Since I wrote Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 6 back in November 2016, I’ve received hundreds of emails.
And literally none of them have pleaded with me to write Now That’s What I call Financial Independence! 7.
None of them begged for more frugality medicine washed down with a spoonful of sugar in the form of some banging tunez.
None of them cried out for The Escape Artist to accept the crown of Poet For A Lost Generation and hand down another instalment of lyrical poetry.
But why would I let that stop me?
So 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.
Or, as The Kidz might put it:
“Wot up…its Ya Boy TEA”
1. Dirtee Cash (Dizzee Rascal)
Dizzee makes a number of important observations about debt, consumerism and contemporary British society. He correctly identifies that our culture worships at the altars of spending and big houses.
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 tik that they ain’t paid yet
Spend their pay cheque
In the west end on the weekend
Got no money by the end of the weekend
So far, so good. But perhaps the video also reflects somewhat conflicting and contradictory attitudes to money (not uncommon in Britain) and underplays the benefits of capitalism in raising living standards for everyone?
I can’t help but think that Dizzee Rascal might benefit from some financial coaching, showing as he does some limiting beliefs in regard to money.
Like a lot of good people with a social conscience, he seems to have some issues around money that could be addressed with the help of some re-framing. Referring to money as “dirty cash” is probably not helpful if you want to get to financial independence.
Dizzee is right that money talks…it confers power. But money in itself is morally neutral…what matters is the use that it is put to. After all, Bill Gates has (via The Gates Foundation) showed that money can be used to make the world a better place.
2. What you waiting for? (Gwen Stefani)
When it comes to investing, many people get stuck and they freeze.
In this insightful essay from 2009, Gwen Stefani explores the procrastination that fear can trigger in the realm of personal finance and retirement planning.
Gwen is a strong and independent woman and does not need financial advisers or fund managers to charge her 2% a year to actively mismanage her funds. True, she is no expert on investing but she realises that with low cost trackers you hardly need to know anything to invest effectively.
Fortunately Gwen read the 3 numbers that can make you a millionaire so she understands that the sooner you start, the easier it is. So she has a little word with herself:
Life is short. You’re capable…
Take a chance cos’ you might grow
As Gwen reminds us, the clock is ticking and, until we’ve taken action, our money can’t get to work for us and deliver the magic of compound interest.
3. FIRE may save you (Stay See – Cesare Remix)
Stressed at work?
Come down off that ledge…and relax!
4. Parklife (Blur)
If you were brought up in Britain in 1970s and 1980s, you’ve gotta love the video to this. I think the car in it is a Ford Granada which reminds me of my childhood. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Which is a relief.
The lyrics are somewhat cryptic. But you have to respect Blur’s messages that an expensive car does not make you any fitter or richer (It’s got nuffin’ to do wiv yer Vorsprung Durch Technik) and the importance of the right sort of nutrition and exercise.
I also love the description of living without an alarm clock, going to the park and appreciating the beauty of nature. This reminded me of someone new to financial independence in the initial transition period adjusting to a life of freedom and self-determination:
I get up when I want, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen
I put my trousers on, have a cup of tea, and I think about leaving the house
I feed the pigeons, I sometimes feed the sparrows too
It gives me a sense of enormous wellbeing
And then I’m ‘appy for the rest of the day…
5. Part of the Process (Morcheeba)
Although I received no emails begging for Now 7! I did get an email earlier this week from a reader with the question of how exactly to go about the process of quitting…and then figuring out what to do with your life:
The issue though, is that I do not know exactly what I want to do in the next stage. Might be writing, teaching, blogging. But I don’t know for sure. And time passes by.
So here is the question: Did you go through a similar process? Did you know exactly what you wanted to do before leaving your “standard” job or did you just quit without a clearly defined plan? And if the latter, how did you navigate the emotional challenge of the transition from having a full and stressful agenda to having all the time in the world/potentially feel underutilised? Did the new tasks/projects come naturally to you?
This is a big question. And sometimes the answers to really big questions can’t be rushed. There is a beautiful period of decompression after quitting full time work which is all part of the process of deciding what next. Which brings us to this wonderfully calming piece by Morcheeba from their seminal 1998 trip-hop album “Big Calm”.
6. Victorious (Panic at the Disco!)
Most people think that stoicism is just about enduring hard times, coping with disappointment and generally putting up with shit.
In other words, it’s for losers.
But wait! Stoicism is actually much more interesting and more powerful than that. It’s an operating system for making high stakes decisions, used in action by the most successful people in the ancient world. In other words, stoicism is for winners.
In The Obstacle Is The Way Ryan Holliday refers to how stoics reframe challenges and setbacks as things we can learn from. In this mindset, challenges are not just something to be tolerated, they are essential for growth.
So I’m going to dedicate this song to anyone that’s ever been dumped or sacked or got injured and come back stronger than ever.
7. Big Hat, No cattle (Eli Barsi)
These people cannot be millionaires! They don’t look like millionaires, they don’t dress like millionaires, they don’t eat like millionaires, they don’t act like millionaires – they don’t even have millionaire names. Where are the millionaires who look like millionaires?
So starts the book The Millionaire Next Door, the classic study of how most rich people got rich. The quote is from a salaried, middle manager in a large bank, talking about people that were financially independent.
His view of millionaires is shared by most people who are not wealthy. He thinks that millionaires drive expensive cars, wear expensive clothes, watches and other status symbols. Wrong!
The reason he is Wrong is perhaps best expressed by those wise and wealthy Texans who have a phrase for consumer suckers, financial advisers and others showing off in the Prison Camp:
Big Hat, No Cattle
8. Wherever I go (OneRepublic)
Remember, you are allowed to carry on working after FI if you want…because financial independence is not the same thing as early retirement.
I could bang on about this but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
This music video from Korean-American director Joseph Kahn shows the remarkable effect that financial independence can have on your enjoyment of work.
You can see my full review here.
9. I could be the one (Avicii v Nicky Romero)
Big Up to reader Damo who nominated this Tune.
You gotta enjoy the underlying message of this song which is that life is short…too short to spend all of it in the office. I could go on but I think the video speaks for itself.
I warn you that viewers may find some of the images disturbing (e.g. the sandcastle scene at 1:38 and the printer smash at 3:50).
10. 99 Problems (Jay Z)
When you get to financial independence, a number of life’s problems start to melt away. Don’t get me wrong, I still have problems. But removing money worries from the equation is a win.
I feel like Jay Z and The Escape Artist have a lot in common. Both of us are married (not to each other). Both of us grew up on the streets (him in Brooklyn NYC, me in rural East Anglia). Both of us learnt about the value of money the hard way. Him as a gangsta rapper, me as more of a chartered accountant.
Both of us had to struggle…then adjust to success. Although, if I’m honest, him a bit more than me.
Both of us have solved the money problems that beset most of the population. Again, if I’m honest, him a bit more than me.
True, the lyrics of this song are not the most politically correct. But Jay Z shows spirit. And, as I’ve said before, you need some grit in the oyster to make the pearl of financial independence.