King of Thieves

The movie world is full of theft and deception at the moment, perhaps this is symptomatic of the current state of global politics. This movie, The King of Thieves is yet another film about a real event. This time the Hatton Garden robbery during Easter 2015. You may recall the news items that showed clips of some rather concerned customers who feared and claimed to have lost millions in a robbery that was committed over the Easter weekend, when everyone was on holiday. The initial view was that the crime was perpetrated by a well-organised international gang of jewel thieves. In practice, it was some experience burglars, who were some significant way into their “retirement” and even went to the scene using their own pensioner bus pass.

The casting for the film has been done very thoughtfully. We all know the actors and probably have a fond or favourable attitude towards them, yet these are essentially villains that would do some serious harm to anyone in their way, each other and would not spare much mercy. Old does not mean nice or kind. It just means old.

Solomons Independent financial advisers london

Lack of Purpose

The sadness about this story is that there is a palpable sense that these men knew little else and believed that it was their purpose, to be thieves gave them meaning and significance. It certainly gave them a tribe. There is a sequence when they are all recalling how they got into crime – invariably it was stealing food, which of course is indicative of their outlook and circumstances. Perhaps had this not been so, their lives may have been rather different.

Keep up with Technology

The film follows the frankly unbelievable ease with which the robbery was performed. Yet despite being a movie, this is the reality. Security systems at Hatton Gardens were woefully out of date much like the criminals who really failed to appreciate the power of CCTV, mobile phones and a Police Force that knows its stuff. Their open dialogue in public settings may be simply an overconfidence or a lapse of concentration, but surely desperately foolish.

Honour among Thieves

The bickering, infighting and back-stabbing implied that honour amongst thieves is probably a very exaggerated claim. They all steal from each other and it is only when caught that they come together again to present some basic form of a united front. Who you select to work with is perhaps a key lesson, as indeed is having a well thought plan, that allows for interruption and frustration.

Given that the men pleaded guilty, but most of the money has never been recovered, the accuracy of the character portrayals is naturally questionable, perhaps for dramatic reasons, perhaps because the truth, when it comes to criminals, is as slippery as “Billy the Fish” the hapless fence, Billy Lincoln played by Michael Gambon. It would seem that only Brian Reader (Michael Caine) understood the value of diamonds and knew a gem from junk. Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent) supposedly a great wing-man to Reader was little more than a bully (if the portrayal is fair) and Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse) would seem to be an unwilling participant at worst. Danny Jones (Ray Winstone) was the sharpest operator, but seemed innumerate and failed to count the money and Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay) seemed to spin a story to suit the listener.

Fair Cop

The Police did a pretty impressive job, arresting Reader within 5 weeks of the crime. Before a year had passed the team was convicted and imprisoned. Crime does not pay… well perhaps it does, hardly any of the claimed £200m has been recovered, but as Reader warned, many of the deposits were held by other criminals. The truth may never be known. As for your investments and savings, who you trust and where you place your money is vital to understand. There are still many cases of financial fraud and theft. Would that it were not so.

Here is 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

KING OF THIEVES2023-12-01T12:17:50+00:00

The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending

If you are a client or if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I believe that we all have our own story. It may not be significant to most, but it is certainly significant to a few. At every funeral we are told a life story. Invariably by someone not terribly familiar with the details or even the rhythm, but told it is, or at least a version.

None of us know how long we have left in this mortal realm, indeed if the war of words between North Korea and the US develops beyond posturing, we may all have cause to seriously think about our mortality. Thankfully I am an optimist, hopefully self-made disaster will be averted and we can continue to have our more comforting perspective about longevity. However, as we witness on a daily basis, many do not live as long as expected.

We may prepare in various ways, seeking answers to life’s biggest questions. However whilst we live, we can to some extent recall and recount our own stories. I suggest creating a “Life Book” – a collection of memories, images, thoughts and reflections. Those that you wish to preserve and perhaps lessons that you wish to pass on. This is your opportunity to be clear about who you are and why you made the choices you did. A genuine opportunity to “open up”.

Life Book-ended

So I was intrigued to see the film “A Sense of an Ending” with an immediately recognizable cast, (Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter, Charlotte Rampling and Emily Mortimer who propel us from the teenage years in the 1960s to the present day, the tale of those born in the 1940s. The story is based on the novel of the same name by Julian Barnes and relays the story of the nearly retired Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent). Tony is confronted by emerging pieces of his past and is driven to review his understanding of them as we are taken on a tour of memory adjusted lane. Not all the pieces fit as neatly as he would wish and certainly not as he had presumed.

Facing the future by reflecting on the past

For those of us that regularly take stock of our lives and seek to understand the influences and key moments within it, this may provide some insight into how our first draft is rarely the last. If you do see the film, let me know if it alters your approach to how you record your own life story. As I think Soren Kierkegaard said “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Financial planning is of course forward-looking, but as is often the case, to look forwards we must understand the past, which means facing our own.

Here’s the trailer for the movie “A Sense of An Ending”.

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

The Sense of an Ending2023-12-01T12:18:35+00:00

Did you enjoy Le Weekend?


Something for Le Weekend?

I am glad to report that I returned home safely last night, ahead of the then impending storm but still somewhat perplexed at the speeds some drive in heavy rain along the M4. I hope that you had a good weekend, mine was spent with good friends in my old home town of Bath and was reminded yet again of the immeasurable wealth that friends provide in life.  I also had a moment to watch a new film “Le Weekend” a story about an older couple, who return to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Honesty and AvoidanceLeWeekend

I have to say that whilst there were many good moments in the film, I didn’t really “get it”. This, it seemed, was a couple near to retirement, who were worn down by life’s disappointments. Their marriage is in crisis as they navigate the “empty nest syndrome”, but still manage to hold the relationship together with some tenderness and honesty… just. This is a common experience of course. Theirs seemed exaggerated, rather than an opportunity to reflect and determine the next course for their lives from the wide menu on offer… much like the indecision or disagreement about where they will literally eat their next course.  This was more of an adolescent tantrum, displaying their folly in a single weekend that had presumably accompanied them on the previous 30 years and many poor decisions or at least their denial of reality and a possible sad last gasp for adrenalin, now a distant memory in their relationship.

Setting your own agenda or determined by others?

I often encourage clients to take a weekend break (or longer) to figure out what they really want from life and each other so that we can build a plan around what they really want, not what they think they should want. This isn’t a quick process and can take significant time, but it is a vital element of a good financial plan. However, this couple, wonderfully played by Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, have deep disappointment, which neither of them properly discuss together, despite their apparent honesty and a life spent educating others about the meaning of life. There is little or no attempt to reflect how things might change…how they might be. They have a “needy son” who is described in impoverished terms, yet seems to be merely a reflection of their own inability to attend to what is important. They are profligate with what little they have, deliberately avoiding responsibility for their actions, culminating in their own dependency on an old friend (Jeff Goldblum), for whom Meg and Nick appear to have little real regard. It wasn’t the ending that I was expecting, but precisely the scenario that I help clients to avoid as they plan for their future, however long and whatever it looks like, but based upon their own values and objectives, not simply keeping up with the Blairs…as they do when they take on a “whatever it costs” luxury suite in a luxury Parisian hotel “once rented by the Blairs”. The thing is, “whatever it costs” has rather more to do with honest reflection than the ability to pay the price tag.

Le Weekend is now on general release. Here’s the official trailer.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

Did you enjoy Le Weekend?2023-12-01T12:38:31+00:00
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