The American Music Awards were on earlier this week and my kids caught Bieber Fever.
I'm not sure what exactly 'Bieber Fever' is other than it has different effects on different people.
For instance, my son claims he doesn't like Canada's own Justin Bieber - he's from Stratford, Ontario. But one look at his current hair style would have you believing otherwise. It's shaped exactly like Bieber's.
My younger daughter runs around the house humming 'Baby Baby'. So her 'Bieber Fever' is very different than my son's. She apparently likes the guy.
My wife seems caught in the middle - she's somewhat mystified at his popularity but then recently initiated a 'Bieber Fever' dance in our living room that had all of us jumping around to his songs.
And I find myself trying to explain to my son that just because all the boys in his class have the hate on for Bieber there's no need to dislike guy . From what we can observe the kid is a hard worker, dedicated etc. There's a lot to learn by observing Beiber's rise to the top of the MTV mountain.
So my own 'Bieber Fever' finds me defending the kid.
And because Justin's so busy making music videos and making young girls faint we thought it we'd take this opportunity to summarize of few of the global economic 'fevers' that he should be aware of.
Because although he's having fun right now he should prepare for a different world ten years from now.
Here's what we'd explain to the Bieber himself if we ran into him at the airport being chased by TMZ.com paparazzi:
POINT #1: Hey Bieber man ... take a few minutes to recognize the importance of what just happened to Ireland this week. I know it sounds boring but it's a pretty big deal. Read some of the highlights here. This is not a fire drill. This is the real thing.
And there's more fun right around the corner. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Gross Domestic Product of Greece was $331 Billion in 2009. Ireland $221 Billion.
And coming up is Portugal's debt problems. Their GDP? $233 Billion.
But guess who's on the horizon?
And that's a big deal Bieber. Why?
If their economy goes wonky then there's a big elephant in the room because their GDP is $1.468 TRILLION.
Sheesh. To save an economy of that size the Eurozone better just start firing up the printing presses right now.
Bottom Line: Europe is in a financial mess unlike anything anyone's ever seen in a little while ... a very long, little while.
Bottom Line for Bieber: Keep one eye on your music videos and another eye on where your financial dudes are telling you to park your money.
POINT #2: We'd also tell the Bieber man that this all has implications to Canadians. He'll likely notice over the next twelve months that his friends and family will be reading and watching more about 'budget measures" and "getting Canada's deficit under control" up here on CBC and in the Financial Post.
Just like our Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, did this week in Oakville.
Why the sudden discipline talk in Canada by our government after years of stimulus spending?
Because Jim Flaherty doesn't want to go down as the Finance Minister that causes the IMF to come into town and force "austerity measures" (fancy term for 'control your spending people!') on us nice Canadians.
It's an epic battle for him though.
At the same time that Flaherty is talking budget controls the Bank of Canada has interest rates at historic lows ... encouraging people to spend, borrow, to have fun!
It's like the left and right hands of the country and giving different hand signals.
Bieber, this is important stuff, let's hope that one day your friends in Stratford aren't watching their Prime Minister on TV handing over financial control of their country to the IMF ... like these Irish were doing earlier this week in their country:
POINT #3: Here's what you need to know right now:
a) The U.S. Federal Reserve, the guys that control the world's money, decided to push a lot more newly printed cash into the economy earlier this month. And they plan to do it every month until June. At least.
b) But their plan to increase the flow of money looks like it's not really working ... at all.
There's not a lot of demand in the big U.S. economy to borrow money and there's not a lot of place for the banks to park the cash and earn good returns - which they need, badly.
Well they have to find a way to claw out of the huge losses they have on their books due to the U.S. real estate implosion. How do we know this? Ah, it's a lot of mumbo jumbo about M1, M3, debt expansion and stuff. You'll have to take our word on it until you learn more yourself.
There is a very simple read that we can recommend that gives you a great summary of how the financial system works.
It's a book about buying metals by Mike Maloney, you can check it out here. Don't get distracted by the title, inside is a great summary of how our current money system works.
Understanding it will be the key to putting your music money to work for you.
POINT #4: And Bieber there's no need to worry about this stuff. Relative to the rest of the world, Canada's outlook is down right rosy.
As Canadians we should feel a strange and unnatural sense of pride at our place in the world.
Everyone wants a piece of us, our real estate, our oil sands, our potash, our banking system, our Bieber!
For anyone in this country with a work ethic, like you, all it takes is some dedicated time to build a financial safety net for yourself.
All that the first three points really mean to you, and your buddies in Stratford, is that it's time.
It's time to start planning. It's time to start understanding how money works. It's time to take control of your financial life.
You've got the music industry figured out ... now it's time to have your money working for you.
You need to get your financial skills on par with your dance skills - which I have to admit, are good, but I can probably give you a run for your money in this area - just ask my wife how I carved up the dance floor in the 90's 🙂 If you're ever in the Burlington, Ontario area and want to engage in an epic dance off with a 37 year-old - it's on.
Back to the financial stuff. How do you take care of yourself?
Simple but not completely easy:
a) Spend thirty minutes a day, for the next three months, learning about our money system. About bonds, mortgages, debt etc. The book we mentioned above will give you a jump start. The current events make a lot more sense when you have a bigger financial context in which to understand them.
b) Next, build some cash flow into your world. Have your money working for you instead of you working for your money. You're already doing a good job of that it seems, now take it to the next level.
Without cash flow your life can get a bit dull.
You can get yourself some cash flow by owning assets that spit off more revenue than expenses. It's not more complicated than that really.
What are our two favourite cash flow machines? Well, take this with our personal bias, but they are:
Starting a business or owning some quality Canadian cash flow real estate ... and if you choose the real estate path you'll have to buy smart.
In these times you need to be careful. Interest rates and the global economy (see above) are poised to make sudden and violent changes at some point. Find some good people in Stratford to help you if that's your area of choice. We actually know someone out your way who is doing an excellent job of this right in your home town ... so you can too. You don't have to get all American on us and forget your roots, deal?
That's it for today Bieber.
Keep doing what you're doing.
And our family will keep dancing to your songs in our living room.
But please don't let anyone know that we do that ... cool?
Until next time Bieber ... Your Life. Your Terms.