10 MINUTE CHALLENGE

TODAY’S BLOG

10 MINUTE CHALLENGE

We are continuing to work on the “10 Minute Challenge”. This is meant to make life a lot easier for you to gradually compile data and send it back to us (some of it). This has been our most successful “campaign” of any description to date – in 21 years. There is no agenda other than to help you get organised – or frankly anyone you know and care about to do the same.

WHY BOTHER?

Well in short, life is brief. COVID has rather got us all to remember that truth. You may have suffered a serious or mild form of COVID and it left you wondering whether you might make it through the night. This is entirely understandable as an anxiety. Given the lack of contact with others if you have COVID, then passing on last minute requests or information is all somewhat difficult, perhaps impossible. So get yourself organised. I know it is the most morbid of thoughts, but if you were to die suddenly, how on earth are your family, friends or beneficiraies going to get started trying to understand all your “stuff” – partucualry if you haven’t got it organised. We all want to be remembered well, but I can assure you from personal and professional experience, being able to find documents and information easily when administering an estate makes the world of difference and those that leave things well organised leave a lasting impression.

So if you haven’t started, just get going. If you have, please keep going!

Click here for the link to our page with lots of short videos and mugshot from nagging adviser. The image below is not the page itself

10 Minutes Page

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

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10 MINUTE CHALLENGE2020-06-30T11:39:21+01:00

UNCOMFORTABLE HOME TRUTHS

TODAY’S BLOG

DENIAL IS MORE COSTLY THAN THE TRUTH

Lockdown has been hard for many people. Freedom takes many forms and the freedom that most of us have taken for granted is the ability to meet other people and get out of the house for a change of scenery. Many have found the constant presence at home has exposed some difficulties within a relationship. Some have had their thoughts confirmed, for others this may be an acknowledgement of a truth that has so far been successfully avoided or navigated. The divorce inquiries to law firms is reportedly up 42% for the lockdown period when viewed against the same time 12 months earlier.

Tom and Rose – How Not To Get Divorced

As this is therefore rather topical, I think it worth drawing your attention to a real couple from London. I will call them Rose (50) and Tom (53) who had been married for over 20 years and had 3 children (21, 19 and 14) were divorcing. Proceedings began in 2018, sadly their divorce, which concluded in May 2020 (on Zoom) escalated fairly quickly.

Rose was a minor shareholder in her parents two family businesses. One business was a recruitment company providing staff to the care sector, the other was a care home. Rose was essentially a sleeping partner in both businesses, but Tom had become the Managing Director of the Care Home in 2005, this ceased once divorce proceedings began.

DIVORCE

Keeping Up Appearances

The couple had a very comfortable lifestyle with an annual spend of over £100,000. They lived in a 5-bedroom house in London. Rose wanted to remain in the family home but could not raise additional finance to provide Tom with his share of the equity (£350,000). The reality is that they lived beyond their means, Tom ran up credit card debts of £122,000 and both had soft loans from family members. The marital home was sold and both had to rent. The Recruitment business began to see a fairly significant drop in income, from £9.5m to £8.1m, but on the face of things a very viable business. However, when coupled with the personalities involved and allegations of misdemeanour in his role as Managing Director, this has the sense of a perfect storm.

Where has all the money gone?

As allegations about Tom were made, this added to the legal knots that they then managed to create. Anger and resentment continued to fan the flames of “he said, she said”. In the end, aside from their pensions (not yet available) and the notional value of shares in the family business, the legal fees left both with liquid assets of £5,000 each. You can see a rather good summary of the case here.

There are lots of lessons here, family businesses are more exposed to the knock on effects of marital problems. Overspending and a lack of communication about it between the couple is rarely good for any marriage. Reliance on funds from family members, parents in particular makes for further uncomfortable relationships. Finally, if you find yourself in a similar position, agree terms fairly and avoid the name calling and point-scoring, it serves nobody well, in fact everyone loses.

