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THE WIFE

The Wife

A wife is many things.  Perhaps nothing quite demonstrates religious, political or cultural difference as how a wife is defined. How she is enabled or not. This new film starring the wonderful Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce is a timely piece for gender politics. In many respects the film treads the line of the traditional, supportive American wife. She has given up a career, her dreams have become his and she has watched and supported him to thrive.

Set in the early 1990s, we are introduced to Joan and Joe Castleman. Joe is woken by the ringing bedside telephone (remember those?) and informed that he is to be the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It seems that the call is expected, Joe does not wish to hear the news until Joan is also able to hear the confirmation at the same time on the other handset. This is the pinnacle of his career and reward for his vast body of work. Naturally, celebration and a trip to Stockholm follow with struggling, moody writer son in tow.

A Great Woman

We have all heard the phrase “behind every great man, there is a great woman”. This film explores that concept with dark humour. Joe is gradually revealed as a womanising narcissist who trots out the same well-worn and apparently successful pick-up lines. He has a penchant for younger women and despite his evident infidelity is constantly permitted to return to his devoted Joan. This always confounds me.

Through a series of flashbacks to earlier days, we witness the start of Joe and Joan’s relationship. Joe is Joan’s English tutor at University. She develops a crush, does some babysitting for Joe and his first wife which results in a novel “The Faculty Wife” which Joe is clearly pleased with. His teaching is inspirational. However, politics of the day pose a difficult, if not impossible path for female authors. Joan is discouraged from even trying to write by author Elaine Mozell (Elizabeth McGovern)

On the plane (Concorde) to Stockholm, writer Nathaniel Bone (Christian Slater) congratulates Joe on his award and presses him for a meeting to discuss the biography that Bone plans to write about him. Joe is irritated by the interruption and makes it clear that he has no interest in a biography. Joan warns him not to be chiding and to take a more diplomatic approach. Making enemies with a writer is unwise. This signifies the moment that Joan begins to reflect on the choices she has made and their impact on her family.

I shall not spoil the story for you.

Hidden Numbers?

I have met hundreds, perhaps thousands of couples in a professional capacity. All are different. Some keep their finances very separate, some very fused and some rather dissolved. It is common for one party to “do the finances” often the husband. I am not suggesting that this is wrong. It does pose a challenge when the relationship changes though either of the two D’s – death or divorce.

The Book of Truth

One book that does not lie is a chequebook (remember those?). This provides an account, warts and all – how we all use our money. There is no hiding. Sometimes the reading is depressing, sometimes encouraging. It certainly tells a story. The Wife is a pretty good story too, here is the trailer.

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

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THE WIFE2018-10-05T11:13:48+00:00

CONFERENCE TIME

Conference Time

I was on conference in Birmingham this week… no not for the Conservative party.  A much more trustworthy bunch – “my institute” – the CISI or Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. I have been attending this for a number of years now and always manage to find several useful and practical things that I can do to improve how we help clients, be that improved technical skills, evolving technology or “simply” better practice management.

This year I was particularly struck by some of the issues raised by Dr Moira Somers, a clinical neuropsychologist from Canada. In essence she helped explain why all of us are guilty of not doing things that are good for us. In this context why, clients do not do some of the things that we advise or require them to do so that we can help them better. Things in their interests but simply get put off again and again.

That Thing You Don’t Do…

Two things that readily came to my mind. Getting clients to draw up their Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney. Admittedly this is a fairly morbid subject. The professional advice and implementation costs are not insignificant. The importance of having these in place can never be overstated by anyone that has experienced not having them when required. Like everyone else, there are things in my life that I don’t get around to. We might call this self-defeating behaviour. Hopefully I now have some thoughts about new strategies I might employ to encourage “adherence” … but I guess time will tell if these are effective.

No Will, No Way

Dr Somers explained that In Canada, 70% of people do not have a Will (audience audible drawing of breath). Here in the UK I have little reason to believe that it is much better. After a quick bit of research, it would seem that in London 59% of adults do not have a Will. This is not as bad as Glasgow where the rate rises to 70%.  As the life expectancy in Glasgow is far lower than it is in London, I would encourage Glaswegians to accept the challenge to beat London in this statistic alone.

