From ABBA to Ariana Grande, there are plenty of financial lessons hidden in pop songs. Read on for some great takes on their advice.
To better understand their company’s financials, business owners often shell out thousands of dollars on financial advisors and consultants.
But if you’re not willing to invest in a financial professional of your own just yet, don’t worry. That’s not the only place you can get sound financial advice. Pop songs offer listeners life lessons all the time—including tips that can benefit even the savviest savers and spenders, if you take time to dive into the lyrics.
So, without further ado, here are 6 popular songs about money and the financial lessons that business owners can learn from them.
Table of Contents
1. “Money, Money, Money” by ABBA
To kick things off, let’s start with this ABBA classic. Right at the start, the song sets up a familiar scene for today’s average worker:
I work all night, I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad?
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad
A recent LendingClub report found that, in January 2022, 64% of U.S. consumers were living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you (or someone you know) is in this group too.
But what happens if an unexpected expense comes up? If you get sick and can’t work for a month, or your car breaks down and you need to pay for repairs, can you afford to? Pile on the fact that you’re a business owner bootstrapping your business (as many do), then what?
The lesson here? Build up your emergency fund with at least 3–6 months’ worth of necessary living expenses. Start small, and save where and when you can. That way, if the need arises, you can dip into this fund without shutting down your company’s operations or affecting your quality of life.
Still, many people who live paycheck to paycheck simply don’t have the luxury of saving money when all of their income goes toward bills and necessities. And that brings us to our next point…
2. “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande
Although most of this catchy song revolves around the pop singer’s luxurious lifestyle, she leaves listeners with this little tidbit in the 2nd verse:
Whoever said money can’t solve your problems
Must not have had enough money to solve ’em
Although money certainly can’t fix everything, having more cold, hard cash can make your life easier—which in turn gives you even more freedom to do the things you want and need to (like grow your business).
For instance, with more money, you could hire a team to help you run your company so you can scale faster. With a bigger budget for software and tools, you can automate entire parts of your business.
And when you’re not worried about where your next paycheck is coming from, you can make business decisions rationally, instead of making them out of fear and desperation.
Increase your income with intention, and you’ll likely discover that every aspect of your life improves as well.
3. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G.
Still, making more money often comes with a new set of problems. As your business grows and you become more successful, you may find friends and family reaching out to you for financial help. Take it from Biggie himself in his huge hit with Puff Daddy:
I don’t know what they want from me
It’s like the more money we come across
The more problems we see
Remember: Don’t lend money you can’t afford to lose. Yes, even if you know the borrower fully intends to pay you back. Why? A 2019 Bankrate survey found that 37% of people who lent cash to a friend or family member lost money.
If you do decide to bankroll the borrower despite the risks, consider drawing up a contract with terms that both parties understand and agree to. Then, hope for the best and plan for the worst.
4. “If I Had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies
Another problem many growing entrepreneurs and business owners encounter is lifestyle inflation—spending more money as you make more money to accommodate a more luxurious lifestyle. It’s a problem that even musicians succumb to:
If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
We’d take a limousine ’cause it costs more
When you come into a lot of money, it’s easy to find little harmless ways to upgrade your lifestyle here and there. Money talks, and it’s easy to listen. But if you’re not careful, you could find yourself right back where you started financially—albeit with a lot more stuff you don’t really need.
Avoid this by making purchases with deliberation and setting cash rules for yourself. If you’re interested in buying the latest gadgets, pieces of technology, or other material possessions, wait 3 days before you buy. Ask yourself whether it serves a purpose, if it’s something you actually want, or if it’s just a fleeting feeling. Oftentimes, you’ll realize it wasn’t a necessary purchase in the first place.
5. “BBHMM” by Rihanna
If you run a service-based business, chances are you’ve stressed over late payments from clients at least a few times. You might’ve even taken a phrase or 2 from Rihanna’s popular song:
&!#@% better have my money
Y’all should know me well enough
&!#@% better have my money
Please don’t call me on my bluff
Pay me what you owe me
Don’t act like you forgot
I call the shots, shots, shots
Luckily, you can avoid issues like this in the future with some thoughtful planning beforehand. Insist on signing comprehensive work contracts with every single client, and review payment terms with them upfront so you’re both on the same page.
If you use invoicing software, make sure to set up reminders for late payments. Busy clients will automatically receive an email prompting them about payment when they forget.
And as an added bonus, FreshBooks also offers customers multiple ways to pay—including credit or debit card, ACH transfer, and PayPal—so they can pay their preferred way and you get your money faster. It’s a win-win.
6. “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” by Jennifer Lopez
To round up this list of the best songs about money, I leave you with this memorable early 2000s tune from Jenny from the Block’s 2nd studio album:
Think you gotta keep me iced (You don’t)
Think I’m gonna spend your cash (I won’t)
Think I wanna drive your Benz (I don’t)
Even if you were broke
My love don’t cost a thing
The extravagant singer got one thing right: No matter how much money you have, the best things in life often cost nothing at all.
It’s easy to get caught up with the latest purchase or how many zeroes you have in your bank account. But every once in a while, don’t forget to step back and focus your attention on the things that matter most.
For instance, think about why you started your business in the first place. Did you want to break out of a toxic 9-to-5 and support your family in a sustainable way? Did you want to give yourself the freedom and resources to travel the world at your leisure?
No matter how far you’ve come, make sure to remember the goals and values that fuel you on a day-to-day basis, and the special intangibles that make your life truly worth living.
Take Your Money Song Lessons With a Grain of Salt
Of course, it’s important to remember that these money songs were written by artists—not financial experts. And while songs about money can point you in the right direction to take for your personal and business finances, for specifics it’s best to leave things to your accountant and accounting software.
For an easy-to-use software solution that offers a better look into your business finances, check out FreshBooks and its extensive list of features.
A Few Ditties That Could Have Made the Cut Too
- “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates
- “Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller Band
- “Money” by Pink Floyd
- “Rich Man’s World” by Immortal Technique
- “Material Girl” by Madonna
- “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits
- “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
- “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child
- “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” by Pet Shop Boys
And the list goes on, as the music industry has been pumping out songs about money for decades, but you get the idea…