Most of us place too much importance on money. Period.
I am guilty of that too.
This is also probably the main reason why I started this blog. The motivation to write about money and how to accumulate money through investing drives me to write one article after another during the weekends. In fact, I think that's probably the same for many investment bloggers out there.
If we were to take a step back and think deeply about money, do we see it more of an end in itself or a means to an end?
Simply put, is your life measured in terms of absolute figures like your net worth? Or is it much more than just some numbers in your bank account?
Before you go on and think that this is going to be a grim philosophical post, I can assure you that it's definitely not. It's still going to be related to investing but in a different way.
I recently read this book called "Die with Zero" by Bill Perkins.
As the book title suggests, the main concept illustrated in this book revolves around how to die with zero money. That might sound super weird to most of us. What do you mean by die with zero money? Isn't that simply too risky? What if I planned wrongly and outlive my money? What about my kids? Shouldn't my kids deserve some kind of inheritance from me when I passed on?
Don't worry, this book got all of these questions covered.
The main reason why it's important to strive towards the goal of dying with zero money is due to the fact that our lives are more than just money. Simply put, our lives are an accumulation of experiences and memories. That's all. When we are on our deathbeds, we are not going to care about how much money we have in the bank. We will probably have our last moments reflecting on the different experiences and memories we have in our lives. That reflection actually even happens way before we are on our deathbeds. When we are old and frail, such reflections will happen at an increasing frequency throughout our daily lives.
If the main objective of our lives is to accumulate experiences and memories, then we should understand that money is merely a tool for us to accumulate them. What use do we have of the tool if we don't use it to harvest what matters?
How often do we hear of a particular someone dying with a larger sum of money than needed and also regrets of not doing something when he or she is younger? Sometimes, we delay our gratification so much that we forget that our health is in constant decline as we age. As you continue to postpone your skiing trip, you have to come to terms that you might one day no longer be able to ski due to your health conditions.
Hence, your life shouldn't be just about accumulating wealth. Learning how and when to decumulate your wealth is equally important because this is the only way you can accumulate as many experiences and memories in your life as possible. Instead of endlessly working towards your retirement age and pushing everything on your bucket list to be fulfil then, why not start looking at how you can tick off items from your bucket list now?
Life is not a game where you are looking to accumulate the highest possible score (in the form of wealth). Instead, it's all about what you get out of it in terms of experiences and memories.
The book goes through a lot of these ideas in greater detail and I'm not going to spoil you any further. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book as it's not just about how to spend your money irresponsibly. It's a very practical book to address some of our questions on how to die with zero money in a very responsible way not just to ourselves but also to our family.
This is also why I'm learning to not just spend my weekends researching on topics and blogging about anything relating to investing. In fact, I spend quite a number of weekends this year deepening my craft in another hobby of mine- which is wine. Many weekends are spent studying for my WSET level 2 and WSET level 3. Give a shout-out if any of you is a wine enthusiast too and I am more than happy to connect. I might also consider doing a non-finance related post on the preparations needed for these exams in the time to come.
If you have read this post till now, you are strongly encouraged to take a pause and think about what experiences you have been missing out on due to an obsession to accumulate as much wealth as possible.
For those who are interested, "Die with Zero" is a book available free on Libby.
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