Is your money an extension of your values?

Dominic Thomas
July 2023  •  12 min read

Is your money an extension of your values?

The financial services sector, like others, has been attempting to evolve over the years, moving with the times. I’m not talking about technology; but the people and culture. The regulator has had things to say about culture for some years, but usually too little too late and with no real weight behind it.

Sentry at your door

One of the things you may not be aware of is who we do not use. As your adviser and confidant, I take my role seriously. One aspect of the role is being a bit like a gatekeeper or ‘bouncer’. Some might say I possess the right thuggish look for this! What clients end up with is hopefully a well-screened experience, but you almost certainly don’t know how that is done and how much dross has been screened out, why should you?  It’s my job to do this and time is too limited to bore you with all the detail.

So, cutting to the chase – price, functionality, financial resilience, performance and philosophy are all perhaps obvious elements. Culture is much more subjective. Whilst this can include ‘greenwashing’, I also consider elements of what, who, why and how things are done. Rare is the day that you will ever hold a ‘Prima Donna’ investment. Stars are for astronomy not your investments.

Leadership

We are all familiar with the reality that the wrong people are generally leading the world rather badly. Good leadership is vital, sadly the culture within financial services is often intoxicated by its own sense of importance and ‘leadership’, which often gives way to belief of possessing better skills and a Midas-touch. Performance-fuelled and rewarded and then re-awarding itself like an ever-consuming sycophant.

Nobody is without failings, but some people seem to believe that they can behave with impunity. An error of judgement or mistake is one thing, but constant repetition is another. One of the many problems with success is that people tend to ignore details, yet it is the detail that is likely to be the undoing.

Money, power and sex … or rather abuse

Money and power tend to keep those benefitting from it quiet. Sometimes a lowly observer has to point out the Emperor’s predicament. We can all be fooled, but I am often surprised how easily this is achieved.

You could read the article by Marriage, Cundy and Caruana Galizia in the Financial Times on 8th June 2023 for detail about the behaviour of one of its members, (well several actually). However, the network will generally seek to protect and deflect blame, minimising any wrongdoing as ‘misunderstanding’.

Big fish, small pond

You can make the choice with your money to follow these people or not. However, I have no intention or interest in helping increase the personal fortunes of those whose behaviour privately, publicly and corporately appears self-serving. If you prefer to help these particular millionaires (or billionaires) become richer, that’s your choice, but it’s not mine. For me, money should be ‘used’ not ‘played with’ to impress parents who clearly gave up providing enough attention at the beginning.

Accomplished liars

Having been around the sector for over three decades, it won’t surprise you to learn that I do not believe regulation or legal action really makes a difference to characters who simply do not care about anyone else. They will of course utter feeble words about lessons being learned, seeking help, blah, blah … whilst standing beside a spouse who has yet to comprehend the depth of the offence … but this is all too predictable. They haven’t changed behaviour and its naïve to think they will.

They bullied or charmed their way into the spotlight. A lifetime of bluff and overconfidence has resulted in them becoming highly skilled liars. However, they are permitted to thrive by others pretending that everything is somehow OK, when it clearly is not. I don’t mean we should all pass judgement on each other’s choices, but ‘the network’ allows it to thrive. Of course, this is not simply within financial services, sadly most walks of life from the pulpit to the bull pit, the shop floor to the studio, the Boardroom to the changing room.

Another way

Your money is remarkably powerful – it endorses, promotes, approves and rewards. This is why I take great care in how it is invested and the philosophy behind it. As a client, you back our small firm that rewards its staff fairly and takes each person seriously, helping each to build their own lives on their own terms.

Click here for FT piece

Is your money an extension of your values?2023-12-01T12:12:31+00:00

NOWHERE SPECIAL

TODAY’S BLOG

NOWHERE SPECIAL

The backdrop of a constant flow of awful news, was given some temporary relief through film. “Nowhere Special” is a marvellous little film from Director Uberto Pasolini and I think it’s quite an important one. There is some wonderful acting and storytelling. Uplifting, because against this tide of awfulness, there is the ability to see a different life, to walk in the shoes of someone else. Yet it is most definitely a tale of sadness.

In a nutshell, John (James Norton) is a single parent, raising his primary-school aged son Michael. John has a terminal illness and is attempting to find a family that will adopt his son.Certainly, it’s a horrible situation, one in which I am reminded that life gets turned upside down by changes to health. The only good thing about cancer is the opportunity it usually provides to prepare for death in a way that most of us do not.

