NOWHERE SPECIAL

TODAY’S BLOG

NOWHERE SPECIAL

The backdrop of a constant flow of awful news, was given some temporary relief through film. “Nowhere Special” is a marvellous little film from Director Uberto Pasolini and I think it’s quite an important one. There is some wonderful acting and storytelling. Uplifting, because against this tide of awfulness, there is the ability to see a different life, to walk in the shoes of someone else. Yet it is most definitely a tale of sadness.

In a nutshell, John (James Norton) is a single parent, raising his primary-school aged son Michael. John has a terminal illness and is attempting to find a family that will adopt his son.Certainly, it’s a horrible situation, one in which I am reminded that life gets turned upside down by changes to health. The only good thing about cancer is the opportunity it usually provides to prepare for death in a way that most of us do not.

Toby, (one of my closest friends) died from cancer in 2006. That’s already fifteen years ago! He was 37. His original diagnosis was in 1996, it was rare – multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN). We were both grateful that I’d persuaded him at just 26 to take out some financial protection which mercifully paid out once he was diagnosed. It wasn’t anything like “enough” in my view, but at the age we were at the time, neither of us really expected the array of problems that come with poor health and the impact on family finances. We simply didn’t know better. There were many difficulties and awful experiences, as well as many wonderful ones. It doesn’t seem 15 years ago.

NOWHERE SPECIAL

HOW WILL WE BE REMEMBERED?

A topic of conversation was regularly how his two children would remember him. He created a memory box for each of them, wrote journals and placed important mementos into their boxes (something that John does in the film too). To my mind it was a valuable use of his time, despite his sapping energy levels. I was reminded of this experience watching the film. Michael, (the son) is younger than either of Toby’s two children at the time, though both they and mine lived through the experience of regularly wondering when the end may arrive. Unlike Michael, Toby was married and not alone in raising his children or facing cancer. It became clear to me that whilst he had the diagnosis, cancer was a daily reality for them all.

This is not an attempt to get you to take out insurance. To be blunt, I’m more concerned that you (and I) have good relationships with those we care about and, if I may, encourage you to leave some form of memory box of who you are. I know life is a journey, that we change and evolve over time, but as Chirstmas time is upon us, take a moment to ponder how those closest to you might remember you. Perhaps a memory box should be a work in progress – a reminder of who we are and who we are becoming. Christmas is of course a time for good cheer, but its also a milestone in all our lives (however we feel or whatever we believe about it). It acts as another measure of time and the direction in which we find ourselves.

I don’t think it too bold an assumption to presume that you have had difficulties in your life, that you have known loss and grief. As a financial planner, it is a regular part of my work and over the last 3 decades I have seen and felt the impact. We plan for these awful events but experiencing them is usually rather more emotional. That’s why I urge you to get your Will done, your Power of Attorney in place and a suitable amount of protection. I hope it’s something you don’t have to experience for a very long time, but death eventually comes to us all.

Life can change very suddenly, as your planner I help you prepare for the worst whilst hoping for the best. As for today, live it as fully as you are able, make good memories.

Anyway, here is the trailer. It’s worth your ticket price and some. 9/10. I think it’s rather special. Its certainly available via Curzon and I hope other platforms too.

Get in touch to talk over any issues that this raises for you. For clarity I have had permission to from Toby’s widow to relate this story. If you know anyone with MEN, there is a very good charity (AMEND) that has much more information.

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

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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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NOWHERE SPECIAL2021-12-20T12:30:21+00:00

BANKS HAVE TO DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS

TODAY’S BLOG

BANKS MUST DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS

The Financial Ombudsman Service, which manages disputes between financial firms and customers, is ruling against banks in 73% of authorised fraud cases, data exclusively obtained by Which? demonstrates. This means if you have been tricked into sending money to a scammer, you may be able to get a refund from your bank.

The biggest banks are signed up to the voluntary Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code, which is designed so victims of authorised push payment fraud (APP) are treated fairly and consistently when they ask for compensation. If your bank refuses compensation, you can escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

But the number of customer complaints about banks’ handling of authorised fraud – the vast majority of which are APP – landing at the FOS more than doubled in the 2020-21 financial year, from 3,600 to 7,770. And three-quarters (73%) of these were upheld in favour of the customer.

Financial Scams and fraud

VAST SUMS OF FRAUD – SOMEONE HAS TO PAY

APP fraud – being tricked into transferring money to a fraudster – is fast becoming one of the UK’s biggest frauds. Losses hit £355.3m between January and July, outstripping losses to card fraud. Banks are required to refund you for losses to unauthorised fraud such as card fraud, but not APP fraud. You will have noticed that we ran a couple of items in our client magazine Spotlight about fraud and scams.

The voluntary CRM code was launched in May 2019 and requires signatory banks to provide effective warnings to customers, identifying vulnerable customers and acting quickly when a scam is reported. In return, you are expected to pay attention to take care, have a reasonable basis for believing the payment is genuine, and pay attention to warnings.

Crucially, signatory banks must reimburse customers even if both parties have done nothing wrong. Data shows that many victims have been wrongly denied compensation but haven’t approached the FOS. Escalating a complaint to the FOS is free, and can be done online, but not all victims will be aware of or able to use the service. That’s why Which? wants the government to swiftly take the necessary action to enable the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to introduce mandatory APP fraud reimbursement for all firms using Faster Payments.

If I were a betting man, (which I am not) I would conclude that Banks will find a way to recoup some of their costs from customers, this normally takes the form of higher interest rates or charges on all forms of borrowing. Alternatively, to end the myth of “free banking”. There is no such thing and its about time we all had a grown-up conversation about it.

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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Take Survey

BANKS HAVE TO DO BETTER FOR FRAUD VICTIMS2021-12-10T16:38:14+00:00

STATUS AND HEALTH

TODAY’S BLOG

STATUS AND HEALTH

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I have always underestimated how important it is to listen to your body. Your body is there to protect and serve you. Cues for hunger, tiredness, pain etc … are all important messages that your body needs you to pay attention to (your body is after all just doing its job).

Unfortunately, more often than not, we lead busy lives where something else or someone else’s needs come first and unfortunately in my case, this pattern of behaviour of ignoring pain and tiredness has led to me to becoming quite unwell.

We live in a society where our status is very much dependent on how busy we are (or are perceived to be). We are often ‘rewarded’ for putting our bodies second to our jobs, to our social lives, to our families … but persistently neglecting our own health ultimately impacts our jobs, social lives and our families, so it is in fact an important truth that we must look after ourselves first (in much the same way as in an emergency on board an airplane, parents are encouraged to put on their own mask before helping their children with theirs).

At the moment, I am trying to find the right balance of work, physical activity, rest and food that my body can tolerate, but maybe if I had paid more attention to what my body needed sooner, then maybe I wouldn’t be in quite the position I am now.

There is a clear analogy to be drawn here with financial planning in general and with the services we provide at Solomon’s in particular.

Your financial health and well-being is important and needs to have attention given to it … you cannot ignore the ‘niggles’ otherwise they become chronic.  In much the same way as compounding interest creates huge gains over time; compounding your ‘problem areas’ creates the opposite effect – amplified and worsened by virtue of being neglected (or fed!).

Encouraging introspection in the world of financial ‘stuff’ can often be uncomfortable (and sometimes downright painful); but just like good physio, there is a huge benefit to be had in the process.

Improving ‘financial behaviour’ is one of the most challenging elements of the work that we do for our clients … we often find that propensity for certain behaviour traits is ingrained and can take many years to overcome … that is why we are ‘in it for the long haul’ with you … we will encourage and support whenever we need to and as some of our clients will attest, Dominic can be ‘firm and assertive’ when called for to ensure that a client doesn’t make a costly financial mistake!

We are not just about ‘the numbers’ here – your financial wellbeing is our concern … it needs to be looked after and monitored; reviewed and adjusted as time goes by since the ‘niggles’ change over time.

Abigail Liddicott and Debbie Harris
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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Take Survey

STATUS AND HEALTH2021-11-30T11:58:49+00:00

KINTSUGI

TODAY’S BLOG

KINTSUGI

I first spotted a reference to this 400 year old Japanese art form whilst I was watching the delayed 2020 Olympics in the Summer (I can’t believe I had never heard of it before) … the BBC did a really nice VT about it and it really resonated with me.

I recently had a conversation with a close friend who had experienced a very traumatic bereavement and she said that she still felt like she was a ‘mosaic’ in her grief … a broken tile that she was haphazardly putting back together – we talked about Kintsugi (Japanese for ‘golden repair’) and it was a light bulb moment for her … that there was a sense of beauty in the rebuilding of her fractured life.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER

The old adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” holds good in the depths of our humanness; but Kintsugi is a stunning physical representation of this.

From a very practical viewpoint, I can’t abide ‘waste’ of any description – time, money, resources etc; so Kintsugi appeals to me on a very basic level!  If only I could afford to buy a piece of this art for myself!  Maybe I’ll have to add it to my bucket list of ‘new skills to learn when I have the time’ (note – I am not creative at all, but I do like to fix things so maybe this is the perfect hobby for me?)

We generally try and find a way to relate our blog posts to financial planning and sometimes it’s difficult to find a parallel; but this one is easy … when new clients come to us they often have a random and disorderly selection of ‘pieces’ that we help them to put together into something meaningful … and there is great pleasure to be had for us and them when the final ‘piece’ is ready – I’m not sure financial planning is quite what you would call an ‘art form’ but there is here too an unexpected beauty in the process …

Debbie Harris
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

KINTSUGI2021-10-26T17:55:28+01:00

EXISTING CUSTOMERS ARE “FLEECED”

TODAY’S BLOG

EXISTING CUSTOMER PENALTY

If you have ever found yourself screaming at the radio or television as an advert comes on about your existing insurer, finally it seems, your exasperation has been heard. Yes you were right, new customers were getting a better deal than you (on your home and car insurance). Perhaps on your banking or mortgage too.. but let’s park that for another time.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is bringing an end to the practice of car and home insurers charging loyal customers more than new customers. ‘Price walking’ – commonly known as the ‘loyalty penalty’ – is a pricing practice where existing customers are increasingly charged more, the longer they stay with the same insurer. If you have been a client for a while, you will have heard me mention “the inertia that financial services companies rely upon”. I normally make this comment in relation to someone that has not reviewed their pension or investments for a while, or taken an annuity from their pension company (now that doesnt happen as much these days).

Following a consultation launched in September 2020, the FCA has confirmed this unfair practice will be banned from 1 January 2022 –  saving customers an estimated £4.2bn over 10 years. So, if you are a tad cynical like me, then we can look forward to adverts towards Christmas time that focus on the last hurrah of rip-off insurers…. of course I’d also suggest that we may all end up paying more.

Has your insurer offered a better deal?

NEW CUSTOMER DEALS FOR ALL…

Insurers will have to offer existing customers wanting to renew, a price that is no higher than they would pay as a new customer coming through the same ‘sales channel’. The ‘sales channel’ is just how you reached your insurer, which could be through their website, over the phone, through a comparison site or via a broker. These can all have an effect on the premium you pay and will continue to do so. So, for example, if you’re renewing over the phone, you’ll be offered the same price as a new customer switching to that insurer by phone.

There is of course a but… But this might be a higher premium than a new (or existing) customer taking out a policy online. If you really have the time to call a massive insurance company on the phone, they are likely to charge you more for the pure joy of the experience. As well as the new rules on pricing practices for home and motor insurance, the FCA is also bringing in new rules to make it easier to cancel the automatic renewal of their policy, which should make it easier to shop around. The pricing and auto-renewal changes will come into effect on 1 January 2022.

WANT MY ADVICE?

Well, do not waste your time with comparison websites. These are not whole of market and cheap is not necessarily best. This is insurance. You do not want it, but you need it and if you need to make a claim, you will want it paid out. So, use an insurance broker. Yes they will not be the cheapest option, but their real-life experience is…. priceless. They will get the most suitable arrangement from the market. If you do not have a broker, I can recommend one, who I have used for years – Richard Hiscox at 1StopInsurance. Put his details in your addressbook now or just call or email him to let him know your renewal dates.

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

EXISTING CUSTOMERS ARE “FLEECED”2021-10-04T17:55:12+01:00

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?

TODAY’S BLOG

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?

The average Band D council tax set by local authorities for 2021/22 will be £1,898 an increase of £81 or 4.4%. The total Council Tax requirement for the year is a whopping £34.4bn – billion! An increase of 1.3billion.

If you believe your property is in the wrong band, you can challenge it through the Valuation Office Agency to get your property revalued and moved into a different, cheaper band. There are some criteria you have to meet, so you’ll need to have some concrete evidence for your challenge to be successful.

For example, if there have been changes to your property that would make it less valuable than the original valuation – part has been demolished, or it is a house that has subsequently been converted into flats. Or there may have been a change to the property or local area that would have changed the valuation of the property, such as roadworks that have been built that would have affected the rateable value of the property.

Council Tax

TWO SIDES OF A NEIGHBOURHOUD

If there have been changes to your property that would make it less valuable than the original valuation – part has been demolished, or it is a house that has subsequently been converted into flats. Or there may have been a change to the property or local area that would have changed the valuation of the property, such as roadworks that have been built that would have affected the rateable value of the property.

You can also get your band changed if mistakes have been made when the rating was carried out. If your council tax band has been incorrectly calculated, not only will you enjoy lower bills, but you’ll get the money back that you had overpaid, all the way back to when you started paying the wrong amount. If you’ve been in your property for a couple of decades, this could be a big chunk.

But beware – challenging your council tax band can deliver bad news as well as good – you could end up increasing your council tax bill by the agency deciding that you should be in a higher band. This could even affect your neighbours, with the potential to make you quite unpopular down your street. That planned street party for the end of the pandemic, may create a few awkward moments.

Here’s a link to the Council Tax site.

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

IS YOUR COUNCIL TAX BILL RIGHT?2021-09-20T17:41:26+01:00

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

TODAY’S BLOG

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

This is an increasingly common tale. It is one about a scam, one that you really should be aware of. Scammers generally take two basic guises – a confidence trickster and an expert in a subject you do not understand enough about. This scam is the latter. It is about technology, something that you and I use, but probably have vague or general understanding of, because we do not really know how it works – simply that it does work.

The scam takes the form of a phone call from someone working at your broadband supplier. The truth is probably that you are with one of a handful of broadband companies, there is a high chance of mentioning any one of them that you are a customer. At this point the caller can either effectively politely end the call or has reassured you that you are dealing with an existing supplier.

BROADBAND SCAMS

HELPFUL HARMFUL AND HORRENDOUS

The caller informs you that your broadband is not working as well as it should, and they can help make it faster. Who of us does not want faster broadband? (irrespective of the inaccurate promise on the tin). Help is at hand if you download an app and place your phone near your router so that the performance can be monitored (how helpful right!). You comply and are informed that you are due a refund for poor performance (good news) so a code is provided to enable payment to your bank. You are kept on the phone, which whilst you think to yourself is a little frustrating and a little ironic in the age of high technology, you are of course getting something in exchange – a refund and faster broadband. You wait. At some point you are insulted as a muggle or something similar, and the caller hangs up. You have an immediate rush of realisation and call your bank to discover that it has been emptied. Emptied! Just hold that feeling a moment before reading further. Your bank account emptied….

You did not authorise a withdrawal, you were expecting a credit. Your bank may or may not be impressed and act accordingly. It is international fraud and not within the FCA jurisdiction.

NOT MERELY BASED ON A TRUE STORY, IT IS A TRUE STORY

The above is an abridged true story that another adviser shared with me, it happened very recently. Please do not accept the information that a caller provides you with. Anyone calling from one of your suppliers should know some rather basic information from you, be that your name, address and account number (for the service). Do not give them any of your time. Do not download anything that you have not understood sufficiently. Never reveal your bank information over the phone, guard it as though you would your prized possessions.

#*&^(:jh:d!!

There are many words for scammers, if you are ever victim of one, you will think of many of them. You are not a fool. You have been fooled and we all can be (look at how we vote!). However, you must act. Most scams offer the promise of more money or improved service. Rare is the day that these come without cost. They are never free.

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

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT2020-09-07T16:14:25+01:00

THANK GOD FOR EXPERTS

TODAY’S BLOG

THANK GOD FOR EXPERTS

The last few years have seen a reframing of the truth. Remember when Michael Gove told us that we had all had enough of experts in 2016? Whilst I have some sympathy with the reality that nobody knows what the future holds, to dismiss the thoughts of highly informed people seems, well… here is not the place. Let’s leave it that had he consulted a few more, he might not have made quite so many daft decisions. Thankfully we have so far been spared the indignity of him becoming Prime Minister.

I’m sure that there are many instances when experts are not required. For example, I don’t need an expert to be with me when I fill up my car with fuel. Yet the internal combustion engine is one of the wonders of the modern world, how it works and the fuel it needs has been refined over the years. Now those experts are struggling to replicate its efficiency in an electric form. The experience of refuelling appears “simple” precisely because of expertise.

The Price of Freedom

Many of us regard the ability to drive as part of our personal freedom. Recall how you felt when you passed your test and the sense of possibility it brought. When we have inept and plainly incompetent people in positions of power deciding matters of freedom we should be very concerned. Our judiciary system has also been questioned of late, invariably by those simply seeking to score political points rather than having a modicum of interest in justice

BRYAN STEVENSON

Just Equal Justice

This is precisely the context for the new film “Just Mercy”, which thankfully is set in America – and arguably the most divided part of that great nation – Alabama. Where it certainly seems many white folk appear to simply misunderstand racism or don’t care. Thanks to the perseverance of Bryan Stevenson and the team at The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) many wrongly convicted people have had their sentences overturned, and these simply a limited group who reside on death row. Pause for a moment… just let that sink in… equal – justice – initiative.

Incarceration and Exoneration

The story follows Walter McMillian who is residing on death row, found guilty of murdering a white 18-year old Ronda Morrison in 1986. The evidence is not even tissue paper thin. Yet McMillian is convicted. One can only conclude that those involved in the trial, including the judge were so blinded by their own biases and evident racism that they simply didn’t care how weak the case was. Yet despite this the Judge imposed the death penalty. Sheriff, Judge and District Attorney are all deplorable in their self-evident racism (as later found by Alabama Court of Appeal). These men were in positions of power, presumably possessed qualifications, but lacked any ethics or morality that I recognise.

Saluting the Real Experts, who may just save your life…

The story is compelling and moving. I’m biased, I would have liked to have been a lawyer but I’m not bright enough, cannot read quickly enough and would probably get myself into all manner of trouble. Bryan Stevenson, thankfully and the hundreds like him work for justice for us all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or wealth. Thank goodness that legal experts like Bryan Stevenson are able to expose the corrupt and miscarriages of justice.

If you are comforted by the idea that this took place over 30 years ago in a different country, I have some sympathy, but some bad news. May I direct you to a book about our own judicial system – The Secret Barrister (click the link in the text). Perhaps it will help provide helpful information about the promises being made to electorate.

Here’s the trailer for the movie. A solid 8/10. Of course, this has nothing to do with your financial planning, except that what you believe and what you are told need to be properly weighed in the light of truth. We all know that the financial services sector has a bad reputation when it comes to scams, fraud and plain lies. We are independent experts that have always operated on a fee system, long before this became a requirement from 2013.

And finally, perhaps why this speaks to me is that I believe that it important to understand and address your past before building a healthy future. I believe it applies in all aspects of life, whether thats a doctor taking your medical history, an insurer wanting to know about your previous claims, an employer understanding your qualifications and history or simply starting out on any long-term relaionship. The truth does indeed set us free – free to choose. So here is another short video from the EHI.

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

THANK GOD FOR EXPERTS2020-01-20T14:11:49+00:00

JOE EGG – LIFE, DEATH AND DISABILITY

TODAY’S BLOG

JOE EGG – LIFE, DEATH AND DISABILITY

Trafalgar Studios have a run of “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” a play by the late Peter Nichols. Like many of his plays, this is drawn from personal experience. The play considers the how a family copes with disability. Written in 1967 it is now located with a 50-year timeline. The convenient political distance of the 1960s has much that will encourage an audience about the improvements in both medical and support services over the last 50 years, not least of which is the language used.

The very first lines of the play are somewhat discomforting. Bri (Toby Stephens) addresses his classroom of pupils, who are clearly at the end of their lesson and he at the end of his tether, all eager to leave the confines of the classroom. His directions to the imaginary school children confuse the audience, many of whom respond to his instructions to place their hands on their heads in silence. We immediately enter a world that isn’t quite as expected. The line between what is real (a lecture or talk about disability) and what is not (the play) is blurred.

SOME UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS

The play itself could be a metaphor for uncomfortable truths that families do not wish to discuss, as outlined in the show notes. Set originally in not that post-war Britain, a determined modernist approach to life of keep calm and carry on. This discomforting truth is the severely impaired daughter Josephine (Storme Toolis) that Sheila (Claire Skinner) and Bri have had together.  It is the run up to Christmas, they relate their tale of how as new parents they were treated by the twin authorities of the day – medicine and religion. Both failing spectacularly to address the underlying questions or providing an appropriate human response.

Production photography by Marc Brenner

Production photography by Marc Brenner

DARK CHRISTMAS STORY

Beliefs underpin much of this Christmas story.  Bri is unable to cope with the constant care-giving that Joe requires, yet in truth he is able to escape to his classroom most days of the week, leaving Sheila to manage the care. Bri uses comedic dark humour to form conversation between the three of them, which Shelia indulges as part of helping him cope with the situation. Bri, clearly a product of his mother Grace (Patrica Hodge) is often lamenting what might have been. Similarly, Sheila blames herself, her own “promiscuity” and holding back during the lengthy labour that lead her to believe she is responsible to Jo’s condition.

Discussion about Joe is sometimes deeply empathic, at others very cold and theoretical, viewing her or anyone with disability as a “problem”. For some such problems are placed where they cannot be seen, some eradicated, some front and centre. On this advent evening, Joe is all three. The child seen only for the first time, by friends, (Freddie and Pam) the “prop-like” presence front of stage and the tender protective embrace of her parents. Freddie and Pam barely disguise their own discomfort at confronting the reality of living with disability.

Our own discomfort at listening to the conversations is heightened by the knowledge that these conversations are normally deeply private, perhaps never spoken, yet here they are enacted before and with an actor with a disability (Storme Toolis) the first to actually play the role in 50 years. Bad taste jokes that hang in the air like the sword of Damocles.

LIVING WITH DISABILITY

This inability with disability is something that a family have to adjust to. Yet I was mindful that disability is obviously not exclusively something that someone is born with. Any of us can become “disabled” in a moment.  There are of course degrees of ability and its loss. Managing expectations and coping with the practicalities is often challenging.

I was reminded of three groups of clients. Those that have children or family members with disabilities of varying degrees, who can tell of the difficulties in obtaining support. Then those that have become so, largely though stroke or accident. Then there are those that work with the severely impaired. One has spent the majority of her life living and working in a L’Arche community. They all have a fascinating story, as do those around them.

