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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Spend It All...Before You Die

    Why (and How) I Plan to Die With an Empty Bank Account

    A financial philosophy popular among the world’s wealthiest can be a worthy aspiration for us all.

    By Farnoosh Torabi
    October 3, 2020, 7:00 PM GMT+7
    Why (and How) I Plan to Die With an Empty Bank Account - Bloomberg



    Take only what you need. Source: vuk8691/iStockphotoFarnoosh Torabi is a financial journalist, author and host of the "So Money" podcast.

    If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is uncertain. Through this lens, I’ve started to abandon some conservative personal finance principles. This summer, for example, I went against the adage of “staying the course” with retirement and stuck my hand in my IRA to shed some stocks. I also bought a house in what can be considered a risky environment. To date, I have no regrets.

    In my latest move away from what many financial experts preach, I’ve forgone the aspiration of leaving a financial legacy. The concept of bequeathing an inheritance just seems to make less sense today. Instead, I want to experience my legacy by spending most, if not all, of my money on meaningful experiences and investing in the people and causes I believe in — all before I leave Earth.

    This financial philosophy has grown increasingly popular with the ultra-wealthy. Laurene Powell Jobs, who inherited over $20 billion from her late husband, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, vows to give away all her assets during her living years, contributing to social and economic causes that need financial support. Before that, Sting, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett all pledged to not leave their children much, if any, inheritance.

    But the idea should become mainstream. After speaking with Bill Perkins about his new book, “Die With Zero: Getting All You Can From Your Money and Your Life,” I was shocked to find myself convinced that spending more money while you’re alive is more fulfilling than leaving behind a nest egg.

    “With each year that passes … our ability to convert dollars into positive life experiences declines over time,” Perkins tells me. The “optimal utility of money,” as he calls it, is using money to have the maximum greatest experiences you can in your living years. It’s important because experiences are what actually drive fulfillment and happiness. “I’m more about saving your life than saving your money,” he says.

    Of course, the challenge with this approach is to not die with less than zero, leaving debt behind for someone else. The philosophy doesn’t give my husband and me permission to overspend. Instead, it forces us to practice restraint and deliberation as we choose how to allocate our money while we’re alive.

    Nail down “enough.” Yes, we still need to save for retirement, but primarily with only our personal needs (and the needs of any remaining dependents) in mind. Instead of accumulating for its own sake, we’re determined to have a specific monetary goal.

    In his book, Perkins, who first made his fortune in finance, calls this your personal “survival number.” It’s the amount you need to support yourself with regards to health, shelter and food when you no longer have much income.

    Your survival number is more bare-bones than the standard retirement savings recommendation of needing between eight and ten times your salary or living off of 80% of your pre-retirement income. Maybe that figure can be closer to 40% or 50%, especially if you downsize earlier or live in a more affordable place.

    For example, we just bought our home in New Jersey and plan to stay here for the next 15 years or so until the kids are finished with high school. After that, it wouldn’t really make financial sense to keep our residence, given the enormous town taxes, which mainly serve the public schools.

    Optimize spending. After determining what’s “enough,” Perkins advises mapping out the expenses and experiences that are critical to your fulfillment and the impact you want to have on the world. For us, that’s putting money toward supporting our kids’ education and well-being, traveling and giving back.

    Before aiming to die with zero, I wanted my family to be able to spend an entire month each summer living in a foreign country. Now, this dream looks all the more worthwhile as the type of enriching experience I value. And, depending on what happens with travel post-Covid, it can be more achievable, since I won’t be putting it off just to have a bit more saved for retirement.

    The idea of leaving nonprofits money in our will also feels a bit detrimental to the causes we want to support. Why not give sooner if we can? To that end, I’ve automated some of my giving plans similar to how we contribute for retirement.

    Rethink retirement. One of the first books on this concept, “Die Broke” by Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine from 1998, prescribes a four-step plan to ensure you utilize every dollar while alive. Step three is to “not retire.” It was a radical suggestion back then. Today, not so much.
    This is an important consideration for those (outside the super-rich) who want to die without any debt and spend their later years living on “just enough.” I’m already thinking about getting my real estate license in my 50s to generate some additional income and supplement our needs in retirement.

