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

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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

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

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

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

THE FLYING SCOTSMAN

TODAY’S BLOG

THE FLYING SCOTSMAN

What is it about a steam engine and the Flying Scotsman in particular? As I sat down to enjoy a trip aboard a Pullman coach, my companions and I attempted to unpick what was the nub of the attraction. After all, we had taken a train from a station close to home simply to take another train journey back into the Surrey hills, where we had just come from. This was, to put it bluntly, a journey back to where we started, simply for the sake of it. This reminded me of my own childhood and going for a drive with my father, just for the fun of it.  He used a phrase “We are going there and back to see how far it is” which is something his own father used to say to him. My dad was one of the few people in his street whose family owned a car, the days when the roads were about as busy as the Scottish Highlands, or as my daughters used to say when they were small, when the dinosaurs were around…

For all our discussion, we still didn’t really identify quite what made this steam trip so special, which it was. Something elemental about water, fire and steam? Perhaps nostalgia and the various cultural references to steam engines? A simpler way of life? The noise, smell and sense of occasion? The sense of travelling with style? Perhaps all of those or none of them. What was certainly disarmingly charming was the smiles, waves and cheers that greeted “us” along the route. People of all ages had come to bear witness to this now rare event, sharing in the collective experience, contributing to it.

SOLOMONS IFA - The Flying Scotsman

Old Technology

The steam engine is very obviously old technology. It was vital and pivotal in the industrial revolution and therefore Britain’s role in moving the world forwards. Today it is largely for the amusement of enthusiasts, but most of us probably have a fond regard for this rather nostalgic, romantic form of transport, with a sense of stepping into a story from Agatha Christie.

I found myself wondering about the different ticket classes for the 475 passengers, some of whom had a basic carriage and brought a picnic, whilst others sank into Pullman coach armchairs, enjoying canapés, champagne, and a three-course meal with wine.  Yet this would be similar on aeroplanes, or contemporary trains… or frankly almost any service. We were all being pulled along the same track at the same speed. None of us were in control of the engine or actually aboard the Scotsman. Our experiences were similar but rather different. We all arrived at our final destination at the same time, on time, but perhaps in different states of rest.

Life is a Journey

Regularly we all see adverts that play on the idea that life is about the journey not the destination, this is a truth, but how we decide to experience the journey may well impact how we feel when we finally arrive.

The idea of a journey as a metaphor often used within financial services. Indeed I often describe it as such and talk of “course correction”. Yet in practice a good plan is simply mapping out where you wish to go, the method of travel may vary and perhaps alter, the speed, comfort and experience of the journey can be tailored to suit most budgets. The key is making sure you are not simply going around in circles and on your own path. However, one inescapable reality, is that a financial plan invariably begins at home and ends at home.

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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WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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GET IN TOUCH

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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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THE FLYING SCOTSMAN2019-06-25T11:03:06+00:00

THE STARRY MESSENGER

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STARRY MESSENGER

I was working with clients the other day and they noticed one of the icons in the software I was using with them. It was marked as “midlife crisis” and the icon was a sports car. They thought the IT company could do rather better with its icons (no I had not used it in their plan). However perhaps the sports car isn’t that bad an icon – a cliché admittedly. Perhaps I should suggest that they use a star now that a new play (well new to the West End) “The Starry Messenger” is running at Wyndham’s theatre.

The play explores the now recognised normality of a mid-life crisis. 50 something male falls for vivacious female, some 20 years his junior. Like him, she has baggage though I struggled to see how it even vaguely matched. Mark Williams is a teacher at the New York planetarium teaching evening classes of adult education. He loves his subject, but his va-va-voom has long since departed, his career has been side-lined to the extent that he clings to the hope of even a data entry job so that he can at least be associated with a worthy project. He laments that others are simply better at what he does than he himself. He is un-inspiring. He meets Angela, a hard-working single mother, training to be a nurse. Her genuine kindness somehow enables a relationship to develop.

THE STARRY MESENGER - SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

Ordinary Pain

There is something terribly ordinary about the play. By that I mean the ordinariness of real people living a real life. Many of us, have occasion to contend with huge disappointment and trauma. This is the bread and butter, or perhaps blood and tears of author Kenneth Lonergan. You have probably seen or lives a version of this story. The question remains whether Mark and Anne Williams will be able to face and overcome the chasm of a void in their relationship.

