YOU ARE ALREADY READY – WIMBLEDON AND WINNERS

TODAY’S BLOG

YOU ARE ALREADY READY – WIMBLEDON AND WINNERS

I was watching the local tennis tournament in Wimbledon and for some reason a comment by the BBC commentator, John Inverdale struck a chord. It wasn’t a particularly unusual comment and nothing new, but for some reason it resonated, and I think he was spot on.

He said (and I may paraphrase)

“I was at Roehampton last week for the qualifying, I was interviewing one of the players that got through and asked: at match point, one point away from qualifying, what were you thinking? the answer was I wished I was anywhere but there… which is very different from a Champion who revels in such moments.

If you didn’t know who they were, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between most players, but it’s at the key moments, when the match is tantalisingly poised… invariably it’s the It’s the champion that’s been there more often who comes through.

Apologies to Mr. Inverdale if I haven’t transcribed that perfectly. Anyway, if I understood correctly, he was really stating that winners seem to win more frequently because they are better in the tense moments. Something that I suspect we might all agree on.

Solomons IFA Eye on the ball

YOU’VE GOT THIS…

It reminded me of a chart that I have been using with clients recently. We know that markets have been difficult or “volatile” this year. The histogram I have been discussing is this one.

UK Equities 1926-2021

In simple terms it shows the calendar year returns of the UK stock market from 1926 to 2021. Everything right of 0% (column 5) ending the year positively, to the left (the first four columns) – negatively. The good news is that since 1926 there have been rather more years of positive returns (72/96) or 75% of all years.

I’ve been considering how we all handle stock market crashes and I think its right to remind ourselves of the awful investing years that we have lived through… depending on when you became an investor (most of you would not have been investors (aged 18) before 1955). So it seems reasonable to point out that you have lived through more than your fair share of bad investment years… you’d have to be at least 67 to have been an adult investor in 1973 and 1974, two of the worst years, but I suspect most have experienced 1990, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2018, 2020. Returning to the tennis analogy, these were the tense, big moments. You held your nerve and survived. You are still here; you and your portfolio have survived.

The way media and arguably regulation presents investment is to focus on the negative years. We can agree and acknowledge that “bad years” for investors come around regularly – 1 in 4 is a negative year. We are all adults and know this. Whatever is thrown at us over the coming months you have the genuine life experience to fall back on. You have been here before. Hold fast and play the long game, progressing through your own journey to the final.

If you are concerned about your portfolio please get in touch with me. If you know someone that is, why not suggest that they get in touch too. The greats all have coaches, but talent is what you possess already. A coach seeks to maximise yours.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

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YOU ARE ALREADY READY – WIMBLEDON AND WINNERS2022-06-28T19:16:05+01:00

INFLATION, INTEREST – THE NUMBERS ARE STARTING TO HURT

TODAY’S BLOG

THE NUMBERS ARE STARTING TO HURT…

If you are a car driver as I know most of you are, the current price of petrol will almost certainly have caused a gulp of disbelief as you fill up your “pride and joy”. The rate of inflation may be a testing 9% or 10% (next release from the ONS is next week) but the price of fuel is rising much faster than that. Indeed, I have noticed the price at a station change within the space of a return trip to a local garden centre.

Today, 16th June 2022 unleaded petrol is around £1.87 a litre or £1.93 for diesel. In June 2020 it was £1.07 and £1.11 respectively. That’s an increase of 74% in a year. If only I could tell you that investments had fared as well, they haven’t. Markets have been very difficult lately, largely since November. Global equities are down 1.48% over 12 months and global bonds are down 12.01%. When the numbers go in opposite directions to our daily reality of the cost of living it becomes alarming.

I am not going to pretend to you that this is easy or that inflation will quickly disappear as the Bank of England appears to believe (returning to around 2.4% in 2024). We could be in for inflation that lasts rather longer than that. Sadly, we are in short supply of good politicians around the world, those that we have seem intent on destroying any sense of self-respect. The “unexpected” war in Ukraine is certainly lasting longer than most expected… which does leave me wondering, who on earth is doing this “expecting”? most of the hard-nosed realists I know do not have much faith in politicians to resolve much at all, other than their own salaries and second jobs.

