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Die With Zero Book Review (My Key Takeaways)

Die With Zero by Bill Perkins introduces an interesting concept about money.

Your life isn’t about making as much money as possible. It’s about using money as a tool to create memories and fulfill needs—and you should use it during times in your life when it can provide the biggest impact.

Not saving it all until you’re 80.

If you like books about money and psychology—you’ll love Die With Zero.

Gave me a lot to think about when it comes to how (and when) I want to spend my money.

Below are some parts of the book that stood out to me. They may not make sense outside the context of the book, so I encourage you to pick it up and give it a read.

Die With Zero Key Takeaways


  • The question we all must answer is how to make the most of our finite time on earth
  • It’s called 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
  • Life energy is all the hours that you’re alive to do things—and whenever you work, you spend some of that finite life energy
  • Many psychological studies have shown that spending money on experiences makes us happier than spending money on things
  • “Do you have fears of running out of money?” I said, “I hope I run out of money!”
  • Start actively thinking about the life experiences you’d like to have, and the number of times you’d like to have them
  • Think back to one of the best vacations you ever had, and let’s say it lasted a full week
  • “But if you’re just going to buy the property and have it sit there doing nothing but appreciating your capital investment, then who cares if you stand to gain an extra 3 percent on it?
  • There is nothing special or life-changing about earning 3 percent on foreign real estate—it’s just one of a million types of investments you could make
  • Earning and earning while forgetting that your whole point in earning money is to be able to spend it on the experiences that make your life what it is
  • How many hours she spent in her office job that she did not need to spend. How many hours was that? Well, divide the $130,000 by $19.56 an hour and you get a little more than 6,646. That’s 6,646 hours that Elizabeth worked for money she never got to spend
  • And I can’t think of any worse form of waste than squandering your life energy
  • Those people and causes would be better off getting your wealth sooner rather than later
  • So as people’s incomes decline, their spending does, too
  • Try to figure out where this psychological resistance comes from
  • We are solving for your total life enjoyment
  • I’ve actually started using an app called Final Countdown that counts down the days (and years, months, weeks, and so on) before my estimated death date
  • In short, by giving the money to my kids and other people at a time when it can have the greatest impact on their lives
  • Your goal in life is not to maximize your income and wealth but to maximize your lifetime fulfillment
  • Everything you do takes away from something else you could be doing
  • When you invest in experiences you create memory dividends
  • Does your work add to your legacy—or does it actually serve to deplete it?
  • The purpose of money is to have experiences
  • My number one rule is: Maximize your life experiences. So spend your money while you’re alive—whether the optimal time, as I suggested earlier in the chapter, is when they’re between 26 and 35—not too late to make a big impact and not so soon that they might squander memory dividend
  • The more money you have, the more you should be using this tactic, because your time is a lot more scarce and finite than your cash
  • I am constantly trading money back into time
  • People who spend money on time-saving purchases experience greater life satisfaction, regardless of their income
  • Her patients’ number one regret was wishing they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves—as being aware that your time is limited can clearly motivate you to make the most of the time you do have
  • Draw a timeline of your life from now to the grave, then divide it into intervals of five or ten years. Each of those intervals—say, from age 30 to 40, or from 70 to 75—is what key experiences—activities or events—you definitely want to have during your lifetime
  • Someone challenged him to spend, say, $300,000 on activities that are totally not work-related but actually fun-related, he’d be forced to think differently
  • Just realize that time moves in only one direction, and that as it passes it sweeps away opportunities for certain experiences forever
  • Asymmetric risk: When the upside of possible success is much greater than the downside of possible failure
  • Your biggest fear ought to be wasting your life and time, not “Am I going to have x number of dollars when I’m 80?”
  • Don’t underestimate the risk of inaction
  • In the end, the business of life is the acquisition of memories

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One response to “Die With Zero Book Review (My Key Takeaways)”

Torgny Stigbrand
July 3, 2023 at 6:09 am

Great book, changed my concepts and visions completely!

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