On the internet, I recently stumbled across another blogger who had taken a list of pop songs and
flogged reviewed them for FI messages.
This reminded me of something I heard Andy Hart (of the excellent Maven Money podcast) say:
When you steal an idea from me, you’re stealing twice. Once from me, and once from the person I originally stole it from.Andy Hart
They say that little is truly new under the sun in personal finance. So I’ve decided to stand down the lawyers and let quality speak for itself.
Yes, that’s right. The Escape Artist is back to review more classic songs about financial independence in the guise of a music critic from the NME…armed with earnest prose, psycho-babble and increasingly tenuous metaphors.
Breakout (Swing Out Sister)
It’s almost as if Swing Out Sister wrote a theme tune just for The Escape Artist. And I didn’t even have to pay them.
Sometimes I have to stretch a little (ahem) to link songs to financial independence…but on this one the lyrics speak for themselves.
Shine Sweet Freedom (Michael MacDonald
Not everyone is ready for freedom. There will always be a big chunk of the population that just want to be told what to do (or worse, tell you what to do).
Freedom is not easy to achieve and yes, there will be sacrifices and trade-offs. But get some perspective. Think about what previous generations endured for freedom.
The Way It Is (Bruce Hornsby and The Range)
We have to start by accepting reality. There are things that we can change and things that we can’t. One of my favourite phrases from stoicism is: it is what it is.
We need to focus our limited time, energy and headspace on the things that we can influence. Everything else, well we just have to accept that it is what it is.
Fight For Your Right To Party (Beastie Boys)
But for stuff that you can influence: the extra work that you put in to get promoted, tracking your spending, your follow-through in staying the course as a long-term investor etc etc…well for that you need to GO BIG OR GO HOME. Freedom is won rather than given out and I never said it was gonna be easy. You have to fight for your right to party.
They don’t make songs like this 1987 classic anymore. Check out the “problematic” video which I somehow doubt would get made in 2020.
Acceptable in the 80s (Calvin Harris)
But I vaguely remember the 80s and it sure seemed like The Overton Window was open wider and people were having more fun back then.
In Get Rich Without Envy we considered the question of whether the grass is really always greener on the other side?
We concluded that humans are prone to envy, an unhelpful and rather childish emotion. Take cars for example. Most car purchases are about status. So many people either rank themselves by their car or worry about what the neighbours might think.
But, as someone smart once said: Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses; they are dying on the inside.
It’s A Sin (Pet Shop Boys)
I’m all for avoiding ridiculous spending but extreme frugalistas can sometimes sound a bit…well…preachy.
There’s a strong ethical case for not buying Hummers, SUVs or yachts, not building shopping centres on green fields, not going to drive thru MacDonuts and generally not buying unnecessary shit that fucks up the environment. That’s one reason why spending on experiences > spending on stuff. But there’ll be no quasi-religious vow of poverty and no hessian under-garments for me, thank you very much.
Ain’t No Fun Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire (AC/DC)
The problem with penny-pinching is that it takes ~17 years to get to financial independence with a 50% savings rate. And the J curve of compound interest means nothing really happens in your portfolio for the first 6 or 7 years.
The Whole of The Moon (The Waterboys)
Most conventional personal finance books and websites miss out a big part of what works.
The problem is that for consumers who believe that spending = happiness, the battle is lost before its even started. Your life outcomes are determined by your values, your mindset and your life choices (as well as luck). This is the big stuff and this is what matters.
The Escape Artist writes about what works (not what sellz). We are trying to put the whole picture together here.
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