Die With Zero by Bill Perkins – Book Summary

Die With Zero by Bill Perkins – Book Summary

Fresh out of dental school, I was swarmed by insurance agents and salespeople. To say I was overwhelmed by the number of policies needed to run a practice is an understatement.

Then comes a financial advisor with a pitch that felt straight out of a Wall Street playbook. His grand vision? The age-old “accumulation” model: work relentlessly for 30+ years and watch your money grow in a 401k, eventually reaping the rewards when I’m 70. 

But what if my journey had other plans? Like:

  • Wanting to explore different careers before hitting 40.
  • Dreaming of financial freedom before my hair turned gray.
  • Viewing wealth as more than just numbers on a ledger.
  • Facing an unpredictable stock market.

Turns out, the traditional “accumulation model” wasn’t my only choice.

Most of my post-dental knowledge came from devouring 4-6 books monthly. But a unique book titled “Die With Zero” caught my eye.

My initial thought? “Has my wife written a book I didn’t know about?” 😆

Instead of the usual spiel about amassing wealth, this author was about maximizing life experiences to die with zero.

Flipping through its pages, I was confronted with financial perspectives that made me pause. It wasn’t just about money; it was about life.

Are you ready to discover the insights that might just reshape your view of wealth and living? 

Let’s go!!

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What Is The “Die With Zero” Concept?

In the book “Die With Zero” by Bill Perkins, a unique philosophy is introduced, challenging the traditional belief in saving most of your money for retirement.

Instead, the main idea of the book is to maximize positive life experiences by spending money wisely throughout our lives and aiming to die with zero funds left in the bank.

Perkins presents several rules to help readers understand and apply this concept to their lives.

Rule 1 focuses on maximizing positive life experiences by investing in travel, friendships, and new experiences.

Rule 2 encourages readers to start investing in experiences early, instead of waiting until retirement.

Rule 3 is the core principle of the book, which is to aim to die with zero, meaning spending the money you have saved on life experiences you value.

Other guidelines include using various tools and methods to manage spending and ensure the target of dying with zero is reached (Rule 4), as well as giving money to children or charity when it will have the most significant impact (Rule 5).

The book also advises against living life on autopilot (Rule 6) and suggests viewing life through distinct seasons to optimize spending and experiences (Rule 7).

The concept presented in the book is particularly relevant for those with a steady income and some financial security, as well as young people planning their long-term future.

It serves as a reminder that accumulating wealth for the sake of having more money is not the ultimate goal, but rather focusing on experiences and personal growth that enrich our lives.

Check out this video summary:

Time and Money

Time And Money

Perkins emphasizes the importance of balancing time and money to achieve a fulfilling life.

Instead of constantly striving to accumulate a large net worth, he states that we should focus on maximizing positive experiences throughout our lives.

He discusses that we need to consider the amount of money and the value of time when making decisions.

Many people concentrate on building their savings accounts yet forget the importance of living in the moment.

It’s important to recognize that people have limited time and a different capacity to enjoy experiences at various life stages.

By solely focusing on growing their bank account, they might miss out on the joy of spending quality time with their loved ones or pursuing their passions.

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Valuing Experiences Over Material Possessions

Another concept the book highlights is valuing experiences over material possessions.

Expensive Car

By focusing on memorable life experiences rather than accumulating material things, people can obtain greater satisfaction and happiness.

Memory Dividends

Memory dividends play a significant role in this concept. Unlike material possessions that can lead to short-term satisfaction, meaningful experiences provide lasting happiness through memory dividends – the positive feelings and emotions that are recollected from experience over time.

As people reflect on their experiences, they tend to remember the positive aspects and often view them more favorably. It’s like when Facebook sends me a past memory of a trip I went on when my kids were younger; it makes me happy!

To truly maximize happiness and satisfaction, focusing on creating memorable life experiences should be prioritized. These experiences can include travel, quality time spent with friends and family, pursuing hobbies or passions, and taking part in unique or challenging activities.

Life Planning: From Young to Old Age

Perkins introduces the concept of dividing our lives into time buckets to prioritize and schedule experiences based on our abilities, interests, and preferences in each stage.

Starting from young children to young adults and eventually reaching old age, we should create a bucket list of lifetime experiences that we want to achieve at the right time.

This allows us to make the most of our limited time on earth and invest in experiences when we have the most impact on our overall well-being and happiness.

Life Stage Recommended Experiences Reasoning
Young Adulthood High energy activities, physically challenging experiences, extensive travel. Physical capability and adventurous spirit are at their peak.
Middle Age Culturally enriching activities, spiritual retreats, family-focused experiences. Shift in priorities, seeking deeper meaning and connections.
Golden Years Relaxed activities, local travels, spending quality time with loved ones. Physical limitations may arise, focus on comfort and cherished moments.
Financial Planning Allocate resources for experiences, balance between enjoyment and security. Maximize life’s enjoyment without compromising future well-being.

Understanding Life Expectancy

By acknowledging our mortality and understanding that we have a finite amount of time on Earth, we can better strive to make our lives more meaningful. Unfortunately, most of us don’t consider death until we’re much older.

One tool that can help individuals gain insight into their remaining time is a life expectancy calculator.

These calculators take various factors into account, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and health conditions, to provide an estimate of an individual’s remaining years.

The awareness of our finite time provides an essential context for decision-making, especially concerning finances, experiences, and relationships.

Recognizing our own mortality pushes us to take a critical look at our current lifestyles and priorities.

As the number of years we have left are limited, we must ensure they are used wisely by investing in meaningful relationships, experiences, and activities that contribute to our overall well-being.

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Cherishing Memorable Moments

Positive life experiences form an essential part of our lives, providing us with memorable moments. These often come from many activities, such as traveling, spending time with loved ones, accomplishing personal goals, or engaging in new and exciting hobbies.

Memorable moments don’t always have to come from life-changing events. Sometimes, the simple, everyday occurrences leave a lasting impact on our memories.

Die With Zero Summary

I loved the fact that I could throw the football or shoot basketball in the driveway with our kids while they were young. It was nothing dramatic, yet I still made great memories doing it. 

It’s important to give attention to these moments and cherish them as they happen. As time passes, we may find that they become the foundation of a happy, fulfilling life. Here are some ways to actively cherish memorable moments:

Strategy Description
Take time to reflect Set aside a few minutes each day to recall special moments and acknowledge their impact on your life.
Be present Practice mindfulness and fully immerse yourself in the present moment during activities.
Capture memories Document your experiences and emotions using photographs, journals, or social media platforms.
Celebrate milestones Recognize and acknowledge accomplishments, big or small, to celebrate your progress and growth.

The Power of Experience Points

Die With Zero emphasizes the importance of accumulating experience points rather than financial wealth. The concept of experience points comes from gaming, where players collect these points to reach a higher level of abilities and status in the game.

In real-life terms, experience points represent a person’s valuable and memorable moments throughout their life.

The ultimate goal of accumulating experience points is to maximize one’s overall happiness and well-being. 

To optimize the acquisition of experience points, Die With Zero suggests dividing one’s life into distinct seasons. This approach allows you to allocate the right resources and time to focus on what is most important during a specific life phase.

For example, prioritizing family time while raising kids or seeking career growth during early adulthood. Whenever I talk to new (young) Passive Investor Circle members, I stress how “quickly” kids grow up and not to shortchange their time with them. 

I tell them, “You can ALWAYS make more money, but NOT time spent with your kids.”

Facing the Sad Truth

The book’s concept addresses the sad truth that many people face as they progress through life. Instead of prioritizing experiences and relationships, most people focus on wealth accumulation, often delaying gratification for too long or indefinitely.

This approach can lead to saved money for experiences they will never have the chance to enjoy.

How many people do you know have worked their entire lives, saved money, finally retired, then passed away not being able to enjoy what they’ve worked for?

One primary concern in the book is running out of time before accomplishing what we want out of life.

As people face the reality of having less time on their hands, they may begin to regret not embarking on those adventures earlier in life.

Also, there is a misconception that financial security offers unlimited freedom. However, this perception doesn’t consider the limitations imposed by time and age.

As we age, our capacity to participate in specific experiences may diminish despite having the necessary funds saved up.

For instance, if your goal is to climb Mt. Everest, then waiting until you’re 87 versus 45 may not make much sense.

Put The Kids First: The Real Legacy You Leave Behind

When people argue about the book’s philosophy regarding kids, it seems that they aren’t actually putting them first. Instead, they’re treating them as an afterthought. (I’ve never considered it this way until I read the book.)

Perkins isn’t advising parents to spend their kids’ money when he advocates for living life to the fullest and dying with zero. His suggestion is clear: gift what you intend for your kids (or charities) while you’re still alive. Why hold on until the end?

A thoughtful financial plan has a provision for the kids, distinguishing their share from yours.

Studies indicate that most inheritances are received around age 60. However, in a survey Perkins conducted with over 3,500 participants, most preferred the age bracket of 26 to 35 to receive their inheritance.

This age range strikes a balance – mature enough to handle money responsibly, yet young enough to enjoy its benefits.

Bill Perkins states, “The goal isn’t about amassing wealth, but maximizing life’s enjoyment. Money should be a tool for achieving greater life satisfaction. Over-emphasizing on accumulating wealth can deter you from this primary goal.”

True Legacy Lies Beyond Money

What memories would you want your kids to associate with you? What experiences would you like them to share with you? These are pivotal questions to think about.