Not Enough For A Boiler Room Scam

Basic money skills – such as budgeting and saving are at very poor levels in the UK. One statistic mentioned was put in stark terms. Most people in Britain do not have enough cash in their bank to replace their boiler, should it fail this winter. They would have to borrow and go into debt. The UK is not unique in this regard. Our clients are of course people who do save or have done so and are better at acting for their benefit (and that of their family). However, most of us could probably improve our handling of money, so that it is not wasted or simply frittered away. Every good financial plan starts with the end in mind, but also the reality of today, how money is spent and used now. The cost of lifestyle is vital to understand when attempting to maintain and protect it.

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

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CONFERENCE TIME2018-10-05T11:13:54+00:00

ANNUAL ALLOWANCE EXCESS

The Annual Allowance Charge

Arguably the most dreadful bit of recent pension changes is the annual allowance charge. This arises for anyone that contributes more than the annual allowance towards pensions during a tax year. To most people £40,000 a year into pensions is a lot of money so on the surface this is nothing short of yet another raid on higher-earners.

The annual allowance is really £40,000 or 100% of your earned income, whichever is lower. However, if your income is over £150,000 then the allowance reduces gradually down to £10,000 for anyone earning £210,000 or more, this is termed the Tapered Annual Allowance. Just for some context anyone earning over £150,000 has lost their personal allowance (income before any tax is paid) and pays a tax rate of 45% on income above £150,000.

Excessive Tax? Not Enough Voters

You can exceed the annual allowance in various ways – the amount for those investing money to build a pension is straight-forward. If you and your employer pay more than your annual allowance into pensions, you suffer an income tax charge on the excess at 45%. Easy, maybe not fair, but easy.

However, if you are a member of a good old-fashioned final salary (defined benefit) pension, well it’s a little more complex. The annual allowance is not calculated based upon how much you paid into a scheme, but on how much your pension improved by. So if you had a pay rise… this makes life more complex. If your pension increased by more than £2,500 a year (which admittedly is a very good pension for another year of employment) then you are likely to exceed the annual allowance of £40,000. If you have the minimum annual allowance as a high earner, then your pension only needs to improve by probably £527 – £625 a year.

£561m Extra Tax

This all became the new norm from the 2015/16 tax year. HMRC collected £179m in extra tax revenue as a result. However, this has now jumped massively as the reality sinks home for many high earners, rising to £561m for 2016/17.

Some people can get their employer pension scheme to pay the “fine” (tax) most cannot. In 2016/17 only 2,340 people achieved this which accounted for £44m (8%) of the tax however the clear majority had to pay up themselves – all 16,590 of those that realised!

I might call this a disincentive to save for your retirement, or daylight robbery…. Take your pick, but fair and sensible is most certainly is not.

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

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ANNUAL ALLOWANCE EXCESS2018-10-02T16:42:39+00:00

INHERITANCE TAX UPDATE

Inheritance Tax Update

Inheritance tax has sometimes been described as a voluntary tax. This may ruffle your feathers a little, but is of course true in principle. That is to say that you can plan for inheritance tax. You do so by arranging your affairs in such a way that you either pay minimal tax, none or ensure that you have resources aside to make no significant difference. Despite this between April 2018 and the end of the summer (August 2018) a whopping £2.357bn was paid to the Treasury in the form of inheritance tax. This is almost as much as was collected in the whole of 2010-11.

The Office of Tax Simplification has completed (8 June) a survey of the review of inheritance tax. This is currently being contemplated. The last Chancellor introduced a more complicated way to increase the inheritance tax allowance. What appeared reasonably generous, was actually conditional.  The extra benefit, under certain condition could be lost. Those that remember “Yes Minister” might smile at the notion of the OTS asking how to do their job. That is to say, the Office of Tax Simplifcation, asking “how do we simplify IHT?”. For starters, do what you are meant to do and make it simple. The debate about whether IHT is “moral” or “political” is probably a secondary issue to it being at least “simple” which currently… it is not.

Asking the Questions…

The survey poses more questions, which largely seem to be concerned with record keeping rather than adjusting the rate or rules. However as only around 5% of estates pay IHT, perhaps the issue is one that most people are not as bothered by as the news outlets suggest. However, the survey makes an interesting read, highlighting all the current “issues”. See the survey here.

You may have noticed that I wrote a series of pieces on inheritance tax, three years ago how gifts are recorded and the forms that you could even download and prepare for your beneficiaries. You can find these here.

What if you had died yesterday?

Where are you originally from?

Marriage is not an IHT exemption

How does HMRC know about gifts?

As safe as houses

Paying inheritance tax when someone dies is not always straight-forward. The term “estate” is perhaps misused, it should really mean “death” and when one person in a marriage dies, there is no inheritance tax by default.

The amount of IHT collected continues to rise each year. Consider each of these tax years.

2010-11 £2,724m

2011-12 £2,917m

2012-13 £3,147m

2013-14 £3,417m

2014-15 £3,825m

2015-16 £4,673m

2016-17 £4,840m

2017-18 £5,228m

Folks, it doesn’t have to be this way… you have the power to plan for the certainty of death

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

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INHERITANCE TAX UPDATE2018-09-25T11:10:46+00:00

KING OF THIEVES

King of Thieves

The movie world is full of theft and deception at the moment, perhaps this is symptomatic of the current state of global politics. This movie, The King of Thieves is yet another film about a real event. This time the Hatton Garden robbery during Easter 2015. You may recall the news items that showed clips of some rather concerned customers who feared and claimed to have lost millions in a robbery that was committed over the Easter weekend, when everyone was on holiday. The initial view was that the crime was perpetrated by a well-organised international gang of jewel thieves. In practice, it was some experience burglars, who were some significant way into their “retirement” and even went to the scene using their own pensioner bus pass.

The casting for the film has been done very thoughtfully. We all know the actors and probably have a fond or favourable attitude towards them, yet these are essentially villains that would do some serious harm to anyone in their way, each other and would not spare much mercy. Old does not mean nice or kind. It just means old.

Solomons Independent financial advisers london

Lack of Purpose

The sadness about this story is that there is a palpable sense that these men knew little else and believed that it was their purpose, to be thieves gave them meaning and significance. It certainly gave them a tribe. There is a sequence when they are all recalling how they got into crime – invariably it was stealing food, which of course is indicative of their outlook and circumstances. Perhaps had this not been so, their lives may have been rather different.

Keep up with Technology

The film follows the frankly unbelievable ease with which the robbery was performed. Yet despite being a movie, this is the reality. Security systems at Hatton Gardens were woefully out of date much like the criminals who really failed to appreciate the power of CCTV, mobile phones and a Police Force that knows its stuff. Their open dialogue in public settings may be simply an overconfidence or a lapse of concentration, but surely desperately foolish.

Honour among Thieves

The bickering, infighting and back-stabbing implied that honour amongst thieves is probably a very exaggerated claim. They all steal from each other and it is only when caught that they come together again to present some basic form of a united front. Who you select to work with is perhaps a key lesson, as indeed is having a well thought plan, that allows for interruption and frustration.

Given that the men pleaded guilty, but most of the money has never been recovered, the accuracy of the character portrayals is naturally questionable, perhaps for dramatic reasons, perhaps because the truth, when it comes to criminals, is as slippery as “Billy the Fish” the hapless fence, Billy Lincoln played by Michael Gambon. It would seem that only Brian Reader (Michael Caine) understood the value of diamonds and knew a gem from junk. Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent) supposedly a great wing-man to Reader was little more than a bully (if the portrayal is fair) and Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse) would seem to be an unwilling participant at worst. Danny Jones (Ray Winstone) was the sharpest operator, but seemed innumerate and failed to count the money and Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay) seemed to spin a story to suit the listener.

