Book Review of “Die With Zero” – Why, How, and Do We Need To?

This is the book review of the book Die With Zero by Bill Perkins. The title of the book alone is interesting enough to get me into reading this. The more interesting part is that it is not at all just a clickbait, but the basis of the whole book. Read this book review to understand more why and how the author wants us to achieve this goal.

Book – Die with Zero

Author Bill Perkins

Publisher – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages – 240 pages

My rating – 3 stars

Click here to buy a copy.

Blurb (as on Goodreads):

Imagine if, by the time you died, you did everything you were told to. You worked hard, saved your money, and looked forward to financial freedom when you retired.
The only thing you wasted along the way was…your life.
Die with Zero presents a startlingly new and provocative philosophy as well as a practical guide on how to get the most out of your money—and out of your life. It’s intended for those who place lifelong memorable experiences far ahead of simply making and accumulating money for one’s so-called Golden Years.
In short, Bill Perkins wants to rescue you from over-saving and under-living. Regardless of your age, Die with Zero will teach you Perkins’ plan for optimizing your life, stage by stage, so you’re fully engaged and enjoying what you’ve worked and saved for.
You’ll discover how to maximize your lifetime memorable moments with “experience bucketing,” how to convert your earnings into priceless memories by following your “net worth curve,” and find out how to navigate whether to invest in, or delay, a meaningful adventure based on your “spend curve” and “personal interest rate.”
Using his own life experiences as well as the inspiring stories and cautionary tales of others—and drawing on eye-opening insights about time, money, and happiness from psychological science and behavioral finance —Perkins makes a timely, convincing, and contrarian case for living large.

Book review of the book Die With Zero
Source – Goodreads

Book Review:

Die with Zero is a non-fiction book that encourages people to do the same as the title suggests – to die with zero in their bank. It might sound like an absurd idea when everyone all around you seems to be focusing on saving and expanding your wealth. As you read further down the book, the author explains in detail why it is a good idea to die with zero.

The writing style of the author is easy to understand and he goes deep down in all the self-raised questions in this book. He has tried to cover all the questions and curiosity that comes in a person’s mind after hearing this. In the course of explaining the interconnected ideas, he has repeated himself a lot. The book could have been a shorter composition with fifty or so pages explaining the crux of the phrase – Die with Zero and would’ve made same sense as this huge book.

Few key messages of this book are:

  • Optimize your life experiences
  • You invest your life energy to earn money, so utilize it properly
  • Don’t wait for future to enjoy life, future is uncertain
  • Invest in experiences; Money comes and goes, experience remains
  • Don’t actually hit Zero before you die; plan before you spend
  • Give the money you want to leave as inheritance today; your children need your money in their early years
  • The next best time is now, don’t wait
  • Donate to communities and good causes while you are still alive
  • All the money that remains in your bank account after death is a waste of life forces
  • Your money means what is left for you after you have fulfilled all your obligations
  • Time Bucket your life; make a list of activities you want to do in certain age range
  • Know Your limits and spend wisely; poverty before death is not your aim
  • Life experiences don’t always cost money, so don’t wait to invest in time
  • Turn your money into free time

These are the basic messages that the author is trying to convey. You should not wait for your personal life experiences till you are too old to enjoy it. If you want to enjoy something in your twenties, the same activity won’t give you same satisfaction in your fifties.  So instead of saving thousands of dollars in your bank account while living frugally, try to explore what you enjoy while you still can.

My thoughts:

I found that this book is not for every income group. The author might say that this is for every income group but when I read it till the end; I found that it specially caters to the need of those people who have ample amount of money saved in their accounts for their old age. Those who are struggling to save enough might feel frustrated with all the death with zero talk. The data the author used in the examples are from US economy and suggests the resolution according to their economy and financial practices. Not everyone might relate or even find relevance in the words of the author.

Even though some of his points are valid and seems logical, the emotional state of human conscience would be huge hurdle in actually implying all that. The inherent fear of running out of money or being helpless overwhelms the human mind and the logical argument of spending. The solution that the author has provided requires proper planning and expertise which again might turn into an excuse for those who are not very sure of this idea.

Conclusion of the Book Review:

I hope this book review will help you in deciding whether or not to pick this book. I have mixed feelings about this book. When I picked it up, I was curious about the idea of dying with zero. Even when the author explained why it is relevant, I had my own doubts. Some of those doubts were resolved and some were further strengthened by author’s insistence on zero balance. This book will teach you money management from a new perspective. Some of these teachings will help you look at life in different manner and some might go ignored. So this is up to the readers and the monetary status they currently enjoy to completely understanding the book. 

If you enjoyed reading this, do try:

Book Review of Remember

Book Review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun

The Book Review of Project Hail Mary

Book Review of Dune

Book Review of The Martian

2 thoughts on “Book Review of “Die With Zero” – Why, How, and Do We Need To?

  1. This is an interesting book but even I feel that this is something for the upper echelon of the society. People who have money accumulating in the bank accounts with no purpose for it. Enough money left after excluding all the emergency funds.

    1. Yes, I feel the same. It feels like for people who have ample saved up for their old age, but most of the income group don’t have that advantage, but again the audience of this book is also going to be readers who are searching ways to enhance the benefit of their money. Maybe this is why the author focuses on these points.

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