The Uncomfortable Truth

When it comes to planning, as I have said many times before, we make lots of assumptions about the future, the biggest assumption we make about a couple is that they remain together (unless they communicate that this is unlikely). One of the problems of thinking about what you want from life is that you become aware of what you don’t want, for many that can be ending an unhappy marriage. That has financial consequences that we can make allowance for, but only if we are able to communicate truthfully. Divorce does not have to leave a huge financial scar, it can be settled well. I am not a marriage counsellor, I have been married for over 25 years, I am however pretty certain that Tom and Rose regularly failed to communicate well with each other, particularly about money. Denial of reality isn’t really my thing, it serves nobody well. A good plan will help you face some uncomfortable truths.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

UNCOMFORTABLE HOME TRUTHS2020-06-11T17:19:38+01:00

BETTER NOT CALL SAUL

TODAY’S BLOG

SELLING TRUTH YOU WANT TO HEAR

One of the TV series I enjoy is a spin off from Breaking Bad – Better Call Saul, which you can find on Netflix. In simple terms it is the story of James “Jimmy” McGill who is the younger wayward sibling of two brothers. Regularly in trouble, Jimmy is nothing like his responsible, pedantic brother Charles who is a very successful lawyer. Despite their differences, Jimmy is close to his brother, tending to a peculiar illness which is debilitating.

Jimmy is a low-level conman, who has a talent for spotting a fool and parting him from his money as most confidence tricksters do. His observational skills and self-confidence combined with a malleable relationship with rules are the perfect combination for selling a different version of truth, a lie that people want to believe. It becomes apparent to him that perhaps being a lawyer requires a similar skill set. Most believe that lawyers are crooks with a Degree and Jimmy can smell opportunity.

The numerous series chart his misdemeanours, and these run parallel to the mirroring characters of the drug world. Instead of law firms and partners, read gangs and cartel all pushing the same freedom fix, but with grave penalties for error.

Better Call Saul - Netflix

TO WHAT PURPOSE?

The series raises lots of relevant questions – fundamentally what is our purpose? Who is Jimmy? Why is he endowed with the skills he has and how could these be put to more rewarding, purposeful use. We witness him genuinely attempt to do good, to remove or reduce harm, to expose corruption and to protect the vulnerable, yet his efforts are met with the resistance of indifference and judgement that prevents him from straying outside of his box. A societal box that others have placed him in. This is of course particularly timely as we all consider the challenges that face anyone that is genuinely interested in equality, justice and fairness.

It isn’t often that I would encourage you to pay attention to someone that is essentially a corrupt lawyer, but there are many valuable insights to be found. These are as basic as understanding the mechanics of a scam, hiding in plain sight and how to find hidden fees. However we also have to face the reality of understanding depth, capacity, risk and the difference between problems and trouble.

Many of the problems that Jimmy faces are problems that many of us may experience at some point – whether that’s the importance of a Will, care costs, business partnerships, deals and the value of what we provide to others. However at its heart of the story is the strength and weaknesses of relationships – whether that’s between siblings, employers, family or friends. Jimmy is largely making decisions in reaction to those relationships, as are others. Every character has a story but as ever, being able to see the solutions to your own problems is often aided by an impartial other.

One of the lessons I have been reminded of this week, today in fact, is that as a planner, I help provide objectivity and accountability – helping clients keep on track with their stated values and plans for a great life. Jimmy could have had a very different story if someone had shown him how his skills could be applied, if he had received the right support and encouragement. It may not have been as dramatic (and worthy of a TV series) but it would certainly have ensured prosperity in the fullest sense of the word.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

BETTER NOT CALL SAUL2020-06-02T16:17:08+01:00

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

TODAY’S BLOG

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

When things around us begin to collapse, there is an undeniable sense that screams within us to “do something!” (I’m sure it’s not just me). The global stock markets taking a battering are not good for our nerves (we were not designed for this). The temptation to do something, anything! is palpable… but you have me and all proper financial planners telling you that selling in a crisis is just about the worst thing you could do. These things happen, they come they go, they happen again. This does not placate any of our feelings, but it may help remind us of truths.