I’m realizing this personally, raising two teenagers. There’s a limited number of summer breaks before they venture out on their own. The emphasis should be on creating lasting memories now while there’s still time.

Reflect on these:

• Does every extra hour at work truly justify the sacrifice for both you and your children?

• Is your job enriching your legacy or chipping away at it?

Ultimately, money’s primary function is facilitating experiences, especially quality time with your loved ones. If you’re earning without investing time with your kids, you’re potentially robbing both them and yourself.

Once you’ve secured enough for your family’s essential needs, overworking might actually undermine your kids’ true inheritance – the memories and experiences shared with you.

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The Reality of Real Estate and Finance

Real estate and finance play a major role in the principles laid out in the book. 

Real Estate

Real estate, often considered a long-term investment, provides stability and can bring in substantial income if managed wisely. However, in the context of “Die With Zero,” an individual who continuously invests a lot of money in real estate might miss out on other life experiences and end up with excessive wealth at the end of their life with unfulfilled aspirations.

The key is to balance growing your wealth and enjoying your life.

Want to learn more about my favorite real estate investing? Check out this video:

Personal Finance

In terms of finance, the book emphasizes the importance of not solely focusing on wealth accumulation. Being financially secure is necessary, but it is vital not to delay gratification to the point where one cannot enjoy the fruits of their labor during their lifetime. 

Careful financial planning, including real estate investments, should prioritize quality of life. Allocating money for experiences such as travel or hobbies ensures that a person’s wealth is purposeful and not just accumulating indefinitely.

Some tips for striking a balance in real estate and finance include the following:

  • Diversify investments: Invest in real estate and ensure your portfolio covers other assets for growth and stability.
  • Set clear financial goals: Determine realistic targets for wealth accumulation and spending for experiences, factor in life milestones, and adjust accordingly.
  • Periodically reevaluate your priorities: As life circumstances change, so too should your financial strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main principles of the Die With Zero concept?

The Die With Zero concept revolves around maximizing positive life experiences and spending your money wisely during your lifetime. The main principles include:

  1. Maximize your positive life experiences.
  2. Start investing in experiences early.
  3. Aim to die with zero.
  4. Use all available tools to help you die with zero.
  5. Give money to your children or to charity when it has the most impact.
  6. Don’t live your life on autopilot.
  7. Think of your life as distinct seasons.

How does Die With Zero differ from traditional financial planning?

Die With Zero challenges the conventional financial planning approach by emphasizing the importance of enjoying and spending money during your life, rather than solely focusing on saving and accumulating wealth for retirement. Traditional financial planning often advocates for growing wealth and minimizing risks, while Die With Zero encourages spending on memorable experiences and deriving fulfillment from life.

What is the recommended withdrawal strategy in Die With Zero?

Die With Zero doesn’t promote a specific withdrawal strategy. Instead, it suggests a mindset shift that prioritizes experiences and personal fulfillment over building a large nest egg for retirement. However, it does emphasize the importance of responsible spending and evaluating the impact of your financial decisions on your overall happiness.

How can the Die With Zero approach be applied to achieve financial independence?

Applying Die With Zero’s approach to achieve financial independence involves finding a balance between enjoying your experiences and managing your finances effectively. This means investing in experiences early in life, considering the timing and impact of gifts to others, and being open to non-traditional retirement plans. By focusing on living a fulfilling life rather than solely accumulating wealth, you ensure financial independence aligns with your personal values and life goals.

Where can I find resources like books and podcasts on Die With Zero?

The primary resource on the Die With Zero concept is the book “Die With Zero” by Bill Perkins. You may also find podcast interviews and discussions featuring Bill Perkins discussing his ideas, as well as articles and book summaries related to the concept. Some popular places to search include podcast platforms, personal finance blogs, and book review websites.

Does the book suggest that we shouldn’t save money for the future and instead spend all we have in the present?

Not necessarily. The book’s central message is not about spending recklessly but prioritizing life’s peak experiences while you have the time and health to enjoy them. It proposes that while having enough money for security is essential, it’s equally crucial not to sacrifice too much time merely accumulating wealth. Instead, focus on creating enjoyable experiences, which become a significant sum of your life’s fulfillment.

What are some notable quotes from Die With Zero?

Here are a few notable quotes from the book “Die With Zero”:

  1. “The goal is to convert your financial net worth into experiences that make your life feel full and rich.”
  2. “It’s not about having the most money, it’s about having the best LIFE.”
  3. “You cannot buy back time, but you have the power to spend money in ways that help you make the most of it.”
  4. “The aim is to achieve a zero balance between money you’ll never spend and life experiences you’ll never have.”

Remember, the Die With Zero approach encourages individuals to find a balance between enjoying life experiences and managing finances, ultimately aiming to help people lead fulfilling lives.