Toby, (one of my closest friends) died from cancer in 2006. That’s already fifteen years ago! He was 37. His original diagnosis was in 1996, it was rare – multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN). We were both grateful that I’d persuaded him at just 26 to take out some financial protection which mercifully paid out once he was diagnosed. It wasn’t anything like “enough” in my view, but at the age we were at the time, neither of us really expected the array of problems that come with poor health and the impact on family finances. We simply didn’t know better. There were many difficulties and awful experiences, as well as many wonderful ones. It doesn’t seem 15 years ago.

NOWHERE SPECIAL

HOW WILL WE BE REMEMBERED?

A topic of conversation was regularly how his two children would remember him. He created a memory box for each of them, wrote journals and placed important mementos into their boxes (something that John does in the film too). To my mind it was a valuable use of his time, despite his sapping energy levels. I was reminded of this experience watching the film. Michael, (the son) is younger than either of Toby’s two children at the time, though both they and mine lived through the experience of regularly wondering when the end may arrive. Unlike Michael, Toby was married and not alone in raising his children or facing cancer. It became clear to me that whilst he had the diagnosis, cancer was a daily reality for them all.

This is not an attempt to get you to take out insurance. To be blunt, I’m more concerned that you (and I) have good relationships with those we care about and, if I may, encourage you to leave some form of memory box of who you are. I know life is a journey, that we change and evolve over time, but as Chirstmas time is upon us, take a moment to ponder how those closest to you might remember you. Perhaps a memory box should be a work in progress – a reminder of who we are and who we are becoming. Christmas is of course a time for good cheer, but its also a milestone in all our lives (however we feel or whatever we believe about it). It acts as another measure of time and the direction in which we find ourselves.

I don’t think it too bold an assumption to presume that you have had difficulties in your life, that you have known loss and grief. As a financial planner, it is a regular part of my work and over the last 3 decades I have seen and felt the impact. We plan for these awful events but experiencing them is usually rather more emotional. That’s why I urge you to get your Will done, your Power of Attorney in place and a suitable amount of protection. I hope it’s something you don’t have to experience for a very long time, but death eventually comes to us all.

Life can change very suddenly, as your planner I help you prepare for the worst whilst hoping for the best. As for today, live it as fully as you are able, make good memories.

Anyway, here is the trailer. It’s worth your ticket price and some. 9/10. I think it’s rather special. Its certainly available via Curzon and I hope other platforms too.

Get in touch to talk over any issues that this raises for you. For clarity I have had permission to from Toby’s widow to relate this story. If you know anyone with MEN, there is a very good charity (AMEND) that has much more information.

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

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?

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?

NOWHERE SPECIAL2023-12-01T12:12:58+00:00

INTERESTED IN HIGHER INTEREST ACCOUNTS?

TODAY’S BLOG

ARE YOU MORE INTERESTED?

The last year or so has seen enormous improvements in technology. Thankfully the money management technology is one of those elements that has improved.

Hunting for a decent interest rate is hard enough at the moment, but moving to a new better account once the rate has come to an end is a constant frustration due to the effort required and all the hurdles of proving your identity. As a result, most savers languish in poor accounts, earning next to diddly squat.

If you consider that your savings at a UK Bank or Building Society is only protected to the first £85,000 under FSCS rules, then balances that are larger give some concern, particularly when life feels somewhat uncertain.

MAKING MONEY MANAGEMENT EASIER

I’m pleased to announce that we have teamed up with Akoni, one of several cash management providers. They have branded the site with our logo – its their kit and service. I decided to remove any payments that we might get to your advantage. This is very self-service, but we can assist if you get stuck.

There are other solutions, this is aimed at those with cash savings of more than £85,000 – so not for everyone, but you can get rates of interest that others with much larger balances enjoy.

The aim of all these services is to make life easier for you, getting you better rates of interest. Its not free, no bank provides a free service (think about it – or ask if you still don’t understand). The Cash Management service company (Akoni in this instance) make a small charge which I believe is worth paying for the convenience.

Have a look for yourself by clicking this link.

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

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?

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?

INTERESTED IN HIGHER INTEREST ACCOUNTS?2023-12-01T12:13:01+00:00

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENT

TODAY’S BLOG

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS

We are gradually attempting to increase efficiency by minimising the actions required to get things done. We have adopted electronic signatures for documents where this is possible. This makes life considerably easier for you – no need to sign and post a form. We are using DocuSign, which is one of the leading software providers for this sort of secure signature process.

