DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME – A TALE OF A SIMPLE MIND

TODAY’S BLOG

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME – A TALE OF A SIMPLE MIND

Reminders on my phone are a necessity. This singular function is one that I use to organise my life, attempt to not forget to do things, and often be in the right places at the right times. I truly believe that I would be lost without this very simple tool. However…

Setting yourself reminders is a very manual process – you create them, set the date on which whatever the task is must be completed. Most crucially, it is all too easy to change the due date on these reminders and push them back over what is, inevitably, a multiple-month stretch. If this process were automatic and unchangeable to prevent procrastination (which over the years I have come to believe is something of an art-form) I am sure that I would achieve more, all within a much more reasonable time span. We are creatures of habit, however, the discipline required in the early stages of forming GOOD habits is crucial in maintaining them for the longer term. This got me thinking about automated finances, which is a concept that I have been hearing and reading about a lot during my studies.

AUTOMATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Andy Hart, in his excellent podcast ‘Maven Money’ which I would highly recommend, states that automating your finances is one of the most important things that you can do. This means setting up standing orders or direct debits (whichever is more appropriate for the scenario), in order to ensure that your money goes to the places that you want and need it to go. One of the main focuses of this technique is saving, whether this be for a house, other large projects or emergency funds, though the same technique can be used to help yourself in many other ways – desired monthly pension contributions, for example, is another goal that this technique could be used for.

Not only will you never forget to make these savings/contributions ever again, but you are likely to become even better at budgeting for all other aspects of your lifestyle without these funds even coming into consideration – with the comfort of knowing that these funds have contributed towards achieving your financial goals and strengthening your financial plan.

MONTHLY SAVINGS HAS SOME OTHER ADVANTAGES

Some of you may have already seen our short video that explains pound-cost averaging. In a very clear way, this video explains how there can be a great benefit to making contributions to investments on a monthly basis, essentially meaning that you will always end up paying the average price over a particular period of time rather than being at risk of paying over the odds.

It’s ironic how we often forget the things worth remembering but remember the things worth forgetting. I have included our video above about monthly budgeting and setting up your bank accounts, to help make this entire process much easier.

Daniel Liddicott
Trainee Financial Adviser

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

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

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GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME – A TALE OF A SIMPLE MIND2021-07-26T10:16:07+01:00

COMPANY CAR? GEAR UP FOR CHANGE…

TODAY’S BLOG

COMPANY CAR? GEAR UP FOR CHANGE..

Do you drive a company car? do you know your NDEC from your WLTP? You now need to.

Emissions, emissions…

For many years, company car tax scales have been based on CO2 emission levels, with a supplement (currently 4%) for most diesels (although a handful of new diesels now escape this surcharge). The emissions were measured under the New European Driving Cycle (NDEC) test, which produced results increasingly at variance with the real world.

In response, a new testing regime has been developed, the World harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Unsurprisingly, this test reveals much higher emission levels than the NDEC – about 15%-20% more, with the greatest increase for cars with the smallest engines.

Company car changes

For company cars registered from 6 April 2020, the WLTP CO2 emission figure will be used in determining company car tax rates. However, for cars registered before that date, the old NDEC measure will continue to apply. As a result, from 2020/21 onwards there will be two sets of company car scales, one WLTP scale for cars registered on or after 6 April 2020 and the other NDEC-based scale for older cars. For any given level of emissions, in 2020/21 the WLTP percentage charge is 2% lower than the NDEC charge, although this difference will be phased out over the following two tax years.

Electric cars

Electric and Hybrid Cars

6 April 2020 will also see a change to the tax treatment of electric and hybrid cars. The charge for all pure electric cars will drop to zero – good news for Tesla – while for hybrid cars with CO2 emissions of 1-50g/km, the scale charge will be based on the vehicle’s electric-only range. For hybrids there will be separate NDEC and WLTP scales, with both offering no discount if the hybrid cannot run at least 30 miles on battery power alone.

