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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 9 months ago

Gimme financial shelter: Ageless rockers advocate for smart money management

The Rolling Stones bring their No Filter tour — and retirement planning advice — to Tampa.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

When the Rolling Stones finally hang it up — and based on the band’s current form, which was on glorious display Oct. 29 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, that day could still be many years from now — they’ll undoubtedly enjoy a comfortable retirement. But not so for an increasing number of Americans who haven’t adequately saved and planned for their future.

Courtesy. The Rolling Stones' No Filter tour came to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Oct. 29. It's sponsored by the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit that advocates for sound retirement planning.

That’s the message being spread by the Alliance for Lifetime Income, the sole sponsor of the Stones’ No Filter tour. A nonprofit launched by a consortium of prominent life insurance and financial planning companies, the Alliance seeks to raise awareness of the importance of having protected income, from sources such as annuities, in retirement.

“There’s this looming, silent crisis going on where people are not thinking about their income once their paycheck stops,” Alliance CEO Jean Statler tells Coffee Talk. “Pensions are going away, and people are having to self-fund their retirement — and that requires a great deal of knowledge and understanding.”

Wikimedia/Raph_PH. The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, far right, died earlier this year, leaving Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards as the sole surviving original members of the band.

At first glance, it might seem ironic that the Stones, the epitome of Baby Boomers who refuse to rest on their laurels, are sponsored by a retirement planning advocacy group. But Opie Skjerseth, the band’s tour production director, says the pandemic, which shut down most live entertainment for months on end, should be a wake-up call to an American workforce transformed by the gig economy. People in his line of work, he explains, aren’t employees of the bands they work for; rather, they’re hired on a contract basis, so there’s no safety net when tours shut down.

“All of these independent workers, they need to save for themselves,” says Skjerseth, who’s been with the Stones since 1994, when he started as the band’s stage manager. “You need to save for your future. No one is going to do it for you.”

The Stones finally had a run-in with Father Time earlier this year, when longtime drummer Charlie Watts died. Citing health concerns, Watts had already excused himself from the No Filter tour, but his passing still “flattened” the crew, Skjerseth says.

“It was not a band member; it was a family member. The band are a brotherhood, and I don’t know if they can even express right now how they feel.”

Skjerseth also offered some insights on how the Stones operate as a business. While the enigmatic, roguish guitarist Keith Richards might be the creative heart of the band, there’s no doubt as to who’s calling the financial shots: flamboyant frontman Mick Jagger, who was educated at the prestigious London School of Economics but did not graduate. (Jagger also has a direct connection to the Gulf Coast.) 

“He’s the mastermind,” Skjerseth says. “They’re all smart with money, but he’s the financial guy. He’s well-educated, well-spoken and he values a pound.”

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