However, we are still left with the feeling about wanting to do something, even if that is not to mess with your portfolio. So here I have compiled a list of things to do. It is not exhaustive, some are more important than others, but I would urge you to consider them, particularly if you are feeling reasonably well, but having to self-isolate, or have chosen to do so.

YOUR TO DO LIST

  1. DON’T PANIC: The first thing is not to panic, whilst this version of calamity has not happened before, something very similar has. Disasters have a lot in common, they are fairly regular and prone to repeat without much warning.
  2. TAKE STOCK: This is a good opportunity to review your cash savings. You will remember that we have talked about having reserve cash funds of anything between 3-12 months of typical spending, more in some instances. See our video. Well this is the moment that those reserves may need to be called upon. Also remember that you should try to limit cash savings at any one bank to £85,000 for full FSCS protection. Let me know if you want more about this.
  3. CHECK YOUR PRIORITIES: We all know that plans are well intended, but life has a habit of getting in the way. That doesn’t mean that the plan is wrong or doomed, merely that some flexibility is probably required. So your plans may need to be adjusted, reconsidered, reviewed, postponed, delayed or cancelled, depending on your circumstances and what is wise for you.
  4. REVIEW YOUR BUDGET: You should also take this opportunity to review your regular outgoings. Have another look at your spending plan. What is important and essential, what is nice to have and what is superfluous. Let me be clear, with some luck and good leadership, the current crisis may be over within a few weeks or months, but it could drag on for a bit longer. Stopping your subscriptions to things you enjoy and use may not be sensible, unless you don’t benefit from having them.
  5. LIVE GENEROUSLY: I am a great believer in small businesses, so think about the impact of your financial choices on those within your local community and our wider one. If you have booked and paid for something and now plan to cancel, yes that might be sensible, but you have a choice about whether you simply treat the money as gone, perhaps to someone that needs it more. I’m not suggesting you should, but to merely raise the fact that you have a choice.
  6. HOPE FOR THE BEST, PLAN FOR THE WORST: The current coronavirus is not going to be a “walk in the park”. If statistics are correct the fatality rate is higher than the normal flu, particularly for those with pre-existing serious health and respiratory problems, but we expect the vast majority of people to survive.  We all hope that we will all survive whatever is coming down the road, but some will not. Yes, this is very morbid. However, I am assuming that one of the reasons that I am in your life is so that I do not ignore the difficult challenges to do with money and your financial wellbeing. My job is not to sweet talk you with nice words, but to provide a responsible truthful voice, at least as far as I see it. You need to ensure that your Will is up to date, that your Executors know what their responsibilities are, that protection policies provide ample cover. You should also consider Power of Attorney so that someone you trust can take financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Need help? get in touch.
  7. COMMUNICATE – GET IN TOUCH: You also need to ensure that the relevant people know where your important documents are. Why not put a copy on our portal too – see www.solomonsifa.co.uk/pfp for more.
  8. REFLECT & REMEMBER: If you find yourself having to “self-isolate” why not take the time to finally get around to writing up a brief version of your life-story. I hope that this will have the effect of reminding you of many good experiences in life and happy memories and provide space to reflect on who and what is important. Add photographs, then get to work on creating a book using a bit of software within Apple or Vistaprint or something similar, get it printed, get it done. If you would like a useful template email me.
  9. CHECK IN ABOUT YOUR LONG-TERM PLANS: In terms of your financial planning – I’m working on the assumption that your plans have not altered. If they have get in touch. It is possible that some may need to be adjusted, but I doubt that this is a wise time to do that. Your investments remain globally diversified, across various asset classes and low cost where possible. We have seen the value fall sharply before and we will see it again, but there is no need to panic. In the same way that you didn’t sell your home during the last property crash, you sat it out.
  10. REVIEW YOUR BUCKET LIST: Appreciating the precarious and fragility of life will hopefully bring to mind some things that you would like to experience – have a think and let me know if anything new should be added to your bucket list, they dont have to have a financial price tag, but at least when we next review your plans together we can check to see how you are getting along…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW2020-03-16T17:23:31+00:00

HAVE YOUR BOG OFF FUND

TODAY’S BLOG

HAVE YOUR BOG OFF FUND

One of the things that continues to surprise me is when a new potential client answers questions about retirement. Most, when asked, regularly tell me that they want to retire at 65 or whatever their State Pension Age is. It’s odd, because such a date is rather random and set by Government. My view is that your retirement should always be when you want to stop going to work for money.