Fair Cop

The Police did a pretty impressive job, arresting Reader within 5 weeks of the crime. Before a year had passed the team was convicted and imprisoned. Crime does not pay… well perhaps it does, hardly any of the claimed £200m has been recovered, but as Reader warned, many of the deposits were held by other criminals. The truth may never be known. As for your investments and savings, who you trust and where you place your money is vital to understand. There are still many cases of financial fraud and theft. Would that it were not so.

Here is the trailer…

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

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KING OF THIEVES2018-09-24T17:17:38+00:00

LUCKY

Lucky

The last film starring Harry Dean Stanton is now on general release. This is the story of Lucky, (Harry Dean Stanton) a man who has survived everything. His quaint daily routines in small-town USA may help to explain his longevity but never explain his story. We see an elderly man living his daily rituals,  a wash, morning yoga, cigarette, coffee, walk to the corner shop to buy cigarettes followed by stopping at the local café for the never-ending supply of coffee and time to sit to solve crosswords. Home to unwind and watch some day-time TV quiz shows, a call to a friend to exchange word for the day, followed by an evening visit to the local bar for a Bloody Mary… or two. Repeat. His demeanour often grumpy, somewhat cantankerous, he delivers pithy quips to those around him. At first he appears not to care much about for them, but of course this isn’t really the case.

There’s a difference between lonely and being alone

One day he falls at home, prompting a comical trip to his GP, (Ed Begley Jr) who is confounded at how Lucky is still alive, given his packet-a-day smoking habit. He is lucky.  The episode prompts him to reflect more deeply on the meaning of his life and we see how his community responds to him, who are clearly able to see beyond the somewhat grouchy persona on display. Equally Lucky seems able to retain a lightness about himself, that accepts others and seems to find a level of intimacy with them that is both charming and real.

Plan your end

Lucky has a feisty, blunt exchange with Bobby Lawrence, (Ron Livingston) to be honest I cannot remember if he was an insurance salesman or a lawyer, but either way he is attempting to ensure Howard (David Lynch) organises his financial affairs. There is certainly a suspicion that Bobby does not play a straight-hand as Howard now seems to have nobody except his tortoise, Roosevelt, which invokes some mirth and some wonderful metaphors.

Lucky: He’s gone, Howard, and you’re all alone. We come in alone, and we go out alone.

Bobby: That’s awfully bleak.

Lucky: It’s beautiful. “Alone” comes from two words, all-one. It’s in the dictionary.

What do you do with that?

There are some fabulous lines about mortality, but essentially the film is about how Lucky comes to a sense of acceptance, albeit with anxiety, about his end. This is served up in recalled memories of the worst day of his life, a traumatic WW2 memory shared by a fellow vet Fred (Tom Skerritt) who met courage in a 7 year-old girl, “the sort that they don’t have medals for”… and a heart-warming scene for a 10 year-old Juan’s Mexican family birthday party.

You smile

Lucky he is indeed, for those on whom he made an impact and those that impressed friendship, or at the very least, a sense of connection upon him. In the final sequence, Lucky exits stage left after a knowing and rather wry wink to camera.

There is something in the movie that resonates with my sense of unvarnished truth. Lucky has his and delivers it without request or warning. I hope that I do not do the same, but fear those that know me best would probably recognise it. Then again, I’m also like Bobby Lawrence trying to guide people to plan sensibly for their end… though I hope without the inferences of being a beneficiary of the Will! As ever, many will have a very different reaction to this film, not much happens over 88 minutes, then again everything happens in 88 minutes.

Here is the trailer.

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

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LUCKY2018-09-24T17:18:02+00:00

AMERICAN ANIMALS

American Animals

The trailer to this movie gave me the impression that it was a fairly typical heist story, but with children dressed as old men. In reality this is a really rather wonderful story, but unfortunately displays the insight lacking from many of those involved.

The opening credits quickly open your eyes to the very real encounter that you are about to witness, followed by the introduction of the characters concerned. This is indeed a true story of four young University students who yearn for something more than the mediocrity of their circumstances. We are introduced to various people, who all fail to see beyond the external world that these young men offered and projected. Parents left wondering rather desperately why their sons could ever make such decisions. This is Ferris Bueller on speed.

