“This is why you have money!  This is why you have money, so you can do cool sh*t when you want to!  This is what I always talk about!  I’d rather spend $20,000 on this than buy a new car.” 

     Recently, a video of a live performance from The Magnetic Fields popped up on my YouTube feed.  The song was from their three-disc opus 69 Love Songs, and I noticed the date was from April 2024.  I did a little digging online and found that the band is on a limited 25th-anniversary tour for this album.  It seemed like most of the concerts had already occurred, and the rest were happening while we would be gone this summer.  There seemed to be only two remaining opportunities.  I immediately called my wife and told her we were either flying to Washington DC in October or that I was flying to Manchester, England in late August to attend a two-day concert.  I may have shouted the above phrases to her in my excitement. 

     As I discussed in Will I Die With Zero?  I have always spent money on things that matter to me, even when I didn’t have much.  The problem is that these days, not much excites me.  I’m a pretty simple guy who happens to be financially independent but doesn’t spend money on things that I don’t value.  But when something I care about comes along, I will pay whatever it takes.  This was one of those moments.  

 

Background

 

     As you may have guessed from Business Tales From Margaritaville, I love music.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are sitting around the record player with my family, listening to Jim Reeves, Stan Getz, or Sam Cooke.  

     I lived in a music-obsessed apartment during my second and third years of medical school.  Throughout those two years, I lived with four roommates in the first-floor apartment of a brick 3-flat in Chicago.  Three of them were musicians, including a drummer and two guitarists.  There were always various band members and friends around.  When I wasn’t working at the Hyatt hotel or in the hospital, we would listen to music and drink Rolling Rock, Budweiser, or Corona.  We bonded over Faith No More, The Smashing Pumpkins, and the Beastie Boys, but their musical taste generally leaned a bit heavier than mine.  I’ve always had very eclectic musical interests.  

     One of my roommates subscribed to Spin Magazine, and the January 2000 edition contained their picks for the 20 Best Albums of 1999 (yeah, I’m old).  On the list was an album by a band I didn’t know, the Magnetic Fields.  The album title, 69 Love Songs, jumped out at me.  Twenty-five years later, I distinctly remember reading this article on the toilet (sorry, but everyone does it).  My memory isn’t perfect, though, as I thought the album was in the top 5, but looking it up now, it was actually #17.  

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     I have always been someone who will buy albums or books randomly based on something that I’ve read or heard.  After seeing a blurb about it in the Southwest Airlines magazine, I bought one of my favorite books of all time, Hideki Murakami’s brilliant 1Q84.  Another of my favorites is Vikram Seth’s epic A Suitable Boy, which I bought after overhearing two strangers talk about it in a coffee shop.   

     Through the magic of the internet, I was able to find the actual description from Spin that I read: “Don’t be put off by the 72-minute playing time: Like the best cabaret, Stephin Merritt’s triple-CD monsterpiece charms on contact, and, like the best indie-pop, you’ll want to unravel it endlessly.  Hilarious, depressing, well-crafted, ragged, cruelly satiric, and ultimately adoring, this sparsely arranged cornucopia is also Merritt’s best-performed album, and although plenty of cuts cry out for Abba cover versions, most are sublime as-is.  You’ll probably think these songs are about you.  And they are.” 

     I purchased the 3-CD album and fell in love with discs #1 and #3, but for some reason, I never felt the same connection with #2.  I thought so much of 69 Love Songs that I bought several copies for my friends and even gave one to my sister for Christmas.  

     I wasn’t the only one who thought it was great.  The album was #406 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020.  Despite its critical acclaim, it was only a moderate commercial success, selling 83,000 copies of the three-volume boxed set according to Nielsen SoundScan.  I’m proud to say I am responsible for 5 of those sales.  

 

Spend on What You Value

 

     I worked at a rural ER yesterday when the area had a hailstorm.  I mentioned moving my car, and the clerk asked, “Oh, do you have a nice car?”  I told her I drove a base model Honda Civic but still didn’t want hail damage.  She sounded disappointed as she told me that another doctor who worked there drove a Bentley.  

     I don’t spend money on things that I don’t value.  I could afford a Bentley, but I don’t want one.  Much to my wife’s chagrin, I could probably attend The Magnetic Fields concert in clothes I owned in January of 2000.  I don’t care about cars or clothes, but I am willing to fly to England to see a band perform the only album of theirs that I’ve ever heard without worrying about the cost.  

      Late 90s indie-pop with songs like “Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits” may not be your thing.  But what is?  Maybe it’s a sporting event like the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, Wimbledon, or the Rugby World Cup.  Perhaps you want to see the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, or Willie Nelson before they die?  Or is a unique travel event more your style?  Do you want to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, run with the bulls in Pamplona, or go to Carnival in Rio De Janeiro?  Whatever excites you, FI gives you the freedom to make it happen.   

 

 

Results

     

     My wife told me to give her a few minutes and went into her internet detective mode.  I was about to call my buddy who attended medical school in Manchester, thinking he might want to hang out for a few days and show me around his old stomping grounds, when my wife called back.  Apparently, the band is playing a show in Austin on October 22-23.  So, no family trip to DC or international adventure with an old friend is necessary.

     She was able to purchase two front-row tickets for both nights for around $1,000.  This may seem quaint, knowing how much people have been paying recently for Taylor Swift tickets.  However, how much it ultimately costs isn’t the point.  The point is that I was willing to spend whatever it took to do something valuable to me.  Financial independence has given me the ability to do that, and it can do the same for you.  If you are just beginning your journey to FI, the Financial Vital’s Checklist – What to do with Your Next Dollar is a great place to start.

     Subscribe below.  I’ll update this article after the concert to tell you how it was.  You can also leave a comment describing your dream events.  And if Mike Patton happens to be reading this, if you ever get Lovage back together, I will be at the show – anywhere, anytime, for any amount of money.