TOMORROW’S WORLD

TODAY’S BLOG

PLANNING A FUTURE

The more I read or hear about the impact of the pandemic on real people I am reminded of how important it is to have a sense of the future. There is little doubt that many of us have been struggling with the practicalities of living detached from friends and family, or frankly anyone that we may not know, but form a part of our ordinary lives.

Monty Don made the point that having something to look forward to is ever so important, which is part of the reason why so many people love and enjoy gardening. Those of us with gardens have benefitted this year from fairly good weather and the ability to take more time to enjoy our open spaces. Many have remarked that during the Spring when were in the full lockdown phase, they observed the natural world in way that seemed to be a glimpse into a bygone time, of no cars or aeroplanes – to see and hear nature, as may have been observed centuries ago.

TOMORROW’S WORLD

You will probably remember the BBC1 programme “Tomorrow’s World”. It was something of a TV fixture for many people, irrespective of age. When I grew up there were only three TV channels and “Children’s television” officially ended just before the news, but programmes really didn’t stop appealing to children. Perhaps you will remember James Burke, Michael Rodd, William Woollard, Judith Hann and Maggie Philbin all explaining various inventions which would perhaps become commonplace lifestyle improving solutions. Many of the “predictions” turned out to be some way off the reality, others were quite clearly an early prototype.

Anyhow, it got me wondering about the importance of having a vision for the future. We have seen some welcome reassessment of the past, we cannot change it, but we can at least learn to understand it differently, specifically its impact on the present.

SOLOMONS IFA - TOMORROW'S WORLD

A PLACE IN TIME

Without a grasp of history and a hope for the future, I would argue that it is easier to become overwhelmed by the present. Today I could probably find shows like Tomorrow’s World, but I’d really have to hunt them down from not simply hundreds of channels but different media sources and they certainly would not be what the majority watched, all experiencing the occasion at the same time, which I also believe to be pertinent to our sense of time.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HOPE

The book of Proverbs has an interesting phrase “without vision the people perish”. That’s a pretty bold statement and of course, has been interpreted in all sorts of ways and probably used to justify all sorts of ideas. If I may, can I simply offer it as an acknowledgement of the value of having a sense of tomorrow. Having hope.

Many of us, (perhaps all of us) have had moments of despair at the current circumstances. Whether that is concern about health, family, friends, loneliness, financial pressure, worrying if your business (or your friend’s) will survive, if you will ever get to enjoy the things you did before… Then there is a very deep despair that overwhelms and leads to some believing that they have no future and so end the pain.

DON’T UNDERVALUE YOUR FUTURE

The future is something I discuss all the time with clients, but I have to admit that simply having a sense of a future itself (whatever that looks like) is rather more important than having no vision at all. Please get in touch if you need to talk or simply want me to listen. Perhaps your plans have altered, maybe some priorities have changed. Alternatively, maybe you know someone that I may be able to help to get their plan for their future into shape.

And for your amusement… here’s the team at Tomorrow’s World looking back at the 1970s as the new decade was about to begin from roughly 4 decades ago – which is typically how long people “work” for a living and increasingly how long retirement may last…

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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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TOMORROW’S WORLD2020-10-15T12:35:40+01:00

HOT PROPERTY?

TODAY’S BLOG

HOT PROPERTY – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

We are all aware that the world is a bit weird now.  The thoughtful self-reflection that occurred during lockdown appears to have given way to fatigue, thoughtlessness and sometimes an attitude of selfishness. The UK property market continues to confound reason.

We know that during the initial lockdown, which was really the duration of the second quarter of 2020, very little happened, then gradually restrictions have lifted. One of the often-cited reflections of working from home is the need for a quiet space at home, be that a spare bedroom, study or garden shed. As people became accustomed to not commuting, many found that they are in fact rather more productive. Some have found a better balance between the professional and the personal. Many have questioned why they are paying for an expensive small home that makes commuting quicker but now find it unnecessary. Some have noted the value of community and the desire to be closer to relatives. Space is cheaper elsewhere.

We know that big cities like London were struggling to encourage people back into the office, leading to an existential threat to many supporting businesses and organisations, from cafes and restaurants to meeting venues. We are now heading into the Winter with yet another Governmental set of directives, which may or may not be helpful.