Most of us wouldn’t generally expect to become disabled, yet in many respects the loss of ability is a simple by-product of the aging process. We might be unfortunate to suffer a life changing sudden loss, such as a stroke, for which insurance can go some way to help alleviate the practical challenges, but inevitably not the loss of function.

This is a very thoughtful, provocative play, one of its era but with validity for today. Our cultural impetus to remove the uncomfortable out of sight is confronted with poignant truths that pose challenges and touch an empathy that is often just as hidden.

JUST THE TICKET..

The play is shown at Trafalgar Studios until the end of November 2019. You can get tickets here.

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

JOE EGG – LIFE, DEATH AND DISABILITY2019-10-15T18:36:50+01:00

THE STORYTELLER’S STORY

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STORYTELLER’S STORY

Unless you have been living without electricity for some time, you will have been aware that “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien was made into a hugely successful cinematic trilogy by director Peter Jackson. You have probably seen at least one of the films, after all, they have generated revenue of nearly $1bn for each film, a tenfold return on the production budget.

Having since also turned “The Hobbit” into an equally successful trilogy, many have been fascinated with the story of the author and his unusual surname. This has resulted in a new film starring Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien which opened at the weekend.

Most people know that Tolkien was a professor at Oxford, as with most successful works, his was based upon his own experiences in the trenches of France, his upbringing with included a deep faith. The new film largely ignores his faith, preferring the bleakness of industrial Birmingham, where he was an orphan, which is where I pick up my financial planning hat.

Tolkien - SOLOMONS IFA Blog

Journey to the heart of England

Tolkien was born in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa to English parents, his father Arthur was a banker. Whilst on a visit home to England in 1896 (aged 4)with his mother Mable and younger brother Hilary (2), the Tolkien’s learned of Arthur’s death. This left them without any income of their own. Mable initially received some financial support from her family when she initially moved back to her parental home, before relocating to Sarehole. However the financial support from her Baptist parents ceased when she converted to Catholicism in 1900. His mother died, from what today is thought to have been diabetes, aged just 34. This left Tolkien and his brother orphaned and in the care of a catholic priest, aged 12.

The 1800s saw the birth of many life assurance companies and had suitable cover been arranged by either parent, Tolkien’s story may well have been rather different. It would have been unlikely that he would meet fellow orphan and future wife Edith Bratt, who he married when 24 in March 1916 shortly before being posted to France for duty in WWI in July that year. It isn’t possible to say whether his stories would have been the same without marriage to Edith or indeed the trench war. His experience of those hellish trenches was ended when he contracted trench fever and was returned to hospital in England in November 1916. His illness left him very weak and unfit for active duty in France, so he wrote.

When the bough breaks

One of life’s lessons that we can all learn from those before us, is to see traumatic events as another opportunity to ensure our affairs are in order. A significant job change, changes to marital status, your residence, your family are all obvious milestones to consider the implications of not being. An opportunity to ensure that your family, children, business are not left in financial ruin as a result of your “not being”. This is another opportunity for you to consider the impact of not being present on a permanent basis for yours. What is the impact? Time for a proper discussion about financial protection? Don’t leave this page without answering this one question… how much is your life “worth”?

I wonder what Tolkien would have thought of the billions that have been generated from his stories, yet he grew up in such poverty. The numbers themselves must seem somewhat fantastical to one of the greatest English fantasy writers.

The new film lacks the endorsement of his descendants, possibly due to the way a film narrative merely borrows from stories rather than documenting them. Perhaps because of the lack of any significant observation of his faith, which was clearly so important to him (so much so that Edith converted to Catholicism). In any event, the film is simply a story, quiet a good one, albeit a little slow. There are strong performances to be enjoyed. Here is the trailer for the movie.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

GET IN TOUCH

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

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

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 STORYTELLER’S STORY2019-05-07T18:38:05+01:00
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