Work Optional


[Work Optional] takes a practical approach to this pie-in-the-sky goal [of early retirement], however much one might earn. She outlines procedures for saving for a full early retirement but also for partial retirement or just a career sabbatical for those with fewer financial resources. She walks the reader through every aspect of this planning, from figuring out your true annual budget to where to invest for the greatest likelihood of steady passive income later on.

New York Post

Ms. Hester get[s] you to think about how you might retire early, forc[ing] you to ponder how you could cut current spending and increase your income, savings and the rates they earn.

New York Times

In Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way, Tanja Hester turns that dream [of early retirement] into a reality, by guiding you to map out your own plan for living the good life earlier than you might have originally expected.


In today’s work culture, we’re expected to be reachable at all times and to hustle around the clock. But what if you could escape the traditional life path and get on an alternate one, one that doesn’t require working full-time until age 65? What if you could wake up every day without an alarm clock, and do the things you love most, instead of punching the clock for someone else?

Work Optional, named the best new personal finance book at the 2019 Plutus Awards, is more than just a financial plan. It’s a plan for your whole life – a life designed by you, not by an employer or clients. Work Optional walks you through envisioning your dream life, creating a solid financial plan to support you, and achieving a purpose-filled early retirement, semi-retirement or career intermission with completely doable, non-penny-pinching steps.

Author Tanja Hester and her husband Mark Bunge left their latte-drinking, crazed careerist lifestyle to live their dream life in Lake Tahoe, retiring early from high-stress careers. As one of the most influential voices in the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement, Tanja documented the journey on her award-winning blog Our Next Life. Work Optional will help you map out your customized financial plan and health care plan, and make it easy to succeed whether you’re good at math and budgeting—or not!

Work Optional offers practical solutions on:

  • How to build a solid early retirement financial plan
  • How to account for future expenses you can plan for—and those you can’t
  • How to retire early with kids, as a single person, or while supporting loved ones
  • How to save money fast without pinching pennies
  • How to make your plan bulletproof to withstand economic downturns

You can live a happier, more meaningful life, one no longer defined by the daily grind or the need for a paycheck. Work Optional will get you there.

Work Optional is now available wherever good books are sold, published by Hachette Books and Hachette Audio.

I’m glad to see that Work Optional takes a very different approach to the concept of financial independence. There are no promises of guaranteed freedom. There is no religion-like prescription of adherence to certain rules about spending money, hoarding rewards points, investing in real estate, or reciting a daily affirmation mantra, though a variety of examples pave the way for helping a reader brainstorm. Instead of FIRE dogma, there’s a plan to get the reader from where she is to where she might have some better control of the options in her life. To that end, Work Optional is full of so many questions — excellent questions — that the reader must answer for herself. This 👏 is 👏 a 👏 good 👏 thing. 👏

―Harlan Landes, executive director of the Plutus Foundation

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