Bill Perkins is a high stakes poker player with a background in options trading in the energy markets. His book “Die With Zero” provides a unique take on retirement planning.
Die With Zero Summary [Video]
Accumulate Experience Points
Material purchases provide very little long term enjoyment whereas investing in experiences provides memories that can pay dividends into old age.
Bill Perkins makes a case for life being about the accumulation of memories from experiences and money being a tool used to invest in experiences. The sum of our experiences are correlated with our happiness and fulfilment.
The core concept of this book is that everyone should aim to die with zero as in spend all their money by the time they die. This is optimal for maximising our life experiences over the course of our lives.
Many people horde money with the general idea of passing away wealthy and giving that fortune in the form of generational wealth. This book challenges those ideas.
Optimal Health / Wealth Curves
This is my take on the health wealth balance discussed in the book.
If we go through life on autopilot our opportunity for peak experiences comes to late. By the time we have accumulated our peak net worth we are too old to enjoy many of the experiences we could have purchased earlier in life.
By spending money to invest in new experiences earlier we can broaden and enjoy peak experiences earlier in life when our health has not declined to a point where certain activities may not be as enjoyable.
Plan Long Term With Time Buckets
The concept of time buckets is really useful and something I had a go at. Take a standard bucket list of everything you want to do, places you want to travel, things you want to achieve before you die and then put it in to decade buckets mapping all those experiences into 10 year periods.
Certain things can be put off to later in life while others are easier and more agreeable earlier. The idea of going to a rock concert might not be so appealing when I get to 80.
For me certain trips like Safaris would just be easier when my boys are a bit older. Other trips I’m looking forward to as soon as lockdown is over. Reading this book in the middle of a travel ban due to Covid isn’t ideal as it gets you all fired up with no place to go.
The Kids Can Use The Inheritance Now
Well my kids are pre-school so maybe not right now but the idea is that you probably could of used your parents inheritance when you were in your 20’s and by the time they die you wont actually need or particularly want it.
The same goes for charities where the money you can donate now is more valuable than leaving it in a will x years from now. There’s no selflessness in philanthropy and you can reap the benefits of donating earlier too.
Target A Peak Net Worth Age
Everyone will hit a peak net work when they are financially as well off as they will ever be.
Many people work too hard for too long to earn money that they never get to spend.
Time is a limited resource and a lot of our lives are devoted to the pursuit of money. This might be with a job or being in a love with a business you founded.
Retiring or semi-retiring earlier with less money is generally a net positive when looked at from the lens of experience points.
Conclusion Die With Zero
A great book, a really challenging and original perspective that opened my eyes to my own mortality.
I think I read this at the right time in my life where I do need to start spending more on experiences and working less. The Covid pandemic has made that infinitely more difficult as it’s limited the amount of experiences available. It’s something I need to work on long term and another tab in a spreadsheet for life planning.
Bill Perkins ends the book with the analogy of a religious person striving to an impossible standard. While we are unlikely to die with exactly zero it can definitely be beneficial to take a step back once in a while and reassess our work life balance and how we can maximise our life experiences.
You can get Die With Zero on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3c3Wbov
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