Years ago, many people encouraged a man named Bill Perkins to lead a life worth living, to discover new things, to accept each new day as a precious gift, and on the side to encourage others to do the same. This challenge / encouragement became the inspiration for his book – Die with Zero. For some people, this book has become the most valuable book they have ever read.
If, like me, you enjoy reading about investing and financial planning, you will find that Die with Zero is turning traditional advice on how to save and multiply on its head.
It’s all about this exciting idea that enables you to plan your finances so that you can enjoy your life and die with, you guessed it, ZERO dollars in your bank account. It’s an alternative perspective to saving and spending in the age of FIRE that offers fact-based, eye-opening insights and highlights the relationship between time, money, and one’s happiness.
The basic idea
The with Zero challenges earning, saving and maximizing your wealth model that has deeply permeated American culture. It makes you pause and think about your health and wealth at different stages of life, and it helps you define your financial and psychological boundaries so that you can enjoy what you have worked hard for.
To take an example, Perkins says, imagine you’ve done everything you’ve been told, you’ve worked hard, saved your money, and are now looking forward to your financial freedom. All of this while you’ve wasted something … your life. Here Die with Zero offers a surprising revelation for those who earn and amass money are far from generating unforgettable experiences and waiting for the so-called golden years.
The main idea Perkins is trying to convey is that once you have saved enough for your retirement and support your family, it is time to focus on creating memorable lifelong experiences. And he recommends doing this as early as possible in life so that you are healthy enough to enjoy these experiences.
The TL; DR is Perkins want to save you from over-saving and under-living.
Find the right balance
Perkins says we live in a culture of overemphasized hard work and delayed gratification. He helps us see the balance between money, health and time. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on finding balance. This chapter reminds us that besides work and money, there is always more to look forward to and look forward to.
Perkins points out that most of us have reversed our priorities. We forget that our health is also a commodity and that we don’t have it forever. He talks about the sweet spot in our life – an optimization point where you have money, time and health to enjoy it. For most of us it is between 30 and 60 years.
Of course, most of us still have to work to build up an emergency fund and retirement plan. But the key is to use the time we have to create memories and not waste more time on work than we have to. One of the most compelling points is, “Why let death determine how and when you spend your money? Why don’t you use your money consciously during your lifetime? “
If you are wondering how do you calculate that? Do not worry; Perkins will help you determine your optimal optimization point so that you can enjoy the fruits of our labor faster than you think.
Another life changing concept in this book is “Time Buckets”. Rather than having a bucket list that you want to get certain things on before you die, Perkins suggests that you purposely divide your life into 5 to 10 year increments. Decide what you want to achieve in each of these segments, keeping in mind how much money, health, and time you will need.
The concept of being aware of your life, time, and money, and who you spend those resources with, is worth reconsidering. Perkins helps you feel less guilty about spending your money – to have fun!
Essential philosophies of life
The with Zero can be summarized in 9 philosophies. Each of these measures seem reasonable, doable, and should be followed to the extent that any reader deems appropriate.
1. Maximize positive life experiences
What is really important in life? For most of them, it’s not the money, but the happiness they experience with loved ones. His relationships over material possessions.
For this reason, Perkins recommends not putting off things that make you happy for too long. He believes that life experiences increase in value over time and “memory dividends” pay off.
2. Invest in experience early on
The things you do daily, weekly, monthly, yearly make you up. When you look back, the richness of your experiences will determine the quality of your life. So invest in your own life experiences that bring a sense of accomplishment and start as early as possible.
3. Aim to die with zero
Perkins says if you spend your life making money but die without spending it all, you have unnecessarily wasted a significant portion of your life working for it. His idea is to die with zero after spending on personal experiences, looking after family, and leaving a legacy where your money is not your legacy.
4. Use all available planning tools
Perkins says that if you have no idea when you are going to die, you will not make optimal life decisions. It is beneficial to use tools like a life expectancy calculator to position yourself so that you don’t run out of money in retirement. Because if you are the over-cautious type, you may spend your life making money that you will never enjoy and therefore die rich.
5. Give money to children / charities early on
When Perkins teaches us to live our best lives and die with zero, he’s talking about spending all our money. Not the children’s. He strongly recommends that our children give their share when they need it most. Not when we die so that it will have the greatest impact on their lives.
According to a survey conducted by Perkins, the ideal age to receive an inheritance is between 26 and 35 to get the full benefits.
6. Don’t live life on autopilot
Perkins firmly believes that the ability to get happiness out of your money decreases with age. He therefore advises people to make the most of their time and finances in order to enjoy life to the fullest and not fall into the trap of living life on autopilot.
7. Plan in terms of the seasons
This rule touches on the concept of “periods” where any experience is better when made at a certain age. So find out what your life would be like in each of these segments and consider when you would like to experience each of your desires during your lifetime.
8. Know when to stop
Perkins believes that many of us delay gratification and keep working each day to save for the future. The only risk we take is realizing that we may have delayed it too much. He recommends finding the sweet spot where your finances are at their peak and after that you need to spend it for the most joy and fulfillment.
9. Take big risks early, not later
Perkins claims that people are more afraid of losing money than wasting their lives, and that thought process needs to change. Your greatest fear should be of wasting your life, not the amount of dollars you will end up with at the end of your life.
The younger you are, the more risks you should take. Keep track of opportunities that are a small risk as you can no longer take them when you are older.
The with Zero is a nice reminder that some things we want in life are closer than we think and we don’t have to wait infinitely to experience them. Would you agree
Have you read this book What do you think about these 9 philosophies and how has your view of saving, investing and, above all, enjoying your life changed? Share it in the comments below!