Flat pack fever

Daniel Liddicott
March 2023  •  4 min read

Flat pack fever

Flat pack furniture – a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most people, and often for very good reason – the poorly labelled pieces; the multitude of supposedly vital fixtures and fittings; the cryptic instructions seemingly written with the sole purpose to confuse and annoy.

I am delighted to say that my wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of March! This is, and has been, an extremely exciting and often anxiety-inducing time. I am sure that I am describing a period of time that is familiar to many of you. In amongst all of the preparations, baby book reading and antenatal classes, there is the inevitable task of assembling our unborn bundle of joy’s nursery furniture. Unless, of course, you wisely paid for the outsourcing of said assembly process – alas, we did not.

So began an entire Sunday of unpacking boxes, organising various pieces, deciphering assembly instructions and good old elbow grease – not to mention dusting off our toolbox that is used so sparingly.  It took a great deal of patience, persistence and a coffee or three – but my wife and I ended the day proud that we had persevered, feeling that little bit more prepared for our baby’s arrival.

Financial planning requires persistence and perseverance.  It requires all of those vital ‘fixtures and fittings’ – your savings, investments and pensions. Whilst sticking to the plan can feel painful at times, particularly through the current cost-of-living crisis and the adverse market conditions that we have seen over the past 12 months; enduring through the difficult moments will help you to achieve what you set out to do at the beginning.

I would be lying if I told you that the mental and physical strain of piecing together those jigsaw puzzle-esque pieces of furniture didn’t give me pause, but the sense of achievement from staying the course and completing the task at hand gave me a great sense of achievement at the end of the day. The increased preparedness that I felt for our baby’s arrival after having set up the nursery was profound – and a welcome, cathartic surprise.

If you feel the need to reach out during these testing times, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We are here for you when you need us, to guide you and be the reassuring voice that encourages you to stick to your well-made plans.

And speaking of testing times, I am due to be extremely busy in both my personal and professional life in the very near future – tax year end baby on the way!

Flat pack fever2023-12-01T12:12:35+00:00

Curry & fi-naan-cial planning

Curries financial planning (Fi-naan-cial planning)

In my opinion, nothing can beat a homemade curry to warm your cockles as we approach another cold, British winter. But last week, as I was bearing the brunt of chopped onions I thought to myself ‘What could be worse than this? Ah! I know! Writing a blog about it.’ All joking aside, it occurred to me how similar the process of cooking is to financial planning.  I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on this …

Preparation is hardly the highlight of either endeavor, but as in all things, one of the most essential. Imagine you’ve chopped your onions, garlic & ginger before moving on to the chillies, only to find you forgot to buy them or you don’t have enough. The horror! (“In my book a Korma is pointless, it’s futile. I won’t touch it.”  A curry needs heat.)

I’m also a fan of smoother curries than usual, which requires several ingredients to be chopped very finely or blitzed in a food processor – but everyone has different preferences (whether we are talking about food or what they will do with their financial freedom).

Once the initial prep work is done, it’s time to heat up the pan and get your aromatics in. Starting with a small amount of vegetable oil and a reasonably large amount of butter/ghee. Fat means flavour and will make your sauce rich and velvety. Onions are added first (it is important to remember that the order in which you do things matters…), followed by garlic and lastly the chilli & ginger. Adding ingredients one after the other rather than all at the same time will help layer the flavour of the sauce; giving depth to the dish.  Often we do things for clients here at Solomon’s in waves or phases – the timing and order of those is important (even though at times it may seem arbitrary).

Once the vegetables are cooked through and slightly softened, your home will smell incredible but that’s far from the end of the story … we haven’t even added any spices yet!  The importance of mixing the spices with the aromatics in the frying pan is that as you toast the spices, they’ll begin to release all of their wonderful oils & aromas.  This takes time.  At this point you’ve got a curry paste that can be smelled simultaneously in multiple postcodes.

Only a keen eye and an experienced hand knows when the time is right to combine the elements of the paste with the base of your sauce.  I like to use passata (sieved tomatoes) due to that smoothness factor, but personal preference plays a part here.  The two need to be mixed well, so you have to  be fairly vigorous and focused on the task at hand. At this point, I tend to add some fresh coriander to provide yet another level of flavour to the sauce, though I use a clever herb infusion device that hangs off the side of the pan which allows for easy retrieval of spent herbs… it’s a universal truth that experts in their field often have tools (and talents) at their disposal that are not commonly found elsewhere.

The final step is to simply add cream or crème fraiche. This will help further the silky richness of the sauce. All you need to do is bring the sauce back up to temperature. Just before it starts boiling, lower the heat and allow the curry to simmer and thicken for as long as you can hold off the urge to eat it. Generally the longer it’s left for flavours to get to know each other and any water to cook out, the better the result.  We often talk about taking a long-term approach to your financial planning as it takes time to see all the component parts of a plan (or recipe) come to fruition.

Once your sauce is ready you can add in your preferred meat (or veggies) and just let it ‘cook in’.  Let’s not forgot thought that it also matters what you serve with your curry – everyone has their preferred accompaniments!  Whether you like a speciality rice or just plain boiled; a keema nan or a paratha; a Bombay aloo or a bhajee … just like financial planning – no two palettes are the same and you need to be mindful that the flavours you introduce to go with your curry complement that which has been carefully created.

A gorgeous curry and a great financial plan take time and care. Experience and patience.

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

Curry & fi-naan-cial planning2023-12-01T12:12:42+00:00
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