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Retire like a Rolling Stone

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, July 26, 2010
Posted: 3 pm ET

The London Sun says that the Rolling Stones are negotiating to do one last tour before their retirement.

In "Start Me Up," the Stones sang "Never, Never, Stop." And the retirement planning that guitarist Keith Richards emphasized in an interview with Fortune magazine eight years ago was open-ended. "How long can we go on?" Richards told Fortune. "Forever. We'll let you know when we keel over."

But it's hard to rock 'n' roll forever. The Sun points out that drummer Charlie Watts is about to turn 70. Bassist Ronnie Wood is 63, while Mick Jagger and Richards are both 66. And apparently, they are slowing down a little.

When I think about the Stones retiring, I'm a little sad. I've been taking inspiration from the Stones for a long time. And this turn in their road is no different. As they prepare to wind it down, there are few suitable lyrics to quote, but there are several lessons to be learned by the rest of us who are following in their footsteps as they move into retirement.

Get expert advice. From 1972 to 2007, when he retired at 70, the Stones employed Prince Rupert Loewenstein, a socially and financially well-connected banker, to manage their money. While other rock groups blew through what they earned, Prince Rupert made the Stones millionaires many times over.

Invest wisely. Richards told Fortune: "Rupert plays the markets like I play guitar. He does things like a little oil well. And currency -- you know, Swiss francs in the morning, switch to marks in the afternoon, move to the yen, and by the end of the day, how many dollars? That's his financial genius, his wisdom. Little pieces of paper. As long as there's a smile on Rupert's face, I'm cool."

Watch the taxes. The London Daily Mail reported in 2006 that the Stones had paid only 1.6 percent tax on their earnings of $375 million in 2005.

Live a little. The liner notes on the Stones' first album in 1964 said it best: "The Rolling Stones are more than just a group -- they are a way of life."

Have no regrets. As the Stones sang in "Ruby Tuesday," "Yesterday don't matter if it's gone."

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1 Comment
danny branigan
July 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Ron Wood is not the bassist he plays guitar....get it right