Of course, not everyone enjoys their work, for a great number, work is merely a way to pay bills and support their lifestyle. Having a fund of money so that you can leave a job or perhaps a partner is a sensible strategy. Money provides choice and sometimes that choice is to escape from a bad situation.

BOMBSHELL MOVIE

Bombshell

This week, a court found Harvey Weinstein guilty (anyone actually surprised?)… It will also be of no surprise to anyone that follows my social media, that I am no fan of Donald Trump or Fox News. Both are bereft of any integrity. A cursory glance at Fox news will serve no purpose other than to confirm that there is a worrying lack of intelligent news or comment from the paranoid at Fox.

So, it was some degree of interest that I watched the movie Bombshell. This is a true story about the abuse of power and in particular the sexual harassment of many of the women that work at Fox News. Many of the women felt that they were in a trap – unable to whistle blow if they wish to retain a career shaped by the very few. I wonder if some may have been spared had they consulted a good financial planner to help plan and establish a suitable fund.

Fox “News”

The story begins with Megyn (ah America) Kelly one of the main anchors for Fox. She dared to question Donald Trump’s views about women and was met with his typical petulance that only such an infantile buffoon can get away with. His misogyny is amplified by his equally demented followers and a constant sexist diatribe. We also see how Gretchen Carlson is harassed and effectively forced out of her job due to her unwillingness to comply with varying demands from the then CEO Roger Ailes. I won’t spoil the factual story, other than to say Fox, Trump and Giuliani all come out much as you would expect. Yet this and many other forms of harassment continue all over the world.

Financial Empowerment

It’s a classic, money, sex and power thing… but it’s really disappointing that rather than this being the exception, under the likes of Trump and his hypocritical cronies, the majority either don’t or won’t care. Social media is no place to take the temperature of humanity, there are lots of awful things said by lots of awful people. Yet any attempt to convey ideas about justice are invariably met with perhaps the most stupid comments, predominantly from men. Financial abuse may be a new term, but its certainly an old form of abuse. Any understanding of history will quickly reveal how badly women have been treated by men where finance and financial independence are concerned.

We all need financial independence and the ability to walk (or run) from toxic relationships without losing everything in the process. Hardly a bombshell – to me that’s just fair and common sense. Have your own “bog off” fund.

Here’s the trailer for the movie Bombshell – a much better movie than I expected. 7/10

BOMBSHELL THE MOVIE

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

HAVE YOUR BOG OFF FUND2020-02-25T13:18:05+00:00

YOUR ‘UMBLE SERVANT..

TODAY’S BLOG

YOUR ‘UMBLE SERVANT…

We are regularly looking for new clients that are looking for the services that we provide. I often forget just how daunting an experience this can be for people. Invariably they have had a poor service from someone else, or worse. Some, though relatively few, have never had financial advice of any form.

I was with a new potential client this week, it was a familiar scene. There were lots of statements from various investment companies, lots of bank accounts and a significant amount of confusion. This was no fault of theirs, keeping track of all of your arrangements is made rather difficult by the constant corporate name changes and jargon.

Revealing your story

Every good adviser needs to understand your financial situation and what you hope to achieve. Gathering information from people is painful, because it’s a really tedious task and for many it involves trawling through a mass of paperwork and a sinking feeling that things may not be as good as hoped and unclear about which investment and savings still exist. It is far easier to give the lot to us to sort out and check through, but this requires a high degree of trust. I would generally discourage anyone from sharing or handing over their financial information, but of course to us it is “bread and butter”. Generally, I believe that trust is increased by earning it, by which I mean keeping promises – not by ripping people off.