    Have a plan for the kids. Not leaving an inheritance to your children doesn’t mean you don’t care about them. Instead, it means that you bestow your wealth upon them when they’re young and most likely working to start a business or a family or investing. The best part is you can bear witness to it all.

    “If we're trying to have the maximum impact on our kids’ lives, we want to basically deliberately choose to give them money in a certain time frame,” Perkins says, “not when they’re in their 60s and their health is declining.”

    Do we risk spoiling them? Not if we explain our plan and if they understand that the money they’re receiving in portions is to help them build a strong and meaningful life for themselves and their kids. And yes, we’re fully aware of the gift tax (the U.S. taxes the transfer of money or property to another person above $15,000 per year). So while our kids are young, we’re filling up as many investment buckets as we can for them that carry tax advantages, from a 529 college savings plan to a custodial Roth IRA. We also have life insurance, as that’s integral to taking care of our kids, should one of us pass away sooner than expected.

    I’m not sure what the afterlife has in store for us, but I do trust that this alternative financial framework will enable us to make the most of our living years. And the kids? They’ll be alright.
    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    That is quiet a solid principal right there.

    The fact is that the vast majority of punters who recieve free money spend it on Drugs, Alchohol and scanky dirty whores.

    The rest is then wasted

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat peaches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    That is quiet a solid principal right there.

    The fact is that the vast majority of punters who recieve free money spend it on Drugs, Alchohol and scanky dirty whores.

    The rest is then wasted

    The snake oil salesman scores two out of three.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat

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    if me and the wife go,its in our will everthing goes to our DOG.the one with 4legs and a tail.NO FAMILY PISS ARTISTS.

  5. #5
    Lone Monarchist
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    'Em. I totally disagree. Which is why Ive been a hardcore saver my whole life. Because what if you don't die till you are 90 ? If I have the misfortune of living that long , I don't want to be a door greeter at Walmart in my 80's

    And I want to retire early and or have enough fuck you money to at least tell anyone I want to fuck off. Like I have already. I had too many bad days in a row at one of my jobs and I walked out the door and bought a plane ticket to Thailand

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspin View Post
    If I have the misfortune of living that long , I don't want to be a door greeter at Walmart in my 80's
    ...*cough*...read beyond the article headline for a more informed post...

  7. #7
    Lone Monarchist
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    Oh and this idea that there's a nice meaningful and just world out there waiting for your kids to have these great meangfull and fulfilling careers. Give me a motherfucking break.

    Your kid is most likely going to spend their days bored to death in some go-nowhere job at some office or site , just to get taxed to hell and pay mortgage royalties to the bank for their whole fucking life.

    It's glorified slavery. But hey ya don't want to spoil them kids now do you ? How about some slavery relief ? Oh no. A lot of ppl today don't take their 2 weeks off per year because they can't afford it. But hey they are spoiled

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...*cough*...see post #6...

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    If you have too much to spend the only way to die broke is to give it away, and heaping it onto the kids gives them an opportunity to generate their own wealth, killing 5 birds with one stone: you die broke as you wish, the kids are financially sorted, they learn early on rather than later about economics, they're not waiting for you to pop yer clogs, and the taxman gets fcuk all to steal or squander.

    As someone said you never know when you're going to die, but most people I know with a previous net worth of say £5-10m or more have already unloaded it through various schemes, trusts and other instruments, keeping enough to live comfortably on pensions and income from assets which are no longer theirs, and will effectively die close to broke.

    Makes sense, and tbh I've never seen anything profound in that.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    Makes sense, and tbh I've never seen anything profound in that
    ...check with backspin...

  11. #11
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    I absolutely plan to die with damn near empty bank acct. While I am not rich by any means, I am sure not saving it to A: ) Pay doctors to feed me pills and keep me alive, B: ) Pass it on to my children. I have earned everything I have. No body gave me anything. I have not received one penny in any inheritance up to this point and I do not want it. I will make sure my wife has funds to live a comfortable life after I bite it but I am living and playing hard until I can't.

