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ROCKET MAN

TODAY’S BLOG

ROCKET MAN

I suspect that you may have noticed that there is a new movie about Elton John – Rocket Man. As I grapple with the temptation to provide my own take on another film, attempting to find any tenuous link to life choices and money, my mind turned to a different rocket man. Whilst we are only days away from the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I don’t mean those rocket men either. No, rather it is time to talk about Mr Neil Woodford…

Let me begin by saying that I do not know Mr Woodford, I have nothing to say against him personally. He ran the hugely successful Invesco Perpetual Income funds out of Henley upon Thames for many years, before leaving them with his departure announced in October 2013.  He went on to start his own asset management company Woodford Investment Management. He did a wonderful job at Invesco Perpetual. Most investors that owned holdings in his fund would or should have been very happy with the result.

SOLOMONS IFA BLOG - ROCKET MAN

Science Lessons

One of the few advantages of age is that gradually, lessons are learned, experience gained and sometimes there is the possibility of a modicum of wisdom. In the past I believed that fund managers were stars and their performance could be followed. Today I still believe that this is possible, but it is highly unlikely to happen. Fund Managers are often very clever, thoughtful people, but their ability to constantly beat the market or their peers is unsustainable. There is ample evidence to support this view if you can cut through the marketing and noise of “hot funds”, “Best Buys” and the latest “great idea”.

The battle for your money rages fiercely, huge marketing campaigns combined with an information culture that turns anyone into an expert and promotes the lie that investing is easy. Indeed I might argue that the financial services industry is supported by a media the prop up the belief that the improbable is highly likely. It simply fails any rational testing, if you are prepared to check your conditioning at the door. In practice, you might only need to ask yourself who is actually getting rich from your investment? However the obvious is an uncomfortable truth, so we all ignore it, well… most do until they see the light.

Epiphany

My gradual epiphany happened over the last 15 years, (remember I set up the firm 20 years ago and had been advising clients since ’91). I was familiar with market-index tracker funds, I even arranged them for clients in the 1990s (for example the Gartmore UK Index which was opened in 1989) but I, just like many (most) wanted to believe that intelligence and skill could be combined in a way that provided consistently better returns. Advisers and investors were (and still are) bombarded by information that shows “successful” short-term performance. My in-box, trade press, and conference bag are stuffed full with it.

In practice you will be investing for decades….”So I will change my investments” I hear you cry… well maybe, but that would acknowledge other detrimental investor behaviours – attempting to time the market, knowing when to get in or out of funds that are performing well or not….you may get lucky a couple of times, but frankly that is all that it would be luck – not skill. Luck is not a good strategy for your financial plan. In any event the two largest players providing advice and funds to investors only dropped the Woodford fund this week. They are far better resourced for detailed research and personal meetings with the Fund Managers…yet to absolutely no avail. You have heard of them both, nice brochures and websites.

Whilst I believe outperformance from skill is “possible”, I now recognise it as unlikely and blogged as much in 2014 implying that following a star manager is not a good investment strategy. I came to this conclusion later than some, earlier than many. I am neither genius, nor fool (I hope). In January 2010 I cited how his funds had suffered some lacklustre performance in 2009 after delivering some good returns, acknowledging that we had been users of his Invesco funds, which had delivered good results. At the time I was still advising clients to retain the Invesco fund. That changed, but not to Woodford – to a low cost, investment fund.

Number Crunching

Yesterday his flagship Equity Income fund, which was launched in June 2014 was suspended, almost precisely at the 5th anniversary. This was primarily because investors were turning away from the fund in droves. Performance has been taking a nose-dive since June 2017.

None of our clients hold the fund. None, nada – because for reasons stated. We use low cost investments and not the more expensive “actively managed” funds like this one, which typically charge between 0.65% to 1.50% depending on the fund share class. We tend to create portfolios with investment costs of around 0.3% – there or there abouts.

I do not wish Woodford anything other than success. His rocket-like performance earned at Invesco now seems to have really lost favour. Fund suspension is really something that no manager wishes to do. It does protect those remaining investors within the fund, but invariably signals the end of shelf life. The reputational damage has now been done and for a fund that relies primarily upon the manager, this is difficult to regain.