This is the perfect conversation starter for those that do not sit well with the suggestion that everyone is special and cuts deep into the delusion of the American Dream. A slumber from which many may never wake and one whose end is denoted by a President signalling its end yet rather ironically perpetuating the delusion that its failure can somehow be resurrected, having to make America Great Again. The problem with any dream is that at some point you have to wake up and face reality. I’m not against dreaming – quite the opposite in fact, we need to dream, but we also need to plan and act, not simply wish. If you have children that are about to head off to University, spare a thought for this collection of A-graders. Young men who have “made it” to the promised land of a good University, doing a good course that provides good prospects.

A Small Nagging Thought…

Whilst on the campus library tour, art student Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) is taken with a rare book of 435 paintings “Birds of America” by John James Audubon. The fact that it is both beautiful and valuable, yet displayed so humbly in the library provides a nagging thought and an opportunity.

He relays his discovery to his friend, athlete Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) who is certainly one of those friends that never has “parental permission” which is perhaps precisely why Reinhard befriends him. Lipka becomes fascinated with the idea of stealing the book, being that it is so valuable and so minimally guarded. All that stands in their way is a good plan, a librarian and a single locked door.

To Feel Truly Alive

At one point in the film Warren Lipka says “You’re taught your entire life that what you do matters and that you’re special. And that, there are things you can point towards that would… which’ll show that you’re special, that show you’re different, when, in all reality, those things… don’t matter. And you’re not special.” This was his opportunity to “live”, not to get rich quick, but to feel the adrenaline of being alive in a world that to that point had been scheduled point, by point, event by event, stage by stage.

Their plan continues to meet no insurmountable obstacle, so whilst expecting it to be derailed by something that they simply could not overcome, they creep ever closer to the realisation that a well-designed and executed plan reaches its stated goal. Their inevitable downfall was only due to a lack of detail in their plan, not that it was a bad one. This is of course (finally!) my moment to mention that a financial plan is best crafted by someone that understands the requirements, the detail and can help you to verbalise and clarify your goal, one that is hopefully based upon your values, not simply acquired value. The “Why?” of your plan is just as important as the plan itself.

What if?…

There is little doubt that for Reinhard, Lipka, Borsuk and Allen, this experience was probably one of the most heightened and significant of their lives. It is what they will be remembered for by those that do not know them. It may even be only how they remember each other. What is certain, is their remorse, but had they actually had a better plan, perhaps things would have been rather different. Obviously, I am not condoning theft, merely that a plan for the life you want may taste bitter unless you check the detail and implement it as outlined. How is your “What If?”

Here is the trailer for the film which is on general release from 7 September 2018.

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

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AMERICAN ANIMALS2018-09-24T17:18:14+00:00

DOCTOR, DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH

TODAY’S BLOG

DOCTOR DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH

You may have come across my details in a piece in The Telegraph on Monday 10 September 2018 by financial journalist Laura Miller. Laura outlines a problem that is being observed in hospitals around the UK, in that some doctors are in the ludicrous position of effectively being forced to reduce their available hours due to the additional taxes that they will suffer for additional income. This has the inevitable potential to create longer waiting lists.

Before we go any further, let me say that Laura asked me to check some sums from a Consultant doctor who was making the point about the annual allowance excess taxes. I have made no secret of the fact that I believe the tapered annual allowance is an utterly stupid Government policy. It isn’t the first and of course will not be the last.

THIS IS GOING TO HURT

My only concern is that some may interpret the information as “greedy doctors worry about tax and so work less”. So I wish to make one point crystal clear. I have advised medics for over 25 years. I have met hundreds of them. I have never, NEVER, not even once met one that was motivated by money as a career choice. The early career of a junior doctor is particularly traumatic and frankly the NHS and Department of Health should be ashamed of the working pressures and timetables that they put them under. If you need any convincing, simply have a look at Adam Kay’s Book – “This is Going To Hurt”. Yet the system continues, because it is always under strain and there are not enough doctors to do the work within “normal” working hours or shifts.

