22nd Aug, 2017

Not So Keystone Cops

2017-08-22T11:56:17+00:00

Not so Keystone Cops

The danger of watching videos on social media or indeed many films or TV shows is that you can easily form the impression that the Police are fumbling in the dark without much of a clue. Whilst errors or judgement and malpractice are often correctly brought to light, it is rather foolish to assume that this is indicative of the majority.

It would appear that Abid Hussain was under the illusion that the Police were simply not up to the task of catching him for the crimes he committed – namely money laundering and fraud (at the least). Mr Hussain contacted the police in May 2016 claiming that a property that he owned in Acton had been sold without his knowledge or permission for £480,000. The case quickly landed on the desk of officers from the Complex Fraud Squad (FALCON).

The Backfire

The Police soon established the truth, that in fact Mr Hussain had sold the property through a legitimate, albeit complex process.  Perhaps hoping to create a web of intrigue, Mr Hussain then told the Police that he had received £770,000 into a bank account, which bore his name, but of which he had no knowledge. However, this was money from a re-mortgage on another property that he owned – that he had initiated (which he had denied in an attempt to further deceive the lender). CCTV evidence of Mr Hussain meeting a solicitor to sign the paperwork was used to disprove his version of events.

Money Bags

It also transpired that CCTV was also used to confirm that he used some of the money that he took from the sale and mortgage to buy a reasonably heavy 15kg of gold bullion, (20kg is the typical airline hold baggage allowance) which it is alleged he took with him to Pakistan shortly thereafter. Having been arrested in the summer of 2016 he was found guilty and finally sentenced on Friday to 5 years and 9 months in prison. The investigation into what happened to the gold bullion continues.

In essence, Mr Hussain has provided a false witness statement to the Police (who presumably he believed to be inept) and then reported transactions as fraudulent (when they weren’t) in order to make them void and leave the property company and lender at a loss. Long story short – he blew the whistle on himself, assuming that the UK police were more Keystone Cops than Sherlock Holmes. So congratulations to DC Richard Kirk who led the investigation of the £1.25m fraud… probably rather elementary.

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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Not So Keystone Cops 2017-08-22T11:56:17+00:00
16th Aug, 2017

Another Concerning Survey

2017-08-16T10:40:54+00:00

Another Concerning Survey

If you have followed me for any reasonable time, you will have gathered that I am fairly suspicious about surveys and opinion polls, primarily due to the very small sample sizes and the eagerness to extrapolate data from, well, frankly not very much.

That said, yet another survey has revealed more of the problems that, if correct, are concerning for the country. Paymentsense (a card payment service) clearly have an insight into how people spend money. They surveyed 1000 people last month (July 2017) of all ages, whether this is a truly representative sample… well, it won’t be. However, the findings are certainly of concern.

30% of UK Have No Savings

Firstly 30% have no savings at all for a “rainy day”. Of those that had savings 21% used them for a holiday and only 17% put savings towards their retirement. Here is where I also have an issue with the line of questioning (which is unclear from what I have seen) but this could have been interpreted as using cash deposits to add to a pension (into which they may already be saving). Some people may of course be already retired and have no purpose in “saving for retirement”. In any event, a pension would be what springs to mind when asked about saving for retirement, but of course there are a huge number of ways to invest into something which will ultimately provide an income and/or capital.

Nothing in reserve?

However, the headline grabbing figure is really the extrapolation of the data. This leads to the conclusion that some 45.5m people have less than one month’s salary set aside in “savings”. The population is now an estimated 65.6m, which obviously includes children, pensioners and anyone simply unable to work and “earn” income. The current “unemployment” rate is 4.4% (for 16-64 year-olds). In short, a significant economic blip would be likely to cause significant hardship for a lot of people if they lost their income for whatever reason.

Signs of uncertainty shown in house sales

As Government continue with plans to leave the EU and a growing awareness of the likely implications for UK jobs, it would appear logical to be concerned. Hence the property market isn’t exactly booming, but property prices do continue to rise (4.9% over 12 months to June 2017) according to the Land Registry, however the number of sales continues to fall from 98,152 in August 2016 to 69,545 in April 2017. As a matter of note, the lowest number of house sales was in 32,752 in January 2009. The highest was June 2006 with 153,465 (for all the UK). If it is of interest, over the last 20 years, the average property in the UK was £65,092 in August 1997 and now stands at £223,257 (June 2017).

