Ill With Want

Fortune_gekko_cover12-222x300Musicians are known for many things, but—rightly or wrongly—rarely for financial wisdom.  But in the wake of the financial crisis, we’ve learned that we must look outside of the financial industry for financial wisdom.  Indeed, the term “corporate greed” has been used so much in describing a core feature of the economic demise that it has almost become passé.  But if there is any question regarding the pertinence of that label in the case of several of the world’s largest financial institutions, consider this: the financial industry, which has perpetually begged for freedom from regulators, was on its knees in 2008 and 2009, begging this time for bailouts (received) to save them from their inevitable destruction brought on by their own… greed.  The result, we may have expected, would be penitence, humility and a new approach to business going forward.  But instead, in 2009 and 2010, the financial industry doled out record bonuses as millions of Americans struggled just to get back on their feet (and many still aren’t).

So as we look for direction in personal finance outside of the financial industry, to whom can we look?  It’s doubtful that we’d find any wisdom in the artistic community, right?  Certainly not from musicians, and especially not from rock stars.  Well, you be the judge.  Below is a selection of the lyrical content in a song written by The Avett Brothers entitled Ill With Want:

I am sick with wanting and it’s evil and it’s daunting

How I let everything I cherish lay to waste

I am lost in greed this time it’s definitely me

I point fingers but there’s no one there to blame

I am sick with wanting and its evil how it’s got me

And everyday is worse than the one before

The more I have the more I think I’m almost where I need to be

If only I could get a little more


Something has me

Oh something has me

Acting like someone I don’t wanna be

Something has me

Oh something has me

Acting like someone I know isn’t me

Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed

IT’S OFFICIAL: Rock stars now render better personal financial advice than Wall Street!

This song should be mandatory listening emblazoned on the iPod of every financial corporate executive, but I encourage you to recognize that this verse will be much more effective at altering your own personal state of mind and behavior than it will at salving any bitterness you might hold towards whomever you believe is responsible for the Great Recession.  I appreciate the song writer’s willingness to write this song in the form of a personal confession instead of a sermon, because if we’re honest, we must recognize that greed is a problem we all encounter and from which none of us are immune.  Enjoy this.  Learn from it, and apply its wisdom for greater peace (and likely prosperity) in your financial life.

The lyrics from Ill With Want were used with permission from The Avett Brothers.  You can purchase the individual song, Ill With Want—or better yet, the entire album, I And Love And Youon or .