Now that’s what I call Financial Independence! 6


Reader’s voice: What’s that sound that I hear? Is someone flogging a dead horse?

No…its Now That’s What I call Financial Independence 6!

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.

1. Rich Girl (Gwen Stefani)

Being human, we all have flaws. And we’re often inconsistent in how we think about money.  Gwen Stefani shows some of these confusions here.  On the one hand, she illustrates the consumer sucker attitude that spending more money is the way to salvation and happiness:

Think what that money could bring
I’d buy everything
Clean out Vivienne Westwood
In my Galliano gown
No, wouldn’t just have one hood
A Hollywood mansion if I could
Please book me first-class to my fancy house in London town

Its almost as if Gwen has not fully internalised my earlier article where I explained that Spending doesn’t bring Happiness. Which is odd, as I thought the article was quite clear.

Gwen should know that money cant buy love, happiness or great abs.  But then I see the next verse and think maybe she gets it after all?:

All the riches baby, won’t mean anything
All the riches baby, won’t bring what your love can bring…
Your lovin’ is better than gold, and I know

2. My Humps (Black Eyed Peas)

Do you remember the sad story of Tim, the lawyer who wrote to The Guardian explaining that his job was slowly killing him and pleading with his stay-at-home wife to share the load?

What could possibly possess an intelligent grown man to work himself into an early grave in this way?

It’s quite a mystery. But perhaps The Black Eyed Peas can shed some light on this?

3. No Scrubs (TLC)

I can almost hear the cries of complaint from the Walking Wallets.  It’s not their fault…how can they avoid choosing a spendy partner that won’t work or otherwise pull their weight in a relationship??

If only there were some guidance out there for idiot emotionally unskilled males.  Something to help them reconsider their criteria for selecting their partner or spouse?

Well, it turns out that there is!  TLC created this song to help women achieve equality of effort in a relationship.  But their advice to avoid scrubs works equally for men as well.

What’s a scrub?

A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly
And is also known as a buster
Always talkin’ about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass

4.  Glamorous (Fergie)

Thank you to reader Hosimpson for bringing this song by Fergie to my attention.

The Escape Artist does not watch The News much so I hadn’t kept track of Fergie’s career since she left The British Royal Family and joined The Black Eyed Peas (see song 2 above) before striking out on her own.  Pretty successfully, as it turns out.

Fergie understands the importance of keeping it real. She has enough money and glamour to realise that those are not the most important things in life.  Not even close. Friends, family, freedom and experiences are much more important to her.

Fergie combines compassion and loyalty to her real friends with tough love and solid financial advice. She advises against shopping and partying until you are at least out of debt and have a cash emergency fund:

If you ain’t got no money, take your broke ass home

Where did Fergie get her great attitude from?  No mystery. In the song Fergie reveals her parents example, attitudes and advice as being key to understanding her money blueprint.

5. Manic Monday (Bangles)

There are 3 elements to great investing.  The first element is your strategy. Investing in Vanguard index trackers is a (sensible) strategy.  Daytrading is a (dumb) strategy.

Strategy is the bit that everyone focuses on.  But most people miss the 2 other elements to good investing.  The missing elements, which are just as important, are Story and State.  Story is the way you see the world, your mindset and belief system.  State is your emotional condition: being calm is a state, being anxious is a state.

As The Bangles remind us in this 1980s classic, spending, commuting and generally rushing around like a headless chicken is not a good way to achieve a calm, resourceful and effective state.

Perhaps the Bangles are suggesting we consider getting rich with less running around, less stress and generally making room for the good things in life?

6. Reach (S Club 7)

Achieving financial independence may seem like a stretch target that’s out of reach for many. But its also clear that if you don’t have a goal, you’re unlikely to raise your game and discover what you’re capable of.

Remember the 2 types of reality.  Personal finance depends on our motivations: it is a subjective reality because the outcomes depend partly on our attitude.

Setting your sights high on a goal like financial independence is an example of The Magic of Thinking Big.