Star Gazing

This is a lesson that few learn. Over the years I have seen star managers rise and fall again and again. Yet investors will forget. They will see a new star performer and ask why we don’t hold anything in his or her fund. Sometimes this may turn into a plea to buy a fund, it isn’t my money – it’s yours, so do as you please with it, but I will not put my name to investment advice that I do not believe. Part of my job is to stop you making daft financial decisions. It isn’t rocket science…but you can follow the yellow brick road if you like, but the only records you should pay attention to are the musical type… on which note here, is the trailer for the rather good “Rocket Man”.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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ROCKET MAN2019-06-06T07:28:26+01:00

AMELIE – LIFE IN A SNAP

TODAY’S BLOG

AMELIE -LIFE IN A SNAP

I wonder if you were charmed by the Audrey Tautou in the 2001 movie “Amelie”. A charming and original love story. The story was reconstructed as a musical and had a run on Broadway in 2017, it has now arrived and touring Britain and is playing at Wimbledon where I saw it play to a full house the other evening. By the time, you read this it will have moved on with its tour (details here).

It was an enjoyable evening, the warmth and joy of the original film were very much present and also offering some creative originality of its own within the stage format. In its current form, it lacks any big numbers, you probably would struggle to recall any of the tunes within a few hours. Some of the higher notes left me wincing as the discord of the storyline was reflected in the music. The performances were all strong and make a great opportunity for actors that are also musicians, or vice versa.

AMELIE THE MUSICAL - PAMELA RAITH PHOTOGRAPHY - SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

Life in a box

So, to the financial planning angle. Amelie’s world view is interrupted by the discovery of a small tin box which is full of a childhood collection of mementos. These have been carefully hidden for years and she makes it her mission to return these to the owner. The impact of reuniting the two and the insight attained provide the motivation for her to engage more within the lives of those around her. She finds charming ways to reimagine or even re-see what is before her. There is a segment where she takes the hand of a blind man and leads him along the streets of Paris, describing the sights before them.

Eyes to see 

Financial planning can sometimes be a little like this. In the process of planning well for the future, we need to be able to discuss and visualise it to some extent. Your future, like mine and everyone else’s is not written yet, you have some degree of choice about how it looks. You bring your baggage from the past and this will shape your outlook for the future. Amelie reminds us not to judge, to see people not as the sum of their frustrations, anxieties and losses but as essentially good dreamers that have lost touch with some or all of their hope about the future.

The risk of living 

We are all made differently and want for different things. I have yet to meet anyone that does not want to retain their dignity and independence. We know that when life is compressed to a footnote, the memory is that of relationships – how we lived, not what we earned, bought or when or where we lived. Amelie’s world view enables her to see things differently, to bring the joy to the mundane and to nudge people out of the fog of their own phobias, anxieties and pain. Of course, she is merely doing what she knows she needs for herself and has to face the same risks as everyone else.

The Bucket List – just seau…

Financial planning is little more than taking action to afford the lifestyle you want to have. This may be “big or small”. Importantly it is defined by you. We have been talking this through within our marketing meetings and felt we needed to help a little with this process. We have begun to work on ideas for a “bucket list” and will develop this idea further. In truth, it is likely to contain few genuinely original ideas, but it may hopefully act as a reminder to each of us that time doesn’t wait. If you have any suggestions for the bucket list please get in touch.

Sorry, I could not resist adding the trailer for the film…

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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AMELIE – LIFE IN A SNAP2019-05-24T09:13:55+01:00

THE STARRY MESSENGER

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STARRY MESSENGER

I was working with clients the other day and they noticed one of the icons in the software I was using with them. It was marked as “midlife crisis” and the icon was a sports car. They thought the IT company could do rather better with its icons (no I had not used it in their plan). However perhaps the sports car isn’t that bad an icon – a cliché admittedly. Perhaps I should suggest that they use a star now that a new play (well new to the West End) “The Starry Messenger” is running at Wyndham’s theatre.

The play explores the now recognised normality of a mid-life crisis. 50 something male falls for vivacious female, some 20 years his junior. Like him, she has baggage though I struggled to see how it even vaguely matched. Mark Williams is a teacher at the New York planetarium teaching evening classes of adult education. He loves his subject, but his va-va-voom has long since departed, his career has been side-lined to the extent that he clings to the hope of even a data entry job so that he can at least be associated with a worthy project. He laments that others are simply better at what he does than he himself. He is un-inspiring. He meets Angela, a hard-working single mother, training to be a nurse. Her genuine kindness somehow enables a relationship to develop.

