DIE WITH ZERO
Die with Zero
The book Die With Zero can make readers feel curious about the writer’s new perspective. What does it mean to die with zero and why die with zero? The book written by Bill Perkins introduces how to live rich and die without money left in the pocket. Bill Perkins’ intention is to rescue his readers from over-saving and under-living, by having a logical plan to optimize the life to be able to fully be engaged and enjoying what they have worked and saved for during their whole life moments. This book may be good for those who are looking for some sensible advice to develop their financial management skills and for those who are interested in balancing their work and private lives.
Some years recently this topic of how to earn for having the early retirement become very hot in my country. Many financial specialists share their advice to people who have a dream of achieving the early retirement as their life goal by working hard, investment, saving, etc. However, even though some people have earned enough for this goal, they still hesitate a lot to start their dream. I remember there was a discussion topic on one magazine based on the real sharing story of one man who owns nearly 800 thousand euros, enough for his early retirement and a standard life in Vietnam. He has asked for the advice if he should stop working hard and start enjoying the early retirement in his 47. Even though, he has bought the whole life health insurance and still has his income from renting houses every month nearly to 1500 euros, he still cannot decide on the early retirement. He is afraid of having risks and wonders if it is better to delay a bit more until his real retirement age at 54 years old. He also thinks of saving his property for the children as the inheritances.
All his worries are mentioned in this book Die with Zero. The writer gave the explanation on why people should die with Zero, how to Die with Zero, how to enjoy life while still having the good inheritance for the children and still being able to do charity, etc. while can maximize lifetime memorable moments by following the net worth curve, etc. The insight is all about time, money, happiness from psychological science and behavioral finance.
Why to Die with Zero?
People waste too many precious hours of their life to work hard, earn money, save, and keep working hard even though they exceed the earning and saving target. They do not recognize that there is just no way to get those hours back. The result can be that they earn and save the over abundant wealth, but then they must sacrifice the most memorable moments of life which they and others around them e.g., families and friends, deserve to have. The trying habit usually establish when the people must work hard at their young age to achieve something for themselves to feel proud of and to have the feeling not being inferior to friends. I can somehow relate this to myself and to the young people in my time in Vietnam. We always had the concerns if we should work hard for better family life conditions, or just need to earn enough and start enjoying the life, like travelling somewhere or having more unique memorable experience in life. Most people decide to work hard and save for their family and delay their own dreams. The habit continues to follow its whirlpool until they realize that there is no longer the same passion as before and the dream has gone into oblivion. The problem is always very difficult to solve, how to balance it the best.
Also, people may work for free if they do not die with zero. The calculation is given by the write on the example of hard-working woman to save money from her young age until her 65. Let’s assume in her 65, she can get the saving target and how many years left are there for her to enjoy the life based on that saving amount before she dies. The remaining amount of saving that she could not spend before dying can be considered as her free working hours for her whole life. That is kind of wasting the life energy. Therefore, it should be a better idea to have earlier retirement or spend more of money throughout the life. Ideally it is smarter to die with zero. This perspective makes me think of my sister-in-law who can be a good sample of doing as similarly as what the writer advises. Her code of living is enjoying the life as much as she can since people will never know their last day existing in the life. She earns well and she is generous in spending her earning, for example, in travelling, food, shopping or giving to relatives, etc. The most important thing is for her to enjoy her life and have as many experiences as possible.
How to die with zero?
Firstly, do not care only about money, but people should start thinking more about how they can use their limited time and life energy. Everyone should plan to make the most of whatever they have at every point of lifetime for the life enjoyment. The writer advises to live a life more mindful. People should be focusing on the life enjoyment rather than on maximizing the wealth situation. Money is just a means to achieve the more important goal of enjoying life. At the 30s, I recognize that I should have done more things to earn the most memorial moments in my younger time like other young friends in my class are doing. As the result of the years just focusing on working hard, I feel sorry for myself not being able to enjoy the memorial moments of the golden time of my youth that I may have missed.
Secondly, allocate a portion of our saving for our kids. The writer reminds dying with zero does not mean to leave nothing for our kids or spending with the responsibility. This advice of the writer recalls me about the 6-jar financial management methods that I have learnt. In each jar, there will be the portion of money amount for: Necessaries account, Long-term saving for spending account (for longer plan like buying a house or having a baby), Education account, Financial freedom account (like the saving for investment), Play account (like travelling or shopping, etc.) and Give account (for charity or giving to the family members, etc.). I used to practice this method by allocating my earnings to different saving jars. The percentage of saving for each jar will depend on our own goal and decision on which spending is most important for us. Making the plan and following it requires a lot of effort and perseverance not to go wrong away from the own spending targets. In addition, it requires making sure you don’t stress or can still enjoy life while staying on track on your savings journey. In the jar of Give account, we can take money from that to take care of our kids responsibly. Remember it is not only the heritance that we can leave for them, but the memorial experiences we can create for our kids during their lifetime. It could be a 7-day travel trip to some places or the beautiful gifts for a memorial Christmas holiday with your kids. Those experiences of your kids’ childhood will never happen again if you may miss it.
Thirdly, keep balance in our spending. That means not to over-spend or over-save but keep spending only on what we value and saving smartly for the future. The 6-jar financial management method can be a good tool to apply for balancing our spending. For example, if we would like to buy an expensive handbag as a gift for ourselves, we can check our Play account if we have saved enough to satisfy that desire yet. If not, we may delay purchasing it for a period until we can save enough or delay the other priorities in the Play checklists to spend first for shopping that expensive handbag. Just remember not to spend all or over what we can earn, and at the end we feel stressful of working harder to pay for that spending. Besides, spending responsibly and in a balanced way is not only good for ourselves, but is also sustainable for our environment.
There are still many other tips that the writer shares from the book on how to die with Zero, like to think of our lives as distinct seasons which will never be the same again or to know when to stop growing our wealth or, to take our biggest risk when we have little to lose.
In my opinion, this book gives some interesting perspectives, however, it seems to be more suitable to apply only for good income earners. For example, the labours who can earn just little, even not enough for the common essential spending like food, clothes, residence, etc., the need of saving is something very far away from their reality. I feel like the tips are quite theoretical as same as the advice that other books about the financial management share. However, I really like the idea of enjoying the present moment of life. People may have different ways of living depending on their ability of financial situation. Even without much money, people can still feel happy. Happiness can come from the simple things in life, like we can have the delightful moments, for example, like when we enjoy the Hekumu cup in the morning.
You may know about YOLO trend which means You Only Lives Once. This trend is followed mostly by the young people as the way to better enjoy the lives, but I heard in some situations, it also happens to the older people who recognized it is time for them to be able to enjoy truly the lives and stop worrying about the earnings, despite they may feel regretful for not having good experiences as younger age, but I think it is better than nothing.