    I cannot tell you all the people I know that are passing or have passed on opportunities to have things that they always wanted, trips they wanted to take all to "Save" if for later. Later always seems to be that "Medical" issue. Piss on that. I have always felt once you hit 70 its a slippery slope. At that age a good portion of people have likely stopped doing much, have little desire to do much but seem to always look back on the things they wanted to do that they didn't do.. You simply can't go back.

    Its a balance to keep a bit of cash for that odd emergency and live life how one wants. However keeping it all passing on living and fulfilling the dreams one had, saving it for their children or for the "later" event seems silly. I say Spend it like you stole it. Life is a one way ticket. There are no "Do Overs"

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...^agree: since you can't take it with you, better to enjoy it here...

  13. #13
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    I was born in 1959 (or around 2502 for some) so that era's ethic was 'here for a good time, not for a long time'.
    Which I did. As an apprentice earning very little I learnt to spend what I had, and that continued.
    Plus many years working for NGOs, or part-time by choice (time is worth more than money and all that).
    Plus I've never really cared that much about money. Sure it's power, and sometimes I have it and sometimes I don't, but whatever.
    Despite having earned a heap in the last ten years the result has been that I'll have to work until I drop in the harness.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by docmartin View Post
    Despite having earned a heap in the last ten years the result has been that I'll have to work until I drop in the harness.
    ...to what end?...

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat

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    To pay the bills and feed my wife

  16. #16
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    Spend It All...Before You Die
    A financial philosophy popular among the world’s wealthiest can be a worthy aspiration for us all.
    A good read.

    On a personal note - it is far overthinking it for the likes of me. I followed the basic philosophy of savings a potion of my income for retirement while I was working. That plan worked for me. When I retired I had/have a nest egg that will see me through to the grave - whether that be tomorrow or forty years down the road.

    Whatever the wife and I don't spend goes to the daughter. She won't be a millionaire, unless it's through her own efforts, but she will receive something. And it ends there.


    The article is about the philosophy appropriate to the world’s wealthiest. Not me.
    And, to put things in a clear light. The last thing I am going to spend time worrying about is my bank balance when they light the fire...

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie View Post
    The article is about the philosophy appropriate to the world’s wealthiest
    ...not at all..it pertains to folks who save til they drop...and the folly of missing out on life's pleasures so that heirs can benefit from inherited largesse...

  18. #18
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Yes and no - we agree, just explain it in different terms. The philosophy is appropriate to the worlds's wealthiest, the article pertains to those who become fixated with money and, as you say, save 'til they drop.

    Money, and/or our philosophy about money, to save or to spend, varies from person to person.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Look here Shifters,

    If ya got the Filthy lucre you enjoy fook out of it and just make sure you have some tucked away for when the shit hits the fan like now.

    Or ya can go the other way a be a broke arse Tefler like Willy and never have enuff to live it large sometimes.

    Up to you fukos,

    Just saying eh.

  20. #20
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    Innit

  21. #21
    Lone Monarchist
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...*cough*...see post #6...
    The article is directed at regular people. To even bring up the "are you spoiling your kids" question , was enough for me to shoot it down

    Unless you are worth 10-20 million debt free , it's not even a question. If you bring kids into this world, you should do what you can to reduce their slavery. If they can show up on time like a good slave , they aren't going to starve. That isn't the question.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...^incoherent...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspin View Post
    it's not even a question. If you bring kids into this world, you should do what you can to reduce their slavery. If they can show up on time like a good slave , they aren't going to starve. That isn't the question.
    I am trying to work out your point. Are you saying that parents should spoil their kids and give them everything free gratis?

    That would encourage laziness and a sense of entitlement.I am sure your Father would not want you sponging off him, lying on his sofa eating pizza, not working, with your grubby little paw extended waiting on the next handout to transport you off to the nearest brothel.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat

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    Nah the paw would be soft and clean.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman123 View Post
    I am trying to work out your point.
    ...I suggest a shovel...

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