What can the Rolling Stones teach us about financial literacy?

When you imagine your future retirement, do you expect to still be working at 78?

If you loved your job as much as Sir Mick Jagger, then maybe you would.

The Rolling Stones frontman celebrates 60 years on the road with a European tour this summer. Not everyone has their stamina, but the age profile of the supergroup’s fan base led to a retirement planning organization sponsoring their recent US tour.

“The demographics are perfect in terms of fans,” said Jean Statler, general manager of the Lifetime Income Alliancea non-profit organization designed to help people prepare for retirement, which sponsored the Stones ‘No Filter Tour.

“We’re seeing that there’s this education gap for people who are about to turn 65,” she told presenter Claer Barrett on the latest episode of the FT’s Money Clinic podcast. “People want to understand how to have the freedom to live after retirement – ​​and who better embodies that than the Rolling Stones? In fact, Mick Jagger is the star child of longevity.

After the non-profit retirement planning organization signed the sponsorship deal for the tour, Stones production manager Dale Skjerseth, himself in his 60s, had an idea to help young people roadies to better manage their money – a financial literacy application designed for the team of one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

Nicknamed “Opie”, Skjerseth has been touring with the band since the 1990s and is famous for the personal finance advice he’s passed down over the years to other independent crew members navigating the ups and downs of the world. gig economy.

“You have to keep putting money aside and pretending there isn’t any,” he said of his on-the-road investing strategy. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the past 40 plus years.”

Working in the live music industry sounds glamorous, but it’s fraught with financial instability. A tour can come to a halt in the blink of an eye if a rock star suffers an injury or a global pandemic hits.

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Balancing life on the road with periods of not earning anything makes it much harder for the self-employed to make long-term financial plans, secure a mortgage, or feel able to tie up money. in pensions and investments.

“[Dale] had been educating roadies on how to save and invest, so one of his requests was if he could help me with an app, something online that my guys could do at their own pace“, Statler explained.

Modules in the financial literacy app the Alliance designed for the tour team include budgeting, using credit cards, buying a home and saving for retirement – from solid money management lessons for anyone who needs a financial tune-up.

“I think it’s important sometimes to remember that you’re the technician, not the rock star,” said Nick, the Rolling Stones roadie, whose many jobs include directing the spotlight from a 50ft tower when Jagger struts onstage.

“If you buy a super expensive car that you don’t really need because you’re on tour 10 months a year, I’d say that’s the best way to get yourself into financial trouble.”

Nick says the financial education app was a big hit with the production team: “I’ve heard more talk about money and finance than I’ve ever heard on tour before, It’s certain.”

To listen to the full episode, including Claer’s rendition of “I Can’t Get Pension Satisfaction”, click the link above or search Money Clinic wherever you get your podcasts


Sarah J. Greer