Action

The company car tax regime has become much stricter over the years and there is some evidence that more employees are choosing cash rather than car where they have the option. You may want to join them.

If you are due to change your company car soon, make sure you understand the tax consequences of any choice you make. If you are thinking about an electric car and the required charging points at your home or office, the Pod Point website is worth having a look at. They also have a guide that gets fairly regularly updated on different types of electric cars. I haven’t used Pod Point and am not endorsing them (or paid by them) but you may find their information helpful.

Of course if you wish to see the Tesla range….

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

COMPANY CAR? GEAR UP FOR CHANGE…2020-01-24T10:05:16+00:00

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

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

OUR APP – MILEAGE TRACKER

OUR APP MILEAGE TRACKER

The mileage tracker within our app has now been updated and improved. This mainly means that it is now even easier to accurately record your business mileage. You need to make a few adjustments such as turning on the GPS tracker and ensuring your personal details are accurate (an email is sent to you with the trips that you do).

The app is loaded with useful tools, many are aimed at those working and needing to report expenses, but also includes all the details about personal income tax and allowances that are relevant to everyone. There are also some great calculators too. All this is free for you to download and use. It costs us quite a bit to provide this, so please do make use of the app and let others know.

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
OUR APP – MILEAGE TRACKER2018-10-09T17:40:50+01:00

HBOS scam, stranger than fiction

HBOS scam, stranger than fiction

Yesterday I wrote about Venture Capital Trusts and explained that any business is reliant upon its management. You might recall my use of the new Trainspotting film T2 as an illustration of poorly suited characters for management of any business. If T2 is 20 years on then this must surely be Trainspotting 40 years on…

As is often the case, reality can be stranger than fiction. On 2nd February 2016 there was finally a successful conviction of fraudsters Lynden Scourfield and David Mills. They are guilty of a £245m loans scam. Scourfield was a manager at HBOS, supposedly tasked with helping struggling businesses. He was bribed by David Mills to pressure HBOS business clients to use a business services company called Quayside Corporate Services. Quayside was owned and run by Mills and his wife Alison. Together they set about extracting huge sums in fees from HBOS business clients who were being told that they would lose HBOS support and sources credit finance if they didn’t comply. Many ended up going bankrupt.

Like Characters from Trainspotting…

These three and three others (Mark Dobson, Michael Bancroft and John Cartwright) have finally been sentenced to prison, having spent huge sums on all the typical cliché trappings, all evident in both Trainspotting films. They ruined various businesses, who were trapped within the Bank, who issued fairly standard penalties which evolved into eviction notices with employees of the bank deceiving their own internal systems which then kicked in to the normal processes for how to handle a failing business (which you can imagine). Under pressure people do strange things, and a number of the business owners that were scammed, gave away control and or ownership of their own businesses. However this appears to be largely due to the complexity of the scam and a classic confidence trick, regularly reassuring the HBOS customers that the Bank was agreeing their finance.

Ripped off Businesses that were ruined

This is a deeply disturbing case of a major bank failing to understand that its own staff were scamming its customers. According to reports, the scam may have amounted to around £1bn, although official reports suggest £245m, all over a 4-year period between 2003-2007 (just before the credit crunch). Thankfully the six involved, have been rewarded with a collective 47 years and 9 months in prison. You may recall that HBOS was rescued by Lloyds TSB having notched up £45bn of bad debt and at one point it was reliant on a £25bn lifeline from the Bank of England. Well done Thames Valley Police.

 

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

HBOS scam, stranger than fiction2017-02-03T10:33:34+00:00

Business Owners – Banking on the good times?

Banking on the good times?

When I meet most business owners and help them to think about their future, I am often told that “my business is my pension”. This is a perfectly reasonable thing for many business owners to say if they have a business that has a value and someone else will pay cash for it. In fact, one can make a very strong case for a business to act like a pension – with the option of providing an ongoing income for life and/or a capital sum.

