AMELIE – LIFE IN A SNAP

TODAY’S BLOG

AMELIE -LIFE IN A SNAP

I wonder if you were charmed by the Audrey Tautou in the 2001 movie “Amelie”. A charming and original love story. The story was reconstructed as a musical and had a run on Broadway in 2017, it has now arrived and touring Britain and is playing at Wimbledon where I saw it play to a full house the other evening. By the time, you read this it will have moved on with its tour (details here).

It was an enjoyable evening, the warmth and joy of the original film were very much present and also offering some creative originality of its own within the stage format. In its current form, it lacks any big numbers, you probably would struggle to recall any of the tunes within a few hours. Some of the higher notes left me wincing as the discord of the storyline was reflected in the music. The performances were all strong and make a great opportunity for actors that are also musicians, or vice versa.

AMELIE THE MUSICAL - PAMELA RAITH PHOTOGRAPHY - SOLOMONS IFA BLOG

Life in a box

So, to the financial planning angle. Amelie’s world view is interrupted by the discovery of a small tin box which is full of a childhood collection of mementos. These have been carefully hidden for years and she makes it her mission to return these to the owner. The impact of reuniting the two and the insight attained provide the motivation for her to engage more within the lives of those around her. She finds charming ways to reimagine or even re-see what is before her. There is a segment where she takes the hand of a blind man and leads him along the streets of Paris, describing the sights before them.

Eyes to see 

Financial planning can sometimes be a little like this. In the process of planning well for the future, we need to be able to discuss and visualise it to some extent. Your future, like mine and everyone else’s is not written yet, you have some degree of choice about how it looks. You bring your baggage from the past and this will shape your outlook for the future. Amelie reminds us not to judge, to see people not as the sum of their frustrations, anxieties and losses but as essentially good dreamers that have lost touch with some or all of their hope about the future.

The risk of living 

We are all made differently and want for different things. I have yet to meet anyone that does not want to retain their dignity and independence. We know that when life is compressed to a footnote, the memory is that of relationships – how we lived, not what we earned, bought or when or where we lived. Amelie’s world view enables her to see things differently, to bring the joy to the mundane and to nudge people out of the fog of their own phobias, anxieties and pain. Of course, she is merely doing what she knows she needs for herself and has to face the same risks as everyone else.

The Bucket List – just seau…

Financial planning is little more than taking action to afford the lifestyle you want to have. This may be “big or small”. Importantly it is defined by you. We have been talking this through within our marketing meetings and felt we needed to help a little with this process. We have begun to work on ideas for a “bucket list” and will develop this idea further. In truth, it is likely to contain few genuinely original ideas, but it may hopefully act as a reminder to each of us that time doesn’t wait. If you have any suggestions for the bucket list please get in touch.

Sorry, I could not resist adding the trailer for the film…

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 Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

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

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GET IN TOUCH

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

AMELIE – LIFE IN A SNAP2023-12-01T12:17:23+00:00

Mission Impossible – Fallout

Mission Impossible – Fallout

The latest in the Mission Impossible series is now doing the summer blockbuster rounds in cinemas across the country. The six-film series has had a mixed reception over the 12 years since the first film directed by Brian de Palma. Known for its over-the-top stunts all 6 films cost a combined $828million. The return to date, with the latest film only just having opened is now in excess of $2.9billion. That’s a payback that would make most villains happy and as predictable as shots of Tom Cruise running, speeding on a motorbike, hanging to an aircraft, climbing or jumping.

This latest film is arguably the best, with a gripping, tense tale of a plot to save the world from three suitcase sized nuclear bombs. There are motorbike and boat chases across beautiful Paris, the standard Tom Cruise run across London, from St Pauls to the Tate (though why he didn’t use the millennium bridge is a mystery). Finally, a helicopter sequence over Kashmir, all in pursuit of (spoiler alert – perhaps the most obvious double agent in movie history) August Walker played by Superman himself, Henry Cavill. Note Mr Cavill is 35 and 1.85m, Mr Cruise is now 56 and 1.7m and managing to defy age in the way that LA residents do.

Mission Accomplished

Despite the obvious implausibility with this type of movie, its undeniably gripping for all 147 minutes. Throw in a few jokes and pepper with a cast (Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, and Michelle Monaghan) that fill magazines, then it’s a fairly safe bet that this latest movie will be a hit. How they get London, Paris or Berlin to close down for some of the sequences is beyond me, but kudos to whoever pulled that off.

Who To Trust

As with all things IMF, there are questions posed about who can be trusted, aligned interests and then stakes so high that results are more important than methods. This is perhaps what investors feel when confronted by the choice of an IFA, restricted adviser, financial planner, wealth manager or stockbroker. It is possible that they can work well together, but in my experience,  to do so, interests don’t simply need to be aligned, but all need to clearly understand that the client brief is the mission – nothing more, nothing less. Where this becomes impossible is when there is no plan, simply to “manage money” or arrange a financial product. This leaves plenty of scope for other interests to take hold and leave the client with a deep sense of mistrust.

