Do you remember Now that’s what I call Financial Independence!?
Well, here comes the inevitable follow up album.
Yes, The Escape Artist is back once again in the guise of a music critic from the NME…armed with earnest prose, tortuous metaphors and psycho-babble to review more classic songs about financial independence.
Don’t stop (Fleetwood Mac)
To get to financial independence, you need to stay the course. To do this, it helps to have a vision of your future and stay positive.
In this classic from their 1977 album Rumours, Fleetwood Mac remind us that yesterday’s gone and that what matters are our actions today. Don’t shaft your future self by buying shit when you need a mood boost. Thanks to the magic of compounding, £5 saved today becomes £226 if invested over the next 40 years at 10% a year.
The Escape Artist cultivates optimism and knows that equities compound in value over time. Time flies and tomorrow will soon be here. And it will be better than ever before.
Bohemian Like You (The Dandy Warhols)
Prevention is better than cure. The best way to control spending is by never letting your lifestyle inflate in the first place.
When you were a student you lived cheap and didn’t worry about keeping up with The Joneses. So why not carry on those good habits after you leave college and start work?
People are inherently social creatures and, to replace consumerism, we need an alternative value system. Bohemian culture represents an alternative value system where spending and conformity are not highly prized. Just because you make serious money working in IT / finance / law / Megacorp doesn’t mean you can’t continue to spend like a student.
What do you do for money honey? (AC/DC)
From their magnum opus Back in Black, comes this classic from AC/DC. The Back in Black album represents triumph over adversity.
Never overly concerned with health and safety, AC/DC suffered a blow when their lead singer Bon Scott died after a night out of excess alcohol consumption. Most bands would have fallen to pieces at this point but AC/DC were made of sterner stuff and returned with their greatest work, a fitting tribute to Bon Scott.
AC/DC give voice to the potentially tricky question that all financially independent people face when asked: “what do you do?”
Shake it off (Taylor Swift)
What might appear on the surface as just another bubble gum pop ditty is actually laced with the wisdom of stoicism (again) . This is self-help gold for anyone learning how to master their emotions.
Swift highlights the benefits of optimism and resilience…especially when other people are under-estimating or trash-talking you. Other people are going to do what they are going to do. Haters are gonna hate. Complainers are gonna complain and leave angry comments on blogs.
Taylor reminds us that we just need to play the hand we are dealt, focus on what we can control and ignore the noise.
Young Guns (Wham)
George Michael starts with an assertive greeting of Hey Sucker! in a manner reminiscent of a young Mr Money Mustache.
George Michael advises against taking on debt in the form of hire purchase (HP) and against having children without first thinking carefully:
A married man? you’re out of your head, sleepless nights on an HP bed. A daddy by the time you’re 21…if you’re happy with a nappy, then you’re in for fun
In response, Ridgeley’s fiancee shows her consumer sucker mindset and tries to shame Andrew into dumping his old mate.
Ridgeley must choose between freedom and consumerism.
Fruit Machine (Ting Tings)
Here The Ting Tings hand out some basic financial advice that should be obvious…but still needs saying.
Don’t gamble when the odds are stacked against you and don’t flush your money down a toilet in the shape of a fruit machine.
Because that, my friends, is ridiculous spending.
Money, Money, Money (Abba)
Frida Lyngstad highlights the problems of a harried working woman suffering from stress and lifestyle inflation.
I work all night, I work all day…to pay the bills I have to pay…ain’t it sad…and still there never seems to be a single penny left for me. That’s too bad.
True, its not the most financially literate song…but what do you expect from a lawyer? You should ignore Abba’s advice to visit Las Vegas or Monaco in order to get rich. But Abba were definitely onto something when they sang about the freedom to quit work and do whatever you want:
I wouldn’t have to work at all…I’d fool around and have a ball.
Money for Nothing (Dire Straits)
This song can be interpreted in different ways but I see 2 main themes playing out here.
On one hand, the song mocks MTV and excess spending on consumer products whilst highlighting the numerous advantages of passive income (money for nothing, chicks for free).
On the other hand, Mark Knopfler seems a bit derogatory in his description of the financially independent subject of the song, perhaps reflecting some inner conflict about his working class roots and his own good fortune in becoming a rock star. Through the medium of this song, Knopfler was perhaps resolving the guilt he himself felt about becoming rich without manual labour.
Relax Mark, you earned it!
Emergency On Planet Earth (Jamiroquai)
I am an environmentalist. We have a population and bio-diversity emergency. We need to shrink the human footprint on Planet Earth and reversing consumerism is just one step in that long, long process. The good news is that this could be hugely positive for us (as well as for the rest of nature). The whole construction of a society based on cars, convenience, passive entertainment and sedentary lifestyles has been a health disaster for humans.