Of course there is a “but”.

Life doesn’t always work out as planned. Business owners have more financial options to consider than most people, but there is a still a genuine limit on what they can control. Technology and competition can make life very difficult for the business owner, particularly for those competing on price. If the technology pundits are to be believed many jobs will give way to “errorless” computers. So the challenge will always be to not simply keep up, but stay ahead – which requires some insight and probably some luck.

Stress is the normal

Then there are the normal real world problems of economics, taxation, changing political policy and also changing consumer sentiments and behaviours – just consider what has happened to retailers over the last 20 years. These are very real concerns for business owners and many will reflect on the implications of Brexit as it begins to unfold, some will survive and some will not.

Are you being squeezed?

So the news that RBS has been squeezing businesses who are vulnerable, experiencing stress and you can add another problem to the growing list. Banks are of course meant to make money and have a responsibility to their shareholders (currently most of us) to do so, however a deliberate attempt to squeeze the life (and assets) out of small businesses is arguably not what most shareholders require. Certainly badly run businesses should be allowed to fail (that’s simply the law of capitalism) but those merely experiencing a temporary cash flow problem could be nurtured back to health. The saying that a bank lends you and umbrella when its sunny and wants it back when it’s raining, is sadly very much the case.

Reality bites optimism

Most business owners are optimistic, believing that their own hard work will reap returns. Few think that their venture will end is disaster and even fewer plan for such an event. When things are going well it is easy to forget or overlook the risks. All business owners insure their own cars, but very few insure themselves or key staff – without whom the car payments and everything else quickly grinds to a halt and don’t’ expect the Banks to rush to the rescue.

You are your biggest asset

Of course planning your retirement is part of the process – being able to sell your business at the right time for the right amount requires a lot of preparation. Don’t leave it to chance and above all, don’t rely on Banks being supportive to your own plans.

If you own a business or are married to (or know) someone that does, why not arrange a meeting at our expense to help you fully understand the risks within your business so that they can be addressed, just send me an email or pick up the phone.

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

Business Owners – Banking on the good times?2017-01-06T14:39:13+00:00

Business Owners Beware

Business Owners and Employees Beware

Business Owners and Employees need to be aware of fraud that could cost a business its existence. Technology is fantastic, it enables us all to do things much more quickly and also opens up so many new opportunities. However, we all know it is a double-edged sword which can work against us. I imagine that everyone with an email address has had some form of email scam or fraud – everything from the rather obvious “I need you to help part $X million in your account and will pay you a share” to much more sophisticated scams.

The real problem is that in a world where you make purchases all the time from people and businesses that you have never “met” invariably this reduces your ability to spot a scam. There is an interesting story on the BBC website about how the Accountant to a business was pressured into sending €500,000 from one of their clients’ accounts. On the surface it seemed legitimate, but thankfully was caught.

Time Pressure

Often fraudsters will use the pressure of time for a deal or lost opportunity (increasingly common in many marketing campaigns as it is). However, some firms produce lots of information – for example online diaries, showing when people are available (capitalising on times when they are unavailable). So a sense check is often the first thing you should do. Where money is concerned, a good financial planner is someone that you will have a trusted relationship with. So he or she should have a pretty good idea about your plans – assuming that you provide information honestly and that suitable questions have been asked.

In the case the BBC highlight, the Accountant was informed that the money was to be used to buy a business in Cyprus. One would hope that the business would have discussed such a plan with the Accountant in advance (if true) so it would not be something out of the blue. Similarly, a financial planner, really should have a good idea of when you might need money – for school fees, a wedding, a property purchase and so on. In practice few expenses should be a “surprise”. This relationship is likely to mean that fraud can be spotted more easily, but in no way guarantees it.

Anyway, be mindful that anyone that has access to any of your accounts – business or personal might unknowingly sign off something believing it to be true. You are responsible for your accounts and need to ensure that you have a process to sense check financial transactions. Here is the BBC item. Click here to see.

