Let’s Get Fiscal: 3 pop lyrics with secret financial advice

Katy Perry
Katy Perry says “I started a Roth IRA and I liked it!”

Financial advice from … pop songs?

Money advice is all around us, if you know where to look—or listen. Most pop songs focus on dancing and romancing, but some artists are secretly dispensing financial wisdom as well. (In their lyrics, mind you, not in their personal lives. You might not want to take Kanye West’s word on borrowing, for example—he claims to be $53 million in debt.) Here are three lyrics with hidden truths about personal finance.

1. “So you wanna play with magic? // Boy, you should know what you’re falling for // Baby, do you dare to do this?”

Dark Horse,” Katy Perry

An anthem about ill-advised romance? Partly. But Perry is also actually offering up stealth financial advice: If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Your uncle has a hot stock tip? An acquaintance offers guaranteed double-digit returns if you’ll just buy in? Don’t you dare throw your retirement savings at it. Investing is not magic, so don’t fall for tricks. Instead, invest in a low-cost stock index fund or ETF, and keep it there. That way you’re invested in a wide range of stocks, not betting on just one company to take off.

2. “So baby pull me closer // In the backseat of your Rover // That I know you can’t afford”

Closer,” Chainsmokers

Most Americans (54%!) spend as much as they make each month—or more. When you do that to buy pricey stuff, it’s not just a bad look, as the Chainsmokers point out. It’s also a dodgy financial decision. A used car, for example, costs about half as much as a new one, which means fewer car payments. So make it the backseat of your nice 2013 Honda Accord instead. Oh, and leasing? Don’t even think about it.

3. “You talking money, need a hearing aid”

— “Starboy,” The Weeknd

The Weeknd may be bragging about his supercars and self-made success (“Made your whole year in a week too”), but he’s also pointing out that we tend to tune out money talk. He’s right! Only 25% of millennials’ parents discussed good financial habits with their kids before they turned 10. It always seems uncomfortable or inconvenient. To develop good money habits, we need to break through this taboo by talking money—and that includes everyone from preschoolers to grandparents. Hearing aids turned up, if applicable.