Updated: Aug 30, 2018
As someone who makes a living renting out homes to individuals and families looking for a nice place to live, hearing Pitbull and Ne-Yo's song "Time of Our Lives" on the radio a couple years back annoyed me.
Pitbull spent most of his time in the song focused on getting shots lined up and the ladies in the club, which may actually hold some merit for the single guy, but then admits this:
Pitbull: Forget about bills and the first of the month. It's my night, your night, our night, let's turn it up.
Ne-Yo pretty much agrees, but is more direct:
Ne-Yo: I know my rent was gon' be late bout a week ago. I worked my ass off, but I still can't pay it though. But I got just enough to get off in this club. Have me a good time, before my time is up.
I'll admit - the tune IS catchy and I ended up singing along half the time I heard it (and hating myself for it). And while the advice in the song is terrible, Pitbull (Armando Christian Perez) actually has some good traits to emulate as well.
What the song really does, however - and what I'll focus on in this post - is show how our beliefs around money are influenced by pop culture, our parents and our community, teachers and friends. And how those money beliefs can be really, really wrong and ineffectual for your future.
Beliefs about Money That Do NOT Work:
1. Ignore It. Ignore your problem with money and just enjoy the moment! What's later is later, after all...right? That's what Pitbull says when he sings (says?), "Forget about bills and the first of the month. It's my night, your night, our night, let's turn it up."
But problems do not cease to exist just because we are pretending they do not exist. Even if you're not actively thinking of the problem, we still feel the stress and anxiety from it subconsciously. That means that our bodies are still producing cortisol (the "stress hormone") that science has proven will make a whole bunch of bad stuff happen in our bodies.
Also, ignored problems actually become worse problems. So, in our example, rent is due, but we don't have enough. Using the money you do have to buy drinks, go out to eat, party with friends reduces your ability to deal with the problem. Bad result and really bad advice.
2. Blame Someone Else. Do you blame other people for your current money situation? Or do you believe that your own hustle, decisions, and ability to learn can change your current money situation? The first is called "victimhood" and the second is called "responsibility".
Ne-Yo seems to think he did his part when he sings "I know my rent was gon' be late bout a week ago. I worked my ass off, but I still can't pay it though." He worked hard for a week, but it wasn't enough. But did he work hard enough? Is there something he could have done differently earlier in the month instead of working hard with only a week left to go?
We are not helpless in life. We are not all set adrift on the river, destined to go with the flow of the water, to be bashed against rocks and sent flying over waterfalls on our way to the ocean.
How can I say this? Because we have the ability to paddle! We have to paddle hard enough, know where we want to go, start early enough, keep up the effort, and sometimes recruit friends and family (as we will also help them). But we can paddle.
3. I Have No Control. There are a bunch of ways to say this - "what will be, will be", "this is just how things will be", or as Ne-Yo sings it "I know my rent was gon' be late bout a week ago. I worked my ass off, but I still can't pay it though. But I got just enough to get off in this club. Have me a good time, before my time is up."
Ne-Yo has given up. He's worked hard and it's out of his control - his time is up. So, he's going to exert control over one thing he can control - he's got enough to get in the club, so he's going to spend it.
It's obviously late in the game for Ne-Yo. If he knew a week ago his rent was going to be late, he should have contacted his landlord immediately. He could be making a partial rent payment with the money he has - and working out a way to get the rest - instead of blowing it all in the club.
There are things he could have done in this situation, but he determined that he has no control and has resolved to starting back at zero when he has to leave his apartment. (Actually less than zero when you factor in an eviction on his record, the damage he did to his credit, and the collection agency calls).
To sum it up, it's okay to jam out and have the "time of our lives". Turn it up! Let it be my night, your night, our night. Just make sure the rent is paid first, though.