Die With Zero – Bill Perkins Book Summary

Die With Zero – Bill Perkins | Free Book Summary

Die With Zero – Bill Perkins

Die With Zero by Bill Perkins was published in 2020. It emphasizes the importance of enjoying life experiences and spending money in the present, rather than solely focusing on saving for retirement.

In the book, Perkins suggests adopting a mindset of living with zero regrets by making the most of every moment and maximizing positive experiences.

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Die before Zero: The Takeaways

  • Maximize life enjoyment, not wealth
  • Money is a means to an end
  • Maximizing money can get in the way of enjoying life
  • Aim to die with zero to change focus from earning and saving to living life to the fullest
  • Don’t wait until health and energy wane
  • Chase memorable experiences, give money to kids and donate to charity while alive
  • Income is still needed when older, so save for retirement
  • Time moves in only one direction and opportunities for certain experiences disappear forever
  • Plan future with this in mind to make the best use of every year of life.

Rule No. 1: Maximize your positive life experiences

  • Death makes us more aware of the limited time we have in life.
  • It’s rational to delay gratification to some extent, but too many people delay it indefinitely, saving money for experiences they will never enjoy.
  • Maximizing your fulfillment from experiences by planning how you spend your time and money is how you maximize your life.
  • Life is not a game of Space Invaders where you rack up points for earning more money.
  • People should focus on maximizing what they get out of their wealth, including giving to their children, friends, and society now instead of waiting until they die.

Consumption Smoothing

Our incomes might vary from one month or one year to another, but that doesn’t mean our spending should reflect those variations—we would be better off if we evened out those variations. To do that, we need to basically transfer money from years of abundance into the leaner years. 

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Many psychological studies have shown that spending money on experiences makes us happier than spending money on  things. Unlike material possessions, which seem exciting at the beginning but then often depreciate quickly, experiences actually gain in value over time.

Movement is Life

All living things, including humans, are energy-processing units. We process food so we can power our bodies. Processing energy lets us not only survive on earth but also live a potentially fulfilling life. With that energy, we can move about the world.

Movement is life, and as we move, we get continuous feedback—which leads to discovery, wonder, joy, and all the other experiences you can have throughout life’s great adventure. When you are no longer able to process energy, you will be declared dead, and your adventure will be over.

Rule No. 2: Start investing in experiences early

The main idea here is that your life is the sum of your experiences. This just means that everything you do in life—all the daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences you have—adds up to who you are. When you look back on your life, the richness of those experiences will determine your judgment of how full a life you’ve led.

You retire on your memories

When you’re too frail to do much else, you can still look back on the life you’ve lived and experience immense pride, joy, and the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia.

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