Die With Zero: Getting the Most From Your Money Before It’s Too Late

It’s important to be responsible with money, but you also don’t want to take saving for the future too far.

If you have any money left over when you die then you did something wrong. It means that you wasted months if not years of your life working for nothing. 

Die With Zero

Sounds pretty extreme, right?

I thought the same thing the first time I read Die With Zero by Bill Perkins

But it didn’t take too long before I realized that Bill’s message is so critical for me as well as all the federal employees that I’ve worked with. 

Before It’s All Gone

This is the premise of the book: You can’t recapture time or your health so don’t act like you can.

For example, let’s say you are 30 years old, just dreaming about that day you retire because that is when you can go on that trip to Italy and get back into skiing. 

But when you actually retire at age 60 you might realize that traveling in your 60’s is a completely different experience as traveling in your 30’s. You also might realize your knees can’t handle the stress of skiing like they once did. 

Long-story short, if you don’t do some things now, you’ll never be able to do them the same later. 

Diminishing Returns

We all know we need to save for the future and retirement but like anything, we can also take that too far. 

If we delay all of our fun/adventure/passion for later in the name of “being prepared”, we are making a fool’s bargain. We want to prepare for the future but not at the expense of right now. 

Right now you are as young as you’ll ever be. Right now your kids are as young as they will ever be. Right now you are as healthy and active as you’ll ever be. 

And we simply don’t know how much time we get. 

Really Die With Zero?

So am I saying you should really die with zero dollars in your bank account? In practice, no, as it would be very hard to get the timing right. 

But there is nothing wrong with getting pretty dang close to 0. After all, you can’t take it with you. 

But what about my spouse and kids?

One of the first questions that comes up is what happens to my spouse and kids if I don’t leave any money? 

Good question. You certainly want to make sure your spouse has plenty of money but it is important to know your numbers so you know exactly how much they actually need so you can plan accordingly. 

And when it comes to your kids, if you pass away in your 80’s that means your kids are probably in their 50’s or 60’s. And while no one minds an inheritance, they are probably settled in their careers or about to retire themselves. 

So if helping your kids is a priority, the most impactful time to help is generally just as your kids are starting out. This could be helping with their college or helping them with a down payment on a house.  

Helping your kids along the way tends to have a bigger impact on their lives.

Before It’s Too Late

The bottom line is this: You don’t know how much time you have and one of these days will be your last. 

Yes, you want to be responsible, but that also means taking responsibility right and living life to the fullest now before it’s too late. 

About the Author

Dallen Haws is a Financial Advisor who is dedicated to helping federal employees live their best life and plan an incredible retirement. He hosts a podcast and YouTube channel all about federal benefits and retirement. You can learn more about him at Haws Federal Advisors.