If you like short animated films, then Borrowed Time is a delightful one and a powerful message. Here is the trailer (almost as long as 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

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Another Concerning Survey 2017-08-16T10:40:54+00:00
14th Aug, 2017

Warning to Landlords (and others)

2017-08-14T13:41:17+00:00

Warning to Landlords (and others)

The Government has made it very clear that tax evasion (not paying due taxes) is illegal and will be prosecuted. Whilst we may all have an opinion about the fairness of the law, failing to pay taxes invariably carries with it the real prospect of prison.

Richard Fuller found this to the cost of his liberty. As a landlord with various properties he failed to properly declare and pay the capital gains tax that was due on those he sold between 2006 and 2013. As a result, he evaded £157,725 of capital gains tax. As of last Friday, he has now begun a 27-month prison sentence and of course assets are being taken to pay the correct tax.

Hidden costs but not hidden taxes

Whilst there will always be people that do well from property investments, the reality is that property is not very liquid. There are also many forgotten or hidden costs – such as purchase and sale costs, insurance, lost rent, improvements, accountancy costs and of course tax on the gains.

It is never worth evading tax. It is illegal and anyone doing so will still find plenty of room at her Majesty’s prison service, despite reports of overcrowding. Mr Fuller was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and fraud by false representation by a jury at Winchester Crown Court.

What the Taxman said..

Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Fuller thought he was above the law and decided not to declare or pay the tax due from the sale of some of his property portfolio. It is simply not acceptable to steal from UK taxpayers.

“HMRC will continue to pursue those who attempt to hide their gains on assets, their income, and investigate those who attack the tax system. We ask anyone with information about suspected tax fraud to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Evasion is not Avoidance

In short, don’t mess with HMRC. It is never worth it. Tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance (which is using legitimate arrangements within the tax laws – such as ISAs, pensions etc) is something that the Government encourage to help reduce reliance upon the State and invest in the UK economy.

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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Warning to Landlords (and others) 2017-08-14T13:41:17+00:00
17th Jul, 2017

Talking Money Summer 2017

2017-07-17T15:53:04+00:00

Talking Money Summer 2017

The latest client magazine is now available – we only do the summer magazine as a digital version – we don’t want to overwhlem you with more reading, especially as there are so many opportunities to read some good fiction over the summer! Anyway, if you’d like to have a look, it is found in the resources section of the website under client magazine.. or just click this link.

Hopefully you will have received your personal copy of our Half Year Report 2017 in the post. If not, please let the team here know and we will get a copy over to you. Oh, and thanks for the positive feedback on it and the suggestions.

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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Talking Money Summer 2017 2017-07-17T15:53:04+00:00
13th Jul, 2017

The Value of Financial Advice

2017-07-13T11:32:26+00:00

The Value of Financial Advice

There is a new report by the International Longevity Centre (yes another that nobody has heard of) about the value of financial advice. Long story short, the research asked a wide range of people, over 91,000 households were surveyed (for the record, according to ONS there are about 27.1m households in 2016 of which 7.7m are one-person households). So it’s a far better survey than any of the cosmetic adverts you might see on TV, where number is invariably in the low 3-digits if you can read their faint printed disclosure). So this is a survey that I have a little more confidence in.

The headline is that anyone that took financial advice from someone qualified to provide it, was about £40,000 better off than those that didn’t when they had comparable wealth and socio-economic backgrounds. This was over 2012-2014. In essence, the report concluded that those that were advised were better savers and invested in assets that would or did grow. However only 16% of the general population take advice.

Affluent or Justing Getting By?

There were two key groups – “affluent” and “just getting by”. The affluent group generally had 17% more wealth due to being advised and the “just getting by” advised group had 39% more in liquid wealth and 21% more in pensions.

Ker-ching…Cash Machine

In short, (too late) getting advice will improve your wealth, in the timeframe considered, this was by an average of around £40,000 improvement in the period concerned. Whilst this is obviously helpful news to anyone considering financial advice, frankly I would expect a financial planner to add significantly more value than this (a multiple of £40,000). Some of which is measurable (financially) some is not (peace of mind, freedom from debt, retiring early, knowing your number). In fact if done properly, then a financial planner would expect to improve the value of the estate and retained value (post inheritance taxes). They would ensure a sufficient lifetime income – so that the money does not run out and minimise taxes, maximise reliefs. At Solomons we would also expect to improve investment and protection costs as well.

The Report Concludes

Directly quoting the report:

“Advisers must sell their added value: This report demonstrates the real value add of financial
advice – in terms of greater asset accumulation during working life and increased income in
retirement. Since those who receive advice accumulate more assets and have more retirement
income than those who don’t, this shows that advisers are good value for money. Post RDR,
people now understand what taking advice will initially cost them, but many of those who fail to
take advice are unlikely to know what the potential long term financial rewards are. It is up to the
advice sector to convince them.”

The Value of financial advice, A Research Report from ILC-UK July 2017

Cesira Urzi Brancanti, Ben Franklin and Brian Beach

So… what are you waiting for?

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 Value of Financial Advice 2017-07-13T11:32:26+00:00
4th Jul, 2017

Laptops on Planes…

2017-07-04T10:46:29+00:00

Today’s post is from Richard Hiscox of Onestop Insurance. Whilst technology makes online comparison of most things fairly easy, when it comes to insurance I am a great believer in people with experience, who have real-life experience of claims, which is the only real test of whether your insurance is value for money or not . Richard has been my insurance broker for over 20 years and I am delighted that he has agreed to share some of his thoughts here. Just to be crytal clear, as with all posts within the blog, there is no financial exchange.

Laptops on Planes

You will no doubt have heard about certain flights into the UK and USA banning things like laptops from hand luggage, insisting that they are carried in hold luggage instead. So where do you stand with regards to insurance of these items?

Whilst I cannot speak for all insurers the following will normally be true. You may want to check it out before you travel with your travel providers just to be clear though. Your options are:-

  • Rely on the airline to cover your goods.
  • Trust your travel insurance policy to deliver.
  • Cover items under your home insurance policy.

Airlines usually settle claims for lost or damaged baggage based on the weight of the baggage NOT the true value of the contents. If you rely on this method to be reimbursed you could be seriously out of pocket so this is not the choice we would suggest.

Travel Insurance

Laptops are normally classified as “valuables” and as such under a travel insurance policy therefore afforded quite limited cover, especially when placed in the hold of an aircraft. Normally valuables are not covered within the hold of an aircraft and if lost or damaged would have to be part of a claim against the airline who in turn could limit the amount they pay out as already stated.

Home Insurance

This is normally the best way to insure high value items such as laptops when travelling by aircraft. The items should be covered as “all risks” or “personal possessions” but precise details of this cover need to be checked to ensure any claims will be problem free. Either speak to your insurers or give Richard a call at 1 Stop Insurance.

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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Laptops on Planes… 2017-07-04T10:46:29+00:00
3rd Jul, 2017

Hard Truths

2017-07-03T13:27:58+00:00

Hard truths

As Wimbledon begins, some hard truths will be faced. Some players will not be “on their game”; some will peak too early and some will enjoy good luck whilst others might curse technology, training, lack of sleep or why on earth they did or didn’t do something that may have made all the difference. We will all have our favourites, but in the end only one person can win the singles championship. In just a couple of weeks all the questions, hopes and dreams for Wimbledon 2017 will be consigned to history.

In a similar vein, June was interesting and is now over. An election, a minority Government, a deal with the DUP, various horrendous disasters and circling political vultures all attempting to appeal to the crowds, some more obviously than others. Much of this we cannot control, despite what some might suggest within social media.

A new savings low

The FT reported the rather grim news that Britons are saving less of their disposable incomes that at any time since 1963 when such records began. An alarming 1.7% of income was left unspent in the first quarter of 2017, significantly below the long-term average of 9.2%. Reports also continue to make the argument that around 1 in 6 people use a credit card to get through the month. In tennis terms – there’s not enough left in the locker.

