Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

I wonder if you saw a video clip of a family at Beekse Bergen Safari Park, who for some strange reason left their car to look around. Another park visitor caught their lucky and close escape from a pack of cheetahs. Whilst the video isn’t that clear, other than the obvious “what possessed them?” I was aware of that the mother clutching one of her children was the last to reach safety, somewhat deserted by her husband. It reminded me of a 2015 film “Force Majeure” in which the male parent absconds from his duty.

At this time of year, we see various creatures nurturing their young, well… at least if you manage to get outside amongst any green spaces… whilst I realise that the nurturing instinct is not exclusively female and not all females experience it, it is perhaps generally true. The instinct to protect is “natural” to many.

Delegating Poorly…

Over the years I have met hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to discuss their financial planning. There are many common themes, but the one that is common amongst couples is where the wife leaves most of the “money stuff” to the husband to sort out. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this, if he does…

Often, men live and behave as though they are indestructible. Perhaps you live with one that doesn’t tend to make too many trips to the doctor, dentist or whatever… Whatever their reasons, many do not take the prospect of illness or death terribly seriously until they are much older. They often rely on benefits provided by employers – the death-in-service cover and so on. Yet any employer benefits will cease, should the employment end. Frankly I would only ever view them as a bonus rather than the solution.

Whether you have children or not, in the event of a serious or long-term illness or perhaps even death, there is almost certainly a financial consequence. It is too late to address this gaping hole once you find yourself in such a scenario. I would urge you not to rely on employer benefits, I have seen the folly of this. I would also encourage every couple to ensure that they have ample financial protection, don’t leave it to one partner to “sort it out” ultimately you may be living with the consequences of poor delegation, I have chosen my words deliberately.

It’s not just couples

Single people also need to reflect on their financial security if they could not earn a living. I know this is morose, somewhat awkward to think about, but I have seen too many people needlessly struggle because they didn’t set up a suitable amount of cover.

Whilst the couple in the safari park may have somehow found a reason to get out of their car, the bubble of a relationship is of no help when the real-world breaks through, which it will, it always does…

Ready for the video from CNN

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

Animal Kingdom2023-12-01T12:18:10+00:00

Would You Risk It?

Solomons-financial-advisor-wimbledon-bloggerWould You Risk It?

I recently watched a Swedish film by Ruben Ostlund called “Force Majeure” which had me squirming in my seat. Its the story of a family on a skiing holiday in the alps, who get caught up in an avalanche, which of course is merely symbolic of everything else that is going on in their lives. It’s a convincing story if somewhat realist and slow in pace. As someone that has only been skiing once (which I loved) but also knowing many people that have had fairly miserable and even tragic tales from the slopes, this film ended any thoughts I had about taking my family on a skiing holiday, even though I am well aware that it can be a wonderful experience. force majeure

I won’t spoil the story for you and it probably isn’t what you may expect of the story from simply using the words family, holiday, skiiing, avalanche. However this is an exhausting look at how stress is handled, magnified in the dynamic of a family holiday. In the film, the couple (Tomas and Lisa) seem much more willing to take risks and lead their two young children in a way that I simply wouldn’t even contemplate – because I think of them as being unsafe. However its deeper than that.. its also the risks people understand and assess (or not) on a much broader level. The nation that build Volvo’s (the safest cars?) flips the notion of risk on its head when reduced to the individual and relationships.

The film prompted much discussion and reflection, but with my my financial planner hat on, I tried to draw a few lessons. On the one hand, the setting of busy people carving out time to spend with their family and friends and enjoying “the good life” is some of the “stuff” that is talked about in a financial planning meeting… ie. how do you really want to spend your time? what do you value? what’s the purpose/reason for you working so hard? This is only part of the start of a conversation, which invariably lasts much longer than a single meeting…. after all we are discussing your life plans right?

In the design and implementation of a financial plan and experiencing the “process” I believe that many of our clients look for a sense of leadership and guidance, not in a patronising way, but one that reflects a weathered, seasoned expert that has been on the track getting people from A to B. I do not believe that they expect me to take shortcuts, go off-piste or compose a different version of reality to suit my perspective. There is far more to it than simply getting from A to B anyway… its the journey and your unique values and “milestones”.

Many of us were brought up to ask questions, but soon learned that to do so exposed a lack of knowledge. The peer pressure of school for many is more than sufficient to have the opposite effect to the one your teacher hoped for. For many this carries into adult life, not wishing to ask “dumb questions” for fear of being seen to appear foolish. I believe that there are no “dumb questions”… none of us knows everything. So in the perilous world of investing and planning a life (which doesn’t come with an instruction book) it is sensible to get a guide, someone that you can trust to help you with your journey. Even the best skiiers were taught and the very best still get coached.

The final sequence in the film reveals someone that is paid to take people from A to B yet appears to possess none or very few of the required practical skills, let alone social ones. As for me, I may have a different take on the risk of skiing, those of you that are skiiers may think I’m daft… that’s not really my point, but merely to highlight and understand the risks involved. Thats also partly what I do for clients – helping them to see the risks that they are really running, be that taking too much (or too little) investment risk, banking their future on the sale of their home/business, gaining an inheritance and so on… none of which is “wrong” provided that you know what you are getting into… its not a matter of “a different perception” but of seeing what is there. Just because I wouldn’t risk it, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t… but you may want to benefit from taking a moment or two to ensure that your thinking and assumptions are “solid” and that you aren’t standing on very thin ice… or hurtling down a mountain in the fog. So what are the risks you are running within your own financial planning? Why not begin a conversation with me to make your journey much more sure-footed.

Here’s the trailer. Do get out to support your local independent cinema and independent movies/arts if you can.

Dominic Thomas

Would You Risk It?2023-12-01T12:40:05+00:00
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