Cynics may say that its impossible for everyone to be financially independent.  But I think that’s missing the point. The real question is not whether everyone can achieve financial independence early in life. The better question is whether it’s possible for everyone to spend less, earn and save more and get better?

If you put it like that, the answer is obvious.

7.  Break from the old routine (Oui 3)

There’s a risk that we eventually become our jobs.  

Take the example of a local authority health and safety inspector.  There are good people doing that job, no doubt, but if you spend too long doing that job you risk becoming obsessed with checklists, covering your butt and seeking the illusion of 100% safety.  Or if you’re a private sector litigation lawyer you may become argumentative, obsessed with point-scoring and billable hours.

Eventually your creativity and sense of humour may slowly suffocate.  We all need variety. Its only machines and robots that don’t need a break from the old routine.

8. Emergency on Planet Earth (Jamiroquai)

I sometimes ask myself: why do I write this blog? Its certainly not for the money.

Then last night I (re)watched the BBC documentary Planet Earth. I learnt about the Amur Leopard of which there are only a precarious few left in the wild. And I’m reminded why the path that the human species is on needs to change.

True,  I may be a sucker for cuddly animals in general and cats in particular.   But I think we have to ask ourselves the question:  as a species, what the fuck are we doing to the rest of nature?  And what can we change for the better?

9. Whatever you want (Status Quo)

Obviously, The Escape Artist is totally down with The Kidz when it comes to the latest cutting edge music trends.  The cultural anthems that provide the soundtrack to the lives of a lost generation of millennials. Probably.

And what could be more cutting edge than Status Quo? 😉

Paula from Afford Anything makes the point that, in the affluent West, we can afford pretty much anything we want.  Just not everything we want. As illustrated on Top Gear, if you want a Ferrari or Lamborghini you can get an old model from an auction for a few thousand quid.  No, its not a sensible purchase but it illustrates the point.

If you’re reading this site, there’s a good chance that you can afford anything…if you’re prepared to do the work and pay the price.  But we can’t have everything so we have to choose what’s most important. That’s best done consciously and rationally.

10. The Jackal (Dana Bryant ft. Ronnie Jordan)

In this public service film from the 1990s, Dana Bryant warns of the dangers of being taken in by smooth talking financial advisers.

The Escape Artist has researched what it takes to be a financial salesman adviser.  And I can now reveal the secrets.

Appearance is everything.  You need symbols of authority such as a tie (preferably French), a smart suit (preferably Italian) and a flash car (preferably German) parked outside in full view of the clients. Its OK if its bought on hire purchase, the clients won’t know. And some copies of Country Life laid next to the leather chairs in the waiting room. Its all smoke and mirrors, form over substance.

You need some complex graphs and lots of jargon to make simple concepts seem complicated. That confuses the clients and keeps them in a state of fearful dependency.  You need to be able to talk confidently about the investment implications of the election of Trump as President.  Even when you haven’t got a clue.  Actually…especially when you haven’t got a clue.

And never, ever mention fees.

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  1. How about some grime from Dizzee?

    Everybody wants to be famous,
    Nobody wants to be nameless, aimless,
    People act shameless
    Tryna live like entertainers,
    Want a fat crib with the acres,
    So they spend money that they ain’t made yet,
    Got a Benz on tick that they ain’t paid yet,
    Spend their paycheck
    In the west out on a weekend
    Got no money by the end of the weekend.
    But they don’t care cause their life is a movie,
    Starring Louis V, paid for by yours truly,
    Truthfully, it’s a joke, like a bad episode of hollyoaks,
    Can’t keep up with the cover notes,
    So they got bad credit livin’ on direct debit in debt
    They still don’t get it
    Cause they too busy livin’ the high life, the night life
    Huggin’ the high when livin’ it large
    And they all say

    1. Hadn’t heard that one before. I like it, thanks!

      ps subsequently included in Now! 7

  2. Good effort. If there’s going to be a NTWICFI-7, how about Merle Travis’s Sixteen Tons (about the importance of getting out of debt)?

    1. Thank you…and its “when” not “if” 😉

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