It occurs to me that as a nation, we are avoiding many rather important questions. I love Britain and the freedoms we enjoy. I want a fair welfare system. However, until politicians, economists, financial advisers and the public at large face a few important questions, we seem destined (in the main) for more people reliant upon State support. In essence we collectively seem to agree that it is better for each of us to gain financial independence from the State or any other source of funds. There are variety of questions that come to mind, which challenge this assertion.

  • Why is it easier to get into debt than to save?
  • Why is it easier to borrow money at 100%+ interest than 4%?
  • Why is it easier to open an online gambling account than an ISA?
  • Why do more people play bingo than save for their pension?
  • Why do more people spend more money on a mobile phone than invest into their pension?
  • Why do so few people write a Will?
  • Why do more people take out travel insurance than suitable financial protection?
  • Why has betting become so popular and investing so problematic?
  • Why have we become such a litigious society, yet unwilling to take personal responsibility?
  • Why do so many people complain about low interest rates, yet do not invest?
  • Why is the financial community obsessed with the risks of investing but not the purpose?
  • Why do so few people take action?
  • Why do so many fail to review their arrangements?
  • Why do so many pay for a gym that they don’t attend?

To my mind, it seems that financial planning is rather like a diet. I accept that this is a contentious statement. Most people do not like dieting (by which I mean observing, controlling and restricting what is consumed). A “healthy” diet is only one part of the equation, we all know that regular exercise when combined with a good diet will yield results. I am someone that wrestles with this very issue. The problem most of us have is that we want quick results, we are generally unable to take a long-term perspective. Little wonder, given a culture obsessed by image and reaction. It doesn’t really matter how much you spend on a gym, how many books you read, how many videos/DVDs you watch, how much kit you buy… it all boils down to what’s going on in your head. Despite many motivational guru’s that have some considerable results for a few people, we all know that there are very few short-cuts and its all about a long-term perspective and a change in lifestyle. A key question is really are we prepared, willing and able to change?  I don’t subscribe to the belief that this is a simple “change of attitude” but it certainly requires change.

I am open to thoughts, insights, suggestions and answers..

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA