Anything to declare?

Having made your way through airport lounges, delays, immigration and luggage collection, the last airport encounter will be customs. Greeted by green signs asking if you have anything to declare. I tend to find myself wishing to say something funny, but am well aware that airports are not places for humour.

Customs generally operates on the basis of trust –  trusting you to tell the truth, failure to be truthful may be discovered, resulting in considerable discomfort, embarassment and possible shame, for those of us that still feel such things.

Declaration forms

Most people don’t like forms, fewer still like insurance forms. Some appear to take the view that full disclosure is optional, it isn’t. At best this is memory failure, more likely selective memory, at worst simple deception.

Full Disclosure

Admittedly insurance forms are tedious, but it is better to complete them fully – too fully, so that you disclose all of the information required. This is particularly important in relation to tax and health, as well as the more obvious identity and residency. I have not had the misfortune of any client misleading an insurer (or anyone else) however it is important to remind everyone that misleading information invariably comes back to haunt.

Lessons from Glasgow

I’m thinking of the very sad tale of the lorry driver in Glasgow, who had a blackout whilst at the wheel of a refuse lorry during a busy morning of Christmas shopping. It would appear that similar blackouts occurred before, yet were not disclosed in subsequent encounters with those charged with assessing the health and fitness of the workforce. Many may have taken a similar approach, thinking that the incidents were “in the past” and “no longer relevant”. Sadly this was a hugely costly misjudgment.

I imagine that the driver feels terrible about the accident and utterly devastated by the assertion that perhaps if he had recorded and presented information differently, his life and those lost and those families and friends effected by this terrible accident would now be rather different. In such situations, it is tempting to simply seek to blame someone, yet perhaps we could all benefit from being reminded that full disclosure is important, questions on forms are invariably posed for good reasons, (yes I know that many may not be) but honesty is there to protect us all.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email