Petrol Prices Rising

THE JUBILEE, 1977 AND A 67% MARKET DECLINE

If the Jubilee parties didn’t remind you of 1977, the impending rail strikes and some of the economic data may soon help you to do so. Still, we have learned lessons from the past haven’t we! I imagine that you appreciate that I am being a little sarcastic. Sadly, you and I cannot control very much of what is going on. We can control how we respond. All the lessons of history are that successful investing means riding out the peaks and troughs of the global market cycles. Some of these are very deep and “hurt”. For some context, the average bear market since 1926 fell by -35% and lasted 18 months. Some were worse, some better (hence average). The worst fall was in June 1972, markets collapsed -67% and the bear market lasted 2 years 7 months. £100,000 in 1972 would have fallen to around £33,000 however for those that held their nerve that same £100,000 became £1,207,159 when considered over 154 months (12 years 10 months). That is amazing isn’t it… but so few investors had the patience, confidence or perhaps ability to stay the course. This is not easy, hindsight is easy, the present and an unknown future are “difficult” yet that is the reality of our daily lives. Complex, unknown and full of conflicting messages and competing media.

Today the Bank of England raised its base rate to 1.25%. Let me get ahead of the “news services” and spin this in different ways. Interest rates have increased 25% overnight. The highest for over a decade. This is true, but in the context of interest rates they are half as much as they were in November 2008 (3%). When I started the firm in 1999, rates were 5% (some 333% higher). When I started in this game, they were 10.88% and I have a very real experience of them at 14.88%.

Life changes, your plans may need updating, but your main priorities and principles are unlikely to alter at all. Do get in touch with me if you are concerned. As I may have said, investing is a long-term, a lifelong process. Remember your money should serve you, not the other way around.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

INFLATION, INTEREST – THE NUMBERS ARE STARTING TO HURT2022-06-16T16:37:26+01:00

SHOULD YOU BECOME AN INVESTMENT EXPERT?

TODAY’S BLOG

DEMANDING ATTENTION

I recently read Oliver Burkeman’s latest book “Four Thousand Weeks”. I thoroughly recommend it. One of the things he reminded me of is that your life is sum of the things you pay attention to.

Whether that’s a deliberate focus or a haphazard collection of experiences. What you pay attention to will define you.

You can choose to spend your time looking after your own investments. There is something about this that seems perfectly reasonable and “grown up” after all, who is more trustworthy with your own money?….

Or perhaps you can let go of the notion that you need to be fully competent in many aspects of adult life. Perhaps the plethora or choices and complexity is nothing like those your parents actually had. When money was generally a lot easier and investment choices were simple. Heck, it’s much more complicated than 10 years ago, let alone your parents generation.

Now we have that time saving device and access to the internet, all possible answers can be considered. But is this how you really want to spend your precious time?

DO IT YOURSELF?

THINGS I PUT DOWN

My parents built our first family home when they were just 25, the house itself is still standing and probably faring better than the faded magazine that reported their story (House Beautiful) from the time. Meanwhile I’m over twice that age and can barely achieve most rudimentary DIY tasks. In truth, they had limited options as a couple of new teachers back in the 60s. They built a house because for them, it got them a home they could afford. A decade later they sold it for five times what it cost them.

I’m not daft enough to attempt a house build, it is an aspiration to do so one day, but what I really mean is have a house built, one that I have “designed” not to actually lay all the bricks!

Perhaps I will never get to “build my own house” it can be added to the very long list of things that I will never get to do, that isn’t going to deflate me, it’s reality and the fact that my choices are always compromises.

If you want to do your own investing, fine, go for it. I can promise it’s not a part-time occupation and experience can be expensive to acquire. I’m serious – go for it. You will have a world of choices and “experts” bombarding you with information. My one tip would be to have an evidence-based Investment philosophy and stick with it for life…. Or at least 2 decades.

