So what does this generation’s most adored teen heartthrob have to say – or to do – with the notion of retirement security?
A lot, when you think about it. Like the legion of teen dreams before him, manufactured superstars, there’s plenty of planning that goes into a meteoric career, but not quite enough strategic work in figuring out what to happen when the spotlight fades.
The mop-topped Canadian is 18 now and while the screaming and the Internet traffic and the Twitter continues – I see the Bieber back-to-school material is prominently placed near the check-out stands at my neighborhood grocery – his recent flare-ups with the law in Los Angeles and the prospect of eventually being too old for his tween audience must be weighing heavily on he and his handlers’ minds.
For it’s the same old story, from the days of a fresh-faced Frank Sinatra, through the glory pop era of Neil Sedaka and Fabian, right into ’70s stars like Sean Cassidy and Leif Garrett. The ’80s and the advent of the boy band business (New Edition, ’NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys) and all those Mickey Mouse Club spin-offs cemented the teen star world as a legitimate industry.
One that ought to have had a pension plan, or at least a good 401(k) option available for its stars. For a few of the celebrated pop burnouts of that latter period, “Dancing with the Stars” or a creepy Lifetime Channel reality series might be the only tangible retirement plan.
As for the Bieb, what does his retirement future hold, exactly? If you want to be technical about it, the tousle-haired performer isn’t a U.S. citizen (and has openly stated he has no plans to become one), so his post-fame retirement prospects won’t necessarily be entangled in the ongoing flameout that is the Social Security system.
Though we hope a considerable portion of his not-inconsiderable taxes (the kid made $55 million last year) will help go to fee the Social Security coffers for a while – unless his accountants were smart enough to defer them to Canada, where the Canada Pension Plan system remains oddly solvent.
What advice would financial planners have for the young man, if he chooses to remain in the U.S.? Convert everything to a Roth IRA? Invest heavily in ETFs? Seek out some options in the European bank credit swap arena and maximize on currency fluctuations? Develop an interest in gardening?
Maybe Bieber could put some money back into Google and YouTube, which helped make him a media symbol with more Klout influence than the President of the United States.
On a more serious note, Bieber and his post-Millennial counterparts (some call them Generation Z) will face perhaps the most onerous retirement prospects of any people currently living on earth – so let’s hope they follow in the footsteps of other Beliebers and maximize on their earning potential.