Extra-ordinary Plan

As someone that partakes in the new permitted addictions of social media, within my own field I regularly come across claims that lives are changed by a great financial plan. Part of me wants to agree with this, but another part also would wish to make the point that stuff happens, or as John Lennon put it “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. We can plan sensibly, even brilliantly, but sometimes life throws up a problem or two. A financial planner can help make allowance for job loss, serious illness, long-term illness, business collapse or even death itself, but all these assume relationships last. Sometimes they don’t. I would urge caution, however detailed, however much room for error has been made, life is not as predictable as we may think. That does not negate the value of a good plan (or a brilliant one) I am simply making the point that we don’t know the future and some people talk as though they do. Beware.

As for Mark, Anne and Angela – you can see their story develop at Wyndham’s. Mark is played by Matthew Broderick, most famous for his role as Ferris Bueller (1986). A casting that seems entirely appropriate, how would 50-something Ferris face the day? I wonder if he would repeat “You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do”. Elizabeth McGovern (Downton) plays Anne and rising star Rosalind Eleazar plays the luminous Angela.

The play has begun a 3-month run. You can find tickets here. Here is a short video of the cast members discussing the play and the trailer.

Cast Discussion

Trailer

How will your story play out? Get in touch to consider your options.

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

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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

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THE STARRY MESSENGER2019-05-23T10:44:24+00:00

EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID

TODAY’S BLOG

EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID

I wonder if you have played Scruples. I haven’t done so for many years, I remember it as one of those ice-breaker/get-to-know-you games that occasionally got wheeled out at a student party. How truthful and how flexible with the truth are we with one another? Perhaps there has been an episode or incident in your life ,or that of a friend, where everyone seems to know something is awry, but nothing is said. To some this is friendship, to others it is dishonesty.

Money is one of those very divisive topics, aside from income and discussions about fairness, how we all spend it and use it tends to be something that is often hidden. We see some degree of opinion exposed in the media, largely chastising both the very wealthy for their luxury spending and those that are poorer – spending money on “non-essentials”. To say that it is a loaded and often heated topic would be an understatement.

All My Sons, London Old Vic Solomons IFA Blog

A Financial Plan based on reality

The problem for you and I is that in order to provide any meaningful financial plan, you have to declare your real-world spending, so that I can build a plan to enable you to continue to maintain your lifestyle, but also attempt to help more of your own money stick to you. What good is it if I build a plan to deliver an income of £30,000 a year when £45,000 is actually needed. This is a precarious aspect of the adviser/client relationship. In the nearly 3 decades that I have been advising clients, I have very rarely met anyone that hasn’t struggled with completing a spending plan. I have been told the experience is difficult, it raises issues of where has the money gone and what have I to show for it?

The intention is not to expose, embarrass or shame, simply to understand and see things for what they are, without value judgement. I cannot see how I can do a proper job for my clients without understanding how much money they have and need each month to support their lifestyle. Honesty about where we are now is vital in order to enable us to reach the future together. Financial denial is no different from any other form of denial. It can feel comforting, but there are consequences to failing to face realities.

Family Secrets 

I was reminded if this as I was watching “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller (1947). A powerful play that I had seen before in 2010. The play is based on a true story. The main characters all know a discomforting truth which is shameful. The neighbourhood also all know of this, perhaps discussing in private, but otherwise ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. Whilst a son, a missing in action pilot, acts as the delusion in which others share, it is merely representative of a deeper, darker truth, that a great injustice has been done. In many senses exposing this discomforting truth is a patriotic and righteous act. In reality Miller, was called before the House of Un-American Activities (hard to comprehend this today) on 21 June 1956 to explain himself for writing the play, which casts a wary eye over the American Dream.

To have the future you want, we need to understand your goals and the reality of your situation. Everyone is entitled to dream, but my job is to build a path to the future, not prop up ladders to castles in the sky.

If you don’t know the play I will not spoil it for you, but at the heart is the sense of blood money – or at least money earned deceitfully.

“Chris, I want you to use what I made for you … I mean, with joy, Chris, without shame … with joy…. Because sometimes I think you’re … ashamed of the money…. Because it’s good money, there’s nothing wrong with the money.”

It doesn’t have to be like this… 

I’m not implying that clients earn their money deceitfully! – I’ve only had one instance where this was actually the case and we didn’t proceed… well you don’t want to upset a mercenary really do you! We all know that money is loaded with sentiment, assumptions and values – many learned from our families or social structures. Money doesn’t have to be divisive, secretive or delusional. We can talk about it honestly.

As for the play, currently it is being performed at the Old Vic and stars Bill Pullman and Sally Field until the 8th June. In my honest opinion, it is Colin Morgan as Chris Keller that delivers the strongest performance. One definitely to watch. Here is the trailer and click here for tickets.