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

Business Owners Beware2017-01-27T10:56:10+00:00

Email Encryption – Better Security

Email encryption, better security

I wanted to let you know that we are now using ShareFile, an email encryption service from Citrix. We are now using this when we send documents to you as attachments.

We are also able to encrypt the body content of an email as well – but will endeavour to send a normal email first to warn you that it really is us.

Finally, you can also send us documents and attachments by clicking a link that we provide. This means that you can have rather more peace of mind.

Have a look at the piece within the blog as an example. I’m conscious that there are lots of different email solutions, so appearances may differ. So the image below is an example of what I hope your in-box would look like. The email from me shows attachments with an .html in the message line, you can see the green “button” to click to download the email. Then there’s just my standard stuff at the bottom of an email. Hopefully the image below is clear enough.

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 Encryption – Better Security2017-01-06T14:39:18+00:00

Joy and Suffering

Joy and Suffering

Joy is the new movie by David O. Russell, bringing together key players from the 2012 OSCAR winning film “Silver Linings Playbook”. Joy (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is based on the story of Joy Mangano who invented the miracle mop.

The timing of the movie is pertinent (apart from award season) there is a growing unease about capitalism, consumerism and the American Dream. Joy Mangano is in one sense the definitive American Dream, and within the film is portrayed as a woman with a conscience and big heart.

The film is set in the dysfunctional family unit, where Joy embodies the sandwich generation, holding a household together of her parents, her children and a successful divorce. I am not sure how much of this is artistic license, but Joy’s former husband remains an employee of her business.

Entrepreneur?

Anyone that has ever started their own business will recognise many of the struggles and gigantic mistakes that she makes. One of the more pertinent is where and how to seek proper expert advice and encouragement. It’s also a movie for women whose struggles are invariably ignored, overlooked or simply neglected (by the movie industry and society at large).

A strong OSCAR winning cast give the film a sure footing, who relay the story carefully. Joy Mangano and her business Ingenious Designs LLC is now very much a success story, the miracle mop has sold in excess of $10million a year – but it’s not even her most successful product – huggable hangers. Her net worth was reported to be around $50 million in 2015.

Whilst there may well be some factual inaccuracies, the story is compelling and I thoroughly enjoyed the film. If you run a business or have any aspiration to do so, it’s one to seek out. Here is one of the subsequent Miracle Mop videos with Joy Mangano.

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

Joy and Suffering2017-02-02T13:49:07+00:00

Auto Enrolment and Workplace Pensions

Auto Enrolment and Workplace Pensions

This is the year of workplace pensions – or auto enrolment. It doesn’t help that there are these two terms attempting to address the same issue. All employers, however small have to provide staff (which may be a spouse) a pension.

Strangely, in reality the selection of the pension is very much the least of the problems as in essence all this needs to comply with rules, ensuring that everyone (all staff) are properly assessed and informed about the pension being made available and then automatically enrolled. The employer and employee will both contribute, under auto enrolment terms, employees will pay more than employers.

This is really all about processes and being able to demonstrate compliance, much like VAT or PAYE. We do not set up workplace pensions, but are advising all employers to get and use some rather clever software by AE in Box. This will help you meet the deadlines and avoid fines. This year hundreds of thousands of small firms will need to comply.

January Sales

The software keeps you up to date and requires a minimal outlay. The initial set up fee of £79+VAT is being reduced to £1+VAT this month…. A bit of a January sale. The normal monthly license costs £29+VAT but only begins 9 months prior to your staging date. You will need to insert the promotional code at the online ordering stage which is: AEJANSALE

So it’s time to get cracking….

Please see our dedicated webpage for more information about this.

Here’s a good little video, (not by AE in a Box) but one of the better ones that I have come across.

…and one from AE in a Box

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

Auto Enrolment and Workplace Pensions2017-01-06T14:39:21+00:00
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