DOCTORS EARNINGS

It is true that some doctors can earn very good incomes. The £10,000 annual allowance only applies to those with income over £210,000 – which is a lot of money by most standards. However, these are people that are highly skilled and at the top of their profession, have given way more than their pound of flesh and are constantly scrutinised for errors and lambasted by politicians and media whenever it suits. For the record, this is not Laura’s intent.

The rather ludicrous rules also impact any doctor whose pension income improves by more than £2,106 in a year. This too would push them over the standard annual allowance and potentially suffer excess tax charges. The tax charge is treated effectively as income tax at the highest rate, despite the fact that the pension has not actually been paid to them, conceivably might never be paid to them if they were to die before retirement. In essence a tax on future, yet to be received income. This sort of rise in pension benefit could come from something as innocuous as moving up the grades, or perhaps for impressive work in the form of Clinical Excellence Awards – or even returning to a full-time post.

HEARING PROBLEM

This is all to do with the way in which the Annual Allowance is calculated for those in final salary schemes. I wrote to the previous Chancellor, twice, without reply on this subject when he presided over the introduced rules. Perhaps Laura will have more success.

Suffice to say this is a complex piece of pension planning, a headache that neither the doctor, nor the NHS really should have to waste time on. Yet my advice is to all doctors is to request a Pension Annual Savings Statement as well as their Total Rewards Statement and ensure all payslips are carefully retained – as well as information about any and every form of income they receive from all possible sources. This is more unpaid work, increased stress and bureaucracy to satisfy some utterly numpty thinking at HM Treasury…. Nothing new in that though is there.

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

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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.

DOCTOR, DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH2018-10-10T16:44:32+00:00

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Crazy Rich Asians

I have to admit to being a little uncertain about the title of this film in 2018 and frankly the film itself did little to convince me that it didn’t fit. Yes this is a story about rich Asians, but not what I would describe a crazy. For certain, there are many examples of a dysfunctional family, but no more than most families.

The film has taken the US “by storm” with box office receipts there already more than $120m. This is a love story, a “rom-com” though the jokes were not exactly coming thick and fast. The point of difference is that this is an Asian cast making a film about “normal” Asians that do not fall into the typical stereotypes that we have become accustomed to seeing in the West. At the BFI preview last week, the international cast were very keen to make the point that for them, this was a significant film about their identity, shown in a positive light. Representation within a mass market is something that male white westerners like me will never really fully appreciate because “we” make up the vast majority of the market. I am not going to disagree. However, stereotypes in film are shorthand to make a story move along.

Been Here Before?

I enjoyed the film for its entertainment but cannot in all honesty say that it is particularly good or revolutionary (other than representation). The plot is that of most basic fairy tales with the “rags to riches” heroine confronted by those that wish to preserve and prevent her access to a “higher social class” typically taking the form of the wicked step-mother, here it is simply mother (Michelle Yeoh) and grandmother (Ah Ma). Hardly revolutionary! The males are essentially invisible, due to workaholic lifestyles that keep them away from their families, those that are not already dispatched to British Boarding Schools. Yet this, we are supposed to believe is what Nick Young (Henry Golding) is conflicted by, his love for his Cinderella, Rachel Chu (a US University economics professor) or running the Young family empire in Singapore. Rachel (Constance Wu) is oblivious to the Young family fortune, arriving in Singapore to meet Nick’s mother, more concerned about the US and Singapore cultural differences than any financial ones. Thus, dramatic tension is formed… and the feeling that you have seen this before.

The story unfolds as the couple arrive in Singapore to attend the wedding of Nick’s best friend (hereto unmentioned) Colin and his fiancée Araminta. Through the nuptial preparations Rachel faces backstabbing, envy and malice primarily from those that believe that she has usurped them on their own gold-digging quests. Like the proverbial fish out of water, she seems to forget all the skills that make her a professor of economics at a New York University….

Show Me The Money

I had wondered where issues about money might arise. Perhaps we would learn some deep secret about family, tradition or cultural wisdom that would offer a pithy alternative to the excessive consumerism. Sadly, there was little evidence that Asians are any better at handling wealth than anyone else, no great pearls of wisdom, no Eastern enchantment or sophisticated puzzle to solve.

