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

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

FIRST MAN

TODAY’S BLOG

FIRST MAN

The new film about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, is a compelling story. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. The world was gripped by faint black and white images streamed around the world from another one. I do not remember the event, I was a few months old enjoying an ice cream on a visit to my grandparents. There’s even footage to prove it – though its lack of sound exposes the gap between widespread technology of the day compared to NASA.

I’ve grown up being fascinated by space, a product of my time and childhood posters of the Americans on the moon. This new movie is the story of Armstrong, much of which I did not know. The advantage of cinematic technology is that the audience are taken on the ride which feels very realistic. We ride up on Gemini and Apollo with deafening sounds of rockets, fire and metal. We can only marvel at the courage of anyone that has boldly gone where no one has gone before. Every experience new and unique, full of thousands of “what if’s”. I am only able to applaud the sort of courage I lack and the genius of the engineers, mathematicians and scientists involved.

The Sea of Tranquility

This is also the story of a family, one that isn’t terribly good at communicating. Their own inability to communicate well is echoed by the silence of space and the sea of tranquillity. We witness this through tragedy, but it is the constant silence of the background noise.

Financial planning is all about your story. You and I may not make history, but we certainly impact those that know us. Good communication in any relationship is a major element of its success. Yet many struggle to express their feelings and hopes when it comes to money. Couples have their own backgrounds that inform their own decisions and these are rarely always complimentary. Much is unsaid. Yet for any financial plan to achieve the results that you want, communication is all. This is far more complex than simply helping you get from A to B.

History in the Making

Your financial plan might be unique, but you don’t have to be the test pilot for the tools that help you. You can rely on timeless principles of investment markets and ancient realities – all things will pass. Today is tomorrow’s history. As with the skill set deployed by Armstrong, some is art, some is science and some is intuition. The issues for all of us to understand are the real risks that we run and the importance of a stress-tested plan. You may not have the need, desire or resources to get to the moon, but wherever you want to go, understanding what horizon you are looking at and what the compass is telling you are vital.

Here is the trailer… one thing that I noticed during the film was the music. It has a very familiar tune. You may remember that Mr Gosling starred in LA LA LAND which almost won the Best Picture OSCAR by mistake, against… well Moonlight. Just saying…

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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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.

FIRST MAN2018-10-18T17:35:47+00:00

AMERICAN ANIMALS

American Animals

The trailer to this movie gave me the impression that it was a fairly typical heist story, but with children dressed as old men. In reality this is a really rather wonderful story, but unfortunately displays the insight lacking from many of those involved.

The opening credits quickly open your eyes to the very real encounter that you are about to witness, followed by the introduction of the characters concerned. This is indeed a true story of four young University students who yearn for something more than the mediocrity of their circumstances. We are introduced to various people, who all fail to see beyond the external world that these young men offered and projected. Parents left wondering rather desperately why their sons could ever make such decisions. This is Ferris Bueller on speed.

This is the perfect conversation starter for those that do not sit well with the suggestion that everyone is special and cuts deep into the delusion of the American Dream. A slumber from which many may never wake and one whose end is denoted by a President signalling its end yet rather ironically perpetuating the delusion that its failure can somehow be resurrected, having to make America Great Again. The problem with any dream is that at some point you have to wake up and face reality. I’m not against dreaming – quite the opposite in fact, we need to dream, but we also need to plan and act, not simply wish. If you have children that are about to head off to University, spare a thought for this collection of A-graders. Young men who have “made it” to the promised land of a good University, doing a good course that provides good prospects.

A Small Nagging Thought…

Whilst on the campus library tour, art student Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan) is taken with a rare book of 435 paintings “Birds of America” by John James Audubon. The fact that it is both beautiful and valuable, yet displayed so humbly in the library provides a nagging thought and an opportunity.

He relays his discovery to his friend, athlete Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) who is certainly one of those friends that never has “parental permission” which is perhaps precisely why Reinhard befriends him. Lipka becomes fascinated with the idea of stealing the book, being that it is so valuable and so minimally guarded. All that stands in their way is a good plan, a librarian and a single locked door.

