What We Can Learn From Aretha Franklin

I am moved by the passing of Aretha Franklin, whose music I LOVE . While I grew up in the 80s, my parents always played the oldies, including tunes from Aretha. Furthermore, I often find myself singing Aretha songs at karaoke.


As I re-immersed myself in her music this weekend, I also learned about Aretha’s fight for royalty payments for performing artists.  The New York Times eloquently provides the details of this journey, but in short, she has never gotten paid for the 7.4 million times the song has played on the radio.


Who gets paid? The estate of the song’s writer, Otis Redding.


Aretha has become the face for performers who want to receive payments when their songs are played on the radio. It is this fight that should inspire us in two ways:


(1) It’s never too late to pursue the wealth-creating opportunities

Although Aretha was denied payments for years, it did not stop her on her quest to get payments that she should have received all along. I think the lesson here is to never give up on pursuing opportunities to garner wealth – it may be tempting to give up on these pursuits, but resist the temptation.


(2) It’s not always about your own wealth, but also, the wealth of others around you

In 2014, Aretha approved a lobbying campaign’s use of the title “It’s a Matter of R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” as a testament to her desire to prevent others from being exploited like she was in her quest for royalty payments. Fighting for the wealth of others may seem like a strategy that prevents you from obtaining all that you can; if you help others get their wealth, you might not get your fullest account. Please, don’t feed into this strategy – instead, fighting for the wealth of others usually comes back to benefit you even more than you can imagine.


As you go through the week, check out these articles that will help you continue to build the wealth you want:

·       When to Ignore the Crowd and Shun a Roth IRA Sometimes, financial advisors will convince you that converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is a good idea. But, is it always? Take a read here to learn about the 8 reasons why you SHOULD NOT convert into a Roth IRA. I agree with the reasons purported here, but the reason that I give my clients most is that “In general, it doesn’t make sense to do full or partial Roth conversions if your tax rate will be lower when you make withdrawals.”

·       Yours, Mine And Ours: Do Couples Work Together To Prepare For Retirement? Overall, you should stop and reflect on how you are your partner are doing managing your money. Two pieces of information that surprised me are:

o   “Individuals are more likely to make purchases for goods and services that are practical versus those for pleasure when they share a bank account. The studies also showed that individuals who share an account feel a greater need to justify their purchases and be accountable to their partner.” Yes, go for the shared account!

o   “In the study, 33% of Americans reported that neither they nor their partner is saving for retirement. Of those who save, only 43% consult with their partner before making trading decisions in their retirement accounts.” Where do you fall in saving for retirement, or consulting your partner before making investment decisions? 

·       Instapot Recipes to Save You Time. This is a fun one. Time is money, and money is time. Last weekend, I got wind of the Instapot craze (don’t worry, I don’t feel that bad so don’t you judge me). Thus, I wanted to share some recipes that will hopefully make the people for whom you want to build wealth for (e.g. your family and friends) very happy, and give you more time to spend with them. Go for it!