David Copperfield

Pariah Uriah

I was intrigued to see how one of literature’s financial fraudsters, Uriah Heep would fair under the retelling of “David Copperfield”. If you know the Dickens story, Uriah Heep is a man obsessed with class, attempting to ascend the slippery social pole through manipulation and deceit. He is a miserable creature, as legal clerk to Mr Wickfield he enables Wickfield’s struggle with alcoholism, encouraging ever more intoxication and thus more dependency on him. Gradually Heep’s ambitious plan forms into action, he forges signatures and loans and embezzles money from Wickfield and his clients. This leads both Wickfield and his clients to believe they are ruined through poor investments.

Working fiction

One would like to believe that this is a rather pertinent financial lesson – beware of the pressures on your adviser and his or her vices. Today it is both harder and easier to misrepresent the truth. Online portals that link up your arrangements (such as ours) show valuations, every day. These are from the providers themselves, so it would be very difficult for us to alter them. However, I have no doubt that with the advantages of a decent bit of editing software, things could be misrepresented by those that wish to do so. Whilst I might wish to believe our portal is your first port of call, it also acts as confirmation of other documentation sent directly from investment companies (further reassurance).

Who knows what Uriah Heep would have done with the available technology today. Thankfully character and processes and decent regulation all help limit the impact of such fraud.

A Story is not set in stone

As for the film, well I loved it. It isn’t the book. The timeline is a little different but it is a charming and very warm re-imagining of the story. Of course, the way we might discuss your future, we tend to jump around from present, past and future and re-imagine different versions of your future if you make different decisions. So messing around with a timeline if frankly very normal for a planner. I was surprised to learn that some feel it is very “unlike the book” and are particularly vexed by the multi-ethnic cast. It seems a more than a little silly to want historical accuracy about a fictional piece when it comes to skin tone. In any event, much of our understanding of multiculturalism is rather blinkered by the retelling of history from a particular perspective. I fail to see what the fuss is about and find many of the comments rather thoughtless. In any event, the essence of the story is about different types of people from the different classes. There are merits and flaws in each.

DIVERSE-I-FIC(A)TION

As for your portfolio, well its diverse – globally diverse. Its available to view within our secure portal and you ought to check it occasionally just to know that what I have told you is fair, accurate and true – that we have kept our promises.

That’s said, I would actively discourage too much focus on investments, there is no need to obsess over performance when the portfolio has been established to stand the test of time, apply disciplined, evidenced theory to seek appropriate returns for the degree of investment risk you wish to endure. The portfolio is low cost, globally diverse and set up to last a lifetime. You simply require patience and perseverance.

As for Uriah Heep, he is found in most bookshops and of course in the current film by Armando Iannucci and starring Dev Patel (who is excellent) leads the rather good good. Here is the trailer. I enjoyed the movie – pushing 9/10.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

=

YOUR ‘UMBLE SERVANT..2020-01-23T11:00:17+00:00

ANOTHER DECADE OF CHANGE

TODAY’S BLOG

ANOTHER DECADE OF CHANGE

A new year, a new decade. There have been huge global changes over the last decade. Cast your mind back to 2010. Gordon Brown was PM. The FTSE100 closed 2009 at 5412. The starting rate of income tax was 10%, the personal allowance was £6,475 unless you were over 65. The annual allowance for your pension contribution was £245,000 with a lifetime allowance of £1,750,000. ISAs were limited to £10,200. Corporation tax was 28% or 21% for small companies. The Credit Crunch had happened, unemployment in the UK had soared to 7.8%.

On a lighter note, Chelsea were top of the Premier League, Jenson Button had been F1 World Champion for 2 months. The year ended and 2010 began with the worst snowfall since 1982.  The iphone 3GS was 6 months old, the ipad hadn’t even been launched.

Looking back, 2010 started nursing the pains of the credit crunch

Most (almost all) financial advisers all worked on a commission, the regulator (FSA) and its Chief Executive were still fending off criticism about mishandling the credit crunch, whilst working to implement new standards for advisers, which wouldn’t be implemented for another 3 years. Solomons had been removing commission since formation in 1999. A decade of commission removed already!

