Work Optional

Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way
Narrated by: Tanja Hester
Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A practical action guide for financial independence and early retirement from the popular "Our Next Life" blogger.

In today's work culture, we're expected to hustle around the clock. But what if you could escape the traditional path and get on 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?

Tanja Hester and her husband Mark left their crazed careerist lifestyle to live their dream life in Lake Tahoe, retiring early from high-stress careers. Now Tanja will help you map out a customized plan for freedom and make it easy to succeed, whether you're good at math and budgeting - or not! Work Optional is more than just a financial plan: it's a plan for your whole life-designed by you, not by an employer or clients. Tanja walks you through envisioning your dream life, accounting for variables such as health care and children, protecting yourself from recessions and future unknowns, and achieving a purpose-filled early retirement, semi-retirement, or career intermission with completely doable, non-penny-pinching steps. 

You can live a happier, more meaningful life, free from the daily grind. Regardless of where you are in your career, Work Optional will get you there.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Tanja Hester (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"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, best-selling author of The Year of Less)

"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)

"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." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This has it all.

A very dense look at early retirement. You can tell she is walking the talk. Loads of info. Daunting really.

If you are serious about early retirement then this is a book you can't listen to while you're working out or driving. You need to sit down with it and take copius notes as, like I mentioned, this is a beast of dense material.

Great work. I will continue to refer to this book many times now and in my planning.

7 people found this helpful

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Must-Read

Great ideas in here! It's inspired me to start on my own 10-year plan. Hopefully I'll say goodbye to work one day!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing resource for financial independence!

This is a book I’ll be coming back to for years to come. It covers all the bases in an accessible way with tons of useful examples and personal exercises to use. I know that as I encounter new steps and questions along my own financial path, I’ll be looking back to different sections of the book as a guide. Highly recommend for anyone interested in financial independence and/or early retirement!

2 people found this helpful

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Actually learned a few things

I have a finance and accounting background and have generally read and learned about FIRE topics for a while. Nonetheless this book was useful as an organizing framework and o learned a handful of technical things that were great (eg straight line depletion of 401k pre-65yo).

1 person found this helpful

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Worth the Listen

Good listen, inspirational, only negative I wish they were a little more transparent with how much they actually retired with & what that generates for them monthly. Worth your time. :)

1 person found this helpful

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get the paperback

great concept but too many calculations and they're not all in the PDF, so hard to calculate things as she's talking. also, I'm Canadian, so at least 60% of the content doesn't apply to me.

6 people found this helpful

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Lots of good information.... but...

There is lots of good information but my head was about to explode. it's like sitting in front of your CPA and hear her talk for a few hours and you can't talk back, its a one-way conversation with your CPA for 6 hours about your financial options.
It got too boring to bear. which is a shame because the author and narrator is very articulate with a very pleasant voice, but she just reads very monotonous. just like Siri. maybe reading this in a book format is better. wish the author would sound like she enjoys it and been a little lighter and less heavy with all of those financial options. in all honesty it is like listening to SIRI or Alexa read a book for 6 hours.
If you're the type that can listen to financial and technical options you might enjoy this. me personally, I need to hear some personality, a little humor here and there, something human.

That being said, the author did her due diligence. there is tons of good financial information, and you can tell the author put in a whole lot of work and has a whole lot of knowledge about the many options to approach financial security.
I'm still going to keep this audio book, only I can handle listening to a few minutes a week.

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It's okay

Some bits were a bit boring early on and later on. It seemed like filler. She talks about the same concepts from other personal finance books. Unlike other books though, she doesn't repeat herself a lot and is straight to the point.

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Solid listen, full of great info.

Tanja truly covers in detail every single aspect of personal financing and investment. She lays out a great plan to get you to financial freedom. The accompanying pdf is very helpful. Her performance is great and an easy listen. Be prepared to snooze during the in depth chapter on finances because it’s so detailed but try to stick it out because it’s great info you need to have a well rounded understanding of your own personal finance options. Overall I would highly recommend not only for the FIRE crowd but anyone (like me) who needs a little motivation to go deep with their money & spending and understand how every spending decision affects your overall financial & wealth position and future.

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    4 out of 5 stars

The best modern & relevant personal finance book!

Finally, a book that is written for modern personal finance. I loved this book because it reinforced my plans and the work I am doing to build a work optional life. It's also great because it's simple; most finance pro's try to make you think wealth building is super complicated so that they can charge you money to manage it for you; this author shows you how simple it all really is and helps you gain confidence to build the life you want. I feel like most of the best personal finance books out there have good lessons but are so outdated it's hard to take them seriously. This book is modern, accurate, inspiring, easy to understand, motivating and real. I'll be gifting this to my niece graduating this Spring for sure.