How To Die With Zero

“Chase memorable life experiences, give money to your kids when they can best use it, donate money to charity while you’re still alive. That’s the way to live life. Remember: In the end, the business of life is the acquisition of memories. So what are you waiting for?”

― Bill Perkins, Die with Zero

A few months back, I read ‘Die with Zero’ by Bill Perkins.

An ex-Wall Street guy who wanted to know how best to invest in his future.

But this isn’t your usual money advice book. It’s a book with the concept that our life experiences are far more valuable than the money in our pockets. A concept that I couldn’t agree with more.

Perkins learned at an early age that our time is finite, and each hour is a unit of ‘life energy’ that we will never get back. Money is only the catalyst to obtaining life-fulfilling experiences that are more meaningful than a number in the bank account.

When you see a coat, TV or new gadget you’d like to buy, work out how many hours you’d have to work to buy it and see if you still want it after you’ve given up that amount of your life energy. When you consider how precious your time on this earth is, it often makes you carefully consider how you spend it.


Our recent family trip to the US made me think about ‘Die With Zero’ again. It was a full-on few weeks, and, to be honest, it took Kim and me about a week to adapt back to our normal routines after returning. Worn out and spent up (that Disney Wish cruise was not cheap!), and yet I feel remarkably fuller from the whole experience. Theme parks, exploration days, catching up with the US family, playing with our young grandchildren, parties in abundance, meeting new people – Donald Duck included 😉 – it was a whirlwind, but a totally worthwhile whirlwind.

And that’s what life is about, isn’t it?

Experiences over things.

Memories that we’ll all treasure.

Stories we’ll reminisce about over family get-togethers for years to come.

Anyway, back to the book!

The key concept is “die with zero or work for free” because ultimately, after you’re gone, you can’t spend what’s in your bank account.

Of course, there’s the inheritance for your children. But we should be passing that on when our kids are young enough to need or enjoy it! Put what you need to aside, certainly don’t be reckless with your money, and spend the rest on making life as magical and extraordinary as you can.


Another side note is that when your job is something you genuinely enjoy, then your time working is a positive way to spend your life energy. And if it also brings in money to spend on other pleasurable experiences, then win-win! That’s the ultimate scenario, right?

Does your work zap your ‘life energy’ hours? Or leave you fulfilled? Ultimately, does it fund you to experience the best life you can?

I’d love to hear from you.

And if you have also read ‘Die With Zero’, click reply and let me know what you thought of it!