Evolution

Technology has evolved. Advisers have evolved (as has the regulation). Tax rates and allowances have changed, pensions have been mauled. We have lived with base rates of less than 1% for a decade (all that wasted money in Cash ISAs!).

“Lessons will be learned” (more likely: mistakes will be repeated)

The top Unit Trust returned 684% over the decade (ending 2009) it happened to be a fund investing in gold. At the start of the relevant time period, the then UK Chancellor was at the beginning of Government policy (1999-2002) to sell off UK Gold reserves like they were a bad disease, the price of gold was rock bottom at the time. However, the worst fund returned (lost) -72%! That’s a huge difference, and of course only something most didn’t achieve, for few investors had the stomach for gold when tech was the best game in town. In fact, it was the Framlington NetNet fund that was launched in 1999, a fund that was marketed to capture the returns of the internet. Within a few weeks of the start of 2000, the dotcom bubble burst. The fund was renamed and rejuvenated which ended the decade at a loss of -72%. Most investors (and Governments) did the exact opposite of what they should have done. Lesson learned? Of course not.

Planning is Art and Science

Technology is often fantastic; I use tools that I wish I had in the early days. The 2020s will only see more become available and hopefully more efficient ways to do things. Technology is simply a tool, not a replacement. It doesn’t cope well with real life and the changes that can be very sudden. So, advice should always be grounded in the real world, but more importantly with your real goals and real values. That’s where the art comes in and here is some from Carl Richards of the Behavior Gap (American!)

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

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ANOTHER DECADE OF CHANGE2020-01-15T16:43:11+00:00

SORRY WE MISSED YOU

TODAY’S BLOG

SORRY WE MISSED YOU

The new Ken Loach movie “Sorry We Missed You” takes a scathing look at the life of the new gig-economy self-employed who are now a part of the service sector that we all use. Instantly you will sense that this is a political piece and you are probably right. Loach makes yet another bleak, grey but good little movie about the daily struggle to make ends meet. This story may jog your memory about snippets of information that you have picked up over the last couple of years. I can assure you that it will have an impact on your thinking for any online orders you make before Christmas.

Confession – I quite like Ken Loach. I have a great deal of empathy for what he seems to be trying to do. As far as I can gather, this is little more than calling to account a system that is simply not working for lots of very “ordinary people”. This movie is clear that some employers are abusive. I suspect you know this already to be true. Whilst one would argue that “workers rights” are largely the diet of the left-leaning, I haven’t met anyone that believes people should be treated as commodities, perhaps I don’t get out enough though.

Masters of the Universe

Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is fed up with being told what to do, a friend suggests he become a self-employed delivery driver. He can be his own boss. I may have misheard, but I think the deal is £150 a day for deliveries completed to satisfaction. The problem being that Ricky doesn’t have a van, he can rent one from his new sole customer (at £60 a day) or make his own arrangements. Ricky also has a tight schedule (set by others) which means he doesn’t have time for anything more than a 10-minute break in his 12-14 hour day. Worse still, he can only “not work” if he has arranged a driver to cover him or it’s a £100 fine and a “penalty”. The parcel tracking device is provided (it’s a requirement) but if lost must be paid for at £1,000. The parcels, once taken by the driver become a personal liability.

Return to sender

The benefits of self-employment quickly evaporate with a sense that in practice, Ricky is not in control of very much at all, yet has agreed to offer his services at guaranteed rates for guaranteed results. This is really the crux of the story and the resulting pressure. The employer has waived all responsibility and has rented labour at a lower cost than having proper employees.

Technology that liberates?

Amazon and other delivery drivers spring to mind. However Ricky’s wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) is a carer that is employed at arm’s length to care for (clean, bathe, feed) infirm people on set 30 minute slots (or less) and invariably this isn’t enough time to do the job properly or with any care, let alone get to the next “client” on time. As you may imagine, the fact that both husband and wife are running around working long hours attempting to keep to someone else’s schedule has a knock-on effect for their family and relationship.