To Feel Truly Alive

At one point in the film Warren Lipka says “You’re taught your entire life that what you do matters and that you’re special. And that, there are things you can point towards that would… which’ll show that you’re special, that show you’re different, when, in all reality, those things… don’t matter. And you’re not special.” This was his opportunity to “live”, not to get rich quick, but to feel the adrenaline of being alive in a world that to that point had been scheduled point, by point, event by event, stage by stage.

Their plan continues to meet no insurmountable obstacle, so whilst expecting it to be derailed by something that they simply could not overcome, they creep ever closer to the realisation that a well-designed and executed plan reaches its stated goal. Their inevitable downfall was only due to a lack of detail in their plan, not that it was a bad one. This is of course (finally!) my moment to mention that a financial plan is best crafted by someone that understands the requirements, the detail and can help you to verbalise and clarify your goal, one that is hopefully based upon your values, not simply acquired value. The “Why?” of your plan is just as important as the plan itself.

What if?…

There is little doubt that for Reinhard, Lipka, Borsuk and Allen, this experience was probably one of the most heightened and significant of their lives. It is what they will be remembered for by those that do not know them. It may even be only how they remember each other. What is certain, is their remorse, but had they actually had a better plan, perhaps things would have been rather different. Obviously, I am not condoning theft, merely that a plan for the life you want may taste bitter unless you check the detail and implement it as outlined. How is your “What If?”

Here is the trailer for the film which is on general release from 7 September 2018.

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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AMERICAN ANIMALS2018-09-24T17:18:14+00:00

THREE DECADES OF RETIREMENT

Three Decades of Retirement

Three decades of retirement is the prospect that many people face if you believe that longevity is improving in general. That’s three decades to live off your investments, pensions and savings combined with any other forms of income from your State Pension and perhaps an employer’s final salary (defined benefit) pension which typically begin payments at 60, 65 or 67.

Three decades is a long time, with a lot of living to be done. To put this into perspective, it is now 2018, 30 years ago was 1988, which frankly does not seem that long ago does it? You remember 1988. It was the year the SDP merged with the Liberals, Margaret Thatcher became the longest serving PM and Comic Relief was launched. Nurses went on strike over pay. Red Nose Day raised £15m within a month the £1 note became obsolete and the Chancellor of the day Nigel Lawson cut the basic rate of tax to just 25%.

If you are into your sport, well Liverpool were beaten in the FA Cup final by Wimbledon. Graeme Hick scored a record 405 runs in a county match. Sandy Lyle won the US Masters. “Gaza” became the first £2m footballer moving from Newcastle to Spurs. The Seoul Olympics saw Team GB win 5 gold medals (hockey, swimming, rowing, shooting and sailing).

Released in 1987, Faith was the top selling album of 1988.

Another year, just like any other…

As with every year, it had its share of horror and disaster, Piper Alpha, Pan Am 103 exploding over Lockerbie, killing 207 people and a train crash at Clapham Junction killed 35 people. Edwina Currie managed to create an egg crisis. British films released included “Buster”, “A Fish Called Wanda” and “A Handful of Dust”. Michael Douglas won best actor for his role in “Wall Street” ad “The Last Emperor” picked up a stack of awards. Kylie Minogue started her pop career with “I Should Be So Lucky” (she was) and life was “Perfect” for Fairground Attraction. I was one of 80,000 at Wembley for the “Free Nelson Mandela Concert” and his 70th birthday. He was still imprisoned (not released until 1990).

Then and Now

If you are over the age of 40 this may jog a few memories of 30 years ago. The UK population was   about 56m today its about 66.5m. There were about 55,000 first-time graduates, now the number is around 414,000. The Bank of England’s base rate began 1988 at 8.37% but ended at 12.87% (yesterday the Bank increased the rate from 0.50% to 0.75% and some got worried). The FTSE100 closed the year at 1,793 yesterday it closed at 7,575 and that excludes all income from dividends over 30 years. A 10-year UK Government Bond paid about 9.79% in 1988, today around 1.23%. In short equities have gone up, Bonds have gone down. £100 in 1988 would need to be £260.44 in 2018 simply to be “worth” the same because of inflation. That’s an average rate of about 3.24%, in short, the value of your pound has more than halved.

