Bilal Decoded: Preaching the Gospel of Money Management and Self Reliance

Anyone who is in the music industry or hopes to be will learn something from Bilal in this interview.

Self-reliance is especially important to him now that he is a father and husband.

“It’s all about my family now,” he says. “Most of my money goes to them: their  schooling, the roof over their heads –  their happiness.”

He also wants to set a good example for his children.

Bilal says if he could advise them or upcoming artists breaking into the industry, he’d give them these three financial tips.

The first — invest in something meaningful.

“I’d tell them to invest their money in something they can see themselves having 15 years from now,” he says. “If you’re going to spend your money on something, make it something you can see yourself using a lot or having a while. Long-term investments, not short-term ones,” he advises. “A house or some businesses. If you’re a musician, invest your money in a studio instead of clothing. Invest in studio equipment. Invest in educating yourself on how to use those instruments so you don’t have to hire people to show you how once you have it.”

Second, he says, choose your friends and associates wisely.

“I’d tell them to be wary of the people who show up as your friends but always have their hands out,” he says. “Be leery of the people who come around you and the first thing they say is ‘we’re family,’ because most people like that are sheisters,” he says. “You can’t trust them.”

“Also, keep family and the people who work with you separate,” he adds. “Make sure the people who work for you are doing their job. Keep your eye on them.”

And lastly, don’t underestimate how the simple things in life can bring you pleasure.

“I look back at the way I use to live and smile,” he says. “Unlike then it’s the small things that make me happy nowadays. You know, things like working out, spending time with loved ones, being able to treat them to nice things once in a while. Living a lavish lifestyle doesn’t always bring you the joy you think it will — sometimes it’s the simple things that do that.”

As for his own financial goals, Bilal’s got a lot of them.

“Right now I’m collecting equipment for my studio,” he says. “Living in New York, my studio is very small. In the future I’d love to have a room where I can throw everything in it… make it my “office” so to speak.”

“I’m also looking to have a place to go as an artist. Living in the city I’d love to have a place to go where I can clear my head –  like out of the country. Maybe buy a villa in Morocco. Villas outside of the country don’t even cost that much, which is right in my price range!”

Bilal’s third, long-awaited album, “A Love Surreal,” drops February 12, 2013.

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