You automatically get a pdf to save on your computer, but invariably we will also save a copy to your file within our portal.

DOCUSIGN

The process takes a few moments, most of the forms we use are ones that you will have seen regularly, but are often required for tax-year payments, ongoing declarations of your tax status and UK residence as well as our fees.

If you have any difficulties using the DocuSign system, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0208 542 8084 or send an email to debbie@solomonsifa.co.uk and we will be very pleased to help.

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

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?

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?

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENT2023-12-01T12:13:08+00:00

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS

TODAY’S BLOG

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS

Following on from my piece about cash management services I mentioned the problem of a growing number of scams. Cash savers looking for better rates of interest are regularly duped into believing that rates of 4% or more are currently achieved for cash. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE for deposit accounts UK Banks or Building Societies when the Bank of England rate is 0.1%. Of course a few years ago such rates were common, but not since the credit crunch. So be warned that something that says it is the equivalent of cash when it is nothing of the sort. Genuine interest rates will not be much better than the Bank of England rate – perhaps 2% more, but very little else.

Accounts offering “interest” of more than this are not genuine cash. They could be legitimate, but not cash. The rise of peer-to-peer lending is often a touted as an alternative to a regular bank. There might be some good ones (they may be) but on the whole this is a new business taking your deposit and lending it out to other businesses or individuals at a higher rate than they pay back to you. No different from a traditional Bank, except that a traditional Bank has been doing this for years and has learned the hard way that lending needs to be done carefully… and whilst I am no fan of Banks, just think about who might borrow from such a lender… someone that cannot, for whatever reason borrow from a high street bank. Hey presto, higher risk of default.

MINI BOND SCAM

Mini Bonds are yet another layer of this, except they dont have to relend the money to legitimate borrowers (people trying to fund their business or enterprise where a mainstream bank won’t play ball). They can lend the money to anyone, sadly often to the Directors of the company running the mini-Bond. Thousands of savers have got into problems with these mini-bonds. Tempted by higher rates of “interest” which was then passed on to some pretty despicable humans. These were banned in January, but this month made permanent after mini-bond firm London Capital & Finance collapsed with £237m of savers’ money.

WHITE CAT

WHAT IS A MINI BOND?

There is no legal definition of what a mini-bond is in the UK. Most companies that have offered them, including London Capital & Finance, borrow money from ordinary savers, promising them a fixed return well above the rate available on most standard saving products. The mini-bond firm is then largely free to do what it wants with the money. Many have lent investors’ cash to third party companies (which sometimes has the same directors), bought other risky investments such as race horses or wine, or funded property construction. A number of companies that raised money in this way have collapsed with millions of pounds of savers’ money unaccounted for. The FCA claims that mini-bonds are not within its remit, while criminal investigations for fraud are rare and prosecutions even rarer. As a result, investors generally have no protection if things go wrong, and fraudsters can operate with little fear that they will be punished.

ONLINE ACCOUNTABILITY

One of the many problems with google and facebook is that they carry advertising and seem unwilling or unable to vet adverts for authenticity, though I find this very hard to believe as whenever I have attempted to run even the tiniest marketing initiative on Facebook, my “advert” has to get “approved” before it can run. So… no I don’t believe that more cannot be done. Anyway, savers who are not as sophisticated as the scammers invariably google interest rates and are faced with adverts offering higher rates… what’s not to like? Well just the fact that risk isn’t really explained and its all framed to look, smell, sound and taste like any other Bank. You need to know the real risks that you are taking. A mini-bond is a great way to part with your cash on a permanent basis, something that the stock market does not do until Armageddon (as you will not get to a £zero value if you have invested in an index unless everything is worth nothing – and I can only imagine one scenario where that could occur… the sort of scenario where a Blofeld Bond-like villain (hence the cat picture…) is holding the world to ransom, or the actual obliteration of everything we know. If this ever happens, you won’t be worried about your ISA or pension.

In the meantime, please beware of scams, watch out for the villains, they are rarely as easy to spot as Mr Blofeld. This reminds me of an element of my work which is to act as a type of bouncer to your finances. Some have asked me about my photo, suggesting I look a little “mean” (perhaps they meant grumpy). It is deliberate – anyone that has engaged with me knows that I am having a little joke. As a bouncer, or gate-keeper part of my role is to ward off those trying to part you from your money. Its meant to be a little amusing, (ok not hilarious) whilst holding a very valid truth – that I am on your team as a defence against the rubbish that inevitably comes in your direction, its not if, but when…

As for the calibre of the villains, well the fictional ones are best left to the likes of 007, those that are actual criminals, well… I have to leave them to the authorities whilst doing what I can to prevent them coming anywhere near you.

