Are you falling in love with a scammer?

Jemima Thomas
June 2024  •  3 min read

Romance scams – preying on the kind hearted

I apologise if I’m becoming the bi-monthly agony Aunt in reminding you about the importance of financial trust in romantic relationships; but being able to trust your partner in any relationship is imperative. It’s also important to remind those of you who are single, divorced or widowed that it is vital that you’re not taken advantage of when establishing a new relationship.

We know that you, our clients, trust our advice and expertise, which is why we’d like to think that if any significant financial decisions needed to be made – you’d get in touch with us.

Unfortunately, preying on the kind-hearted isn’t at all unusual in the landscape of financial scams and fraud. We hope that all our clients would call us if you were getting a ‘gut feeling’ when something doesn’t seem or ‘feel’ quite right. We are here to reassure you on things and to flag up anything out of the ordinary to prevent you coming to any ‘financial harm’.

Lloyds Bank research shows that the number of people falling for so-called ‘romance scams’ rose by over 22% in 2023 (on the previous year).  The statistics revealed that men and women aged 55-64 were the most likely group to be tricked by “fraudsters masquerading as love interests”.  However, it is 65-74 year olds who lose the most money in these scams, giving away an average of over £13,000.

The fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, Liz Ziegler, weighs in:

“Targeting those looking for love is a cruel, but sadly common, way for fraudsters to cash in. Scammers can be incredibly convincing and leave their victims both emotionally and financially drained’’.

I appreciate that this is a delicate topic; some people are loathe to talk about such personal circumstances with their financial adviser, but your relationships intertwine with your finances and we are very honoured that our clients are willing to share these details with us.  Rest assured – like a close friend or a doctor – your stories and questions will always be confidential and received without judgement.

On the same note, I would like to remind all of you about the importance of both parties (if in a couple) attending initial or annual review meetings with either Dominic or Daniel. It is crucial that nothing is ‘lost in translation’, and this way we can ensure that we keep everyone as included as possible.  For us, it is all about transparency and clarity for each and every one of you.

Are you falling in love with a scammer?2024-06-07T16:44:52+01:00

KODACHROME

TODAY’S BLOG

KODACHROME

We’ve all probably watched more on television in the last 6 months than perhaps we have for many years. The other night I watched Kodachrome. I had reasonable hopes given the cast (Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen) and the plot, which was suggested as a father and son trip to get some final film developed at the last place to offer the service before closing. A sense of the now or never.

Famous photographer Ben Ryder (Harris) is at deaths door, much like his Kodak film slides. His relationship with his son Matt (Sudeikis) is also “mostly dead” rather like Kodak. At a crossroads or cul-de-sac (you decide) the two are reunited through contrived circumstance, on a journey together for different reasons. Ben to get 4 old rolls of film developed and Matt to get an interview, both with the air of desperate “last chance” about them.

SOLOMONS IFA - KODACHROME

NOT IN FOCUS

There are lots of possibilities for this, how change, endings and loss are handled for example. If you knew you had a few weeks to live, how would you conduct yourself in your final days. Perhaps a question many of us may have thought about more than usual recently. How do we handle ageing and the constant advancement of technology that can leave us behind, perhaps feeling (or being) redundant and consigned to history. How will we leave our mark, impression or do we even want to?

Sadly, the script and plot failed to cope with difficulty or nuance.  The film is seemingly at a loss for ideas. Perhaps I am wrong, but there is a point in the story where Matt returns to his Uncle’s adoptive home, where Matt lived from age 13 following the death of his mother and the chosen absence of his father. Matt is now an adult in the music business, something of an expert. Yet the room he returns to in his uncle’s home is as it was left – vinyl and posters intact. Whilst I imagine this may happen sometimes, it seems improbable that an adolescent’s room is left for well over a decade (well over) in its original state.

DEPTH

Unsurprisingly, the plot becomes ever more simplistic and lacks any depth of vision (ironic for a photographer). Words are said, tantrums had, departures, threats, ultimatums but we all know where this is headed – a “just in time” redemptive ending, where a man’s work is validated above his ability to be present or available to that which he suggests is important.

Life is rarely like this. We often do not get ample warning to adequately address painful experiences. No final road trip with a mission. The voice of the financial planner is to act as a reminder that life is brief. We all know it is, but most of us live as though it will last forever. Planning finances to last and to be sufficient, so that you can squeeze all the joy you want from your allotted time, whatever that means for you. It has a connection with money, but it is not about money. Its about the choices we make to live.

