Just so everybody knows, Taylor Swift is a female musician in her mid-30s and has been making music for 2 decades. She is ENORMOUSLY popular and has released 10 albums during her time as a musician. She started out as a country singer and has morphed into a SUPERSTAR multi-genre artist. Her most recent concert tour is called ‘The Eras Tour.’ Which is a nod to each of her musical ‘eras’ over her career. At each concert, she sings from each of her albums as she performs a musical tour of the years.
I have 3 girls at my house, and Taylor Swift is staple in the musical soundtrack of our lives. The news of The Eras Tour created a frenzy of speculation. Could they go? How much were tickets? Where was the nearest concert? It turns out that resale tickets were running $1,200 each, so the dream faded quickly. But in typical Taylor style, she created a movie of her concert for the masses. What a genius!
For this article, I thought I’d have a musical Eras Tour of my own and share the wit and wisdom of the music and songs in my life and the lessons they taught (or not). I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some financial lessons in here too.
First Era – I got started early in the big-hair bands of the 80’s. Poison and Guns N’ Roses were at the top of the list. I had a brother that was 10 years older than me, so he was a heavy musical influence. Most of that music has faded away by now, but a few timeless classics endure, namely “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Life Lesson – Every era sparks a few real keepers. Financial Lesson- Starting early in life is a great idea in music and money.
Oldies Era - My next era was when I started driving at 16. For some reason I started listening to FM 93.3 which at the time was an oldies station. In the early 1990s that meant 50s and 60s songs. I loved that music, and years later when I wanted to go back and listen to that music again, I found out that they no longer played that era on the radio. Life Lesson - I have turned into an oldie. Financial Lesson – It’s unprofitable to keep doing something that no longer attracts an audience.
Out of the oldies era was born a great appreciation for rock and roll. Steve Miller sang “Take the Money and Run,” and Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR) proclaimed that he was no “Fortunate Son” with a silver spoon in his mouth. They also sang the song that my wife and I claimed as our own. Put a candle in the window, and “As Long as I Can See the Light” it will guide me home.
My favorite song is “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry where a kid from the country makes good on his talent of playing the guitar and hits the big time, but never forgets where he came from.
The Rock Era - The purest, cleanest rock and roll guitar I’ve ever heard emanates from AC/DC’s songs “Back in Black” (GO HAWKS!) and “You Shook Me All Night Long.” I loved the guitar so much that I didn’t even listen to what they were singing about! Thank goodness because now my kids are enjoying the guitar and (hopefully)not paying attention to the lyrics. Speaking of lyrics, since I lost my father when I was young, I’d belt out the lyrics to “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel like an anthem for my dad. Well, it took many years for me to understand dying young isn’t a compliment in that song. Life Lesson – Don’t worry about the lyrics. Just let the music take you away. Financial Lesson – Always read the fine print. Things aren’t always as they seem.
Contemporary Music Era - In college I got into some newer music. The first was a band called The Presidents of the United States of America – shortened into The Presidents. They had some of the strangest lyrics out there, but the music endured because of the catchy little rock tunes. Life Lesson - Weird is ok because we’re all a little weird. Financial Lesson – Anything weird should make the alarm bells go off in your head. Stick to the tried and true.
The Playing Era - About this time, I was learning to play the guitar. My tastes swung exclusively to songs that I could play and sing. I started writing my own music too, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as playing a popular song that everyone could sing along to. I bounced from Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” and the quintessential “Sweet Home Alabama” along with “Hey Jude” and other popular sign-along songs. Life Lesson – Making music is more fun than just listening to it. Financial Lesson – We are better together. Money is not a solo venture.
Early Marriage Era – Upon marriage, Abby brought a new cadre of music into my life, from the Indigo Girls to U2. Our styles mixed well, and we frequented more live concerts together than we had when single. Life Lesson – There is always more good music out there. Be open to it. Financial Lesson – Being on the same page with money is one of the keys to marital bliss.
Fatherhood Era – This one was pretty simple. We listened to all the kiddie music like “Wheels on the Bus” and other endlessly repeating songs that kids adore. We also started sing-along songs in the car like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” They also heard a good deal of my prior musical eras on the radio and playlist. My fatherly failings were highlighted when I was alone in the car with my youngest and she was about 4. I asked her if she’d like to sing “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” with me, and she said “I don’t know that song, Dad.” Stumped I said, “Well, what song do you know?” She said, “We could sing “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” by Cake.” Life Lesson – My youngest child had a much different upbringing than my oldest. Financial Lesson – Kids can learn all sorts of things from just being around you, including how to handle money well (or poorly).
Current Era– In the subsequent years I have thoroughly enjoyed introducing my kids to all my favorite music, and they have in turn introduced me to Taylor Swift. We have assembled a playlist of over 450 songs that is called “Guy’s Jams.” It includes classical, rock, oldies, country and everything in-between. Life Lesson – Life is better with music. Play your soundtrack loud and play it often! Financial Lesson – Diversification is good. Own a little bit of everything.
Thank you so much for choosing Compass Financial. I hope this was as fun to read as it was to write. I would encourage you to go on your own Eras Tour and to reminisce with your family and friends. I’ll bet you can come up with all sorts of stories that surround the music in your life. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving season from all of us here at Compass Financial. Thank you for inviting us on your journey!
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against risk; it is a method used to help manage portfolio volatility.
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