I’m not a fan of “zero hours” contracts or the gig economy. I don’t like “internships” or unpaid labour with the hope/promise of better things. I think its abusive and I have little time for those that use it as their business model. That covers almost the entire media industry.

Sorry but I have a few questions…

I do have some questions for Loach. If Ricky earns £150 a day and is working 6 days a week. That’s £900 a week or £46,800 a year. Abbie also earns and so I wonder what is happening to their income. They missed out on buying a home in 2008 due to loss of his job, but quite what that was is unclear. However the inference is that the failure of Northern Rock and the credit crunch are partly to blame. There may well be some debt, but this is not explained. Teenage son Seb (Rhys Stone) goes from being “top of his class” to a truant, violent, petty thief – what happened there? When he and younger sister Lisa (Katie Proctor) state that they want things to return to “how they were” what does that mean? When?

Required: Thinking

To my mind Ricky and Abbie are taken advantage of. They may or may not be good with money and sums, frankly its impossible to say. They certainly care and seem like “decent people”. Even with the abusive employment, why don’t the drivers have rota for a shared replacement driver, so that they can actually take time off for important things? There is simply not enough to convince me that any of them really understand what “self-employment” is. Perhaps because everything about the work has the feel of employment without the reality.

The problem I have as a financial planner is that I suspect that some of the financial problems that Ricky and Abbie have could probably be easily addressed, but nobody has the time to stop to think, assuming they are able to do so. Perhaps “the job” could work for some but it certainly doesn’t for this family. I was moved by the story but left with questions about the how and why. Whilst Loach has a specific working-class focus, in practice the same stresses of post-modern life and inability to see the bigger picture can negatively impact any of us. Sadly, I suspect that this will be seen as little more than a critique of “big business” and “Government policy” yet the problems are far deeper than that, issues that need facing before any significant change can occur.

Anyway, here is the trailer. The movie is out now.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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SORRY WE MISSED YOU2019-11-11T14:16:19+00:00

JUDY – A STAR IS BORN

TODAY’S BLOG

JUDY – A STAR IS BORN

The new film “Judy” about the last year of Judy Garland’s life is now on general release. Renee Zellweger gives an impressive performance or perhaps impression of the troubled Garland.

50 Years – 1969 Tempus Fugit

Judy Garland died on 22 June 1969, just a few days before the moon landing. She died of an overdose of barbiturates, at a rented property in Chelsea. The overdose was probably a culmination of a lifetime of pill-popping, established by the shameless manipulators of a young girl. The irony that even then “we” could land on the moon but fail so spectacularly to address mental health problems is bad enough, yet today, whilst mental health and well-being are on the list of hot topics, the progress is painfully slow.

The Yellow Brick Road

The movie depicts a woman that struggles, we are left thinking “little wonder” not because of her talent, but due to the constant pressure she faced from childhood to perform. Bullied and harassed by her studio, the yellow brick road was certainly long and hard. When I learn about stories like these, which are all too familiar and present, there is a deep sense that those people around the individual concerned continually fail to protect and care. It seems to me that they are little more than parasites, there is no oversight of value, simply extraction.

Judy Garland - A Star Is Born Movie Poster 1954

There’s No Place Like Home..

Garland died with huge debts for 1969, she was basically swindled by her managers Fields and Begelman, was forced to sell her home and lived from hotel to hotel, reflecting her succession of husbands, all 5 of them. None appeared to offer any solace. “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” a line a young Garland echoes across time as Dorothy from Kansas. A story I suspect we all know well. She died homeless, with an estate of just $40,000 that couldn’t meet the charitable bequests she made in her Will.

Wicked

It baffles me that advisers (of all types) deliberately rip off their clients. There are regularly stories of actors, musicians or sports stars who are often very successful in their field, but not good with money. My main professional function is to help clients to keep more of their money, to avoid financial investing mistakes, scams and waste. Getting this right provides the base for some decent planning, using money wisely. Every time I see these stories, I wonder why they didn’t have a decent adviser, why they didn’t ask me? (of course, being a minnow, how would they?).

