, including 5,000+ residential units (MF, MHP, SFR, and assisted living ) and 1,430+ self-storage. Additionally, she has flipped over $3MM in residential real estate and has a solid portfolio of commercial notes. (Don’t tell anyone though… BRRRR investing is still one of her favorite strategies—26 units and counting!)

In 2018, Whitney founded ASH Wealth and the Investor Accelerator Mastermind, where she helps you develop a clear, workable plan that gives you the results you dream of, solves your business startup or scaling issues, and drives massive progress toward your real estate and financial goals.

In her spare time, Whitney enjoys trail running, mountain biking, camping, and spending time with her family.

Press
Whitney’s been featured on the BiggerPockets Blog, BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast episode #340, BiggerPockets Rookie Show episode #29, BestEver Podcast, The InvestHer Show, The Investing for Good Show, Life Bridge Capital podcast, The Road to Family Freedom podcast, Frenzied to Financial Freedom podcast, Purchase to Profits podcast, and more!

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I remember when I discovered FIRE (aka financial independence, retire early). I had just read Tony Robbins tome Money Master the Game—653 pages of AMAZING, life-changing content.

But a critical element was missing… a set plan on how to execute. (I’m a business operator, so I’m super annoyed when there isn’t a straightforward plan to execute on!)

So, I turned to the interwebs for “the plan” to reach financial independence. I found David Bach, Mr. Money Mustache, the Mad Fientist, Ramit Sethi, Vicki Robin, and more! All of these wonderful authors who seemed to have “the path” to financial independence figured out.

I devoured their content. However, I was pulled in so many different directions with their ideas, opinions, and calculations—all subtly different. After months of reading even more content, I still had no plan to follow to reach FI.

I was in a complete state of overwhelm of all the things I “could” do. But I had no idea what I “should” do? Where do I start with my path to FI? What actions do I take first?

So, what did I do? I dove into the next blog or book, thinking I had to learn more. The golden nugget had to be somewhere. I just needed to find it!

Then it hit me…

image from rawpixel id 488465 jpeg

Having more knowledge isn’t (always) the answer. You need the right knowledge, at the right time, to craft your first plan to execute. Then and only then can you refine it. Here is the simple framework I use to implement knowledge from books.

  • Step 1: Base knowledge > First plan > Execution = First round of results
  • Step 2: Block consistent time on your calendar to execute and keep stats on your plan
  • Step 3***: Analyze results + New knowledge + Tweaks to plan = New plan to execute
  • Repeat Steps 2-3: Quarterly or annually

***Don’t move on to Step 3 until you have taken action!

What you’ll notice is I (like many) was trying to create a PERFECT FI plan. What I really needed to do was just get started, collect data, and then tweak the plan as I went.

Related: My Top 10 BiggerPockets Podcast Episodes (with Number of Listens)

Where to Start on Your Financial Independence Journey

When I told my story on the BiggerPodcast, Brandon Turner asked me what I did first to learn about real estate. I replied, “I read a book.” We all had a good giggle from that comment.

You may think I was being a bit of a smart aleck… but there is truth and simplicity in that one statement. Learning from my overwhelming start to my FIRE journey, when I launched my real estate journey, I literally read one real estate book and took action before I read another.

If I had to launch my FI journey all over again, knowing what I know now, I would still read books. But I would focus on just a few books, formulate my first plan, execute, gather data, then iterate.

The Most Impactful Financial Independence Books

Following is a curated book plan I’d recommend to those just getting started on their journey. These are the titles that were the most impactful to me and the key concepts I took away from each.

Taking Control of Your Wealth Mindset

1. Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant

A follow-up to Rich Dad Poor Dad, this book dissects how money is earned and how to shift where you earn your income to get true wealth and time freedom. I like Rich Dad Poor Dad, but this book is where the REAL goods are.

Further reading: 5 Day Weekend

Want a glimpse at the simple plan to build multiple streams of income that don’t require you to work a 9-5 job at a company where you have little control of your time and compensation? This book will open your world up to making choices to walk this path.

Taking Control of Your Personal Finances

2. The Richest Man in Babylon

Mindy Jensen mentions this book all the time on the BiggerPockets Money Podcast—and for good reason! Written in the 1920s, this book is considered one of the greatest works on financial planning and personal wealth, its concepts holding true even today.

Babylon reveals the astoundingly simple key principles to acquiring money, keeping money, and having your money earn money. If everyone in the world read this book and executed these simple steps, I firmly believe the world would be a much better place.

Further reading: I Will Teach You to Be Rich

If you have no or poor money skills, this book is a six-week crash course in money management, teaching you how to use systems to automate your finances, automate your investing, and even get a raise at work. I read this book three times before reading The Richest Man in Babylon.

Over the three years I implemented these strategies, I personally was able to find $800-plus a month in expenses I could cut out and divert to savings and increased my income $28K per year.

stack of colorfully bound books against turquoise background on dark wood table

Taking Control of Your Time & Learning to Execute

3. The ONE Thing: The Simple Truth to Extraordinary Results

Want to have less clutter, distractions, and stress and more focus, energy, and success? This book is about TIME—your most valuable resource in life. (It’s the one resource that is non-renewable!)

Yes, there are other books and systems out there. This one is written by real estate professionals for real estate professionals. Why go anywhere else?

Related: 5 Business Books That Changed My Real Estate Investing Life

Learning How to Run a Business

4. Profit First 

If you aren’t making a profit in your business, arguably you don’t have a business. This book will teach you how to think in terms of setting your profit parameters first before you inflate your expenses. Think of this as the business owner’s guide to paying yourself first! You don’t even have to be a business owner yet to benefit!

Further reading: The E-Myth Revisited

This book reinforces the principles presented in the Cashflow Quadrant. If you are working in your business, you are self-employed and on the wrong side of the income quadrant. How do you break free? Change your thinking. And systems, systems, systems! ‘Nuf said.

Learning How to Break Through Limiting Beliefs

5. Claim Your Power: A 40-Day Journey to Dissolve the Hidden Trauma That’s Kept You Stuck and Finally Thrive in Your Life’s Unique Purpose

Not to get to psychological here, but you will hit a plateau in your investing at some point in time. I firmly believe the limiting beliefs that we all have are patterns we learned from parents, family members, and schools when we are young.

Author Mastin Kipp says it best: “When you claim your power, you don’t change the past or what happened, but you do change how you relate to it–and that is how you change your future for the better.”

Kipp has a free 40-day course that follows the book.

Conclusion

Of course, there are so many great FI reads not on my list above. Information is power!

And so is action. So don’t confuse reading books as the key action to get you to FI. You have to implement!

Once you read the above books, create your first plan to launch your path to financial independence and take action.

Then, I give you full permission to read more!

So, your challenge TODAY is to pick one book off the list above and launch into the steps below:

  • Step 1: Base knowledge > First plan > Execution = First round of results
  • Step 2: Block consistent time on your calendar to execute and keep stats on your plan
  • Step 3***: Analyze results + New knowledge + Tweaks to plan = New plan to execute
  • Repeat Steps 2-3: Quarterly or annually

***Don’t move on to Step 3 until you have taken action!

Looking for more great reads?

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Which books (about financial independence or otherwise) have you found most inspiring? Why? 

Share in the comment section below!

Having more knowledge isn't (always) the answer. You need the right knowledge, at the right time, to craft a plan to execute. Then, far more important than continuing to consume book after book, you need to take action. Here are five titles to read now—then act!