Financial Equality


Financial Equality

Its Financial Planning week 2014 an opportunity to get some information about what financial planning is all about, however sometimes, this can feel beyond the means of many “ordinary people” who continue to struggle just to get fair pay, let alone a good retirement and financial plan. It doesn’t take an investigative genius to work out that there are many inequalities in the world. There are more poor today than there ever have been, yet there is also more wealth. Many would say that education is the best long-term way of relieving poverty, helping nations and individuals to become adept at self-reliance and adding value to the lives of others and/or wider society. Good education means different things to different people, to my mind it is the ability to open one’s mind to challenge the way things are, whilst holding a knowledge of how they came about. So depriving anyone of education is essentially a deliberate attempt to maintain the status quo without asking the question “how could things be better?”

Made in Dagenham

Made In DagenhamWhatever your political beliefs, a new musical worth seeing has arrived in the West End. “Made in Dagenham” is the musical adaptation of the 2010 film by the same name. This is the story of a group of women working at the Ford plant in Dagenham in 1968, who had their pay unfairly recategorised as “unskilled”.  The musical frames the resulting struggle in the context of a Britain that is thwarted by strikes and general political incompetence. Whilst some might see this as a political ideology, its rather larger and more important – in that the actions of the day, ushered in the prospect of equal pay for women. A natural and one would have thought, obvious progression of suffrage.

Sadly, emancipation in finance has still a long way to travel. It would seem that many women are less financially prepared than men. I find myself treating the results of the surveys and results on this topic with some degree of scepticism. For starters, many women earn far less than men, many women “have less time” because life is not simply about a 9-5 series of tasks that many men would still appear to think it is, something that is also touched upon in the musical. So is it any wonder that many don’t have time to plan their finances or give them much thought, particularly when they are often simply trying to get by. So with that said, the Scottish Widows 2014 Women and Pensions report was published recently. Their data suggests that the average man saves £298 a month towards retirement and the average woman saves £206 (about 30% less). The report states that 78% of women don’t know how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement. I might suggest that this is probably on the low side and in practice I doubt that there is little difference between men and women on this point (not knowing how much is enough).

So, whilst the lyrics are possibly a little … fruity, the songs and sentiment are a worthy education and a timely reminder, that men need to proactively support equality, not prevent it. Like it or not, this is an issue for us all and bringing about change, begins at home and in your own workplace..  perhaps you could start with some background research by a trip to the West End to see this great new musical, with a fantastic set, music by David Arnold and Gemma Arterton in the leading role… they may just get you to stand up…

Dominic Thomas

Financial Equality2023-12-01T12:39:40+00:00

When is the right time to retire?


When is the right time to retire?

When is the right time to retire? Well, asking Mark Webber who retired from Formula One at the weekend would suggest at only 37. The same weekend, I watched the deeply disturbing yet beautifully written “Philomena” starring Judi Dench, who is turns 79 in a few days time, more than twice Mark Webber’s age. Both are “global stars” and have the raw natural talent for their chosen professions. They are of course completely different, perhaps as different as chalk and cheese, but what is evident is that both have a deep passion and love for their work. Both involve taking risks, Mark’s rather more obviously, but ask any actor a few questions and its pretty evident that the action of “putting yourself in the role” and being on public display is no small feat and requires considerable courage.

How about living the life you love?philomena

So retirement will mean rather different things depending on your chosen career/profession. For some it’s a lifetime choice (I’m thinking of the nuns in the film) for most of us, gradually we reach a point when it simply isn’t possible to continue at the same level, or at all. Those in the world of sport generally have very short careers, though in truth this is perhaps a sweeping generalisation, there are many that become coaches, managers, trainers, pundits or even dancers ….well they appear and occasionally win on Strictly Come Dancing. I’m reminded too of the anniversary of Dr Who (which I didn’t see) but understand that the Timelord himself got rather caught up with himself or himselves. Anyhow, my point being that retiring at 65 or State retirement age, should not be the default option. Why would you permit the economics of the State purse to determine when you stop doing the thing you love? OK I can recognise that for many, sadly, they don’t enjoy their work, but if you can break out of that into a vocation that you love, then why would you not do that for as long as you want?

Questions for financial planning week

This week is financial planning week, which I support. However invariably the majority of questions from the media are always about financial products – when can I retire? Meaning how big does my pension need to be? This is of course an aspect of financial planning, but it rather misses the point. The purpose of financial planning is to figure out what life you want, what the future might look like and how you might change it. Essentially you get to be your own Timelord… you get to decide when you pull into the pits and take the chequered flag. You get to decide what story is written and how you handle the present, past and the future. You are not following anyone else’s script, you are making it up. Financial planning is not about telling you your future, like some sort of fortune teller, but of helping you to decide what you want in it and how it could look. There are choices.

Write your own story

Thank you for reading my blog, may I suggest you have a look at the wonderful film Philomena. It is a story about one woman’s decision not to accept the story of her life as told by others. Judi Dench stars alongside Steve Coogan and both are excellent. Here’s the trailer (below)…. perhaps you will be “one in a million” and be inspired… oh and for the record Steve Coogan wrote the screenplay for Philomena.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

When is the right time to retire?2023-12-01T12:38:38+00:00
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