Placed on the stage as a toddler, she rarely found attention of value outside the spotlight. The film may take some liberties, (I hope) with her treatment in London, which she had described with deep fondness previously, particularly after her 1951 tour of the UK. One scene at the Talk of the Town Club shows an embarrassingly disrespectful crowd. I hope that this is artistic license (a similar incident did happen in Melbourne, Australia in 1964).

Babes on Broadway (1941)

It takes something to have been married 5 times by the age of 46, that something is clearly a damaged psyche desperately looking for the right attachments. Her trouble with men almost certainly began way before David Rose (30 at the time) proposed to her on her 18th birthday whilst still married himself. They married a little over a year later under Studio advice. There then followed a constant supply of unsuitable men.

Thousands Cheer (1943)

The film implies that perhaps the blame for her lot is rather wider than simply the men in her life. The studios promoted the “girl next door” image and the studios made her continue to play roles that she was too old for. Their argument being that the public loved her as a “kid”. The studios were responsible for her health and wellbeing, but merely encouraged eating disorders, addictions, suicide attempts and a deep sense of inadequacy. How complicit audiences and fans are in the rise and fall of stars remains a question that we return to regularly.

Perhaps what we can take from this tale, is that, sadly, good advice is much rarer than bad advice. There are many that are willing to part you from your money and cause your ruin. Don’t be fooled, seek out good advisers that offer the invaluable, connecting you and your money with your values. Judy Garland was failed. Spectacularly.

As a movie, this is a good one. 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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

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GET IN TOUCH

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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JUDY – A STAR IS BORN2019-10-03T13:18:42+01:00

KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE BALL

TODAY’S BLOG

KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE BALL

It’s the final weekend of Wimbledon. Our local global sporting event comes to an end on Sunday. The winners are those that “see the ball big” and like most sports’ folk, keep their eye on the ball. A tournament that creates legends of the game. Anyone that makes it through to the second week has played incredibly well, perhaps to the finest edge of their personal best. We can all list off some of the great tennis stars, and perhaps each victory acts as a landmark in time of our own lives.

However great you are in your field of expertise, does not necessarily translate into other areas of life. Indeed, success in your field of expertise, can bring its own problems. Fame, fortune and expectations. One of the Wimbledon legends announced his arrival winning the men’s singles final at just 17 years old. Boris Becker. I had just finished my O’Levels and was watching someone in the year above me win Wimbledon.

Solomons IFA Eye on the ball

A great Champion

Becker was hugely successful in his professional tennis career. He went on to win Wimbledon 3 times, the Australian twice, the US once and a Davis cup winner twice. A man that was so powerful, determined, focussed and successful on court had his problems off court. I have no wish at all to criticise Becker, he’s human, he made plenty of bad decisions in his personal and commercial life.

Selling the Silverware

This week Becker was forced to sell his trophy memorabilia to repay some of the debt that stands against his name. The auction raised £680,000. Declared bankrupt in 2017 his financial mismanagement caught up with him. The Court registrar at Christine Derrett said of Becker “One has the impression of a man with his head in the sand”. Which is probably a very polite way of reducing the facts of the case which included claiming diplomatic immunity. The debt was north of £5m. This against a career ending in summer 1999 – which saw his last grand slam win in 1996. His career prize money was $25m but that excludes all the sponsorship. His own advocate at the London hearing (John Briggs) in 2017 described him “he is not a sophisticated individual when it comes to finances”.

Game, set and match

There were many business ventures, some costly personal divorce and children, but a lot of money melted away, like an embarrassing 6-0 set full of double faults. There will be reasons, fame, character and pressure all combining against him perhaps, but the apparent lack of anyone that might be termed a decent financial planner would be my logical concern. Irrespective of fame, skill or wealth, the lack of a plan and someone to properly facilitate this can be disastrous. Becker is now having to sell his silverware to pay his bills. In tennis, most amateur players beat themselves rather than being beaten by a better opponent, the same is true for investors (amateur and professional). Keeping your eye on the ball – the financial one, is game, set and match.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

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GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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To get started download and use password – solomons

   

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KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE BALL2019-07-12T17:16:32+01:00