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

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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EVERYONE KNOWS, BUT NOTHING IS SAID2019-05-15T14:22:05+00:00

HOW TO STOP TIME

TODAY’S BLOG

HOW TO STOP TIME

I have recently enjoyed a rather good book “How To Stop Time” by Matt Haig. The basic outline is that some people age much more slowly than the rest of us. This provides for some fascinating encounters in history, walking the streets of London from the time of Shakespeare to the present.

Matt Haig has already assembled an impressive body of work and this novel, which was published a little over a year ago is a really worthwhile investment. It is the story of Tom Hazard who at 41 has a secret that must be maintained and kept from the witch hunters of the time. Tom ages slowly – about 15 times more slowly, so whilst Tom moves from 15 to 20 years of age, his contemporaries have become 90. This makes for good fiction and a hugely enjoyable walk through history from the late 1580’s.

How to Stop Time - Matt Haig

Short-term obsessions

There are some wonderful insights about time, fear of the future and relationships. It prompted me to reflect on the main problem that we all have – being somewhat obsessed by the short-term and immediacy of “news”.  There is a great line that I shall probably use – “your nose is pressed against the canvas, you need to stand back to see the whole picture”.

Predicting the future?

As a financial planner that uses cashflow modelling, there is a danger of giving the impression that the future is predictable. There’s something of the mystic meg with her crystal ball, seeing the future… The truth is rather different – it is only predictable in its unpredictability. However, we can look to history as a great teacher. We use historical data to help shape our assumptions about the future. We get to play with the future, to alter it and reinvent scenarios, time and time again.

A client recently confessed that “the penny had dropped” for him. He was suddenly gripped by the reality that his retirement is now not so much theoretical, but all too real and getting closer by the day. Time marches on and it eventually forces us all to pay close attention. We now adapt the possible scenarios with far greater awareness of time. His experience is very normal and in practice it really doesn’t make that much difference how many times I or anyone else says – start investing early, there are always other calls for your money and the future, is… well, it’s the future, not the present.

In many respects Haig concludes that to know thyself and live a life without fear of the future is the logical conclusion for all us “mayflies”. Relationships are temporary and to be treasured. Loss of loved ones is a far harder path than the loss even of identity, let alone wealth. My job is to help you preserve yours, to start with the end in mind and to underscore your values – the people, places, things that make your life’s work worthwhile.

Time marches on, thankfully.

I enjoyed the book, here is a link to help you find it. Matt has been wonderfully honest about his struggles with depression and its also worth having a listen to his videos on the topic – reasons to stay alive. Here isn’t a bad place to start…

Oh and if you are interested, Matt Haig is currently touring the country promoting “Notes on a Nervous Planet”. Brighton at the weekend then blazing a trail up to Edinburgh for 28th April.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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GET IN TOUCH

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

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

SOLOMON’S FINANCIAL PLANNING APP

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

   

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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

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HOW TO STOP TIME2019-03-28T19:56:41+00:00

CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING…

CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING

There are moments during every Christmas when something is captured that seems to remind me of the optimism that Christmas can bring. This is no small feat as each year brings a tendency to be ever more cynical and exasperated by the lack of progress our world makes in terms of living peacefully with one another. It seems that each year the numbers sleeping rough on the streets of London become ever greater and the yet ever more anaesthetising my conscience. The recent death of a homeless man outside Parliament is taken as a fact that is almost un-shocking.

One such moment, occurred last night at the National Theatre. A truly mesmerising production of “A Christmas Carol”. Transported back to Victorian London, we gather around the streets of London. The Old Vic is reconfigured once again for an immersive experience and a truly wonderful set of paths chosen, doors opened or closed and the ever-calling chimes of time. We are confronted by a belligerent Mr Scrooge, played by Stephen Tompkinson. We all know the story of course, yet this production manages to capture something fresh and important, an echo of the past for present and our future.

SOLOMONS IFA - THE OLD VIC A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Time and timeless

The performances are moving and heart-warming, despite the progress we have made as a society the same ills are evident. The words are as apt today as they were when Dickens wrote them. The story seemed to continue once we left, walking through the half-lit empty cobbled backstreets of Waterloo, under the arch of Cornwall Road where a soup kitchen was in full flow. How to find joy and pleasure in all things – something that the reformed Mr Scrooge achieves.

Lighting your path

Whatever life throws at us, however the next few months take shape, there will be dark moments. But we shall be here, holding a torch to the path that you have chosen, helping lead you to your chosen destination. Your portfolio may take a knock or two, it has already, but it is set on firm and timeless principles, designed for your story, not the latest news story, set in harmony with your values. We are all the sum of our choices, let us make good ones together.