As for Mr Bond, from the perspective of 2020 there are many aspects of 007 that hang heavily today. A friend of mine recently mentioned that he had rewatched the entire Bond collection with his children, he reappraised his favourite Bond and saw the films in a different light. When it comes to cash accounts, please appraise with care – make sure you know your Bonds from your Mini-Bonds. Here’s a trailer for 007 in “You Only Live Twice” (1967) who, let’s face it, has probably lived more than twice already.

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

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?

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?

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS2023-12-01T12:13:16+00:00

WARNING ABOUT EMAIL & WEB SCAMS

TODAY’S BLOG

WARNING ABOUT EMAIL AND WEB SCAMS

I asked Steve Hayward to put together a piece for me about being safe on your computer. Here are his thoughts and top 10 tips to keep you safe at a time when more of us are working from home and criminals are ever industrious. Steve…

Let’s be honest – internet security is dull topic. We seldom hear about cybercrime and data theft anymore, largely because people are more tech aware and we have relaxed our vigilance because our email providers do such a good job of filtering out unwanted spam. Likewise, web protection is built into our browsers and so we seldom need to concern ourselves with malicious code, hidden redirects, and aggressive popups. However, we cannot afford be too complacent when using any internet service as people are still being scammed and defrauded in their thousands.

A sceptical awareness has never been more important now that we find millions of people either working from home or in isolation, with only our access to the internet to keep us feeling connected to others. Cybercriminals are creative and they are making every use of this new opportunity to identify our vulnerabilities. So, here are my top 10 simple rules and best-practices to live by when using the internet:

COMPUTER SCAMS

TOP TEN TIPS FOR GOOD PRACTICE

1)      Be suspicious. Have a general scepticism bubbling away in the background with everything you do on the internet.

2)      Always use strong passwords but don’t only rely on them. Never use the same password for every application and service you use. Keeping track of your passwords can be tough and so use a decent password manager. These applications generate strong passwords and store them for you in an encrypted vault. They will also manage other credentials and sensitive data, like financial card information. They will also sync across all your devices. Look for applications like LastPass, 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, Keeper, or KeePassXC.

3)      Always use two-factor or three-factor authentication and/or biometric security when it’s available. A simple username and password is not enough – especially for important services like online banking and buying and selling. The first tier of authentication is your username and password for that service; the second tier is an additional authentication, such as an SMS text message to your phone with a login code or PIN. Also, try to use services that require a fingerprint or face/voice recognition.

4)      Phishing. This is the big one that still gets people because the emails seem genuine and may not be caught by a spam filter. A phishing email is used to get you to log on (or attempt to log on or perform a password reset or confirm your bank details) by pretending to be from a source you trust, such as your bank or a retailer. This is a good time to re-read best-practice #1. If you ever receive an unexpected email informing you of a security incident or one that’s asking you to reset your password or confirm a detail of any kind, ignore it and mark it as spam. Check the sender email address. Does it look genuine? You’ll often find that an email that pretends to be from Microsoft, will not be sent from the expected support@microsoft.com email address (for example), but rather from something bizarre like microsoft-reset@blamfeutter.ru. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of Blamfeutter from Russia – and neither have you. Delete it and mark it as spam. If ever in doubt, call the company that you believe may be trying to contact you.

5)      Never open attachments unless you completely trust the sender. Even then, glance at the type of file you’ve been sent before you just click on it. Is it a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, a JPG photo, or a PDF document? If so, then chances are it’s okay. Is it a document type you don’t recognise? If so, don’t open it. Check with the sender first.

6)      Anti-virus. If you are using a PC at home, make sure you have a security suite installed. There are plenty of good free versions like AVG, Avast, Avira, and Bitdefender.

7)      Public Wi-Fi is never secure. Be extremely sensitive about what you do from your laptop or phone via the Wi-Fi of your favourite coffee shop. NEVER do a financial transaction. NEVER log on to PayPal or any other internet banking system. Write documents and send emails, that is all.

