Now that’s what I call Financial Independence! 31

It has been brought to my attention that most people don’t read “the stupid music ones”.

Which is a shame because The Stupid Music Ones contain some of my best work.

Come with me as we decipher the musical mysteries not just of finance but also Life, The Universe And Everything.

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.

1999 (Prince)

In Q4 1999, as we approached the turn of the Mileninum, a party was going on in financial markets. Stockmarkets around the world were hitting new all time highs. Drunk on internet euphoria, the NASDAQ had been roaring and tech stocks seemed to be going to the moon.

The Internet would indeed go on to change the world…the problem was that prices were running about 5 years ahead of fundamentals.

History does not repeat but it does rhyme. We now live in interesting times and 2021 has at times felt like 1999 on steroids. The problem today, unlike 1999, is that cash and bonds are no longer a safe haven, as their purchasing power gets melted away by money printing.

Keep The Faith (Bon Jovi)

On 31 December 1999, the FTSE 100 spiked at 6999 before plunging over 50% peak to trough. It then took more than 15 years to recapture the highs. The tech sector fell further: from 2000-03 the NASDAQ lost ~80% of its value peak to trough. It felt wild at the time and it traumatised shaped a generation of investors…me included.

This is when it becomes apparent who has done the work to build conviction in what they own. Long term investors in a quality asset should be able to hold (and add to) a position whose price has fallen by >50%.

What do you do during a long grinding bear market following a speculative blow-off top? You hold quality assets and you keep the faith.

C’est La Vie (Robbie Nevil)

Note the lyrics in the opening section and how The Prison Camp appears to have ground Robbie down.

Sometimes, if you’re stuck in a rut, you have to make a conscious choice to grab the steering wheel of your own life and make shit happen. We have to go out and get the life we want; the world is not going to hand it to us on a plate.

Actions speak louder than words. Watch what Robbie does…not just what he says. If you want a hot girlfriend, making your own hit record plus pop video is not a bad start. Build it and they will come.

I guess that’s why they call it The Blues (Elton John)

We are living through a gigantic mental health crisis. According to the National Health Service, roughly 30% of the population has been on anti-depressants within the last three months.

Watch the video carefully and note the clues to beating the blues: a pre-internet lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activity, sunshine, simple unprocessed food, exercise, love, community and genuine interactions with other people.

Life is not supposed to be too easy or convenient. Struggle is part of the process. You must fight for your own health and be your own Chief Medical Officer.

Atomic (Blondie)

Atomic Habits is required reading. It’s one of the best books about how to reach financial independence ever written…and it’s not even a finance book.

The book explains why tiny habits are powerful force multipliers that will eventually change your life for the better. Habits are far more powerful than goals. Habits are force multipliers. Habits persist. Habits can keep you on the right path. So the question becomes how can we set our habits?

We become what we repeatedly do. Frequency and repetition are the magic ingredients that change actions into routine and then eventually into habits. Eventually habits sink in so deeply that they become the basis of our identity. 

So Macho (Sinita)

OMG, the lyrics of this song are absolutely hilarious.

One of the great pleasures of writing the Now FI! series is watching the videos and seeing how fast the fashions, fads and taboos in popular culture change.

It seems that Sinita did NOT get the memos from the sociology department of Scumbag College about #Toxic Masculinity #MeToo, #Transphobia, #White Privilege, #The Gender War, #Ableism #Cultural Appropriation #Defund The Police etc etc

Violet Hill (Coldplay)

Until recently, I assumed that Freedom of Speech was something we all agreed on. How naive that now seems. During The Great Culture Wars of 2020/21 The Woke Left tried to silence anyone they disagreed with.

In the UK, the Left (already out of power for a decade and counting) became a circular firing squad and turned upon itself. You knew something had gone badly wrong when they tried to cancel JK Rowling.

If the Toytown Revolutionaries knew any history they would know that the French Revolution started well for the mob but ended up with the revolutionaries themselves being guilottined.

If you come at The King, you’d best not miss.

Together In Electric Dreams (Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder)

I’m not saying that Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder were cyber visionaries but this song does seem prophetic.

This song came thirty years before Facebook re-branded themselves as a Metaverse company and before even The Escape Artist finally drank the crypto Kool Aid and started writing about Web 3.0.

Into The Ether (Ardour)

Finance can be abstract. It’s hard enough for people to understand that a stockmarket index fund is a real asset that contains shares in real companies, factories, production lines, trucks, warehouses etc.

Understanding crypto is even harder. The kneekerk reaction is: but it’s not backed by anything! To the newcomer, it all seems a bit, well, ethereal if you’ll pardon the pun.

Yet the pound and the dollar have not been backed by anything physical (e.g. gold) since 1971. What backs up a £100 note made of 50p worth of paper? Money only has value because we believe it has value.

Contrary to popular belief, Ethereum (ETH) and many other tokens are productive assets and with staking you can now earn 5 – 15% interest rates on them…just like you used to be able to earn interest on your bank account.

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