I imagine you have been around long enough to know the name of fashion house Gucci; you are likely to have come across the occasional Gucci store in one of our big cities or at an airport, the familiar logo and green/burgundy stripes. I very much doubt that your first experience of Gucci is a poster for the new film by Ridley Scott, who once again proves an inability for editing a film under 2 hours, which is a little amusing when there isn’t a single stitch or fabric cut in the film either.

Anyway, I did not know the story of Gucci (sorry) and to be plain, I am not sure I do now. The Romans were responsible for many myths and yet it appears that successful families in Italia (and elsewhere) continue to ignore all the warnings about families, legacy and wealth.

Despite its length, I enjoyed the telling of a family determined to self-destruct, failing to communicate about anything important, all the while offering the appearance of family unity. The hills of Rome, Tuscany or Milan are insufficient to bury the deeply seated gripes that one branch has against the other. Like lonely Jupiter, judging from on high, nursing grievances about the trivial yet punishing with wrath.

No Fake Gucci


It often all boils down to control. We are all probably tempted to believe that we have rather more control over things than we really do. Money corrupts most people, not everyone. I would suggest that it is more likely to corrupt those that seek to control (or power).

I believe that there is very little in life that we can control. I say this as a planner, presumably yours. Hopefully you have heard me say something like this before. I cannot control the markets (nobody really thinks that I can) I cannot control the future and I certainly cannot control who is elected and the policies that are introduced. We can all agree on this. Yet the truth is we cannot control very much of anything. We can try, we can plan, we can prepare, we can repeat, learn, gain experience but I cannot even really control how my body reacts or functions. I know its not popular to say so, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Acknowledging how little I can actually control has been a lifelong journey for me, one that I suspect and hope is far from over. Obviously within a financial planning context we have “controls” and monitor these, responding appropriately based upon accumulated experience. Truthfully, we control costs as far as possible (I cannot control what others charge). We control asset allocation within a comfortable range. We control our own output, but not entirely devoid of externalities that dictate a degree of what makes up “advice”.


To my mind, we focus on what is important and attempt to encourage our clients to do the same – whatever “important” means to you. In the main, the common themes are relationships and a self-identity, not yachts, grand gestures or bank balances. Yet we cannot control relationships either, at least, not in any healthy way. The uncomfortable truth is that it has something to do with letting go. Something our clients have to sit with on occasion, letting go of control, trusting our advice and processes to ultimately come good. This is always easier to do when things are going well and tested when they do not.

Sadly, the Gucci family, at least in the film-story, forgot all that was important. The fake Gucci bags being a metaphor for their own lives. Quality comes from crafted time, not short-cuts. I’d suggest that the things that are truly important to you are products of time, probably many, many years.

The House of Gucci is streaming at a platform to your living room. The makeup is certainly impressive. Here is the trailer, the film stars Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek and Jared Leto.

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


Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084


Are we a good fit for you?


Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084


Are we a good fit for you?

WHY YOU REALLY DON’T WANT A FAKE GUCCI2023-12-01T12:12:53+00:00

Money Box asks has your pension been burgled?


Money Box asks: has your pension been burgled?

Once again pensions were in the news, the Radio 4 show Money Box took on the rather complex issue of annuities. Charges, fees, value for money Financial Services Consumer Pension and even the very funny Jeremy Hardy’s comments on The News Quiz also received some mild stick, following his joke about not wanting to understand anything about annuities, or listen to Money Box and his intention to be a burden to the State..of course he was being ironic.

Yawn… annuities are just so dullCatchtheburglars

Anyhow, Jeremy is pretty much right, annuities are very boring and not something to spend too much time worrying about… until you actually need to. So what is an annuity? Ok simple stuff… an annuity is an income for life.  You can have a rising income or a level income. Importantly an annuity dies with you.. eh? When you die your annuity stops… but if you want you can build in some guarantees… such as the income continues to pay a spouse or your estate, in full or part.. you can build this in at the design stage, not later on.

So why are Money Box and the FSCP talking about annuities?

Well, most people have no idea what to do and most is a lot – something like 400,000 people retire and buy a annuity each year. It’s a large market. Most people assume that there is not much between annuities (sadly and expensively wrong) there is an enormous difference and it costs you no more to get the most suitable one (on the whole). I’ve not met anyone that likes a pay cut, particularly one of 20% or even 40%… yet that is precisely what the wrong annuity is effectively like….for life!

So can I shop around for a better annuity?


Yes, you should (no you MUST). Start by checking out the MAS site, the site that supposedly advisers dislike, yet pay for via our fees… and plug in some details. If you like to be frightened, do this now. This is only part of the story and did you notice all the disclaimers? You could then approach the annuity providers yourself and set up your annuity. You won’t get any more money than if you did this via an adviser, but the provider makes a bit more money out of you, and you carry the risk for picking your own.

So should I use an annuity broker?

Well you could, but be warned that they may simply focus on getting you the biggest annuity (which seems ok doesn’t it?). If the company provide guidance rather than advice, they are not liable for any mistake, you are. They will charge a fee for their selection. However, this might be akin to going to a garage with a car that has a flat tyre and won’t move… demanding a tyre at a decent price… but failing to observe that the car has no engine (ok it’s a metaphor). My point being that there is no context for good planning, it’s just selling or arranging products, as Paul Lewis reminded the listeners.

So should I pay for financial advice about annuities or retiring?

Well, I would say this wouldn’t I, but of course! There are lots of issues and lots of solutions. My main gripe with annuities is simply that once you set one up, that’s it, decision made for life. A bit of a straight-jacket if you ask me. More importantly perhaps the adviser is qualified and responsible for the advice.

So what will a good financial planner do?

Start by forgetting about products. Discuss your plans for your retirement and determine what that really means for you. In short, what lifestyle are you aiming for? How much will it cost? So this is about income, not products. The sort of things that need thinking about and understanding are your requirement for income, your tax position, your other assets, your marital status, your expectations about inflation, your health and how long you will live. Advisers need to help work through the tricky discussion about the risks of not knowing. There are alternatives (lots) and of course there is the option of not even buying an annuity at all. Good financial planning is not about products it’s about figuring out what you really need and then building a plan to get you there.

Do financial planners have to arrange products?

No, but we often do. I really wish that Money Box would grasp this point. A good financial planner may not ever arrange products at all (I have a dream)…frankly because arranging products is a pain and very, very dull. Solving problems and helping people to get the life they want… well that’s an entirely different matter…however if you want a job done properly…

Anyway, keep up the good work Money Box… time often seems against any proper full discussion on the main media channels, so I am currently toying with my own show…well a podcast anyhow.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

Money Box asks has your pension been burgled?2023-12-01T12:38:45+00:00
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