There are small nods to a sense of inadequacy for the have-nots and a very minor sense of embarrassment for the “haves” the examples provided are forms of excessive spending. Everything is big and done to impress for the Instagram world – no different from anywhere else. Nothing unique at all. There are some tacky and tasteless homes, but no different from that chap that has a Tower. The excessive parties are simply that, self-indulgent and really rather daft. I don’t think I’d call it “crazy” I’d probably describe it as thought-less. That said, this is aimed at Americans, where any word is used to mean “very”. Very Rich Asians would be a more appropriate title, though in fairness, “Some Very Rich People in Singapore” doesn’t have the same marketing slickness to it.

Here is the trailer, the film is on general release from 14 September 2018.

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

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CRAZY RICH ASIANS2018-09-25T09:49:53+00:00

THREE DECADES OF RETIREMENT

Three Decades of Retirement

Three decades of retirement is the prospect that many people face if you believe that longevity is improving in general. That’s three decades to live off your investments, pensions and savings combined with any other forms of income from your State Pension and perhaps an employer’s final salary (defined benefit) pension which typically begin payments at 60, 65 or 67.

Three decades is a long time, with a lot of living to be done. To put this into perspective, it is now 2018, 30 years ago was 1988, which frankly does not seem that long ago does it? You remember 1988. It was the year the SDP merged with the Liberals, Margaret Thatcher became the longest serving PM and Comic Relief was launched. Nurses went on strike over pay. Red Nose Day raised £15m within a month the £1 note became obsolete and the Chancellor of the day Nigel Lawson cut the basic rate of tax to just 25%.

If you are into your sport, well Liverpool were beaten in the FA Cup final by Wimbledon. Graeme Hick scored a record 405 runs in a county match. Sandy Lyle won the US Masters. “Gaza” became the first £2m footballer moving from Newcastle to Spurs. The Seoul Olympics saw Team GB win 5 gold medals (hockey, swimming, rowing, shooting and sailing).

Released in 1987, Faith was the top selling album of 1988.

Another year, just like any other…

As with every year, it had its share of horror and disaster, Piper Alpha, Pan Am 103 exploding over Lockerbie, killing 207 people and a train crash at Clapham Junction killed 35 people. Edwina Currie managed to create an egg crisis. British films released included “Buster”, “A Fish Called Wanda” and “A Handful of Dust”. Michael Douglas won best actor for his role in “Wall Street” ad “The Last Emperor” picked up a stack of awards. Kylie Minogue started her pop career with “I Should Be So Lucky” (she was) and life was “Perfect” for Fairground Attraction. I was one of 80,000 at Wembley for the “Free Nelson Mandela Concert” and his 70th birthday. He was still imprisoned (not released until 1990).

Then and Now

If you are over the age of 40 this may jog a few memories of 30 years ago. The UK population was   about 56m today its about 66.5m. There were about 55,000 first-time graduates, now the number is around 414,000. The Bank of England’s base rate began 1988 at 8.37% but ended at 12.87% (yesterday the Bank increased the rate from 0.50% to 0.75% and some got worried). The FTSE100 closed the year at 1,793 yesterday it closed at 7,575 and that excludes all income from dividends over 30 years. A 10-year UK Government Bond paid about 9.79% in 1988, today around 1.23%. In short equities have gone up, Bonds have gone down. £100 in 1988 would need to be £260.44 in 2018 simply to be “worth” the same because of inflation. That’s an average rate of about 3.24%, in short, the value of your pound has more than halved.

Multiple Choices, Make them Count

This is history, a version of it. If you are now in your mid 40s or older, this is time spent. Who knows how long any of us have left but making the most of life and getting our money to last, whatever it brings is the prospect that you face. We work with clients taking a long-term perspective of life and money. We regularly review progress and make adjustments to ensure that your financial planning remains on course. Change is the constant that we all live with, but many investment principles are timeless, knowing what to adjust is probably more important than knowing you need to.

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

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THREE DECADES OF RETIREMENT2018-09-25T09:58:19+00:00