Alternatively, why don’t you go out and do something less boring instead…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

SHOULD YOU BECOME AN INVESTMENT EXPERT?2022-04-13T14:41:04+01:00

NFT – NEW FAIRYTALE

TODAY’S BLOG

NFT – NEW FAIRYTALE

Perhaps you haven’t heard about NFTs, if not give yourself a pat on the back. However, it’s possible that you have seen something online or had a younger person mention it to you and perhaps it left you a little perplexed. I am not a fan. To me this is yet another of “The Emperors’ New Clothes”. I am concerned that a lot of people will say goodbye to their hard earned savings for fear of missing out and not understanding investing, in a culture that appears to tell us not to invest in the stock markets. Give me a moment and I will try to explain why.

One of the main reasons for people being scammed is due to a fear and lack of understanding about the stock markets. The market volatility is regularly reported by what passes as news, keeping you informed about the latest FTSE100 movement. “Billions were wiped off the markets today” is a phrase that regularly rolls off news presenters’ tongues, yet rare is the day (have I ever?) when we hear the “billions wiped on”. We are all kept in a state of anxiety about impending doom and it is quite deliberate. It gets your attention.

SO WHAT… HOW DOES THIS ENCOURAGE SCAMS?

Well, fearing the investment of your money in the most regulated, scrutinised exchange, where data is published and reviewed every day of the year and has been for decades, it seems that the volatility and the anecdotal “I lost money” or “my dad lost money” triggers the big red panic button that most of us have. So many turn to alternative forms of investing in the mistaken belief that they are less ‘risky’ (in fact some seem to be a ‘sure thing’). Oh, and for good measure, we humans are impatient, we love a happy ending and have a tendency to ignore the hard work that went into creating one (if it even is an ending). Or to put it another way, to approve of and want successful investments once they have happened.

NFTs The New Clothes

INVESTING IN REAL COMPANIES

When you invest money into the stock market or funds of equities (as is more likely) you buy shares in companies that trade internationally. They do so by making or providing goods and services that we want, need or require. As markets are generally competitive, they strive to improve what they do to ensure their own sustainability. Where companies often go wrong is cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profit rather than improving what they do and communicating this properly. On occasion, you may have an objection to the company, or its sector or the people that lead it. So you can (we can) screen out some of these based on ethical, environmental, social or governance standards. At the same time, you know that ‘cheap’ is unlikely to be high quality, but you also know that we don’t all need our weekly shopping from Harrods. There is a range; a spectrum. Sometimes we pay more for things because of the feelings that it evokes, sometimes we do so because we instinctively know it to be better.

Your investment appreciates in time as the company you invest in grows. You also receive a share of the profits made (dividends). Quite how much and how well these companies ‘perform’ is largely down to how well they run and… luck. By luck I mean – the right place at the right time, for example being a PPE manufacturer and a pandemic arrives.

You get your money back when you sell your investment. In the interim, you’ve hopefully had some dividends and an improvement in the value of the share. If you hold a handful of companies and one or two fail (such as the Kodaks of the world) then you have a proper loss. If you hold thousands, perhaps an entire market, then the impact of any failure is significantly reduced.

INVESTING IS NOT GAMBLING

Placing a sporting bet or a stake in a casino, you are hoping for a win, or something close to that to get your money back, plus the incentive to make the bet in the first instance. You may get back nothing – which is far more likely. That’s gambling – the risk of complete loss. For some people this is a small bit of fun (I can think of many better things, but I won’t judge), for others it becomes an addictive habit that can destroy families.

When you consider investment in proper companies (shares in them) over time, going back to the start of your lifetime, there is only one direction of travel for the combined value of your investments. Upwards. Yes there are bumps along the way (volatility) but you own real assets (companies) making and providing real products and services.

THE NEW CLOTHES

The digital world and our obsession with it, has given some people the idea that a digital image is worth something. These NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are in my opinion the equivalent of the Emperor’s new clothes. The value is talked up by nefarious online forums and chatrooms and ‘traded’.  I would not touch them with the proverbial barge pole. If in the event I am wrong about this in say three decades time, that’s fine with me as I will be holding assets that provide regular income from actual profits from making real products and services. I can and will happily live with that and until proven otherwise, I will not aid anyone into deliberate folly.

HMRC’s NFT SEIZURE IS A WARNING TO ‘INVESTORS’ AND TAX CHEATS

The UK tax authorities have confirmed their first ever seizure of a non-fungible token (NFT) following a probe into an alleged £1.4million VAT fraud. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said it had confiscated three NFTs, along with £5,000 in other crypto-assets, and arrested three people as part of a fraud investigation concerning around 250 sham companies. It claims the three suspects, who have not been publicly named, used a variety of ‘sophisticated methods’ to try and conceal their identities, such as false invoices, pre-paid unregistered mobile phones and virtual private networks.

NFTs are tokens representing the ownership of a digital asset, which could be an artwork, an image, music, or even a tweet that have their own unique signature and cannot be exchanged for another asset of the same type. But there has been increasing worries that these digital tokens, as well as cryptocurrencies, are being used by criminals to hide their illicit financial gains. Nick Sharp, the Deputy Director of Economic Crime at the HMRC, said: “Our first seizure of a Non-Fungible Token serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto-assets to hide money from HMRC.”

Understand the real risk and buy real assets. You have been warned.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

NFT – NEW FAIRYTALE2022-03-21T17:14:54+00:00

MORE MARKET VOLATILITY – UKRAINE CRISIS

TODAY’S BLOG

MORE MARKET VOLATILITY – UKRAINE

The depressing news that Russia has invaded Ukraine will please nobody. The tension has been building and reflecting in global prices of all assets. The value of something is always spurious. The stock market is about as regulated and wrapped in red tape as it is possible to be, constantly monitored around the world, it is arguably the purist, cleanest way to value companies and trade currency, bonds and commodities.

As a client, you have ample experience to know that markets rise and fall. The forward rise of markets is a permanent state (when considered properly) the declines are temporary. This is how things are, this is the uncomfortable truth. That means there are occasionally very large temporary falls in value… which then recover.

A loss is only created when you sell for less than you paid. If you sell holdings in a market low, you are likely to have lost money on your investment. If you wait – until you need the money, as we have carefully planned with you, then you will ride out the storm of the day.

Something familiar

UNKNOWN FUTURE

I do not know how the situation in Ukraine will unfold. Nobody does. I think it likely that we can all agree that world leaders don’t really seem to be very good these days, inflated egos and social media soundbites are no basis for running a country well. There are an array of reasons and motives behind the Russian aggression, maybe this has been many years in the making. A weakened EU, a divided UK (most nations now seem to be), the stalwart of Germany out of the way,  a pandemic that has cost billions and an energy ‘crisis’. Opportune or designed? Or perhaps this is ‘nothing more’ than a long-held grudge about the expansion of NATO. Or perhaps this is purely about the energy supply lines that go from Russia through Belarus and Ukraine and it makes up the majority of their income from abroad (worth a glance at a piece from five years ago here). Here is an image from the Economist to provide a little illumination.

The Economist / JP Morgan

We do know that Mr Putin is certainly someone that is capable of playing the long game, unlike our own Prime Minister. Has he underestimated his opponents and the degree of international outrage? Perhaps. He probably took reassurance from Syria, Afghanistan or Yemen where the world basically made an noise and then left quickly. I have no idea, neither do you unless you are at GCHQ or MI5 or some similar organisation – and I suspect even then you are guessing.

What I can tell you is that markets will recover. Politicians do not get to shape your financial plan. It is built with market volatility in mind. Whilst we are again confounded by the folly of war by the few on the many, we can hope that this ends soon with minimal loss of life. Yet we are realists and know that egos need to be nursed into a state of calmness before aggression ends. There is much work to do, but worrying about your portfolio is not on the list. If anything, the temporary decline in value is another opportunity to buy at a discount.

We are all concerned about the lives of people in Ukraine and the surrounding region, that is an entirely proper response. But this time it’s different… well, the events maybe (though they echo history) but actually these dreadful events are sadly all too normal and familiar.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

MORE MARKET VOLATILITY – UKRAINE CRISIS2022-03-02T15:14:42+00:00

WHO WANTS TO BE AN ‘ISA MILLIONAIRE’?

TODAY’S BLOG

WHO WANTS TO BE AN ‘ISA MILLIONAIRE’?

Tax-free savings accounts have been ‘a thing’ since the introduction of PEPs in 1986.

In 1990 TESSAs were born, with ISAs appearing for the first time in 1999.

So for the last 36 years, it has been possible (and encouraged) to save tax-free up to certain limits.

As you are probably aware the current limit for ISAs is £20,000 per tax year.

There was an article in the news recently saying that HMRC has confirmed that there are now more than 2,000 ‘ISA Millionaires’ in the UK.

The first ever ISA Millionaire is thought to be Lord Lee of Trafford.  He hit the £1,000,000 mark in 2003 (sixteen years after investing his first £1).  He invested the full amounts allowed each year into stocks and shares accounts (totalling £126,000).  All interest and dividends were invested back into his portfolio and the power of compounding is clearly demonstrated here (with growth in the sum of just under £900,000 to hit that magical £1million).

There is no Capital Gains Tax to be paid on it and no Income Tax on the dividends either.  It IS what it ‘says on the tin’ … completely tax-free.

It has been calculated that investors putting in their first £1 today could become ISA millionaires in approximately 22 years (depending on returns) – and that’s if the annual allowance remains at £20,000!

So when you hear any of us on the Team at Solomon’s ‘reminding’ and ‘gently nudging’ you about making annual ISA contributions (or better still – setting up a monthly Direct Debit!) – there is a very good reason for this.

We encourage all our clients to save regularly in this way and maximise the allowances whenever possible – and so this is yet another timely reminder from us that if you want to use your allowance for the 21/22 tax year – you must do so very soon – time is running out – and it’s a case of ‘use it or lose it’.

Please let us know urgently if you are intending on making a contribution to your ISA in the 21/22 tax year, so that we can make sure this is processed within the deadlines.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

WHO WANTS TO BE AN ‘ISA MILLIONAIRE’?2022-02-25T16:00:26+00:00

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

TODAY’S BLOG

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT…

Believe it or not, the tax year end is not so far away.  Tuesday 5th April looms menacingly on the horizon … how time flies!  It seems like only yesterday that we were doing this dance, even though I’m sure that for many of you, the last year has felt like a particularly long and tough one.  You can count me among your ranks.

As that time of year approaches, we will be frequently reminding you of the prudence in making the most of your ISA allowances for the current tax year.  If you haven’t thought about this yet, please consider this your first call to action!

As a reminder, for the 2021/22 tax year, the allowances are £20,000 (per individual) for subscriptions into ISAs, and £9,000 for subscriptions into Junior ISAs (JISAs).

So that this is less of a pure reminder and somewhat informative, I will let you in on a lesser-known fact about ISAs and JISAs … 16 and 17-year-olds are able to hold both a JISA and an ISA simultaneously.

Not only are they entitled to hold both a JISA and an ISA, they are also entitled to BOTH of the annual allowances that come with them.  This means that the amount that can be saved into ISAs on behalf of these teenagers increases from £9,000 per year to £29,000 per year (all tax-free of course).

If you are looking for ways to set more funds aside for your children (or grandchildren), this might be one of the best ways to do it.  I know that some of you have utilised this benefit already.

So, whilst we have a little time before April hits us, please make sure that any intended ISA top-ups are made in good time to use up those allowances for the current tax year.  We would ask that all tax-year-end-sensitive investments are made by 25th March 2022.

We are only an email or phone call away if you need any help.

And remember that the kids are alright!

Daniel Liddicott
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT2022-01-28T16:39:55+00:00

HIGHER OR LOWER?

TODAY’S BLOG

BY WHAT MEASURE?

I am conscious that whatever we measure, it never really captures “life”. 2021 has been a good year for our clients and the business. We have taken on new clients, helped reduced debt and costs, improved asset allocations, interest from deposit rates, used tax allowances and reliefs. Some have been reassured of their retirement plans, others have brought forward theirs. We have moved you out of expensive arrangements, ring-fenced funds, protected families and businesses and reduced hassle. Markets have risen (this is not our doing) so valuations are up.

Yet these are reductive measurements. Many of us have had significant difficulty coping with pandemic life, the isolation and inability to do many of the things that we assumed normal. Family members, friends, colleagues have suffered with health, frightening diagnoses, and some, sadly life itself. Some have been furloughed, lost their business or job, those of you working within the NHS or teach have been under tremendous pressure. So yes, returns have been up, but few of us believe that this is the measure of life.

HIGHER OR LOWER

HIGHER OR LOWER? PLAY THE HAND YOU HAVE

Knowing this, every time this year we bear witness to the folly of making predictions. My in-box will be full of “Our Expectations For The Coming Year” or “What Portfolios Should Look Like For This Year”. As we take the long-term (decades) approach I can generally dismiss this as unhelpful noise, designed to evoke anxiety than allay fear. I’m reminded of the 1980s TV Show “Play Your Cards Right” where Bruce Forsyth would reveal cards to players simply shouting “higher” or “lower” than the value of the one previously. Often, I find myself wondering if the investment world is really any better – after all, its meant to be about deploying capital so that good businesses can innovate, improve and expand the goods or services that they provide.

Yet we will see headlines and bylines all attempting to generate anxiety, here are a few that I am expecting.

  • Are Markets About to Collapse?
  • Has the property market overheated?
  • Is cryptocurrency your sure bet to financial freedom?
  • Is the Bond market about to bomb?
  • Will the crisis in (fill in the blank) impact your portfolio?
  • Billions wiped off markets
  • Top Funds for (insert year)
  • Pension storm warning: tax relief is likely to change in the Budget
  • Chancellor plans to scrap (insert point of pain).

I don’t know how this new year will work out for each of us. Some of the above may happen, it may not, the Negative Event World Service (NEWS) wll certainly attempt to stoke anxiety and we can rely on something else always tempting the promise of “better”. I can safely say that we will age, taxes will become due and health, love and friendship are things to cherish and work on. None of us are immortal.

Thank you for paying some attention this year, you are a much better audience than last year. We will continue to call you to look up and look ahead, whilst being aware of the past and context of the present. To be blunt, let us worry about the noise, focus on what you are good at and what you get value from.

Welcome 2022 – we go again.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

HIGHER OR LOWER?2021-12-31T08:34:23+00:00

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?

TODAY’S BLOG

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?

You may have gathered that I am not a fan of the Cash ISA. If you really must have one, then you need to be clear that you are getting a top rate of interest (less than 1% at the moment) and that you are not locked in for too long. If you expect rates to rise, why on earth would you lock in to one?

We all have a personal savings allowance. That’s £1000, £500 or nothing depending on your highest rate of tax. Basic rate (20%) taxpayers have a £1000 savings allowance (interest from savings) and those that are higher rate (40%) have a £500 allowance. Therefore, majority of people will have at least £500 of interest that they can earn tax free. Today that means holding around £50,000 of cash, which is a little under twice the average national income. According to ONS data to the end of the 2019/20 tax year, that’s £29,900 (median household income).

As I have said before, I am a great believer in holding cash. It provides for projects and emergency. Good planning – which is something that you already do better than most because you are here today, means getting a realistic estimate for something you intend to do and setting that aside prior to starting the project. This is therefore based on your research, quotes, and prudence to allow a sensible margin for error, or builder maths.

Wheat and Chaff

CASH FOR EMERGENCIES

Then there is your emergency fund. This is entirely subjective. It is an amount that enables you to sleep at night knowing that if something disastrous happened by the time you woke, you and your family would be able to cope financially. Things like loss of your job, the boiler breaking down, your car being vandalised or stolen, perhaps even a quick getaway fund from an abusive relationship. You might relate this number to how much you normally spend each month and hold a multiple of that.

RISKS CHANGE AS YOU AGE

Those that have a guaranteed income (people that are retired and living on State Pensions, annuities, or final salary pension benefits) arguably don’t need to worry about the loss of a job or their income. Its more likely that, if that’s you, you think of the extra income sources – from your investments or perhaps a holiday home that is let during a pandemic.

Most people will probably not need more than £50,000 (in 2021) but I did say it was subjective and personal to you. Cash doesn’t really work for you; it works for a bank who lend your money out at a rate that makes them rather more than they offer you to “store” it with them. If this drags on for months and years, you will undoubtedly see the spending power of your money reduce due to inflation. It needs to do some heavy lifting, which means investment. This comes at the price of market volatility in the short term, but if done properly, will deliver greater yields.

PARABLES ABOUT BARNS AND GRAIN

To my mind, it’s like an arable farmer keeping all their seed (cash crop) in a barn and not sowing enough. At some point, the barn will run out as its consumed or rots, missing out on all that multiplication and future harvests.

Anyway, given that most people don’t need to hold much more that £50,000 and would get the interest on it tax free anyway, there is no point using your valuable ISA allowance to give you something you already have.

Of course, this is what a plan will help determine and why understanding what the money is for and the reasons for your anxieties about money. Do get in touch.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

ARE YOU MISUSING YOUR CASH ISA?2021-10-11T16:42:18+01:00

ONE FOR THE GARDENERS

TODAY’S BLOG

ONE FOR THE GARDENERS

It has not been easy to find positive aspects of the pandemic, yet I have been fortunate enough to really enjoy working in the garden. I am not an expert, I have generally been handy at knocking stuff down, cutting, chopping and digging, but it took a pandemic to really switch me on to the joy and healing power of gardening and giving it more thought.

One of the surprises has been the short life of many blooms. There was a lot of groundwork, preparation, tending and expectation before the flower finally appeared, only to disappear within a day or a couple of weeks. Thankfully, I planted lots of plants that flower at different times, but the saying “the constant gardener” is very much my experience, different seasons bringing different work from deadheading to mulching.

It occurred to me that there are many lessons from gardening to learn when it comes to investing and indeed running a business. One of the things we attempt to do is equivalent to pruning – we might train some plants along a particular line, some stakes, supports or tied attachments might be needed to get the plant growing in the right direction. Perhaps cutting off some stems, to refocus the plant energy into the direction of the result we seek. We might want to give a plant a little extra care at times, responding to the local weather. That sort of thing.

Front garden work 2021

TENDING YOUR PORTFOLIO

This is similar to rebalancing your portfolio. On a simple level this is taking profits, the discipline of actually buying at the bottom and selling at the top – within a range that makes sense for your planning objectives. There is a sense of tidying up, returning the portfolio to its intended structure, albeit larger and more mature (hopefully). Essentially getting it back on track having been permitted to grow within reason. Left unattended for too long the work becomes more significant and perhaps requiring larger tools and much more energy to do the job.

The problem with rebalancing is that we do need to do this regularly – not every month, perhaps not even every year. There is research about this which concludes that a rebalance adds real value if it’s about every 18-36 months (but not mandated that way). A key issue is the degree of movement away from the original plan – (we call this tolerance). A 10% trigger seems to hold credibility with evidence that this adds value over the long-term.

SEEKING MARGINAL GAINS

I’m conscious though that the process is long-winded. We need to advise you to rebalance or make adjustments, then get your permission and finally implement the changes and check that they have been done correctly. You are busy and probably get fed up saying “yes please do that” each time I ask you to confirm your permission. As a result, we are advising use of a Discretionary Fund Manager (DFM) to implement these changes based on agreed criteria. This means that there won’t be delays in optimising your portfolio, no need for you to agree each minor adjustment.

Normally I am not a fan of a DFM, but this is a fairly unique solution. Its incredibly competitive at 0.09% and takes an evidence-based approach using low-cost funds in a way that matches our own approach and investment philosophy.

Occasionally in gardening some decisions need to be made about what is altered to give the best chance of obtaining the results you seek. At your next review I shall be explaining what pruning, weeding, digging, mulching and reorganisation needs doing for your planning of future harvests

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

Take Survey

ONE FOR THE GARDENERS2021-07-28T15:48:15+01:00
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