Multiple Choices, Make them Count

This is history, a version of it. If you are now in your mid 40s or older, this is time spent. Who knows how long any of us have left but making the most of life and getting our money to last, whatever it brings is the prospect that you face. We work with clients taking a long-term perspective of life and money. We regularly review progress and make adjustments to ensure that your financial planning remains on course. Change is the constant that we all live with, but many investment principles are timeless, knowing what to adjust is probably more important than knowing you need to.

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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THREE DECADES OF RETIREMENT2018-09-25T09:58:19+00:00

Mission Impossible – Fallout

Mission Impossible – Fallout

The latest in the Mission Impossible series is now doing the summer blockbuster rounds in cinemas across the country. The six-film series has had a mixed reception over the 12 years since the first film directed by Brian de Palma. Known for its over-the-top stunts all 6 films cost a combined $828million. The return to date, with the latest film only just having opened is now in excess of $2.9billion. That’s a payback that would make most villains happy and as predictable as shots of Tom Cruise running, speeding on a motorbike, hanging to an aircraft, climbing or jumping.

This latest film is arguably the best, with a gripping, tense tale of a plot to save the world from three suitcase sized nuclear bombs. There are motorbike and boat chases across beautiful Paris, the standard Tom Cruise run across London, from St Pauls to the Tate (though why he didn’t use the millennium bridge is a mystery). Finally, a helicopter sequence over Kashmir, all in pursuit of (spoiler alert – perhaps the most obvious double agent in movie history) August Walker played by Superman himself, Henry Cavill. Note Mr Cavill is 35 and 1.85m, Mr Cruise is now 56 and 1.7m and managing to defy age in the way that LA residents do.

Mission Accomplished

Despite the obvious implausibility with this type of movie, its undeniably gripping for all 147 minutes. Throw in a few jokes and pepper with a cast (Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, and Michelle Monaghan) that fill magazines, then it’s a fairly safe bet that this latest movie will be a hit. How they get London, Paris or Berlin to close down for some of the sequences is beyond me, but kudos to whoever pulled that off.

Who To Trust

As with all things IMF, there are questions posed about who can be trusted, aligned interests and then stakes so high that results are more important than methods. This is perhaps what investors feel when confronted by the choice of an IFA, restricted adviser, financial planner, wealth manager or stockbroker. It is possible that they can work well together, but in my experience,  to do so, interests don’t simply need to be aligned, but all need to clearly understand that the client brief is the mission – nothing more, nothing less. Where this becomes impossible is when there is no plan, simply to “manage money” or arrange a financial product. This leaves plenty of scope for other interests to take hold and leave the client with a deep sense of mistrust.

Your Mission…

As financial planners, it is my belief that the regulator is largely right about transparency, revealing details to expose truth. The problem is that many will continue to find a loophole, work an angle or simply misdirect and in my opinion, trust is earned by keeping promises, not by providing information. As I knuckle down to writing yet another hefty report and wish that everyone could be happy with a short, clear and well-presented message that then self-destructs after 5 seconds, this is not my reality, or yours.  I imagine that writing a report for Ethan Hunt, with all the possible scenarios of things that have been considered, the costs, options and possible risks, it may run to rather more pages than any report I have prepared to date… so a small comfort for those of us that prefer to cut to the chase – getting on with achieving the mission – yours, should we choose to accept it.

Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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Mission Impossible – Fallout2018-07-31T12:19:47+00:00

On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach

The new film On Chesil Beach of the book by Ian McEwan is now in cinemas. It will perhaps bring back some memories for anyone that married in the 1960s, with the period captured wonderfully. Set primarily in 1962, it is the story of a newly-wed couple Edward (Billy Howle) and Florence (Saoirse Ronan) who discover that they are unprepared for the intimacy of marriage.