Interest rates have never been lower in living memory. If ever there was a time to borrow it is now. However, lenders are all too familiar with bad debt and worry about an economy that may experience a prolonged recession, with rising unemployment and job insecurity. The usual domino effect of recessions. This results in lenders managing their own risk, limiting who, when and why they lend. They hold the cards. We may all find money a bit tighter if taxes increase to pay for furlough and various Covid bailouts.

SOLOMONS IFA MONEY FOCUS

STAMP DUTY: GOING, GOING…

The Chancellor has tried to stimulate house sales by removing Stamp Duty on sales under £500,000 until the end of March 2021. This is a tax break that is planned to end. Some of you may remember MIRAS, another tax break which ended 20 years ago. House sales in England typically account for 85% of all house sales in the UK, forgive me, but I’m going to focus on the sales in England. The ONS records sales over £40,000. In Q2 of 2020 a provisional 131,730 homes were sold in England, a year earlier the figure was 237,870. Sales had been gradually improving since the credit crunch. Numbers had not recovered to their 2006/07 which saw 1,433,200 homes sold, that collapsed in 08/09 to just 664,250. Sales have been recovering slowly and then dented again by the Brexit vote, before reaching 1,003,060 in 18/19.

SCORES ON THE DOORS…

2020 began fairly slowly, but reflective of seasonal normality with monthly sales in the 70,000 range. April sales collapsed to 32,350 (lockdown) but by July sales had returned to winter levels of 71,190. So despite what Estate Agents may be telling you, property sales are below average, down by something like 20%. You can dress it up, but that’s the reality of completed sales. That said, according to Nationwide average prices recovered in July and increased in August by 3.7%. They also note that the 2010s has been the weakest decade for property prices up 33% over the decade compared to 180% in the 1980s. Low interest rates and the credit crunch being the suggested main factors.

YOU HAVE MORE MONEY? LET ME SHOW YOU…

Some warn that the reduced stamp duty tax will not be passed on, as sellers push prices to cover their own stamp duty on property over £500,000. In short, the young are paying above the odds. Some expect prices to fall as demand slows in April next year when the stamp duty break ends. Then there is Brexit, which is now a sub-heading of the national conscience, but it would appear that the Government have little real idea if agreement can be reached.

This might prompt a reduction in prices (nobody knows) which tends to happen when a tax advantage ends and a recession is happening. So those thinking of buying this autumn or winter that are looking at property priced under £500,000 face the increased risk of buying at a peak value and a collapse. They have to counter this with the benefit of stamp duty savings. A property valued at say £400,000 currently has no stamp duty, from April such a sale price would result in £10,000 of Stamp Duty. That said, £10,000 is only 2.5% of the purchase price (£400,000) it would not be inconceivable to see prices fall by 15% (£60,000 in our example). This may wipe out your deposit and possibly mean that you have negative equity.

THE THING IS – WE DO FORGET

Turning to relatively recent property crashes, the 1990s provided some of the harshest lessons for homebuyers. The worst decade for price rises – even London only increased by 40%. Some of you may remember MIRAS, which was tax relief given to borrowers. Nigel Lawson changed the terms of MIRAS so that unmarried couples could not claim it from August 1988. He announced the changes in April 1998 which provided 4 months of “opportunity” which pushed up prices to bubbling point. When the relief was lost repayments went up. The overpriced market peaked in 1989 with an average price in London of £97,667 but then fell back to £66,573 by the end of 1992. A fall of £31,094 or more importantly 31%. When inflation is factored in, prices didn’t really recover from 1988 until 2001.

A decade later (April 1998) MIRAS was again reduced to the point of being almost worthless and finally abolished by Gordon Brown two years later in 2000. Its been 20 years since MIRAS ended. There has been some tinkering with Stamp Duty which was altered from a flat rate system to a tiered rate system from December 2014. This was done in an attempt to curb price rises particularly in London. In Q4 of 2014 the average national price was £189,002 by Q2 2020 it was £220,133 (up 16%). In London the average price was £406,730 and is now £475,448 (also up 16%). So the gap has not widened, but equally it has not shrunk (so the strategy neither worked not “failed” but it certainly didn’t change anything). The numbers are certainly larger and London remains the most expensive part of the UK.

IF IT WORKS, IT WOULD BE UNUSUAL

So over the last 32 years tax changes to residential property has created a quick spike and then collapse in prices (1988-1992) and it has also effectively done nothing (2014-2020). Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be making a little history if his policy didn’t fail or do nothing of substance.

