Best New Personal Finance Book
— 2019 Plutus Awards (top honor in the personal finance media community)

Editorial Reviews

“[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, February 9, 2019

“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.”―Bustle, December 18, 2018

“Simply getting you to think about how you might retire early forces you to ponder how you could cut current spending and increase your income, savings and the rates they earn. That’s good.”―New York Times, January 11, 2019 

“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. 👏”―Plutus Foundation, January 9, 2019

Advance Praise

“A practical and inspiring guide to rethinking work, money, and time at the deepest level. If you want to live life on your terms, read this book.”―John Zeratsky, coauthor of Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

“Tanja Hester and her partner achieved early financial independence, and in these pages she takes you on her journey. Learn why so many are firing their bosses and searching for meaning and purpose beyond cubicles and 24/7 jobs.”―Vicki Robin, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Your Money or Your Life

“Hester’s story is relatable, refreshing, and a pleasure to read. All too often we chase external measures of success without thinking about what we truly want from life. In Work Optional, Hester gives us a roadmap for a less traveled path: living a more purpose-driven life through financial independence.”―Kristin Wong, author of Get Money: Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Afford

“Inspirational, grounded, and thought-provoking, Work Optional cracks open preconceived ideas of what it means to work and what it means to live a fulfilling, purpose-driven life. Go on this adventure to learn not only the practical steps of early retirement, but more importantly, to discern what you truly want out of life. With Hester as your guide… you just might find yourself living a life you never imagined possible.”―Elizabeth Willard Thames, author of Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living

“Hester is equal parts analytical and encouraging in Work Optional, which helps the reader tear down any misconceptions about what it means to create a life on your terms. This will undoubtedly be a defining handbook for those looking to diverge from society’s expectations of a traditional career path.”―Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial Takes on Investing

Work Optional outlines a realistic yet awe-inspiring path to a life where work is optional. There are plenty of books out there about how to save money and build wealth but if you want to weave financial excellence into a life full of adventure, contribution, and meaning, this is the book for you.”―Chad Carson, author of Retire Early with Real Estate

“Financial independence and early retirement are truly the ultimate life hacks, and in the page-turning book Work Optional, Tanja Hester lays out a concrete path to both define your future and help you get there. This newfound freedom gives you the space to focus on what you want out of life: your projects, passions, community, and ultimately your happiness.”―Brad Barrett, co-host of the ChooseFI podcast

“Financially independent with a bulletproof plan, Tanja gets to the heart of what actually matters in moving forward on your financial journey in Work Optional without resorting to the extremes…. This well-researched book gives you a definitive action plan for creating a life-changing financial position in a two-phased retirement plan that is both realistic and motivating. Tips and tactics abound… in particular, her discussion about health care options for those seeking early retirement, a huge area overlooked by many many seeking to make work optional or pursue non-traditional work.”―Scott Trench, author of Set for Life: Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream

“This isn’t just a book about how to retire early. It’s a book that proves it’s possible to be mindful with your spending, and create a life that aligns with your values and passions-and work can play whatever role you want it to.”
―Cait Flanders, bestselling author of The Year of Less