THE STARRY MESENGER - SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

Ordinary Pain

There is something terribly ordinary about the play. By that I mean the ordinariness of real people living a real life. Many of us, have occasion to contend with huge disappointment and trauma. This is the bread and butter, or perhaps blood and tears of author Kenneth Lonergan. You have probably seen or lives a version of this story. The question remains whether Mark and Anne Williams will be able to face and overcome the chasm of a void in their relationship.

Extra-ordinary Plan

As someone that partakes in the new permitted addictions of social media, within my own field I regularly come across claims that lives are changed by a great financial plan. Part of me wants to agree with this, but another part also would wish to make the point that stuff happens, or as John Lennon put it “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. We can plan sensibly, even brilliantly, but sometimes life throws up a problem or two. A financial planner can help make allowance for job loss, serious illness, long-term illness, business collapse or even death itself, but all these assume relationships last. Sometimes they don’t. I would urge caution, however detailed, however much room for error has been made, life is not as predictable as we may think. That does not negate the value of a good plan (or a brilliant one) I am simply making the point that we don’t know the future and some people talk as though they do. Beware.

As for Mark, Anne and Angela – you can see their story develop at Wyndham’s. Mark is played by Matthew Broderick, most famous for his role as Ferris Bueller (1986). A casting that seems entirely appropriate, how would 50-something Ferris face the day? I wonder if he would repeat “You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do”. Elizabeth McGovern (Downton) plays Anne and rising star Rosalind Eleazar plays the luminous Angela.

The play has begun a 3-month run. You can find tickets here. Here is a short video of the cast members discussing the play and the trailer.

Cast Discussion

Trailer

How will your story play out? Get in touch to consider your options.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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THE STARRY MESSENGER2019-05-23T10:44:24+01:00

TOO MANY COOKS

TODAY’S BLOG

TOO MANY COOKS

We have all heard the phrase – “too many cooks spoil the broth” well, I’m not sure it quite applies, but any assessment of the high street restaurant business will likely suggest that there are far too many restaurants. Rather sadly Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire has had to call in the administrators. The business has been in difficulty for a while and it seems that the sword of Damocles has now fallen.

I’m rather sad about this news. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but to me, Jamie Oliver always seemed like an honest, decent man, trying to make good and trying to change the lives of his staff, young people and to a greater or lesser extent the eating habits of the UK. I’ve enjoyed dining in many of his restaurants and had some special occasions at Fifteen in London and Cornwall.

JAMIE OLIVER GROUP SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

What’s on the menu?

The administrators will now attempt to salvage the business, though the restaurant business is particularly fickle with diners generally leaving once there are signs of trouble. It isn’t possible to tell if the business was run well or not, whether it was a sign of the times or over ambitious. We all know that Jamie’s culinary skills are rather good, and his brand is everywhere – or at least wherever cookery books and items are for sale. His fame and subsequent fortune all resulted from the initial “Naked Chef” series.

Running any business can be stressful at times, or even constantly. Running a large restaurant empire where control can quickly evaporate, is a stress that I certainly would not wish to take on. There are very few people that could. Jamie Oliver made a very good go of things, opening Fifteen, his first restaurant in 2002. He is only 44 and it has been an incredible 17 years. Many entrepreneurs can withstand major setbacks, but not all. I do hope that he manages to reflect on his accomplishments rather than the final “failure” once the last orders have finally been taken.

Sadly, lots of jobs are at risk, let’s hope that the administrators can get things back into shape. The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group Ltd operates 25 restaurants across the UK, including 22 under Jamie’s Italian brand, in addition to Jamie Oliver’s Diner at Gatwick Airport, Barbecoa and Fifteen London.

Bookings at the Jamie Oliver Cookery school have been cancelled, gift vouchers for cookery school or restaurants and Groupon vouchers are being reviewed by the administrators, but in short, it doesn’t look good if you do and the use by date may become rather irrelevant. I for one hope that they manage to turn this around and that Jamie continues his relentless mission to help us all eat better. He has been a genuine inspiration to hundreds of jobless young people starting with his Fifteen restaurant in 2002. I wish him well.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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TOO MANY COOKS2019-05-21T18:26:11+01:00

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

TODAY’S BLOG

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

If you believe much of the marketing spiel, it seems that in this life you have to become successful by becoming a celebrity. This isn’t necessarily famous, but well known within your specified field. Some call this personal branding and it’s the regular diet of entrepreneurial and self-improvement books and courses. I read a piece yesterday that resonated with me and debunked a lot of this twaddle.

It’s all Pants

What is certainly the case, is that many people will regard the opinions of others as evidence of credibility. “Celebrities” can certainly give added impetus to sales of products. Think David Beckham and underpants. It works, though I’m not sure who is kidding who when considering this particular example. I saw a video clip of a game show in which Gordon Ramsay posed a forfeit question to James Cordon “which of your endorsements have you never used?”. Forfeit taken, the money is presumably too good to forfeit with the truth.

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS - SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

By Association

Many people buy or are certainly helped to buy based on the reviews or recommendations of others. That’s basically Trip Advisors entire business model, and of course most online retailers seek reviews, constantly. Hands up, we also ask clients to provide testimonials, which is much the same thing… we simply don’t shape or lead them (so they are honest).

Big Noise, Big Bucks, Big Blindspot

When it comes to investing, celebrities are now to be found endorsing all sorts of financial products that they have no real understanding of. Remember the adverts releases for the failing Equitable Life and Buzz Aldrin was promoting them in 1998? Or Anthony Hopkins promoting Big Bank Barclays, these days a task left to Simon Cowell.

Crypto – never expect good things in the Crypt

The world of financial products has become ever more complex with the rise of cryptocurrency. That specific field is full of corruption and fraud. One might say, its a bit of a jungle our there. The regulator has reported a tripling of reported fraud in cryptocurrency and foreign currency, each “investor” losing an average of £14,600. In my opinion, this will only get worse. Much worse. As more people seek easy returns to prop up the dismal interest from cash, the temptation is to try something that appears to have done well. Having a celebrity endorsement will, sadly for many, end in tears. Money talks and it walks, there are multitudes of people that will attempt to part you from yours, which is why part of my role is to act as guardian or bouncer on the door to your financial planning.

If you know someone that is contemplating a new investment that sounds too good to be true, or you suspect as much, refer them to the FCA scam smart website here. To be blunt, when it comes to investing, seeing any form of “celebrity” endorsement ought to leave you agreeing with those that make “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”… except think.. “that’s a celebrity, get me out of here”…

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS2019-05-21T11:22:00+01:00

SINGING LIKE A CANARY

TODAY’S BLOG

SINGING LIKE A CANARY

My twitter account got a little heated at the weekend. I, like many other financial planners am utterly fed up with financial scams. Most of us get scam emails – I have yet another only two minutes ago purporting to be HMRC with a refund… Anyway, what irritates me and many planners is the apparent ease and frequency at which scams occur.

We have a regulator and anyone that knows me will know that I believe that they play an important, arguably vital role within financial services (see Cops and Robbers in Spotlight March 2019). Yet the FCA twitter account seems unable and unwilling to accept information about suspected (or even obvious) scams.

Better but not great

An item by James Coney in The Sunday Times (12 May 2019) called “Here’s how the FCA could stop savings scams – use Google” sparked some mirth which evolved into a small, sometimes heated “debate”. Some comments suggested that regulation is much better than it was, that the scams are less costly. That the FCA is doing a good job. I am not denying that the FCA is trying, they have an enormous brief. However, there are many of us that think that too much time is wasted on the wrong things.

SING LIKE A CANARY

Climb a mountain, or use the tunnel ?

This week I will have to submit yet another 6-monthly online report to the FCA telling them lots of things about my business. It takes ages and frankly I don’t think it reveals much of any importance. In any event wouldn’t a crook would simply make up the data? At the coalface of advice regulation can also be over the top…you want to top up your ISA… well yes, that requires a report, really? To top one up? Yes. You want money out? Well a report telling you that taking too much may mean it runs out is required… Admittedly the length and depth of reports and research are not prescribed by the regulator, but very much enforced by compliance and professional indemnity insurers. Certainly there is a place for this, but often it looks and feels like “overkill”.

Scams to the left of me, scams to the right…

I cannot explain why people being ripped off is so upsetting to me. Its wired into my DNA or childhood experience I suspect. Many advisers are on the same side as the regulator, we both make a living from financial services. The flashpoint, was the suggestion that advisers will be forced to pay yet higher levies for the FSCS to make compensation payments to scammed investors. This relates to yet another “obvious to an adviser” scam of mini-Bonds of London Capital & Finance. Who made promises that they would never keep to the tune of £237m from 11,500 savers. This was not a regulated business. There was no FSCS compensation for the investors. At least that’s what should have been the case, but now it seems this is disputed and advisers will have to foot the bill… for a scam they had nothing to do with.

