Book Review: You Can Retire Early!

Book Review: You Can Retire Early!

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I’m always looking for great new personal finance books. Not just for myself, but, more important – for all of you. Any book that can help you improve your finances is worth a read. And Deacon Hayes’s You Can Retire Early! does just that.

There’s no shortage of personal finance books out there. Some are better than others and there will inevitably some overlap of information between them. That makes it difficult to stand out, but this book manages to do so.

So, what does it do differently? Compared to other personal finance books, it covers every aspect of post-early retirement life. It walks you through how you will formulate your early retirement plan (ERP) so that you know in advance exactly how you will achieve your goals.

In other words, it not only lays out a framework for retiring early, but it also covers all of the things you’ll need to do in order to succeed during retirement.

By covering every step of the process, You Can Retire Early! ensures you have a plan that will set you up for success.

Start With Why

The first section of You Can Retire Early! starts with why. The idea is very straightforward: why do you want to retire early? Knowing your why of FI is incredibly important.

But…why, you ask?

Again, the answer makes perfect sense. See, sometimes pursuing FI isn’t going to be all that fun. Much like the challenges of budgeting, there will be struggles sometimes.

Thus, knowing your “why” is what will keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Having your eye on the prize, if you will. Whether it’s more time with family, the freedom to travel more, or just plain not enjoying your job – knowing your why is what keeps you going.

This is just my version of it, though, and this is just the first part of the book.

A Personalized Approach

In the next chapter, Hayes will tell you how to develop a personalized approach. Everyone’s finances are different. From your income to your family to your expenses – giving blanket advice just doesn’t work very well.

Instead, you’ll develop a plan that will put you on the right path the financial independence. I don’t know how much of a planner you are, but “winging it” doesn’t tend to work very well.

By developing a personalized approach, you’ll be sure you’re on track based on your own situation.

Stick with the Plan

As you could have guessed, this section of the book will help you stick with the plan. This is one of the biggest challenges of achieving financial independence, retire early (FIRE).

I attended screenings of Playing with FIRE not once, but twice. The movie is centered around a married couple, Scott and Taylor. Scott decides he wants to FIRE, and Taylor agrees to the plan.

However, as time wears on, Taylor starts to have doubts. She still thinks FIRE sounds great, but she is agonized by the fact that she must make all these sacrifices and isn’t being rewarded yet.

That is, in a nutshell, is what makes FIRE difficult. Although you could retire as much as 25 years before your peers, it probably won’t be easy.

If you start with the plan at age 22 and it takes you 20 years to reach FIRE, you would retire at 42. That is 25 years before the new retirement age of 67, which is obviously quite early.

Still, that means you will spend 20 years living below your means, refusing to keep up with the Joneses, and (possibly) working side jobs.

While the end goal is well worth it, it can be tough to stay committed. That is what this section of the book will help you do.

Sticking with the plan also includes not using credit cards excessively. If you have credit cards to pay off, knowing how to find your routing number is useful.

Investing in Early Retirement

Another valuable piece of information in the book are the investment vehicles that will get you to early retirement. You may already know about investing in the stock market, but Hayes goes over a couple of other options as well. I don’t want to give too much away here, though.

However, what I like about his approach to this section is he focuses on proven methods. While there are other ways you could potentially accumulate wealth, they tend to be very risky.

You only have one future, so it makes sense to stick to methods proven to work.

A few examples of risky propositions include playing the lottery/gambling, MLMs, and get rich quick schemes. The reality is that while one of these could work, it’s much more likely that you’ll be left with less money than you had before.

And that is the opposite of the goal. You’re looking to grow your wealth, not erode it!

Tracking Your Progress

Another thing I think this book does well compared to other early retirement books is to help you track your progress. It may be difficult to reach financial independence if you don’t track your progress along the way.

Thus, this section of the book presents a variety of tools to help you do so. One of the main such tools is budgeting. And even within budgeting, you’ll get ideas for a variety of different budgeting methods, apps, and tools to help you stay on track.

Because how do you know if you’re on track if you don’t keep track? Well, there’s a good chance you don’t.

Additional Info

As a last valuable resource, the end of the book has several appendices with useful info:

  • How to increase your income
    • While there is not just one way to reach financial independence, increasing your income is one of the most effective ways to do so.
  • Glossary
  • Types of businesses
    • You could say this is related to increasing your income. While there are many jobs out there that pay very high salaries, the ceiling tends to be higher when you own your own business.
  • Resources
    • List of additional resources (mainly from other authors and content creators).

It’s always nice to feel like you are getting a bonus at the end and that is just what this section does. I feel it’s a nice addition to the book.

You Can Retire Early!

Retiring early can seem impossible in our culture. We’re told we have to “put in our time” and then maybe we can retire when we’re 67. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Armed with the tips you will learn about in You Can Retire Early!, you’ll be able to write your own story. Maybe you want to work until you’re 67, and that’s perfectly fine.

But if you have other things in mind, or maybe if you just have a different career in mind, you’ll need to think differently. That’s what this book does. And then it gives you a plan for how to put that thinking into action.

And let us not forget that being financially independent is always a good idea. Even if you don’t intend to retire early, financial independence leaves us with a sense of security. Without it, our futures could be uncertain.

If retiring early is something you’ve had in mind, but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend picking up this book. It will answer all your questions – and more.

Bob Haegele

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I blog about personal finance here at The Frugal Fellow. I was raised in the Windy City, also known as Chicago. After working for a few years in the Midwest, I’ve bounced around to different parts of the country in my mission to become a full-blown digital nomad. I’m also an alternative energy and EV enthusiast and have recently become semi-vegetarian. Another thing I started doing recently? Dog walking. I’m now doing that as a side hustle and loving it! I’m now working toward financial independence making money via my own ventures. If you’d like to work together, send me an email.

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