Personal Development

Top 5 Books to Launch Your Path to Financial Independence

Expertise: Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Investing Basics
28 Articles Written
Pretty afro american woman listening audiobook on tablet smiling

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.

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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…

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!

Whitney is a real estate investor and personal finance trainer whose vision is to launch 10,000 families on the path toward financial independence. After purchasing her first rental in 2002, and hi...
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    Michael P. Lindekugel Real Estate Broker from Seattle, WA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Robert Kiyosaki's books are garbage. in 2012 that clown filed chapter 7 bankruptcy with liabilities are nearly $26 million with assets of $1.8 million, according to its bankruptcy filing. Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World's Greatest Investor is much better. Business school finance, accounting, economics.
    Josh Hooper Investor from Atlanta, Georgia
    Replied 3 months ago
    Not a helpful response.
    Josh Hooper Investor from Atlanta, Georgia
    Replied 3 months ago
    I would add Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin. That book is pretty awesome in the strategy it has you employ specifically geared towards Financial Freedom.
    Whitney Hutten Rental Property Investor from Boulder, CO
    Replied 3 months ago
    Josh, Agreed!
    Tom McCaffrey
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you Whitney! I feel like it is easy to get paralyzed with fear of not knowing enough. Action and mistakes are valuable learning tools!
    Whitney Hutten Rental Property Investor from Boulder, CO
    Replied 2 months ago
    You are welcome! Analysis paralysis is very real. Get a base ed, but you will learn so much more by doing.
    John Blanton Investor from Apex, NC
    Replied 2 months ago
    Richest Man in Babylon is a great book and easy read. For me that is a great starting point for folks looking to become more financially independent. Two others that have greatly shaped my mindset were Millionaire Next Door and Think and Grow Rich.
    Whitney Hutten Rental Property Investor from Boulder, CO
    Replied 2 months ago
    Love both of those books :)