8)      Stop clicking the Unsubscribe option at the bottom of an unwanted email. You cannot guarantee where that hyperlink will take you. Simply mark the email as spam instead.

9)      Facebook and other social-media. There are so many ‘interesting’ posts on Facebook that act as bait for your click. Your click will often be redirected and a hidden piece of code will be run that will cause you to ‘like’ a Facebook page without your consent or may lead you to survey sites that are profitable for the criminals involved. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter alone hold an enormous amount of your data. Criminals are very interested in getting hold of this data – especially when there is a good chance the email and password you use to log on will also be used by you for numerous other accounts elsewhere. They will also have access to your address, your family details, your mobile number, and (likely) your credit card, what you buy and when, your movements and whereabouts from moment to moment, and what you ate for supper last night.

10)  Keep your software up-to-date. Turn on automatic updates so that your browsers like Chrome and Firefox get regular automatic security updates.

At Solomons we have a securely encrypted portal,  this is the best way to communicate with us about anything that is data-sensitive. If you have not already done so, please register for our portal. We advise watching our short video first which is below.

Now head over to any page of our site, where it says CLIENT LOGIN (top right) or use this link:

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR OUR PORTAL

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

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?

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?

WARNING ABOUT EMAIL & WEB SCAMS2023-12-01T12:13:19+00:00

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

I wonder if you saw a video clip of a family at Beekse Bergen Safari Park, who for some strange reason left their car to look around. Another park visitor caught their lucky and close escape from a pack of cheetahs. Whilst the video isn’t that clear, other than the obvious “what possessed them?” I was aware of that the mother clutching one of her children was the last to reach safety, somewhat deserted by her husband. It reminded me of a 2015 film “Force Majeure” in which the male parent absconds from his duty.

At this time of year, we see various creatures nurturing their young, well… at least if you manage to get outside amongst any green spaces… whilst I realise that the nurturing instinct is not exclusively female and not all females experience it, it is perhaps generally true. The instinct to protect is “natural” to many.

Delegating Poorly…

Over the years I have met hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to discuss their financial planning. There are many common themes, but the one that is common amongst couples is where the wife leaves most of the “money stuff” to the husband to sort out. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this, if he does…

Often, men live and behave as though they are indestructible. Perhaps you live with one that doesn’t tend to make too many trips to the doctor, dentist or whatever… Whatever their reasons, many do not take the prospect of illness or death terribly seriously until they are much older. They often rely on benefits provided by employers – the death-in-service cover and so on. Yet any employer benefits will cease, should the employment end. Frankly I would only ever view them as a bonus rather than the solution.

Whether you have children or not, in the event of a serious or long-term illness or perhaps even death, there is almost certainly a financial consequence. It is too late to address this gaping hole once you find yourself in such a scenario. I would urge you not to rely on employer benefits, I have seen the folly of this. I would also encourage every couple to ensure that they have ample financial protection, don’t leave it to one partner to “sort it out” ultimately you may be living with the consequences of poor delegation, I have chosen my words deliberately.

It’s not just couples

Single people also need to reflect on their financial security if they could not earn a living. I know this is morose, somewhat awkward to think about, but I have seen too many people needlessly struggle because they didn’t set up a suitable amount of cover.

Whilst the couple in the safari park may have somehow found a reason to get out of their car, the bubble of a relationship is of no help when the real-world breaks through, which it will, it always does…

Ready for the video from CNN

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

Animal Kingdom2023-12-01T12:18:10+00:00

Coco

Coco

It has been a while since the regulator (FCA) warned and restricted the sale of COCOs (Contingent Convertible Securities) in fact it was October 2014. We have never advised anyone to buy CoCos, however, this blog is about a very different Coco, the new animation film from Disney and Pixar.

I know, you are a “grown up” and don’t go to see a cartoon at the cinema unless you must do so, accompanied by your children or perhaps grandchildren, but as usual with Pixar, this is really a film for adults and reminding us to reconnect with and aspect of ourselves that often the daily grind of life wears down.

So yes, I went to see this at the BFI Director Q&A Preview early on Saturday morning, with one of my daughters, who at 22 isn’t the obvious excuse as accompanying a “child”. So, hands up, yes I have been to see this already – and for the record, the distinction between a cartoon and animation is pretty important to film folk. To me it is another artform.

The Spice of Life

Coco is a colourful, vibrant story about a family in Mexico. It is laced with Mexican traditions and beliefs without judgement, because the people at Pixar invariably see past all our “stuff” to the core of what it is to be human. Miguel, is the central character, attempting to find the essence of who he is, whilst trying to be observant and respectful of his family context. As with most families, much is unsaid and assumed and we all have ways of living and seeing the world based upon a collection of lifetime experiences, sometimes the lifetimes of others too, hence inter-generational traditions.

Set against the backdrop of “Dia de los Muertos” the Day of the Dead, we get a rather better understanding of what this means to Latins in particular. A Day to remember and be thankful for those members of our families that have deceased. A touch of flair and a big dose of imagination creates a powerful world, in which even the most fixed in their chosen religion would find hard to resist a sense of appeal. However, this is not a theological piece.

Familiar Myths

In a rather classical myth form, Miguel risks his soul in pursuit of who he is and in the process, discovers more than he bargained for and is faced with information that contradicts and challenges what he already believes or “knows”.

The film is an opportunity to reflect on the family and friends that you have, to remember them, “warts and all”. We are also reminded of the impact that choices we all make each day have on others and how every family narrative has many limitations. The animators use forgetting as the vehicle to deliver a message that we all know, but often… well… forget.

Who will tell your Story?

We all face mortality, financial planning will help prepare you, your family, your business for any disaster financially, but of course it cannot help you reclaim time with those you care about. At best a planner can help remind you of your own values, by reflecting them back to you and embedding them in your plan, but time is brief.  We can also point out how little time there is and help you plan to enjoy more of it by figuring out how much money is enough for you.

Over the last 3 years or so I have encouraged clients to make a “life book”. A short book about who they are (through their own eyes). This is a way of passing on your own story to those that matter most to you. Of course, most of us put off such a thing – “one day I will get around to it”. Sadly, a different day can arrive without warning, very suddenly.  This isn’t meant to be schmaltz, but somewhere in our culture, the idea of story has become diluted or perhaps lost, by celebrating, celebrity or projecting a hollow version of life that has little resemblance to reality. Like Miguel, you may discover that some of your greatest heroes are those nearest to you.

Here’s the trailer. I dare you.

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

Coco2023-12-01T12:18:17+00:00

Loss and Manchester by the Sea

Loss

Coming to terms with loss is perhaps one of the more significant aspects of the human condition. As a financial planner, loss is normally thought of in terms of the value of investments falling and how much money is ‘lost’. However, financial planning isn’t really just about money, its about planning your life (as far as one can) and then building financial architecture to deliver the plan.

A financial planner will also reflect on your loss and the impact that this would have on your financial plan and those that you leave behind. A really good financial planner will also help you think beyond your own family. How would your children be cared for if both parents are no longer alive? What are the practical implications for those appointed as Guardians or Trustees?

A Deep, Dark Sea of Despair

Manchester by the Sea is a film that has been short-listed (amidst some controversy) for a lot of awards .  Its well acted, but its grim. Little good happens and worse still, the main character (Lee Chandler played by Casey Affleck) doesn’t seem to find any real sense of resolution. The traumas experienced are raw and undeniably bleak, yet there is no sense, or perhaps, I had no sense that the lead character was ever going to be able to process what happened with any degree of resolution. Admittedly he faces horrendous set-backs (understatement) which would always be very difficult to overcome, they are life-changing.

I couldn’t do without…

It is still a surprise to me that so few people have a Will – something that every adult really needs. Most do not have adequate levels of financial protection in place. You are your biggest asset, yet many people are more likely to have insurance on their drains, pets, smartphone or washing machine than on their own life, or a lifetime of income… the very thing that pays for the drains, pets, smartphone and washing machine.

The Predictability of Loss

We all know that we will experience loss again in our lives, it is a regular feature and one for which we can prepare to some extent. So why not ensure that if you have agreed to be a Guardian or Trustee, that you know what to expect. Similarly have you discussed with your appointed Guardians or Trustees some of the key concerns you might have? The how, why, what and when of your Will and the implications for how your family are cared for.

It is my hope that you never need to claim on your financial protection. Doing so implies that personal tragedy has occurred.  There is the rather strange dynamic where I hope you never need what we arrange. If it is needed, then at least the comfort is that you had prepared as well as you could for those that are truly important to you.

So if you are now suitably prompted to rethink your value, please get in touch. If you’d like to know what to avoid with some better communication, here’s the trailer for Manchester by the Sea.

 

 

 

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

Loss and Manchester by the Sea2023-12-01T12:18:53+00:00
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