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Tanja Hester

Tanja Hester

Author of Work Optional (Hachette) and Wallet Activism (BenBella Books)

Financial Independence/Early Retirement Expert

Tanja Hester retired at age 38 from her career as a political consultant and journalist. The author of Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way (Hachette Books; February 2019), and a top influencer within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement, Tanja bridges the gap that so often exists between life and money, shifting the conversation to life purpose, fulfillment, and happiness, rather than wealth for its own sake. She comes to her audiences with love and empathy, not judgment, and inspires and empowers them to live their best lives as soon as possible. Her second book, Wallet Activism, was published in November 2021 with BenBella Books. In addition to her books and speaking, Tanja writes the award-winning blog Our Next Life and cohosts the women and economics podcast The Fairer Cents. Tanja has global speaking experience, and has been featured in The New York Times, ABC Nightline, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TIME, CNBC, MarketWatch, and more. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Tanja spent most of her career in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles before moving to Lake Tahoe, California.

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Keynote Lecture Topics

  • General
    • Work optional: Align your money to your values to live your best life
    • The power of a career intermission
    • Give your money a mission statement
  • Financial Professionals
    • The best retirement plans come from the heart
    • How big is your safety net? Managing risk on a long time horizon
    • What traditional retirees can learn from the early retirement movement
  • Corporate/HR
    • Boost your career with financial independence
    • What employers and HR need to know about the growing FIRE movement
  • Authors/Bloggers
    • The imperfect expert: Balancing authority and vulnerability to connect with readers
    • Build your brand without selling your soul

Tanja Hester travels from Lake Tahoe, CA.


Work Optional

Praise for Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way

Hachette Books, February 12, 2019

“Ms. Hester gets 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

“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

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

Wallet Activism

BenBella Books, November 16, 2021