Retire Sooner Reading List

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by Wes Moss

Any author will tell you that self-promotion is a vital muscle to develop. You pour your heart out, scribbling ideas before heading to the office, during lunch breaks, and after the kids go to bed. You brainstorm, outline, write, and then rewrite more times than anyone would like to admit. After taming that beast, the idea of no one reading your words is abhorrent, so you pound the pavement, hit the airwaves, shake hands, and kiss babies. In short, you say yes to every exhausting idea your marketing team generates.

The promotion machine isn’t always fun, but once the momentum builds, it can be pretty difficult to stop. Therefore, when one of my radio show listeners recently asked me what other authors I recommend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to promote someone else for a change. Who knows, maybe this can help some other writers take a day off now and then.


My team and I suggest you add these tomes to your bookshelf…

1. The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner

This story is, as the youth say, everything! Its message struck such a chord that I opened with a discussion about it in the preface of my first book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think.

Plot Summary: “At the age of twenty, Milwaukee native Chris Gardner, just out of the Navy, arrived in San Francisco to pursue a promising career in medicine. Considered a prodigy in scientific research, he surprised everyone and himself by setting his sights on the competitive world of high finance. Yet no sooner had he landed an entry-level position at a prestigious firm than Gardner found himself caught in a web of incredibly challenging circumstances that left him as part of the city’s working homeless and with a toddler son. Motivated by the promise he made to himself as a fatherless child to never abandon his own children, the two spent almost a year moving among shelters, hotels, soup lines, and even sleeping in the public restroom of a subway station.”

Later made into a movie starring Will Smith, the story resonated with me because I have four sons and work in the financial industry. Every time I even consider complaining about the lackluster performance of a stock, I remind myself of Chris Gardner taking care of his son while simultaneously pulling himself up off the street and into a successful career as an investment advisor. Chris’ words blew me away and gave me a deeper insight into the relationship between money and happiness.


2. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

Plot Summary: “The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves. The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The subject was The Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience… Although no final exam was given, you were expected to produce one long paper on what was learned. That paper is presented here. The last class of my old professor’s life had only one student. I was the student…”

Mitch Albom’s books have sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and if you ask me, that number is too low. So, I was lucky enough to interview him for an episode of my Retire Sooner podcast, and he did not disappoint. Drawing from some tips he’d picked up courtesy of his former professor and mentor, Morrie Schwartz, Mitch offered wisdom about how current and future retirees can plan for the future while living for today.


3. Bolder: How to Age Better and Feel Better About Ageing by Carl Honoré

Plot Summary: “Ageing – how we can do it better and feel better about doing it. It’s also a rallying cry against the last form of discrimination that dare speak its name: ageism.”

Carl also came on my podcast and, in addition to the topic of aging, talked about the importance of slowing down and cherishing time. His dedication to this concept led to his little son giving him an award for being the “best reader of bedtime books.”

Bolder is for folks of any generation concerned about what it means to age. Carl discovered through his research that many things can improve as we grow older.


4. Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money by Ken Honda

Plot Summary:  “It is not how much you make or have that makes you have Happy Money or Unhappy Money; it is the energy in which your money is given and received that determines your flow. Even if you make a lot of money or very little, your money can be in either flow. Ultimately, it is your choice.”

Ken Honda stands out as an indelible muse. A master of money and happiness, he is a best-selling self-development author in Japan. I’ve dedicated my career to helping improve the lives of retirees, and his words enhanced my own. His writings synthesize finance and self-help, spotlighting personal wealth and happiness through deeper self-honesty.

He insists it’s crucial to appreciate the money coming in and out of your life. As a financial advisor, I’m trained to find ways for your assets to appreciate, and I may not always be focused on ways for you to appreciate your assets. It was a foreign concept to me, and that’s why I’ve been thinking about it ever since.


5. Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning by Tom Vanderbilt

Plot Summary: “Inspired by his young daughter’s insatiable need to know how to do almost everything, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five skills, choosing them for their difficulty to master and their lack of marketability–chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling. What he doesn’t expect is that the circuitous journey he takes while learning these skills will be even more satisfying than any knowledge he gains.”

Tom does a great job explaining the critical lessons he learned on his journey, how folks can reclaim their identities by learning something new, and why failure can be a good thing. The positive aspect of beginning again with those first few awkward steps is more important than the negative. My team and I were fascinated by his pursuit to continue learning new skills and inspired to explore our own childlike wonders in retirement.


There are more books we want to share, but these five should give you a solid foundation and plenty of motivation to keep on keepin’ on. The perfect retirement is out there. So take full advantage of the people who have been to the mountaintop. Let their adventures inform your own.


This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations.  This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.  The views and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only as of the date of production/writing and may change without notice at any time based on numerous factors, such as market or other conditions.