At the time of the story, the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s had barely begun, indeed Penguin Books had only recently (November 1960) won their case to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Despite the reality of millions of daily lives, Britain was generally rather poor at sex education. Edward and Florence lack any real understanding of each other intimately. The church would of course argue that a lifetime of marriage would gradually facilitate intimacy, whilst such an answer for many is workable, where trauma and intimacy collide, there is little comfort in glib answers. Florence offers a different option, one that Edward simply cannot face.

Sweet Sorrow?

Spoiler alert – the marriage does not last the day and is annulled. Unlike the book, we do not follow the characters much beyond the moment of decision on Chesil Beach. Decisions are made, tempers are lost, and parting was not a sweet sorrow.

In our contemporary society, relationships now take various forms, it was not until 1973 that the Matrimonial Causes Act made the case for divorce clear (beyond annulment). This despite all our somewhat hypocritical history about personal conduct in aspects of sexual intimacy and marriage. Henry VIII managed to get what he wanted and created the Church of England as a consequence. The law is flexible for those with power, as perhaps you noticed in the recent BBC dramatization about Jeremy Thorpe (A Very English Scandal).

Life can be Messy

The problem with most financial planning is that real life tends to get in the way and muck things up. Life is not nice, neat straight lines, well not for most. We might wish that everything was very each to model, but the truth is that it is of course complex, nuanced and on occasion vexing. One of the most significant aspects that will impact your financial planning will be your marital status. Any change in this will create an obvious need to review your plans, yet many don’t see past the Form E (financial statement required for a divorce) and to be blunt, I’m always surprised that lawyers do not wish all sides to undergo some basic (or complex) financial assessment with proper cashflow modelling for their new scenarios. Perhaps few have experienced the benefit of this.

In any event, life is messy. Sometimes we all need to make changes that we did not expect. This might be marriage, divorce, redundancy, addictions, debt… and so on, a plethora of possibilities that were not expected. So, I tend to get a little, well, dismissive of advisers who think that a cashflow plan is the done deal – the future is mapped out, life is now a beach…. I would be quick to point out the massive advantage of cashflow planning, we use it for all our clients, but it does have its short-comings and like anything else, garbage in, garbage out, but reading a forecasted future as anything other than an option would be unwise at best. We may all crave certainty, but there is none when it comes to living life. I advise all clients that the plan is not set in stone, it will be wrong, but it is today a very good guess about he future, based upon sensible assumptions that need regular reviewing.

The Unvarnished Truth

It is not a crime to admit things need to be changed. That your plans must alter, that is normal. What is a crime (in a sense) is pretending that everything is ok when it isn’t. You may never have a Chesil Beach moment, but may I propose that a relationship with a financial planner, requires honesty and the ability to listen, discuss and think together.

On Chesil Beach is now in cinemas, here is the trailer. I enjoyed the film, beautifully shot and poignant storytelling 7/10.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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On Chesil Beach2018-06-04T14:45:19+00:00

Flying Solo

Flying Solo

The new prequel-offshoot has finally landed in the UK. Solo is the backstory of Han Solo who together with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, changed the face of sci-fi movies over 40 years ago. This is the new story of how Han became Solo.

The ancient writers used to use the creative license of “deus ex machina” where a story could be moved along, and plot flaws salvaged by the introduction of a person or thing appearing suddenly. As with all things sci-fi, the genre itself is of course open to almost any possibility, but time travel, lightspeed are all part of the backdrop.

At the very end of the movie, we are presented with a deus ex machina, where a character previously presumed dead from a prequel to the original series, is back, very much “alive”. For those that care, (and boy some Star Wars fans are particularly “protective”) this tends to mess with the timeline, or at least appears to. Let’s just say the character is half the one he was and likely to make a return at some point should the money require it.

Your Story, Your Timeline

In the real world of financial planning, we do not get the opportunity to radically alter your timeline. We will help you to consider your story and your future carefully, revealing when some of your goals can be achieved or if they are simply unrealistic. In short, we present multiple versions of a future that is yet to happen. Sadly, we cannot adjust the past, we cannot start the investment and savings plan that you should have started all those years ago. We cannot set up financial protection now that you have been diagnosed with something dreadful.

