Why (and how) I wrote Financial Autonomy – the money book that gives you choice

Financial Autonomy book

It was wonderful to be approached by a publisher to write a book. It felt like validation that the effort I’d been putting into the Financial Autonomy podcast, and the weekly Gaining CHOICE email were being recognised, and the ideas conveyed were interesting and valuable.

I enjoy writing, and as much as putting together enough content to constitute a book was a little daunting, I had confidence that the project was doable, especially given the support of a publishing team and their editorial direction.

I wrote around two thirds of the book over the 2019/20 summer break. We were staying home that summer and with the office closed, I was able to spend 2-4 hours most mornings making progress. Some days I returned to it in the evening, proof reading and refining.

Once normal work life resumed, progress was slower, but I had the first draft done by the end of March, and the publishing and editing process rolled on from there.

I wrote the book with one key over-arching thought that reflected my experience of reading finance and business books. It must not be an essay padded out into a book. From start to finish each page must be useful and necessary. A book of this type should only be as long as it needs to be to convey the ideas, and not a page longer. I hope through the diagrams, self-assessment tools, framework diagrams, case studies and everything else, that I’ve achieved that. Early feedback is encouraging.

 So why write this book?

I had three main goals, all consistent with what I’ve been exploring and sharing on the podcast and weekly email. Putting them together into a single book however gave the opportunity to flesh the ideas out, and layout the framework that I’d been developing over many years.

The first goal was to highlight a core realisation/observation that got me started with the podcast back in 2017 – there’s too much focus in finance books on being financially rich. Having worked with people in achieving their goals for 20 years now, I knew that what people actually wanted was to gain choice. Some would call it freedom. Others independence.

Whatever term you prefer though, being the next Warren Buffett was not on the to-do list.

Money is an essential enabler to you having choice. And therefore, building wealth is indeed a wise pursuit. But we’re not building wealth for the sake of an impressive financial scoreboard. The wealth creation strategy must be grounded upon the achievement your desired life outcomes. Identify those desired outcomes, quantify the financial requirements to make those a reality, and then get to work making that happen.

The second goal of the book is to highlight that there was no single pathway to success. Most other personal finance books seemed to me to advocate some secret or special solution – follow the recipe and all your problems will be solved. If there really was such an all-powerful solution to all our financial woes, do you really think it would be given away in a $30 book?

This is again where my 20 years of experience working with people from all different circumstances provided me with a broader and logical insight. I saw people gaining choice in their life through all different routes. Some built businesses. Others focused on a property portfolio. Many worked hard in their career and accumulated savings, investing in shares either via there super, or outside investments. Plenty of people have a mix of two or even all three of these. Throughout the book I provided various case studies (usually with the names changed to protect people’s privacy) which reflected these different journeys.

My third and final aim in writing the book was to clearly articulate the Financial Autonomy framework, which is something I’ve been fine tuning for several years now. I try to describe it in the podcast at times, but as the cliché goes, a picture tells a thousand words. The book is structured to follow the framework, and the framework diagram is at the start of each section, acting like a map to highlight where you are.

Throughout the book I have several self-assessment tools. My hope with these is that they help you navigate the Financial Autonomy framework, and not become paralysed through overwhelm. A core element of the frame is the 3 pathways – stocks, property, and self-employment. But I don’t expect readers to leap into all 3. The self assessment tool helps decide which of these is most likely relevant for you right now, enabling you to take action and make progress.

I was really keen that readers saw results from the time they invested digesting the ideas in Financial Autonomy. So I’m also proud of the companion workbook that we put together, which pulls the various tools and tables out into a single document that you can use to create your own custom plan. We released this workbook for free, and thus far it seems readers are embracing the idea with plenty of downloads already.

You can order your copy of Financial Autonomy – the money book that gives you choice here. It’s also available in all the normal places, including e-book versions.

Sitting on the fence? Download the first chapter free here.