Money Toolbox

Additional Resources

I’ve been reading and writing about personal finance for nearly twenty years. I’ve been interested in financial independence and early retirement for most of that time. This page contains some of the best high-quality material on the subject that I (and others) enjoy.

First up, here are some excellent books related to financial independence and early retirement.

Next, here are some excellent websites about financial independence and early retirement. This by no means a comprehensive list, and I’ve left off many excellent blogs. But these are all high quality sources of FIRE info.

Lastly, here are some FIRE-related resources that you might find useful.

At my own site (Get Rich Slowly), I’ve created a handful of tools for folks. This net worth calculator gives you a template for calculating your current “score”. This one-page PDF contains my exercise for creating your personal mission statement. And a few years ago, I created this one-page guide to financial freedom, which condenses all of the info in this course to a single sheet of paper.

The U.S. government’s Consumer Expenditure Survey is an amazing pile of information about the earning and spending habits of average Americans. There’s a lot here and the site might feel intimidating. If you have time to sit down and sort through things, however, you can learn a lot about how people handle their money — and how their habits compare to yours.

mySocialSecurity is the official U.S.-government Social Security site that allows Americans to access their contribution history and projected benefits. Very useful. (But remember: The SSA is very serious about security.)

The New York Times rent vs. buy calculator is the best tool of its kind that I’ve ever found. Plug in a variety of parameters and the calculator will project whether it makes more sense to own a home or to rent a place.

Kelley Blue Book is the ages-old source for calculating the value of your used vehicle. Many of us remember using the print version when we were younger. The modern website has all sorts of search tools and car-buying aids.

Franklin-Covey has an online Mission Statement Builder that walks you through a series of questions about your values, goals, and desires. When you’re finished you’ll have a rough draft of a possible mission statement. (You’ll need to massage the results to get a more concise statement.)

Numbeo collects a variety of stats for cities around around the world. If you’re curious about what it might be like to live somewhere else, this tool can help you crunch the numbers. Numbeo includes information on housing prices, crime rates, traffic, and more. For our purposes, the most useful piece of the site is the extensive cost-of-living calculator, which allows you to explore how much bang you get for your buck from one city to the next.

Zillow allows you to estimate real-estate prices (and rents) in your area. Lots of people use this website when they’re house-hunting, but it’s also useful for keeping tabs on the housing market in your neighborhood, and fur updating your home’s value when you’re calculating net worth.

This investment calculator at is a handy tool for playing with all sorts of parameters related to an investment plan. The calculator includes tabs for modifying contributions, return rates, starting investment, final balance, and more. Nerdy but fun.

Finally, here are some tools for projecting your retirement needs. I’m generally not a fan of retirement calculators (because they use faulty assumptions and gloss over stuff), but these three are all useful. FIRECalc is free and quick to use. I also like two tools that offer more robust planning: NewRetirement and OnTrajectory. Both of these calculators come in free and paid versions. I’ve found their insights to be very useful for folks pursuing early retirement. (Full disclosure: I am an investor in NewRetirement. That said, I’m not being paid to mention the company here. I just like the product so much that I wanted to be part of its future.)