Squeezed rises

Whatever your view of austerity, clearly if income falls behind the rate of inflation, you effectively have a pay cut. This is something that the State Pension triple lock is designed to prevent (after many years when the State Pension arguably fell in real terms). It is estimated that the triple lock costs around £6bn. It would certainly appear that the days of austerity are coming to an end and that there is growing support for the end to the cap on Public Sector salaries which have been held back since 2010 (when Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles and Serena Williams won the women’s singles at Wimbledon).

Self-defeating

However, unless people begin to save for their own futures, arguments about austerity are going to seem like the proverbial storm in a teacup.  The undeniable truth is that we all need to budget and live within our means. Most don’t appear to do this. No Government in recent history has achieved it either. If you cannot control what you earn, you can only control what you spend, which means accounting for how your money is spent. The truth is that hardly anyone likes to budget and probably dislikes drawing one up a little more. Our clients are no exception – and most don’t really “need to budget” but of course it is a discipline that we advise and encourage to ensure that your hard-earned income sticks to you.

However, it is vital to understand where your money goes. The chequebook (remember those?) does not lie. It is very easy to spend and keep spending in a society that is expert in parting you from your hard-earned cash.

As with politics, in tennis with patience, generally your opponent will tend to beat themselves. Sure, you may need to play well, but invariably the loser is the one that makes the most and more significant mistakes or errors. The most basic of these to make in financial planning is failing to budget, ignore it at your peril. In tennis terms, its the equivalent of not being able to serve.

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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Hard Truths 2017-07-03T13:27:58+00:00
28th Jun, 2017

A Case of Cops and Robbers?

2017-06-28T12:56:28+00:00

A Case of Cops and Robbers?

There is an undeniable strange fascination with a story about bank robbery. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Great Train Robbery, The Italian Job, Bank Job, The Lavender Hill Mob, to name just a few. Perhaps there is something played out in the story that we might wish we could do, yet clearly do not. Perhaps the daring, cunning or planned deception appeals. Perhaps we admire something about “sticking it to the man” which in this instance is the large, faceless, corporate Banks, who we might tend to believe are the real robbers (anyone think their bank charges are fair?). This is of course nothing but escapism, a reality that thankfully we do not have to live with personally.

The new movie Baby Driver is on many levels another heist movie, a car chase, a gang and the inevitable show-down. Throw in a small romance and the ingredients are set another summer blockbuster. However, with the British Director Edgar Wright at the helm, who made comedy such as “Hot Fuzz”, “Shaun of the Dead” and there is arguably a more subtle nuance to the plot.

A Virtual Reality

In the days of computer games like Grand Theft Auto where players can commit all manner of crimes in the “safety” of a game without consequence, there are many that might ask questions about the impact on the player. Baby Driver attempts to draw from this conversation and whilst the first heist is very much like a clean version of a game of no consequence, each subsequent event gathers the reality of pain, suffering and ultimately the reality of loss. That said, I’m not too convinced that guns and violence are still not stylized and glorified within the film, there is still not enough consequence, but perhaps I am a little numb to violence within films.

Are you Being Served?

Consequences are of course something of a hot topic. Whatever your political views, the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower has triggered some significant discussion about the consequences of a divided society, divided on the grounds of have and have not. We have heard allegations about money being the motivation for almost every shortcut. Indeed the £1bn deal that Mrs May has struck with the DUP to many is an act of bribery and of course many now make the case that austerity has not worked and must cease, a policy that was the consequence of the financial collapse and the subsequent propping up of the system, which largely went to the balance sheets of the very Banks that created and manipulated the chaos. So we are back to robbing banks because of the belief that the banks are the bigger villains.

Bank Robbers…

The UK regulator (the FCA) has today issued a paper on how they would like to reform the investment banking community (like those that you probably see on billboards or sponsored events). Many have very high charges, most of which appear to be somewhat difficult to justify based upon performance. Indeed advisers such as myself that use evidence based investing as the basis for wealth management, combined with low cost techniques, have been calling for reform for quite some time. However, there is also the issue of extra charges and the regulator would like to see one all-inclusive charge. I don’t have a problem with the sentiment, however invariably complex problems are rarely easily solved with a simple answer. There always needs to be a context. None of us would actually rob a bank, let alone approve of it, our motivations for watching and loving such stories are clearly more complex.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?