If history were to repeat itself, which let’s face it, tends to happen more as an echo than a direct repetition, then there is the prospect of a 31% fall (88-92). That would mean someone buying in 2020 for £400,000 would potentially be contemplating their home revalued at £276,000. It could be a decade before prices recover.

We have short-term memories and forget what has happened. First time buyers have no memory of a property crash, (indeed some of my detractors on social media appear to have no memory at all). Lenders are currently very reluctant to lend more than 90% and many will struggle to get a competitive loan with more than an 85% mortgage. So with our £400,000 example, that’s a deposit of £60,000 and if a third gets wiped off by 2022, the £340,000 mortgage would be higher than the value of the property (£276,000) for some time…

FORECASTS ARE NOT MY THING

The truth is we simply do not know what will happen. We do know that Brexit will happen (we do don’t we?). We know that we are in a recession. When recessions happen, jobs are lost, money is tight, homes get repossessed (1991 was the peak for repossessions). We know that interest rates are at all time lows which implies only one likely direction for the cost of borrowing (upwards). So would you buy to save £10,000 on stamp duty before March or would you wait a couple of years and either buy the same property for 30% less or simply buy a bigger place.

IN SHORT- BE PREPARED TO LIVE WITH YOUR DECISIONS

This is a gamble, I have no idea what will happen, perhaps property price rises will return to 1980s levels, but that would likely mean inflation is out of control and interest rates could be much higher than they are now (which I think is unlikely). I do not know – nobody does. We are due a correction – any sensible person knows that property in the South East is overpriced. The only consolation I can offer is that if buying, make sure you do so knowing the above and that you might be stuck for a decade. Fine if you are a young couple in a flat, but not that great if you start to have a family. Lose your job or your relationship falls apart. Perhaps “nothing” will happen. I do not know, but I’m not sure I’d bet my house on it.

SOLOMONS IFA UK AVERAGE PROPERTY PRICES 74-20

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

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

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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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HOT PROPERTY?2020-11-01T08:43:43+00:00

KODACHROME

TODAY’S BLOG

KODACHROME

We’ve all probably watched more on television in the last 6 months than perhaps we have for many years. The other night I watched Kodachrome. I had reasonable hopes given the cast (Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen) and the plot, which was suggested as a father and son trip to get some final film developed at the last place to offer the service before closing. A sense of the now or never.

Famous photographer Ben Ryder (Harris) is at deaths door, much like his Kodak film slides. His relationship with his son Matt (Sudeikis) is also “mostly dead” rather like Kodak. At a crossroads or cul-de-sac (you decide) the two are reunited through contrived circumstance, on a journey together for different reasons. Ben to get 4 old rolls of film developed and Matt to get an interview, both with the air of desperate “last chance” about them.

SOLOMONS IFA - KODACHROME

NOT IN FOCUS

There are lots of possibilities for this, how change, endings and loss are handled for example. If you knew you had a few weeks to live, how would you conduct yourself in your final days. Perhaps a question many of us may have thought about more than usual recently. How do we handle ageing and the constant advancement of technology that can leave us behind, perhaps feeling (or being) redundant and consigned to history. How will we leave our mark, impression or do we even want to?

Sadly, the script and plot failed to cope with difficulty or nuance.  The film is seemingly at a loss for ideas. Perhaps I am wrong, but there is a point in the story where Matt returns to his Uncle’s adoptive home, where Matt lived from age 13 following the death of his mother and the chosen absence of his father. Matt is now an adult in the music business, something of an expert. Yet the room he returns to in his uncle’s home is as it was left – vinyl and posters intact. Whilst I imagine this may happen sometimes, it seems improbable that an adolescent’s room is left for well over a decade (well over) in its original state.

DEPTH

Unsurprisingly, the plot becomes ever more simplistic and lacks any depth of vision (ironic for a photographer). Words are said, tantrums had, departures, threats, ultimatums but we all know where this is headed – a “just in time” redemptive ending, where a man’s work is validated above his ability to be present or available to that which he suggests is important.

Life is rarely like this. We often do not get ample warning to adequately address painful experiences. No final road trip with a mission. The voice of the financial planner is to act as a reminder that life is brief. We all know it is, but most of us live as though it will last forever. Planning finances to last and to be sufficient, so that you can squeeze all the joy you want from your allotted time, whatever that means for you. It has a connection with money, but it is not about money. Its about the choices we make to live.

