Today is our birthday. Its 14 years since Solomons was granted permission to practice by the then regulator the PIA. It has been 14 years of fee based financial planning, serving a variety of clients, so we have something of a head start on most firms that have only been charging fees since forced to do so by the regulator at the start of this year. It has been a long path and one that has involved continual improvement and development and frankly I don’t see this ever changing.
I have to admit to being a little sceptical about business “failure rates” but I’m told that a very small percentage make it past 10 years. I imagine that the statistics are wrong (does the ending of a firm equate to “failure”? how about mergers and acquisitions? or simply deciding to end?). Defining success by not ending does not seem terribly thoughtful or contextualised. I might argue that “failure” is a great teacher and most business guru’s seem to think that “the path to success is littered with failure” and many believe the success requires failure. So whilst I am happy to be celebrating 14 years, I’m not suggesting that this is much of a measure of success. If the business folded today, what we have done for many clients has been to their advantage and therefore a form of success, which is obviously satisfying and our deliberate intention.
So as I listened to the news about Blackberry who appear to have put themselves up for sale in the hope that someone will rescue them from the abyss into which they seem to be slipping as another technological “used to be” I am reminded that things are temporary. Again. Change is a constant….and a verb. It is for this reason that reviewing your financial planning regularly is so important. Drivers are used to getting an MOT and service, yet it seems very few British adults have a proper annual review of their financial planning. To my mind this is strange – because one’s ability to even afford to run a car is based on the quality of your financial planning – a bit of cart before the horse. Yet I’m acutely aware that talking about money is often boring, full of jargon and can feel like a personal exam – which with A’level results out on Thursday is a reminder of the sense of anxiety that is created.
So for those of you that have read this far, here’s the thing…financial planning is not really about money… honestly it isn’t. Its actually about your values, goals, hopes, dreams, concerns, anxieties and well being. Its about your plan for the future. This is something that I have improved upon over the last 14 years and have come to deeply appreciate. It is not about the money. Its about your lifestyle. Its about you, which is just as well, as I’m interested in stories, in people. Sure the financial stuff is a part of what we do, but its the tool not the purpose. If you would like to really find out what I mean, just pick up the phone or send me an email and we can have a proper adult meeting to discuss what its really all about.
Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA