THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS

THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas is nearly here and despite all of the preparation and expense, most of us will probably forget most of it, save a few carefully selected memories (good or bad). For some I imagine it will a story of how their Christmas was delayed or ruined by drones at Gatwick, for others it will be a particular gift, meeting with a friend or family member, or perhaps an event. Our memory, as we all know, is wonderfully selective.

Any good financial plan has to begin with understanding where money has been going. This is the account of “now” and can be a fairly depressing experience. Most people spend much more than they realise on things that in hindsight seem rather unnecessary. One of the categories of spending we ask clients to assess is their giving, both in terms of charitable giving (for tax planning) and money spent on gifts. There is invariably a link between the size of your circle of friends and family and how much this is.

Christmas – past, present and future…

I do not intend to turn you into some Dickensian character, like Mr Scrooge. However, as you enjoy Christmas this year, be mindful of how much the experience of celebrating this day has cost. The “day” of course tends to be rather more than 24 hours and likely begins when you buy (or rent) your tree. I enjoy the theatre and seeing friends and family. We tend to have a family trip to a show (perhaps more than one). In fact, there is a lot of “stuff” that we do that is an extra expense, precisely because… well… it’s Christmas.

The warm glow of honesty

All I ask is that you reflect on how much you really spend. This is not a value judgement, simply a call to be honest with your finances. If we are unable to accurately account for a day in the year, ok perhaps the “season” then we may well be fudging other numbers. It is tempting to say this is unique, but behaviours tend to be patterns. We all have limited resources and when earning money is no longer happening, for whatever reason, the harsh reality of living within budget or running out of money is the cold shower that will wake us from the warm haze of denial.

If we really want a good financial plan, we need to begin with honesty about where, when and how we spend money.

We know that many of the things we do today to celebrate Christmas have less to do with the birth of Jesus. The movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” may help identify how much our Christmas celebrations have altered. Here is the trailer. I wish you a very happy Christmas.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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

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THE INVENTION CONVENTION OF CHRISTMAS2019-08-19T15:38:26+01:00

Experience of a Lifetime

Experience of a lifetime

Well, here we are in December. The world remains in a state of anxiety about a plethora of challenges and even here in Britain, many are suffering from the weather conditions which make for a difficult Christmas.

Christmas reminds me of many things, the nagging feeling that Christmas seems to have arrived quickly and that time is moving along all too rapidly. Whilst many are struggling simply to find shelter this Christmas, much like the central characters in the nativity story, I am reminded how harsh life can be for many people and how quickly circumstances can change. 2015 has certainly had more than its share of crisis and disaster.

Whilst our media and deep mid-Winter are full of bleakness, I remain thankful that I live in the relative safety of Britain, despite all our problems. Yet I am also reminded that life is indeed short and there are still many places that I’d like to see and things I wish to “witness”. Apart from the usual trappings, the Christmas break is also an opportunity to reflect on the coming year, for many this will include planning your next holiday, perhaps one from your bucket list?

 

Trip of a Lifetime

One of my clients runs a boutique travel business and it occurred to me that there are a number of similarities in what we do. There are certainly lots of questions about where you want to go and importantly an independent mindset that is able to put together suitable great experience. What I had not appreciated was that it actually costs the same amount whether you use the expertise or not. I have certainly used the web to book holidays in the past, spending hours, trawling through endless options, but simply had not appreciated that someone else could do this for me, an expert, and it wouldn’t cost any more!

Mercator Travel have several brands which they use to focus their expertise on specific regions of the world. For example, south or central America is currently a great destination for those seeking something memorable and rather different. If you are anything like me, I have forgotten what I gave and received last Christmas, yet I never forget holiday experiences.

As a boutique business, they place great emphasis on creating a wonderful experience and getting all the little details right. Apart from ensuring that your trip is planned perfectly, the business is built around providing a top drawer service, with the aim, like every good business of creating a great reputation and clients that return. So if you are considering a great trip in 2016 may I suggest that you check out a couple of their websites.

Just in case you think there’s something in it for me – there isn’t. I am interested in helping all of  our clients, profiling those that run small independent businesses and of course those wishing to get more from life with a lot less hassle. Do give them a call on 01932 424252.

Postcards from the Edge…

Financial planning isn’t meant to be dull, its about your life and helping you to figure out what you want from it. This is often difficult for most people to verbalise, there’s something within our British-ness that makes most of us reluctant to express this. How you spend and give your money is one of our freedoms and invariably for the vast majority there is often an unspoken connection of shared experiences and a sense of purpose just beneath the surface. There is little point in building up wealth if you don’t get to use it.

One of my peers shared an idea with me that he finds works well with his clients. He asks them to send him a postcard from wherever they have been. He displays these in a book in his reception. The idea being that there is a huge variety of clients and the places they visit yet all share the freedom to enjoy some of the money that they have worked hard to save. He gets lots saying “enjoying spending the inheritance… pension” or whatever. The point being that financial planning when done well brings the freedom to make empowered financial decisions – many of them are a lot of fun. So perhaps I will ask you to do this in 2016 as well.

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

Experience of a Lifetime2017-01-06T14:39:21+00:00

Happy Christmas 2013

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Happy Christmas

I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas. I hope that it will be a time of comfort, joy, peace and wonder. Christmas reminds us of many things, of course the Christian story of the birth of Jesus and our own childhood and family traditions. It also reminds us of the unquantifiable gain from giving and of course a hope for a better future, which may mean letting go of the past. This is encapsulated rather well in the new film “Saving Mr Banks” which is the story of the story of Mary Poppins and worth making a trip to cinema through the cold and wet weather.

I’m taking a break and returning on Monday 6th January, so I will also take the opportunity to wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year. So until 2014 I shall leave you with an old blessing, which seems appropriate on this wet and windy December day.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

Happy Christmas 20132017-01-06T14:39:41+00:00

New Media for New Beginnings

1946: It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra 
So today is the last day of work in 2011 for me and the staff of Solomon’s. So that in mind, I thought I’d share a little video to help with the Christmas spirit that I was sent. To say that it’s “little” only describes it’s length – but I imagine that it took a considerable effort to put together. In a world where many of us spend our time in front of a computer or using one throughout the day, this is quite a novel re-telling of the nativity story. I think its great – particularly the speed that the lead character works!
2011 has certainly had its ups and downs and 2012 doesn’t look as though it will be any less uncertain, perhaps the Frank Capra film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is more poignant now than in many previous years since it was released in 1946 and has many timely reminders and life lessons that will hopefully serve us well into the New Year and beyond. 
Have a very happy Christmas.
Best wishes,
Dominic
We are a boutique firm of financial planners. We create financial plans designed to achieve a desired lifestyle. We will craft and implement your plan that will provide you with the greatest chance of accomplishing your unique goals based upon the values that you hold. Financial products are little more than the tools to achieve your required results
Call us today or visit our website for more information and to arrange a meeting
New Media for New Beginnings2017-01-06T14:40:14+00:00

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all men (mankind)

1967: The Thief of Paris – Louis Malle
Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? today is the day that many businesses have their office party, known by paramedics as “Black Friday” as it ends up being one of their busiest nights of the year – today probably not helped by the sleet across the country.
It would seem that the head of the Bank of France or Banque de France, Mr Noyer, is clearly not in a Christmas mood, calling for credit ratings agencies to downgrade the UK ahead of France. This follows an interview given to Le Telegramme. It seems that rather than taking responsibility it is far easier to carp about others. On Monday Moody’s published an Outlook report on the French Banking sector which was not as golden as the Banque had hoped. France had “erroneously” had its credit rating downgraded earlier ion the year, which was then corrected.  This follows news from Paris that yesterday the court decided that Jacques Chirac was found guilty of embezzlement (specifically redirecting public funds) and whilst unable to remember anything (medics say his memory is poor – he is 79 years old) was given a suspended prison sentence.
One gets the sense that a number of European Governments will be looking to kick the proverbial cat and the UK seems a likely target due to Mr Cameron’s decision not to give control of Britain’s tax and financial system to the EU. One does wonder why the Europeans believe that they are so well qualified to act as guardians of the financial system when the Euro has clearly been a complete mess. Joyeux Noel!
We are a boutique firm of financial planners. We create financial plans designed to achieve a desired lifestyle. We will craft and implement your plan that will provide you with the greatest chance of accomplishing your unique goals based upon the values that you hold. Financial products are little more than the tools to achieve your required results
Call us today or visit our website for more information and to arrange a meeting
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all men (mankind)2017-01-06T14:40:15+00:00

Christmas Turkey – Measure and Weigh

1948: Sorry Wrong Number – Litvak
First Direct have published some research into Christmas present plans. The danger of any survey is what is read into the data, which in this instance was a survey of 1,000 people. The survey revealed that 280 people (28%) were expecting to receive money this Christmas – with an average sum of £83 each. This is a higher sum and greater proportion than the same survey last year.
The financial services industry, being keen to find a headline, interpret this as £1.2bn in cash gifts this year. However, by my maths I make 28% of a 62.3m population 17.4m people, each in receipt of an average £83 makes a sum of £1,447,852,000. A British £bn is meant to be a million, million or 1,000,000,000,000 (12 zeros). An American billion is a thousand million (1,000,000,000). So I guess the survey is either £247m  (American) off the mark or if you use the British £bn, then £1,198,552,148,000 off the mark… but hey what’s a few million in the detail!
Payyourway.org produce a similar survey but with rather different results – claiming that Christmas cash will be worth £2.4bn. Their survey found that 57% of the population plans to give an average gift of £88. Again, using 57% of a 62.3m population is 35.5m people with an average gift of £88 is £3,124,968,000. Ok, so not all of the 62.3m population is old enough to give money, but assuming an American £bn and an average of £88 given then that’s 27.272m people (43% of the population).
So as I hope I have demonstrated, I don’t pay much attention to surveys and believe that small surveys can be very misleading when attempting to apply the data nationally or globally. This is one of my main gripes about how the economy is valued, measured and planned. I know this may seem like splitting hairs when it comes to surveys about cash gifts at Christmas, but sadly when it comes to the information about the Eurozone and global economy we cannot afford to make such a hash with the numbers, the consequences are rather serious. After all, cooking a 4lb Christmas turkey will have a different impact on your family than a 40lb turkey and no one wants to look like one on the day!
Whilst I’m on the subject here are some recipes for Christmas turkey
We are a boutique firm of financial planners. We create financial plans designed to achieve a desired lifestyle. We will craft and implement your plan that will provide you with the greatest chance of accomplishing your unique goals based upon the values that you hold. Financial products are little more than the tools to achieve your required results
Call us today or visit our website for more information and to arrange a meeting
Christmas Turkey – Measure and Weigh2017-01-06T14:40:15+00:00
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