Virtual reality isn’t reality

James Coney, like many of my peers argues that a quick search of the web will reveal plenty of scams. Some are obvious, some less so. This is the occasion to use the word fake – there are fake websites, fake products and fake endorsements. Please don’t get taken in. Ask me or your adviser if you have one. Why take the risk for a couple of extra percentage points of interest?

Sadly, I am of the view that the system is in need of an overhaul. The regulator thought that forcing all other advisers to charge fees, and explain these each year would solve the mis-selling problem. I’m sure it has a small favourable result, but the bulk of crime is committed by criminals, who lie. No amount of legislation or disclosures will have any impact on them, what they require is the strong arm of the law and a custodial sentence.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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SINGING LIKE A CANARY2019-05-15T16:29:56+01:00

EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID

TODAY’S BLOG

EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID

I wonder if you have played Scruples. I haven’t done so for many years, I remember it as one of those ice-breaker/get-to-know-you games that occasionally got wheeled out at a student party. How truthful and how flexible with the truth are we with one another? Perhaps there has been an episode or incident in your life ,or that of a friend, where everyone seems to know something is awry, but nothing is said. To some this is friendship, to others it is dishonesty.

Money is one of those very divisive topics, aside from income and discussions about fairness, how we all spend it and use it tends to be something that is often hidden. We see some degree of opinion exposed in the media, largely chastising both the very wealthy for their luxury spending and those that are poorer – spending money on “non-essentials”. To say that it is a loaded and often heated topic would be an understatement.

All My Sons, London Old Vic Solomons IFA Blog

A Financial Plan based on reality

The problem for you and I is that in order to provide any meaningful financial plan, you have to declare your real-world spending, so that I can build a plan to enable you to continue to maintain your lifestyle, but also attempt to help more of your own money stick to you. What good is it if I build a plan to deliver an income of £30,000 a year when £45,000 is actually needed. This is a precarious aspect of the adviser/client relationship. In the nearly 3 decades that I have been advising clients, I have very rarely met anyone that hasn’t struggled with completing a spending plan. I have been told the experience is difficult, it raises issues of where has the money gone and what have I to show for it?

The intention is not to expose, embarrass or shame, simply to understand and see things for what they are, without value judgement. I cannot see how I can do a proper job for my clients without understanding how much money they have and need each month to support their lifestyle. Honesty about where we are now is vital in order to enable us to reach the future together. Financial denial is no different from any other form of denial. It can feel comforting, but there are consequences to failing to face realities.

Family Secrets 

I was reminded if this as I was watching “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller (1947). A powerful play that I had seen before in 2010. The play is based on a true story. The main characters all know a discomforting truth which is shameful. The neighbourhood also all know of this, perhaps discussing in private, but otherwise ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. Whilst a son, a missing in action pilot, acts as the delusion in which others share, it is merely representative of a deeper, darker truth, that a great injustice has been done. In many senses exposing this discomforting truth is a patriotic and righteous act. In reality Miller, was called before the House of Un-American Activities (hard to comprehend this today) on 21 June 1956 to explain himself for writing the play, which casts a wary eye over the American Dream.

To have the future you want, we need to understand your goals and the reality of your situation. Everyone is entitled to dream, but my job is to build a path to the future, not prop up ladders to castles in the sky.

If you don’t know the play I will not spoil it for you, but at the heart is the sense of blood money – or at least money earned deceitfully.

“Chris, I want you to use what I made for you … I mean, with joy, Chris, without shame … with joy…. Because sometimes I think you’re … ashamed of the money…. Because it’s good money, there’s nothing wrong with the money.”

It doesn’t have to be like this… 

I’m not implying that clients earn their money deceitfully! – I’ve only had one instance where this was actually the case and we didn’t proceed… well you don’t want to upset a mercenary really do you! We all know that money is loaded with sentiment, assumptions and values – many learned from our families or social structures. Money doesn’t have to be divisive, secretive or delusional. We can talk about it honestly.

As for the play, currently it is being performed at the Old Vic and stars Bill Pullman and Sally Field until the 8th June. In my honest opinion, it is Colin Morgan as Chris Keller that delivers the strongest performance. One definitely to watch. Here is the trailer and click here for tickets.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

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The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

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EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID2019-05-15T14:22:05+01:00

THE STORYTELLER’S STORY

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STORYTELLER’S STORY

Unless you have been living without electricity for some time, you will have been aware that “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien was made into a hugely successful cinematic trilogy by director Peter Jackson. You have probably seen at least one of the films, after all, they have generated revenue of nearly $1bn for each film, a tenfold return on the production budget.

Having since also turned “The Hobbit” into an equally successful trilogy, many have been fascinated with the story of the author and his unusual surname. This has resulted in a new film starring Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien which opened at the weekend.

Most people know that Tolkien was a professor at Oxford, as with most successful works, his was based upon his own experiences in the trenches of France, his upbringing with included a deep faith. The new film largely ignores his faith, preferring the bleakness of industrial Birmingham, where he was an orphan, which is where I pick up my financial planning hat.

Tolkien - SOLOMONS IFA Blog

Journey to the heart of England

Tolkien was born in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa to English parents, his father Arthur was a banker. Whilst on a visit home to England in 1896 (aged 4)with his mother Mable and younger brother Hilary (2), the Tolkien’s learned of Arthur’s death. This left them without any income of their own. Mable initially received some financial support from her family when she initially moved back to her parental home, before relocating to Sarehole. However the financial support from her Baptist parents ceased when she converted to Catholicism in 1900. His mother died, from what today is thought to have been diabetes, aged just 34. This left Tolkien and his brother orphaned and in the care of a catholic priest, aged 12.

The 1800s saw the birth of many life assurance companies and had suitable cover been arranged by either parent, Tolkien’s story may well have been rather different. It would have been unlikely that he would meet fellow orphan and future wife Edith Bratt, who he married when 24 in March 1916 shortly before being posted to France for duty in WWI in July that year. It isn’t possible to say whether his stories would have been the same without marriage to Edith or indeed the trench war. His experience of those hellish trenches was ended when he contracted trench fever and was returned to hospital in England in November 1916. His illness left him very weak and unfit for active duty in France, so he wrote.

When the bough breaks

One of life’s lessons that we can all learn from those before us, is to see traumatic events as another opportunity to ensure our affairs are in order. A significant job change, changes to marital status, your residence, your family are all obvious milestones to consider the implications of not being. An opportunity to ensure that your family, children, business are not left in financial ruin as a result of your “not being”. This is another opportunity for you to consider the impact of not being present on a permanent basis for yours. What is the impact? Time for a proper discussion about financial protection? Don’t leave this page without answering this one question… how much is your life “worth”?

I wonder what Tolkien would have thought of the billions that have been generated from his stories, yet he grew up in such poverty. The numbers themselves must seem somewhat fantastical to one of the greatest English fantasy writers.

The new film lacks the endorsement of his descendants, possibly due to the way a film narrative merely borrows from stories rather than documenting them. Perhaps because of the lack of any significant observation of his faith, which was clearly so important to him (so much so that Edith converted to Catholicism). In any event, the film is simply a story, quiet a good one, albeit a little slow. There are strong performances to be enjoyed. Here is the trailer for the movie.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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THE STORYTELLER’S STORY2019-05-07T18:38:05+01:00

IDENTITY CRISIS

TODAY’S BLOG

IDENTITY CRISIS

Confession time, I really enjoy Ben Elton’s books. His latest publication “Identity Crisis” is both hilarious and gripping. As is often the case, he wraps some serious uncomfortable truths about the world we live in, our own hypocrisy, in a blanket of comedy. He is the equivalent of Lear’s Fool, offering deeply pertinent wise observations that make you laugh.

The novel is frankly a must read for anyone with a social media account of any description. That’s you. It is set in the very near future, Britain undergoing an identity crisis and having yet another referendum, this time about the separation of England from the UK. The motivations are unclear, except for a backlash against “latte drinking liberal London lefties” and the struggle to adjust to new realities of virtual realities, multiple and changing identities. Throw in some gender politics, a dash of religious discrimination, a pinch of disenfranchisement wrapped in the ribbons and bows of a “proud heritage” and he creates a mix that leaves Politicians running for the comfort of soundbites.

Money, Sex and Power

This of course has absolutely nothing to do with financial planning. Then again, it has everything to do with financial planning. The way that money, sex and power combine to persuade people to behave in a way that may serve their baser instincts but against what is in their own interests.

