Hi there. I’m Mike Matthews and this is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for a book club episode, a new installment in my ongoing series of episodes where I talk about a book that I’ve read recently and that I liked and explain why I liked it and who else I think will like it. If you may be one of those people who will like it.
And I’m gonna share 10 of my favorite takeaways from the book, which will help you get a sense of at least some of the core. Foundational concepts in the book. If you don’t like any of the takeaways, you probably aren’t gonna like the book. If you like a lot of the takeaways, you probably will like the book, and so today’s featured book is Die With Zero by Bill Perkins, which I really enjoyed.
It really resonated with me probably because it was kind of the right book at the right time for me, and it challenged me to think differently about my priorities in my life. And my assumptions about what those priorities will be in the near future. And it challenged some of my assumptions about wealth and net worth and saving versus investing, especially in the context of time like, Period of life and the health and energy levels that come with different periods in our lives.
I’m 39 and I have good health and I have good energy. Even if I do everything right, it would be naive to assume that I’m going to have more or less the same health and the same energy at 80 as I have. Now. And so anyway, to talk a bit more about the book, one of the reasons I wanted to recommend this book is regardless of how much money they have, many successful and financially responsible people spend a lot of their time figuring out how to get more money with the ultimate goal of getting as much money as they possibly can over the course of their lifetime.
And most traditional financial advice sings from the same hymn sheet. The formula is pretty simple. If you can spend a few decades maximizing your income, living well beneath your means, saving aggressively, investing cautiously, eventually, sometime in the future, in your golden years, you can retire as a multi-millionaire, although you probably are not gonna have even the vaguest idea of what to do with all your free time, and then ultimately, hopefully later rather than sooner.
You can die rich, and this is a prescription that many people follow. I mean, I have followed it or at least accepted it to some degree. I’ve recommended it in the book, the Millionaire Next Door, which I still recommend as a book. I, I do think it has sound financial advice, but. The overarching plan presented in that book and others like it is similar to what I just shared.
Now in Die With Zero, Bill Perkins offers another perspective. He offers compelling counterpoints to some of these traditional doctrines. Wealth, which Perkins argues should be viewed merely as a means to an end, which would be a life well lived rather than an end unto itself. And although everyone can probably benefit to some degree from reading this book, I think that it has the most to offer to people who have achieved or who will achieve.
Financial success, substantial financial success because while these people have or will have the resources to have many rich life experiences, they will also, many of them often postpone or forego most of those opportunities, or at least many of those opportunities to enrich their lives because they are going to be too busy further enriching themselves, or they have become too averse to spending money that could otherwise be used.
To get richer. And spending doesn’t necessarily just mean conspicuous consumption. Think of it as using money on whatever you want to use it on. It could be philanthropy, it could be helping your family. It doesn’t have to be buying gas and trinkets. And for some examples of these compelling counterpoints, let’s get to my top 10 takeaways.
So the first one is start actively thinking about the life experiences you’d like to have and the number of times you’d like to have them. The experiences can be large or small, free or costly, charitable or hedonistic, but think about what you really want out of this life in terms of meaningful and memorable experiences.
Two, making the most of your money in the course of your life requires that as another economist put it, wealth will decline to zero by the date of death. In other words, if you know when you will die, you must die with zero because if you don’t, you are not getting maximum enjoyment utility from your money.
And what about the very real possibility that you don’t know when you’ll die? Modigliani, an economist has a simple answer to that to be safe, but still avoid needlessly leaving money behind. Just think of the maximum age to which. Anyone can live. So a rational person in Modigliani View will spread their wealth across all the years up to the oldest age to which they might live.
And just a quick note there, Perkins talks a bit more about that last point and argues, I think, convincingly that you should spend your money more aggressively. Earlier in your life when you have the health and energy to do many of the things that you want to do, because inevitably, as you get older and your health and energy declines, you are not going to be able to spend your money nearly as aggressively because you’re simply not going to be able to do a lot of the things that you could do right now or sometime in the near or maybe even distant future if you are very young.
But anyway. Getting to the third takeaway quote, there is a sweet spot in everyone’s lifetime during which they can most enjoy the fruits of their wealth. The problem is that people continue to save well past that optimal 0.4 quote. You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth.
Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end. Having money helps you achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal five quote. The purpose of money is to have experiences, and one of those experiences for your kids is time with you.
Therefore, if you are earning money but not having experiences with your kids, you are actually depriving your kids and yourself. Six quotes. Your ability to enjoy many experiences in life depends on your health, but money plays a part too because a lot of activities cost money, so you better spend the money when you still have the health.
Seven quote, the real golden years, the period of maximum potential enjoyment because we have the most health and wealth mostly come before the traditional retirement age of 65. And those real golden years are the years during which we should be doing most of our spending , not delaying gratification.
Eight. If you have children, think about your own version of the Helum movie. So he shares a little story about watching this Helum movie with his daughter when she was young and how much he liked to do this. I think every year they would watch it, and then one day his daughter just didn’t want to watch it anymore.
She grew out of it and it made him a little bit sad that. That experience was never going to happen again. So he tells you or he asks you to think about your own version of the He Lump movie. What one experience do you want to have more of with your children in the next year or two before that phase of their life and your life?
It’s past nine. Because of this eventual finality to all of life’s passing phases, you can delay some experiences for only so long before the window of opportunity on these experiences shuts forever. N 10 quote, you should find that one special point in your life when your net worth is the highest it will ever be.
I call that point your net worth peak, or just your peak. Why should there ever be a peak? Why can’t your net worth just keep going up first? Remember that from my perspective, your overarching goal is to maximize your lifetime fulfillment, to convert your life energy to as many experience points as you can.
And he talks about what he means by experience points, but just thinks about experiences graded by. Points, it could be arbitrary on a scale of zero to 100, zero to 1000, whatever. And uh, uh, 100 out of 100 would be the absolute best possible experience you could have. Zero out of 100. The absolute worst.
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