As we look forward with a new hope, it is flimsy unless some action is taken, some plans implemented, stuff gets done. The only way to address the future is to face it in the present, with the lessons from the past. What might they be? Invest in a diversified portfolio of equities, ideally within some form of tax reducing wrapper, become a part-owner of the best companies on planet earth.

As for Solo – well its ok, I enjoyed it, “not as good as the original” but it was a solid 6/10. Chewbacca’s standard roar/growl response probably nails it.

Here’s the trailer. Warning: contains lots of British actors.

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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Flying Solo2018-05-25T12:41:38+00:00

The Leisure Seeker

The Leisure Seeker

Those that are not retired have many rather cliched ideas about retirement. Invariably these involve lots of leisure, cruises, golf and gardening. Most of the retired people I work with often voice that they are busier than ever, its simply that they don’t have to turn up for paid work.

The Leisure Seeker is a gentle movie about the Spencer’s, John (Donald Sutherland) and Ella (Helen Mirren) who decide to take one last once in a lifetime trip together in their recreational vehicle, a leisure cruiser. Their adult children are left confounded at what they perceive to be irresponsibility, given that John is clearly suffering from signs of dementia.

Memory Lane

The couple take a trip down memory lane, with mixed results. Johns dementia creates a scenario where his confusion about who, where and when he is, leads him to expose some deeply buried secrets. He is also paranoid that Ella is having an affair with Dan Coleman, who he believes is the secret motivation for their trip together.

The cruel irony of John’s dementia means that he is not even aware of the loving nature of their trip, a special excursion to Hemingway’s house in Key West, John’s literary hero, of whom he has recounted many insights to his English students throughout his career.

How does it End?

Any good financial planner will inevitably address the question of your life expectancy. All planners work on the basis of attempting to ensure that your money lasts just a little longer than you do. Naturally, this is educated guesswork and requires regular reviews. However, we also need to be mindful of the difficulty of an ending of a life. Simplifying arrangements where sensible to do so, without ruining years of sensible investment strategies and estate planning.

The film exposes the need to discuss these issues with someone trusted, certainly it would make sense for your planner to have an idea or awareness of your intentions, as it would be for your family, though the emotional dynamic of family relationships makes such a conversation problematic and rich material for drama.

The truth is that all of us face an ending, it’s simply a question of how, why and when. Here is the trailer for the film, which being small, is now reaching the end of its run in selective cinemas.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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The Leisure Seeker2018-05-15T12:11:04+00:00

I, Tonya – it figures

I, Tonya

I have to admit to having only a vague recollection of the infamous events surrounding Tonya Harding in the early 90’s. Figure skating is not something that I know much about, I grew up within a family that watched a fair bit of sport on TV. I can just about remember John Curry winning his gold Olympic medal in 1976, but more significantly Robin Cousins, who was “a local” and became an Olympic champion in 1980. Then of course came Torvill and Dean who blew us all away in 1984.The new and somewhat controversial film about “the incident” is currently playing in cinemas and raises plenty of questions.

Chaos, Controversy and Context

Controversy centres around the accuracy of the portrayal of the facts, which are all important. The film attempts to clearly state that some of the “facts” are inaccurate, but others, are a bit more one word against another. In reality the film is all about relationships.  The Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie) of the movie is young and hard-edged having lived without much affirmation. She receives constant criticism from an authoritarian, punishing mother (played by Allison Janney) who regularly struck her. This provides fairly much ideal circumstances for a relationship with a man that regularly beat her up.  Sadly, all lack any emotional intelligence and none of them appear to have received much of an education.

The Real Thing

Despite a life of struggle, Tonya is certainly a brilliant figure skater. She is the first American female to successfully complete a triple axel. Clearly her home is on the ice. The film is clear that her success and support is lacking due to her inability to fit with the required image. It is suggested that she is thwarted by judges who simply don’t want her kind in the same circles. This of course is a mixed blessing, earning her fans. Harding managed to break the taboos and gained a place on the US team for the Olympics.

