The next time you catch some pickers playing in a restaurant or bar pay close attention. You may never know what the music gods may spin. Jimmy Buffett archives show no record of any Athens, Ga., performances in the spring of 1974. I have vivid memories of Buffett playing Memorial Hall, but my email request for verification has gone unanswered and my escort for the evening dumped me during the first set. 

Bloomberg recently announced the kingmaker of music hits.  Nope, not Michael Jackson, Elvis or The Beatles but a Gulf Coast crooner who shares the name of the world’s most famous investor. 

Generally speaking, I harbor little jealously over anyone else’s job, but for the people who worked on the most lucrative song in music history project, I am GREEN with envy. Did you hop-skip to work?  After days in salt mines, Bloomberg deemed Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” the most lucrative three minutes and 20 seconds since Edison invented the phonograph.   

Margaritaville has a special place for me; it seemed divinely inspired, hitting the charts at the disco craze apex. “Margaritaville”, the song, doesn’t crack the top 10 profitable song list, but Buffett shrewdly blended the trademark “Margaritaville” into a different type of intellectual property. Robert Brauneis, a George Washington University Law School professor and intellectual property expert places, “Margaritaville” head and shoulders over other songs since few, if any, trademarked into other ventures. 

Two hundred plus words and three cords built an empire. Being privately held, following the money proves difficult, but the Orlando Business Journal estimated Margaritaville Enterprises’ 2007 revenue at $100 million. Revenues have grown since then even if his concerts don’t sell out nearly as fast. Don’t shed any tears.  Margaritaville Enterprises has dozens of restaurants, bars and resorts from the Jersey shore to the Caribbean.

There’s even one coming to Destin in the old site of the Lucky Snapper on the harbor.

Once Jimmy Buffett looked at 40 and now he’s looking at a full Social Security benefit. Hopefully Buffett keeps touring; my bucket list includes taking my granddaughter to one of his shows. The guy has toured annually for the past three decades. He can fish and fly anytime he likes; I wonder how content he would be not making music.

Investments, Social Security and Medicare get all the attention, but retirement is more than those three. On more than one occasion, a wife rued her husband’s retirement not because she didn’t like him but he needed something to do. Our occupation becomes part of our persona and without it part of us dies.

My friend Michael Goldman, who was a psychologist before he became a certified financial planner, observed personal financial planning is 80 percent personal and 20 percent financial. Too often we flip the numbers. 

Sometimes retirement is not so much shutting the engine off but changing gears. People often need three to five years to get ready for retirement; the lucky ones get to make the choice. Even if you don’t have Jimmy Buffett’s fortune, envision a perfect day or week in retirement. If you don’t know where you are going any path will do.

My friend Forrest Williams wrote a Jimmy Buffett song “That Kind of Life.” It gives him a reprieve from a chief annoyance plaguing South Walton troubadours  — tourists requesting Buffett covers.

Buz Livingston, CFP has the only investment management and financial planning firm in the entire world headquartered in Blue Mountain Beach. He helps clients along Florida’s Emerald Coast and around the country with financial decisions. Contact him at 850-267-1068 or For timely financial tweets follow @BuzLivingston.