As for the show, I would encourage you to get along to see it, tickets are still available and its a great show for your entire family.

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

CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING…2019-01-17T11:04:20+00:00

THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS

THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas is nearly here and despite all of the preparation and expense, most of us will probably forget most of it, save a few carefully selected memories (good or bad). For some I imagine it will a story of how their Christmas was delayed or ruined by drones at Gatwick, for others it will be a particular gift, meeting with a friend or family member, or perhaps an event. Our memory, as we all know, is wonderfully selective.

Any good financial plan has to begin with understanding where money has been going. This is the account of “now” and can be a fairly depressing experience. Most people spend much more than they realise on things that in hindsight seem rather unnecessary. One of the categories of spending we ask clients to assess is their giving, both in terms of charitable giving (for tax planning) and money spent on gifts. There is invariably a link between the size of your circle of friends and family and how much this is.

Christmas – past, present and future…

I do not intend to turn you into some Dickensian character, like Mr Scrooge. However, as you enjoy Christmas this year, be mindful of how much the experience of celebrating this day has cost. The “day” of course tends to be rather more than 24 hours and likely begins when you buy (or rent) your tree. I enjoy the theatre and seeing friends and family. We tend to have a family trip to a show (perhaps more than one). In fact, there is a lot of “stuff” that we do that is an extra expense, precisely because… well… it’s Christmas.

The warm glow of honesty

All I ask is that you reflect on how much you really spend. This is not a value judgement, simply a call to be honest with your finances. If we are unable to accurately account for a day in the year, ok perhaps the “season” then we may well be fudging other numbers. It is tempting to say this is unique, but behaviours tend to be patterns. We all have limited resources and when earning money is no longer happening, for whatever reason, the harsh reality of living within budget or running out of money is the cold shower that will wake us from the warm haze of denial.

If we really want a good financial plan, we need to begin with honesty about where, when and how we spend money.

We know that many of the things we do today to celebrate Christmas have less to do with the birth of Jesus. The movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” may help identify how much our Christmas celebrations have altered. Here is the trailer. I wish you a very happy Christmas.

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

THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS2019-08-19T15:38:26+00:00

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

One of the movies that I enjoyed at the BFI London Film Festival was “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”. You may remember the story about an American biography writer who, was a fairly difficult person to be around. Most of us are aware of the difficulties in earning a living as a writer. Some do exceedingly well, most struggle to repeat the success of one or two notable works.

Lee Israel is one such author, having published a couple of biographies, writers block or creative inertia sets in. Inevitably the reality of paying bills becomes increasingly harder. Her management of stress (or lack of) resulted in having nobody to turn to for comfort or encouragement. Aside from a cat, social connections are as sparse as the flow of words on the blank page that stares back at her. She happens upon Jack Hock, (Richard E Grant) an Englishman surfing the bars and streets of New York. He becomes her only confidant and accomplice.

Solomons IFA review Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Finders Keepers?

Opportunity presents itself whilst doing research, she finds a letter hidden within the pages of a library book. Hoping nobody has noticed and applying “finders-keepers” she takes it. The letter is sold to pay her rent. The idea takes hold that personalised letters from deceased authors and actors are collectable. Israel has a genuine talent for understanding character and replicating their voice. She sets about forging letters and selling them to dealers, who invariably lack the motivation to have the letters authenticated. They appear to be what they probably could not be, yet money changes hands, because money talks. This eventually evolves into stealing genuine letters and replacing them with forgeries.

Research and Evidence 

Eventually the FBI close in on Israel, hence how her story is known. There is little to suggest that this is a criminal mastermind or indeed a particularly tenacious investigation by the FBI, who seem sufficiently inept as to tip her off that they will be examining her apartment, enabling Israel to dispose of all evidence of her wrongdoing.

Financial Fraud 

You may have a perspective on this sort of criminal act, forgery. Yet again, this is an example of what people will do under the wrong pressures. However, it is also evident that people are often persuaded by appearances and rarely look beneath. This is particularly pertinent in most financial fraud. The temptation of market beating returns or guarantees, when a closer inspection will reveal something altogether different. The regulator does its best to prevent financial fraud, but of course this is all part of the human condition, to play upon the duplicity or naivety of others. Fraud is something that we are constantly checking, but many are duped. As we are now in the season of keeping warm inside, if you or your friends are discussing the latest fantastic offering, please remember this – and ask for proper, regulated advice.

I enjoyed the movie, which stars Melissa McCarthy providing a really sharp portrayal of Lee Israel and Richard E Grant as Jack Hock. Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?2018-10-31T14:09:00+00:00