Behind the Curtain

The film is of course largely concerned with the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, a team-mate and rival, who is assaulted with a baton, with the aim of preventing her from competing. The movie contends that Harding had no involvement, that she was at the very worst involved in agreeing to send threatening letters to spook Kerrigan. Those that carry out the assault are portrayed as, frankly inept, half-wits who can barely operate a kettle.

Skating on Thin Ice

It’s an engaging movie, it lacks depth or analysis, but it’s a decent story. How much is fact, or a work of fiction is very much up for debate. As Harding has seemingly changed her version of events numerous times, there will always remain some scepticism over any claim to truth. What struck me was the resulting unfairness (in the movie) of the punishment. This implied that the thugs had a short sentence, whereas Harding had a life-long sentence of being unable to teach, coach or compete in any skating event, ever. This was her one unique ability, her one chance of being able to carve a career that could provide for her and her family. Kerrigan went on to win a silver medal.

Technical Merit and Artistic Interpretation

Harding had sufficient focus and natural talent to be hugely successful and make a good life for herself from skating. This was extinguished through folly. I was at a conference recently where a similar message was delivered. People self-destruct, human nature is the enemy of successful investing. A significant part of being a financial planner, is being a coach, helping clients to alter their investment behaviours from those that are more innate and self-defeating, to those that are based on a disciplined approach, with a long-term mind-set. In a lifetime of investing, remembering the one fabulous investment you made whilst blowing the whole plan, has only one possible result and it strips you of both your dignity and independence.

Anyway, here is the trailer for the movie which is currently in cinemas.

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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I, Tonya – it figures2018-03-17T17:25:55+00:00

The Mercy

The Mercy

I have to admit that I was a little reluctant to see the new film “The Mercy” despite having three great leading actors Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz and David Thewlis). I was concerned that it was going to be the same film as the Robert Redford movie “All Is Lost” which was essentially a story of one man’s conversation with himself. Thankfully it isn’t.

The Mercy is based on a true story – set in 1968/69. It is the tale of Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth), a business owner and amateur sailor. He is tempted to compete in The Times Round the World Yacht Race, hoping to become the first man or fastest man to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. He designed his own boat the Teignmouth Electron, a trimaran.

Beware of Confidence

Thankfully we do not witness hours of footage of sailing single-handedly, but get the opportunity to explore some of the characters and their relationships. Crowhurst suffers from over-confidence, masking a deep sense of a lack of confidence. His boat is too costly for him, so he secures funding through sponsorship. However, it is clear that Crowhurst is not a good businessman, rarely able to come close to initial estimates and ends up signing over the deeds to his home and business should his venture fail. You can smell the inevitability of it can’t you.

Crunch Time

His delayed start to the race, quickly produces Crowhurst with a dilemma – to give up, return home but lose his house and business or to carry on, with little chance of success and at best a 50/50 chance of survival. This is the moment that is so often cited in books and films, where adversity births success. We continue to sail with Crowhurst as other competitors drop out, but soon realise that he is not up to the challenge with so little experience, something that many suspected all along.

False Reporting

Crowhurst sees no alternative but to concoct an alternative reality, 50 years ago this was considerably easier to do than it would be now. His ability to plot a false course and report false progress was arguably harder than an accurate one. Back on dry land an enthusiastic public wanting yet another British hero are fed fabrications about his record progress (again). He continues to make choices under immense pressure, failing to reflect on his purpose or at the very least his motivation, but then the image of anyone sailing single-handedly for months on end, might raise questions about motive. I won’t spoil the story for you.

Life Must Be Lived, What Gives it Meaning – Why?

I often use the analogy of a financial planning as a journey, one where we are clear about the destination, but needing to regularly adjust to get back on course and check progress. This is based on your purpose, your values, your “why?” without that, chances of success are very slight and rarely is it possible to emerge from financial storms without the necessary experience. My suggestion is that lessons can be learned from this.

Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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The Mercy2018-02-15T13:15:59+00:00