What I Learn From Britney Spears & Pop Culture

I periodically listen to NPR during the week to keep in touch with my “cultured side.”  You know, learning how to talk in a smooth & eloquent voice, listen to a little-known classical piece, and my favorite program, All Things Considered.  The small vignettes on this evening commute segment covers a host of issues, some bland & others controversial.  At the end of last week, they talked about Britney Spears and her most recent comeback at the VMAs (Video Music Awards) over the weekend.

Why I'm singling out Britney Spears

It's not just NPR that is covering the first, I mean second, no third comeback from Britney Spears.  The local radio station morning show has also been talking about her.  Not only did she come out with a new album with this comeback, but, a cable tv channel is also making a documentary of her life.  As this morning show is more comedic, he was wondering how they were going to portray the stage in her life when she shaved her head and all the other ensuing craziness.

Why am I picking on Britney Spears?

First and foremost, I do not like her music.  Ignoring the context & lewdness of her lyrics, her debut album was ok when I was 13 years old (when she went mainstream) but her newest stuff gives me a headache (NPR played a snippet and it made me want to change the station).  But, I will listen to anything but, rap, hip hop, or post-2000 pop.

Most I am picking on Britney because she is pop culture's “flavor of the month.”  At my former job, our bosses would have us focus on certain topics each month.  In the summer time, we would talk to the workers about stinging insects or staying properly hydrated.  If a rash of injuries or incidents occured company-wide with a common theme, we would do safety contacts or rules checks specifically focused on that one behavior.

Britney Spears is once again the “flavor of the month” or more fittingly “flavor of the week” when it comes to the entertainment industry.  I'm contributing to the buzz by writing about her.

She is once again in the limelight, trying to prove that she can still be a superstar and her crazy past is behind her.  Don't worry, the Kardashian clan and Taylor Swift.

Perception From an 18-Year Old

As I mentioned earlier.  Britney Spears is only a few years older than myself.  I remember her for being one of the Mousekeeters from the New Mickey Mouse Club before landing on the pop charts for “Drive Me Crazy” & “One More Time.”

I'm 12 years removed from being 18, so I don't exactly know what an 18-year old would perceive by watching Britney's latest makeover, except her taste for fashion and singing “hip” music.  They've probably only heard their parents talk about the Mickey Mouse Club in passing & think that it's the Disney Loyalty Rewards program.  It'd be like Cher.  Most Millennials have no clue she was once married to Sonny.

(For those wanting a trip down memory lane…)  I forgot Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, & Ryan Gosling were all part of the club as well.
A Fresh Start

Where am I getting at with being an 18-year old?

Britney gets a fresh start this time around.  It's the beauty of pop culture and short attention spans.  Today's youth don't know (or don't care about) Britney's past ups & downs.  They only view the now.  Today she is all over the radio, performed at the Video Music Awards, and has a documentary coming out about her.

Today, tomorrow looks just as bright for her prospects instead of paralleling her dim past.

Britney Spears and Personal Finance

How does Britney Spears relate to personal finance?  Britney (& any pop culture star) are a great example of looking at your own previous history and knowing it can be buried & left in the past.  Yes, there might be an asterisk next to your name that mentions alluding to the “fine print” on some of your bonehead financial decisions.

You might not have the same reach as Britney, Tom Cruise, Elvis, or Frank Sinatra where anybody can recount their numerous successes and failures.  With your financial situation, only your family and a few select friends might know about your mountain of debt, previous bankruptcy, etc.  Either way, nobody (not even celebrities) wants their “dirty laundry” to be aired for everybody to view.

Britney's current comeback is prefaced by her previous troubles, but, she isn't letting them hold her back.

For your own financial comeback, you cannot ignore the previous troubles.  Your history  is the crucible or fire that has shaped you.  Nobody can deny their past, but it doesn't need to dictate your future.

Britney could have disappeared after her first meltdown, but she has continually resurfaced.  You (or I) could have disappeared after our troubles appeared unfixable.  Even if you don't get it right the first time, improvement is the biggee and learning from the ups & downs.

Britney Spears and Personal Finance
It's a brand new day

Seek Help & Advice

One great recommendation is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.  Dave speaks from his own experiences and has sound advice that has helped lots of people get out of debt & remain out of debt.  I even enjoy listening to Dave periodically just as a refresher for my own financial appearance.

Even Britney had some coaching along the way.  If my memory recollects, her dad took over her estate to prevent her from losing everything during one of the really low dips.  Today, we don't remember the specifics.  We just know that Britney has been given several second chances and seems to have gotten back on the right track.

It's the same thing with your situation.  Today is the time to make your own comeback from the wilderness.  Whether it is your first, second, third, or fourth comeback.  Be glad that you have the opportunity.

Make the most of it.  Seek advice.  And most of all, be optimistic!

You get a second shot at becoming financially sound.

Are you on a “financial comeback tour”?  What are you doing (or have you done) to get out of debt?

Thanks For Reading,


Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.