Your Mission…

As financial planners, it is my belief that the regulator is largely right about transparency, revealing details to expose truth. The problem is that many will continue to find a loophole, work an angle or simply misdirect and in my opinion, trust is earned by keeping promises, not by providing information. As I knuckle down to writing yet another hefty report and wish that everyone could be happy with a short, clear and well-presented message that then self-destructs after 5 seconds, this is not my reality, or yours.  I imagine that writing a report for Ethan Hunt, with all the possible scenarios of things that have been considered, the costs, options and possible risks, it may run to rather more pages than any report I have prepared to date… so a small comfort for those of us that prefer to cut to the chase – getting on with achieving the mission – yours, should we choose to accept it.

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 info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Mission Impossible – Fallout2023-12-01T12:17:55+00:00

Remembering Montmartre 1899

Remembering Montmartre 1899

It is 1899 and I’m at the latest Secret Cinema event, transported back in time to Montmartre, Paris in 1899, arriving at la vie Boheme – the Moulin Rouge. We are greeted by Monsieur Zidler and shortly bump into a certain Henri, one Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with friends and then serenaded by a new young writer. We marvel at the guests, who like ourselves are not themselves, but suitably attired for their profession in 1899.

Most will not be familiar with Secret Cinema, it is, after all, secret and has a tag line, reminiscent of Fight Club – Tell No One. The concept is simple – gather a crowd of film lovers to come along to watch a movie together. The twist is that its immersive to the extent that there is a successful attempt to create the feeling of being in the movie, with not simply “sets” but landscapes to explore. Engage, (in character) with the actors who perform their screen roles before and during the screening of the film. It’s a lot of fun.

Champagne Lifestyle

Sadly not all in Montmartre was 1899 – the prices certainly were not. A bottle of Champagne (well why not? after all Monsieur Pol Roger died in 1899 and Jules Medot founded the Champagne house Louis-de-Custine in 1899) at the Moulin Rouge was £40 and as we all know that doesn’t go terribly far… So pandering to my slightly sad interest in inflation, I wondered what the price of Champagne was in 1899 and whether it was possible to re-inflate it back to 2017. Sadly the £40 price tag for a bottle of Champagne in 2017 wasn’t deflated to the 1899 price of just 33pence (best attempt)…..probably just as well, £40 then would have bought 121 bottles.  Inflation is arguably the most underestimated element that any investor must contend with and must be factored into any sensible financial plan.

Returning to the 70’s?

Many are currently suggesting that due to Brexit and the unfathomable Mr Trump, we are (collectively) in for a bumpy ride, perhaps something akin to the 1970s. If this does indeed become the case, presumably we can expect power cuts, strikes, industrial meltdown, oil price hikes and rampant inflation (well, by British standards anyhow). Personally, whilst I’m not pretending that everything is well, I don’t have a bleak outlook and find many of the scaremongering, nothing other than a tune for peddling. It is probably obvious to you by now that I’m not a fan of Mr Trump, or Brexit,

Inflating the figures

Anyway, back to the inflation issue and the 1970s. Remember that for the power of your £1 to remain the same it needs to keep pace with inflation. How inflation is measured is of course hugely contentious. We tend to use CPI and RPI as the most common metrics. That said, there often seems to be a disconnection between the rising prices of things you personally pay for and what the Office of National Statistics say they are. This isn’t a political jibe, if most of your spending is on utilities, then it’s likely that your personal rate of inflation is rather higher.

How do you remember the 1970s?

For the record, £100 at the end of 1970 was £364 by the end of 1980 because of the inflation (RPI) in the 1970s, which increased 9%, in 1971 then 7.6%, 10.6%, 19.2%, 24.9%, 15.1%, 12.1%, 8.4%, 17.2% and 15.1% in 1980.  This represents an average annualized inflation rate of 13.3%. The FTSE All-Share achieved an average annualized return of 12.2%. So didn’t quite keep pace with inflation and saw some huge market declines (-28.6% in 1973 and -51.6% in 1974) Any investor that lost their nerve at the end of 1974 would have missed out on the 151.4% recovery in 1975. These huge changes eventually ushered in a fundamental change in monetary policy and “Thatcherism” in an attempt to control the supply of money and inflation specifically.

Think and act life-long

The advantage of standing back and considering a long term approach is that the short-term volatility of a year or even a decade reinforces the rarely practiced investor skills of discipline and patience.

If you are interested in Secret Cinema, here’s the promotional trailer. Click here for the link to their website, where you can find out about many of their immersive film experiences, but tell no one…

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

Remembering Montmartre 18992023-12-01T12:18:39+00:00

Did you enjoy Le Weekend?

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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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