(Article today by Andrew Kim)
This dance is the hottest thing since Samsung smartphones. In the past month, it’s been on Facebook walls across the internet, all over the WSJ, and lauded by the auto-tuned voice of this generation — T-Pain.
If you haven’t seen it already, it’s time you caught up with the rest of the world and take a peek.
Why am I talking about a Korean music video on a personal finance blog? What in the world does this have to do with money? Ah-hah! I set you up there. It has have everything to do with money!
As a Korean-American, I was dumbfounded a few weeks ago when I noticed my non-Korean friends sharing this video. Clearly these friends did not understand a single thing this whacky man was saying, but they loved it.
Let me give you a quick overview of the song: Gangnam is a district in Seoul, South Korea. It’s like the Dubai of Korea. Roughly 7% of the country’s GDP is located in the district’s 15 square miles. It’s the popular destination for nice restaurants, designer stores, and plastic surgery. Basically, it’s the wealthiest area of the fast growing nation of South Korea.
The way I see it, Gangnam Style pokes fun at the lavish lifestyle portrayed in Korean culture. He is Gangnam Style so he walks around with models and does ridiculous things because he’s rich. Psy, the artist, takes the ridiculousness to an extreme to make a statement.
Did you even know that the song you and your friends were enjoying is all about wealth? I’ve read some articles suggesting that it’s struck a particular chord with Americans because we too have this thing against the 1%. So even though you may not have known what was being said, you subconsciously may have realized he was making fun of the rich.
The takeaway here is DON’T become Gangnam Style. It’s funny, but financially unwise. Stick to budgets and avoid photoshoots with models where debris is being thrown at your face.
Oh, and that concentration of wealth in Gangnam? It looks like much of that is funded by credit. According to Reuters,
“Korean household debt reached 155 percent of disposable income in 2010, exceeding the 138 percent recorded in the United States at the outset of the subprime crisis”.
That’s a scary statistic. Americans began defaulting on their debt creating a cascading effect. The country that brings you LG, Samsung, Hyundai, ships (did you know Korea is the #1 producer of ships in the world?), and Korean pop music looks to be headed into dangerous territory. Sounds like there’s a real need for personal finance blogs in Korea.
If you follow personal finance blogs, you may be well on your way to being able to afford the Gangnam Style life. Just skip out on the spending habits (don’t go renting a boat just to do a whacky dance on it) and do it without the debt.
But definitely feel free to do the sweet Gangnam Style dance :)
Guest Post by Andrew Kim – A recent graduate and author of the personal finance blog “Credit Card Andy“. He blogs about the basics of personal finance with a focus on students and young 20-something year olds.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: I actually hadn’t heard of this video until Andrew pinged me on it (even though I’ve lived in Korea!) and I freakin’ love it. Brilliant messaging and entertaining as hell ;) Though it does get stuck in your head, sorry about that… Anyone wanna do an American spoof on this?]
Photo/GIF cred: Kirremek
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!