Solomons IFA Blog Identity Crisis - Ben Elton

Incoming SPAM

I am sure that if you have an email account (you must do). At some point you have had various emails that have somehow bypassed your spam filters. These may offer the promise of lucrative rewards for assisting moving money around, perhaps offer a money-making scheme or threaten to expose you for something you have done, might have done, or never have done but the fishing trip alone is enough to make you wonder. We have all heard of cyber bullying and generally assume this is something that happens to children at school, where bullies now have constant access to their prey via social (unsocial) media. Yet we all know that those three pillars of money, sex and power are more vulnerable amongst the adult population, those that possess a modicum of one or more.

You may well find yourself confounded by the changing social attitudes to gender and its new fluidity, but everyone of us has an identity that we do not wish to see trashed by the prospect of blackmail, however baseless and fake. You are in my electronic address book and I in yours. So I wonder whether you have considered what a financial planner, (or any of your professional advisers) but particularly a planner that knows all about you and your money, might compromise if placed under the duress of blackmail. Not given it much thought? No neither had I until I wondered how someone that had actually done some of the things suggested in an email might have responded differently to the threat of “exposure” in exchange of payments of Bitcoins. I simply hit delete, but I did wonder how some would respond.

Hashtag Keep It Real

We all want those that we trust to be “decent” people, we know that we are all flawed. None of us wish to expose our own. Everyone has their thing. Please know that I am not remotely interested in yours and assume the same. It is this that any blackmailer preys upon – the delusion that your private life is of any significant interest. Those possessing a grasp on reality and a healthy amount of self-awareness recognise a world in which we are all flawed. Rather than face our own failings, we live in times that crowds now gather virtually around the corpse du jour, perhaps joining the mellay. Occasionally making a Game of Thrones battle look like a Sunday picnic.

So, haven given it some thought (it is a work in progress) I would encourage everyone, you and me to ignore blackmail. We are what we are, a blackmailer only wins when we pretend to be otherwise. Accept that we have a flawed identity, own the truth.

Here is Ben Elton talking about his book.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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IDENTITY CRISIS2019-05-01T11:26:18+01:00

THE TAX YEAR

TODAY’S BLOG

THE TAX YEAR

The new Tax Year is now well under way. Those of you that are employed will be receiving your first payslip of the new tax year and will also shortly have a P60. For those that are self-employed, many will now be starting to collate information for the tax year that has now ended, ready for submission of your self assessment accounts to HMRC.

I’m often, ok, sometimes… asked why does that tax year begin on 6th April rather than 1st January. This is a good example of “recency bias” in assuming that things have always been as they are now. In practice it wasn’t until 1751 that England adopted 1st January as the opening day of the new year. The Scottish were considerably ahead adopting 1st January from about 1600. It would not surprise most Scottish that they have been out-partying the English on new years eve.

Why? well as is often the case, our calendar and practices stem from religious beliefs and events. England, being Protestant didn’t adopt the Gregorian calendar when it was introduced in 1582 by the Pope. You may recall that the 16th century had somewhat sanguine relationships with Rome and the Catholic Church, so following the lead from Vatican City about when to set the date wasn’t likely to hold a great sense of importance. The Scottish naturally took a rather different approach.

A New Dawn

The Solstice or Spring Equinox really marks the new year, which in England dates back as far as Stonehenge, which I am told is about 2500BC and recent DNA discoveries suggest that those that built Stonehenge were from Anatolia (modern Turkey). March 25th was the equivalent of January 1st.  As Christianity spread and Easter took the place of Spring Equinox, the minor problems of the calendar drift began to materialise over centuries. By 1584 the then Pope Gregory decreed the changes required, making the adjustments. It wasn’t until the Calendar Act in 1750 that the calendar correction was applied to England (and the Empire) in 1751.

In Time with Europe

The English calendar needed to add 11 days to catch up with the Gregorian Calendar. So September 2nd was followed by September 14th. This made for a short year (25 March to 31 December) and tax collectors basically didnt like it, so simply shifed 25 March by adding 11 days and allowing for the Leap Year of 1800, so the new tax year began on 6th April. Not even time can truly bend the two great certainties of life… death and taxes.

Here is a short video we made about this.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

Our free powerful new Finance & Tax app.
To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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THE TAX YEAR2019-04-29T18:07:11+01:00