The gritty reality of the harsh life of a black man in 1950s Pittsburgh. The film “Fences” based on the play of the same name by August Wilson (which originally opened on Broadway some 30 years ago) has been gaining a lot of praise. In particular, for the character performances from Denzel Washington (as Troy Maxson) and Viola Davis (as Rose).

This is the story of resentment and how it can become all consuming, impacting every aspect of life. An inability to see alternatives (such as the dreams and hopes of Troy’s son Cory). Perhaps with good reason, this is 1950s America and Troy has had some significant, bad experiences, yet lacks the hope of the civil rights movement of the day, instead fighting a narrative of low expectations and low chance of failure. The fences that Troy constructs are clearly more than physical.

Familiar history

When you engage with your financial planning, we spend time finding out about your history. This will involve your family history too – your upbringing and your family longevity all have a likely impact on your planning.

Expectations and responsibilities

It may be that like Troy, you have family members that require your support, financially, practically or both. If you have parents that are alive, how expectations are managed about the future. Of course, if you have children, your hopes and expectations for them too.

Then there is the more obvious stuff – about your working life history so that we can understand what you have in place through various employers or self-employment. To understand the debts you have and the way that you have managed, or perhaps mis-managed the money that you have earned, borrowed or been given. This all forms part of the background upon which we reflect and gently challenge assumptions about the future. This may even involve some changes in behaviour – which is not always easy to hear and invariably harder to adopt. Unlike Troy, we would not assume that your future will be dictated by your past. However, clearly it is likely to be influenced by it. We work with you, in partnership to help avoid repeating any financial mistakes that you may have made in the past.

Self-imposed fences

All good financial planning faces the occasional barrier. We tend to help ring-fence funds for specific important, known events that have a financial cost. We also take appropriate measures to protect your finances and data. However, the most significant obstacles are those that we all create for ourselves – the fences within our own minds of what is possible and the assertion that the future will merely look a lot like the past. It doesn’t have to, but without challenge and a proper plan, in all honesty, that is a likely outcome and one that we would hope to avoid.

Here is the trailer for Fences. It has been nominated for various Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Denzel Washington) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Viola Davis).

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