Financial Planning and Elvis

Financial Planning and Elvis

It is undoubtedly true that Elvis is one of the most famous singers in history. His fans continue to enjoy his music long after his death (one of the greatest legacies of art) and his music continues to be reworked and performed. We all know of the claims of vast numbers of Elvis impersonators.

Elvis rose from a very modest background and to some extent epitomized the American dream. At the time of his early death (age 42 in 1977), it is said that he had about $5million in the bank (around $20.5m by today’s measures). Of course there was also property, notably his recently renovated with 1970’s glitz Graceland; Elvis could also spend… as has been well documented.

Thankfully he had a Will of which there were just three beneficiaries, his father Vernon, grandmother Minnie Mae and his daughter Lisa Marie.  His father was the Executor. Thanks to a good relationship with his ex-wife Priscilla, who whilst not being a beneficiary, became the sole Executor following the deaths of Vernon (1979) and Minnie Mae (1980).

A little less conversation ?…

Priscilla was presumably one of the few people that said “no” to Elvis. A recent film (Elvis and Nixon) reflected (how accurately it is unclear – “based on true events”) some of the excesses and delusions that Elvis suffered. In this story he asks Nixon to make him a spy or Federal Agent. It would appear that his persuasive powers and charm secured him such a status, however nominal.

What has this got to do with financial planning? Well, Elvis is perhaps a more extreme example, but his experience is common to celebrities, who are often surrounded by people who rarely, if ever, appear to question, challenge or oppose some of the decisions being made. We can all think of examples of albums, books, performances or appearances, where the celebrity in question really should have said “no” and it appears that nobody else, those closest, said as much. I very much doubt that being a celebrity is all its cracked up to be, in fact I’m fairly sure it is a lonely and rather uncomfortable status. Yet we are all prone to blindness. We all wrestle with denial of reality.

I believe that a great financial planner, does not simply help you to secure your future, but also acts as a reality check, someone to challenge your assumptions and plans without envy or malice. Without this, presumably only friends and family have such proximity to be able to serve a similar purpose, but is that really likely? Or even fair? You may be surprised to learn how often I am with couples who at some point in our meeting say “you never told me that… I didn’t know you wanted to do that… this is the first time I have heard you express that”.

Of course others may be able to provide some form of counsel, I’d suggest that was healthy, but a financial planner, has a unique collection of hard and soft “facts” about you to provide a far better opportunity for you to grapple with the building a future based upon who you really are and who you wish to be. We all have talents, but sometimes our abilities in one area of our lives fool us into thinking we can handle others that appear “easy”.  This is not the sole preserve of celebrity. We all have versions of ourselves, but an honest reflection without judgement is a value that may well be priceless.

As for the movie, well if it is true, its unbelievable… (but I enjoyed it) so here’s the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

Financial Planning and Elvis2017-01-27T10:54:32+00:00

70 is the new 60…. well for the State Pension

70 is the new 60….for the State Pension

One wonders what we are doing to future generations. Today I read an article suggesting that the State pension age will inevitably become 70, all due to the fact that more people are living longer. The State pension age used to be 60 for women and 65 for men, this has undergone a period of “equalisation” and will be 65 for both men and women from 2018. As this ideological “hurdle” was achieved some time ago, successive Governments have simply made plans to extend the age at which a State pension is provided. The State pension age will be 66 by 2020 and 67 from 2028.

The reason is really two-fold, cost and longevity. The State pays pensions in various forms, the most obvious being the State pension, which now costs about £110bn a year. Disability pensions costs around £42.2bn and survivors pensions about £1.1bn, amounting to roughly £153.3bn which is about 20% of all Government spending and by far the largest component of Government spending. Details here (click).

Looking ahead

In essence anyone born since 1960 can expect to have to work longer. Given the increasing life expectancy and inherent problems with ageing, care costs are expected to soar, resulting in further dilemmas for Government about how to meet costs…. from a population that is having fewer children.

Episode IV – A New Hope

Consider those that graduated this summer and are just starting out on their careers, born in the early 1990’s they were only just teenagers when the credit crunch occurred the property boom had happened. If you understand my heading (refering to the very first Star Wars movie in 1977) this generation can be forgiven for thinking that the Star Wars films were made sequentially when episode I was actually released in 1999 – they were 7). Student loans are now part of their deductions each month, along with compulsory pensions. I don’t like to be a pessimist, but the generation just starting out have inherited the debts of previous Governments (currently interest payments are around £40bn a year), have little prospect of “getting on the property ladder” and an ageing population that received their State pension many years younger than they will. Any academic results they achieve are met with accusations of “easy exams” and employers seem almost eager to say “we cannot find good enough people”. Not even to mention the problems with the environment. I appreciate that you already know this.

The Breakfast Club

I am reminded of the 1985 film, “The Breakfast Club” written and directed by John Hughes, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. This was a group of teenagers held back in detention one Saturday morning and who eventually reveal the stories that brought them there. Vernon, the supervising teacher, representative of a now uncaring, disillusioned, bored older generation loathes the fact that he is also forced to spend his Saturday supervising misfits. He is caught by Carl, the caretaker, fishing through the personnel files hoping to find scandal that he can use against his peers. This results in a conversation between the two, in which he complains about the youth of today and ends with this dialogue.

VERNON: You think about this…when you get old, these kids; when I get old, they’re gonna be runnin’ the country.

CARL: Yeah?

VERNON: Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night…That when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me…

CARL: I wouldn’t count on it!

No… neither would I…. perhaps we all need to think rather more carefully about how we are planing not just our own future, but that of future generations… as Simple Minds remind in the closing title music – Don’t You Forget About Me. Perhaps there could be some redemption… even Darth Vader managed to salvage something with his own offspring.

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

70 is the new 60…. well for the State Pension2017-01-06T14:39:24+00:00
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