Life would be pretty easy if the lines of “good” and “bad” were so easy to define, arguably the biggest flaw of all religions. Most Politicians seem yet to learn that most ideology is bereft of complex thought for the reality of life. The polarization of opinion is decidedly unhelpful. There are no magic money trees, but there are obviously ways to create money and to grow it. Taxing the rich is all well and good if you don’t drive them away. Keeping the poor in miserable conditions, where they feel powerless, unrepresented and ignored will eventually lead to inevitable calls to take power. Squeezing the middle classes until they feel bled dry whilst we celebrate and reward psychopathic bullies, be they CEOs or Heads of State (or party) isn’t going to help to establish a sense of fairness either. We live in complex times (as we always have). There are very few easy solutions to our complex problems.

Escape to the…

We in turn, escape to the sun, the country, the movies, our mobile devices and use stories to tell ourselves that good will triumph, that injustice will be exposed and punished. There is presumably a place between Utopia and Dystopia that most of us manage to call home, where we really live our lives that are full of complexity and a healthy degree of compromise.

A New Reality

As the Brexit negotiations are under way, we are certainly going to need to compromise. Posturing the EU as pure evil or pure heaven, will not help our understanding of the complex. I expect nothing other than unhelpful reporting from most of the media and social media, yet we must sift through it to garner the occasional nugget of wisdom. To pretend that feelings will not be hurt or damaged seems somewhat naïve, indeed even Bats, a character from Baby Driver says:

The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet.

Anyway, 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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A Case of Cops and Robbers? 2017-06-28T12:56:28+00:00
21st Jun, 2017

An Act of Trust? My Cousin Rachel

2017-06-21T21:24:37+00:00

An Act of Trust? My cousin Rachel

There’s a new reworking of Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 story “My Cousin Rachel” that is currently in cinema’s. A romantic throw-back to a time when men wore britches and women had little to call their own, thank heaven we have moved on. This is perhaps a timely reworking of the story, visiting the issue of inherited wealth with a passing nod to the patronage of the landed gentry, whilst their labourers gather the proverbial scraps from under their table.

Philip Ashley (Sam Claflin) is an orphan, taken in by his Cornish, landowning bachelor cousin Ambrose. Sadly for Mr Ambrose, he becomes unwell and heads to Florence, where he is initially restored by the sun and charms of Rachel, who he elects to marry. His illness shortly returns, resulting in his mysterious death, leaving a widow and Philip to face the prospect of an early inheritance. Suspicious of foul play, due to letters from his dying cousin, Philip is determined to punish Rachel for what he believes she has done. “Whatever it cost my cousin in pain and suffering before he died I will return with full measure upon the woman that caused it.”

Under a Spell

As a somewhat naïve and hot-headed young man, he is mesmerized by his cousin’s widow when she arrives at the estate. All plans to punish are swiftly reversed and forgotten, because he “likes to look at Rachel”…. who is played rather brilliantly by Rachel Weisz.

I will not reveal any more of this thoroughly enjoyable tale, which will perhaps get you reflecting on whether women are viewed any differently today than they were then. In fact to say any more would not help your own reflections.

The thing about inheritance

However, I can say that the story is an example of why you need to have a Will and that it is reviewed regularly. Moreover (a word I use knowing the angst caused for my old French teacher, who swore it was redundant) it also displays some of the pitfalls of a Trust, or at least a Trust that reverts to a beneficiary who is only 25 and is unhelpfully naïve and besotted.

This is a common financial planning problem – at what age should someone inherit wealth? particularly a life-defining amount. For all the planning that can be done, this will inevitably boil down to how the Trust was established and who the Trustees are and to be blunt, how responsible the beneficiaries are.

In the story, Philip can rely on the steady hand of family friend and Trustee Nick Kendall, (Iain Glen) who whilst being a voice of reason, is also compromised by his hope that his daughter Louise, (Holliday Grainger) will marry Philip and thus be financially secure.  The Kendall’s suspicions are alert for conflicted reasons. Often selecting a Trustee can be a difficult task, the basics are that they must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind, and not held at her Majesty’s pleasure.

Selecting Your Trustees or Executors

Many clients will of course naturally wish to select family members or friends, there is nothing wrong with this, except that most families have at times, strained relations. Friends may change. The responsibility of being a Trustee or Executor is no small matter – just ask anyone that has been one (or is). This is why these important legal documents, which assure your beneficiaries of your provision, are reviewed regularly. In our post-modern society, people move around the world, not simply the county. Death at a distance (a fate that befell Ambrose) is rather more complex than that wedding you have been invited to abroad.  So when selecting Trustees, always use your head which may well conclude that those that share your surname are indeed the right people, but do think about this carefully.

Anyway, 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

Email me to get in touch
An Act of Trust? My Cousin Rachel 2017-06-21T21:24:37+00:00
2nd Jun, 2017

Beatriz at Dinner

2017-06-02T08:08:31+00:00

Beatriz at Dinner

It’s the London Sundance Film Festival, Salma Hayek is in town with her new movie “Beatriz at Dinner”. The story revolves around Beatriz, a massage “healer” who works at a cancer centre in Santa Monica. Apparently she also does the ocassional home visit. One such client is Cathy, the wife of a very wealthy businessman Grant. Upon completing her massage, Beatriz cannot start her car, is unable to leave the lavish gated community and is invited to stay for dinner, which is a small “work-do” with Cathy and Grant.

The scene is set for polar opposites to break bread together. The guests are all fantastically wealthy and are celebrating another successful development project which will likely have an environmental impact, but make them lots of money. The king pin is Doug Strutt, something of a small parody of the current thug that is president of the US. A man who bullies his way to wealth and clearly sees amassing more and more as a “game”.

Bubbles that burst?

Naturally, Beatriz is an animal lover, who also happens to be a deeply traumatized individual who is unloved. The scene is set for a frank exchange of views and an expose on the gulf between the have’s and the have not’s, or the bubble of the one percent. However, this is a Hollywood movie, so the subject matter which may have tickled those involved with its prospects, fails to deliver anything of substance other than well-worn caricatures. I might suggest that whilst the idea seemed interesting at the time, perhaps it fails because the story is a gnats wing from life in Beverly Hills.

In the Q&A session, Salma Hayek didn’t help matters either with her ramblings about purity and frankly failing to grasp the pain of character she plays. Perhaps because she is the daughter of hugely wealthy Mexicans and has married a French billionaire, that she has far more in common with Cathy and Grant than she may care to see.

Eyes to See

In reality, it is Grant and Cathy that are more representative of the liberal elite. It is they that are confused about friendship and relationship. Whilst having all of life’s finery, they fail to see their own hypocrisy and ignore the damage done to accumulate. Of course there is a degree to which most of us are like this. It is easier to ignore the exploitation of which we are both benefactors and victims. Indeed the neurosis of buying fairly traded anything is one of many grey lines that we navigate on a daily or weekly basis and with our largely comfortable lives we can afford not to be affronted. Whether that’s the fruit and veg or the “made in somewhere without” of our garments.

Finding Your Number

From time to time, I do wonder if this is what people think a financial planner does – make you rich. Whilst I am obviously not anti-money (I hope that is rather obvious) there is a point, which is called “enough”. Most do not know where this is – as it is undoubtedly a very individual answer. All good financial planners help reveal your “number” what you need to do all that you have affirmed to be your wishes and intentions. Yes with plenty of assumptions, slack for margin of error and disasters. This is a world of difference from Doug Strutt, who by failing to identify what he values, he constantly seeks unfulfilling highs which take him further and further away from a connected life. He takes life as way of finding it. His walls become higher and higher in every sense.

Choices

Money has the power to liberate and bring choice, how it is made brings many challenges in our global economy. However we possess choices too – whether to carefully consider at what we want from life or to simply get caught up being the next king of the hill. The uncomfortable truth is that our choices impact others. Yes we all need money but from that assertion springs a lot of questions.

Here’s 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

Email me to get in touch
Beatriz at Dinner 2017-06-02T08:08:31+00:00