USE BY: SEE END

So, let me suggest something else. You have 4 rolls of film, (unlike digital images which are so instant and numerous that there is little focus on the importance of the subject and its composition). One roll for each quarter of your remaining time (I would not be so harsh as to divide it up into quarters and give you what should be left). At the end of each future quarter period, I take one from you. What have you filled it with? Even this is clearly a daft suggestion – we simply do not know how much time we have. What we do know is what is important to each of us. The job of the planner is to help you maximise the time you have available and help you calculate what is possible given the resources you have. Like Kodachrome, we all have a shelf-life, this life is to be used. Unlike the food in your fridge, we simply do not have the use by date. This is a reminder check your stock and plan. We all know how disappointing waste is, particularly when at one point it was within our control. Today is your day of control.

SOLOMONS IFA - THE LIFE YOU SHOOT

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

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

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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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KODACHROME2020-09-28T17:37:05+01:00

TWENTY-ONE

TODAY’S BLOG

TWENTY-ONE

We have turned twenty-one. We are still here and growing again as I outlined in my last post. One of the many aspects of my work that I really love is the constant learning and improving. Whilst learning new things often seems a little frightening, a little bit of time and perhaps a lot of work can  provide a reassuring perspective.

It is tempting at anniversaries to do a lot of looking back at what has been achieved. However today I was introduced to a fairly stark image – no, not the usual pictures of backtracking ministers or inept politicians – a reminder that life is very, very short.

TEMPUS FUGIT – OUR CONSTANT

The author, Tim Urban (really?) continues to use and develop his basic visual tool to explore other ideas, but these all stem from the same basic idea of measuring life in different types of units, rather than perhaps monetary ones. A good financial planner will have discussed this notion to some extent with you – trying to help you appreciate that life is short and you may not get to do all the things you say you would like to do because time runs out. This is fundamental to any good financial plan in terms of knowing how much is enough. I’m not meaning “just enough” but enough.

The graphic shows a human life to age 90. For many humans, this will be longer than they actually live, for some it will not be nearly long enough. Tim spends time reflecting on things he does with his time and then tries to estimate how much he has done and how much he has left. It helps him to focus on what is important to him.

I wonder what you think? Its easy to get started with your own life in weeks, but its also rather daunting when you see how much time remains… hopefully. So I’m likely to adapt this idea to help you think about what’s actually important in your life and what you definitely don’t want to run out of time for. Anyway, the place to start is where you are now… and then cross out everything before or mark it as completed…. I’m available to discuss.

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

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

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

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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TWENTY-ONE2020-08-19T16:53:32+01:00

WE ARE GROWING

TODAY’S BLOG

WE ARE GROWING

Despite the problems with the pandemic, we are continuing with our strategy to grow. It is my ambition to ensure that Solomons can continue to provide insight and advice well past my intended retirement date (which is still many years off). However, I need to grow the business to do so. I look at this as a way of securing our future and yours.

As of this month we have a new trainee – Daniel Liddicott. Dan will be introducing himself to you in due course and we are all being cajoled into providing a helpful bio each for the website. It is my hope that Dan will not simply enjoy a career in financial services but come to love it. To my mind this is all about helping people find some peace of mind and security that is enough to ensure that they have the lifestyle that they want, whilst protecting all that they hold dear from ruin.

Dan is hopefully the first trainee adviser of many more to join us, but once qualified (which will take around 2 years) he will need some clients to work with.

IAN HORNE CITYWIRE

Understanding the value of advice

As a client you are hopefully familiar with what we do, how and why but today I was challenged to share a video by one of our industry media outlets – Citywire. This is a short (well 22 minutes – gulp!) video of Ian Horne traversing the UK, attempting to understand the value of financial advice – talking about money is perhaps one of our last taboos. The challenge from the editor of Cirywire was to share the video – so challenge accepted. Here’s the video

So what can you do?

The truthful answer is that I would really like more clients like you, so if you have any bright ideas about how we might achieve that, I’d love to talk with you. If you have any questions about the video or anything we do or any financial topic, just get in touch – email me (that’s the easiest approach). If you have a friend of colleague that wants or needs some financial advice, well why not start with this video. It’s a bit long, but it’s a start, alternatively just share your own experience.

Some Context

In the video Ian talks about RDR, this came into effect in 2013. However I set up and started Solomons in 1999 on this basis – some time ahead of the majority of advisers, who moved to a transparent system because they had to. Next week we celebrate our 21st birthday – some clients have been with us since the beginning (and in fact before).

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

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

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

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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WE ARE GROWING2020-08-05T16:20:21+01:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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