USE BY: SEE END

So, let me suggest something else. You have 4 rolls of film, (unlike digital images which are so instant and numerous that there is little focus on the importance of the subject and its composition). One roll for each quarter of your remaining time (I would not be so harsh as to divide it up into quarters and give you what should be left). At the end of each future quarter period, I take one from you. What have you filled it with? Even this is clearly a daft suggestion – we simply do not know how much time we have. What we do know is what is important to each of us. The job of the planner is to help you maximise the time you have available and help you calculate what is possible given the resources you have. Like Kodachrome, we all have a shelf-life, this life is to be used. Unlike the food in your fridge, we simply do not have the use by date. This is a reminder check your stock and plan. We all know how disappointing waste is, particularly when at one point it was within our control. Today is your day of control.

SOLOMONS IFA - THE LIFE YOU SHOOT

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 Mill Cobham Park Road, COBHAM Surrey, KT11 3NE

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 Mill Cobham Park Road, COBHAM Surrey, KT11 3NE

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

KODACHROME2023-12-01T12:13:12+00:00

The Trouble With…

The Trouble With…

It seems impossible not to feel a sense of despair sometimes when you see, read or hear the news. When there are atrocities on our own streets or we see yet further mindless violence in countries with whom we have deep and long connections, the sense of despair is palpable. However bad or inept the reporting, I remain thankful that I live here in the UK.

I’m not alone in thinking that the man currently elected as President of the United States is simply not fit for the task. He is out of his depth and displays his evident lack on a daily basis. We have come, (well…I have) to expect very little from him.

Viva Espana?

Spain on the other hand, is a country that most of us know almost as well and the US. Our language barrier is possibly helpful as we tend not to make too many assumptions about each other. Yet I am struggling to understand what goes through the mind of a policeman in the Spanish Civil Guard who appears to enjoy stamping, beating and fighting anyone he deems to be “opposition”. The images that have crossed a multitude of screens are truly horrifying. Whilst the vote for independence may be “illegal” it is clear that a very significant proportion of those living in Catalonia do not wish to remain part of Spain.

Splitting Heirs

As an Englishman and a British citizen, I’m aware of the calls for devolution of power and potential independence of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and perhaps Cornwall. This is unsettling to my sense of what is “normal” but of course the history of our own union is relatively recent and things were different before, much as they were in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Prussia and so on… borders change. We do not keep the peace by pretending that all is well. We do so by listening to the perspective of the other. As in a marriage that reaches the point of irreconcilable differences, we need to acknowledge that sadly (perhaps) the best course of action is to separate and ultimately to agree to the new legal state of all parties concerned. This will have some genuine difficulties, just like a divorce, the division of resources and accounting for what belongs to who is painful. Those of you that have been through a divorce will understand this more pertinently than those that have not.

Head of State or State of Mind?

The suggestion that “the law” is to be upheld as though it is never altered based upon real experience is nonsense. The law is formed from experience and always evolves to reflect the changing nature of society. When a Monarch, President or Prime Minister fails to grasp the sense of unfairness felt by “their own people” preferring to support aggressive legitimised bullies, it seems to me only right to call them to account.

Ceteris Paribus

What has this to do with financial planning? We make assumptions about the future all the time. The biggest ones are those we don’t even verbalise – such as a relationship lasting. At my annual Institute’s Conference, last week, I expressed this view and to be honest, it didn’t seem to “land” with the small group that I was with. We talk of risk – typically investment risk, but also political and economic risk, occasionally the risk of health or redundancy, but rarely the risk of relationships ending. It is the elephant in the room with all couples, do we talk about the risk of irreconcilable differences?

I’m reminded of the saying “the pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails“.

Feedback welcome, but not for a debate on the issues of Scottish Independence or devolution, or even what’s going on “abroad”. We can only control a very small number of things, but our ability to face up to our assumptions is one of them. For the record, I “love” Britain, Spain, the US but I prefer human dignity over any flag.

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

The Trouble With…2023-12-01T12:18:24+00:00

Relationships and Money

Relationships and Money

Money is a constant source of artistic material largely because of the power that it has over us. History has been formed on the basis of taking, defending but rarely creating. Empires, Kings and Queens, Dictators all thrive and feed off the power that money provides. Our society is built upon the need for money and progress within it is invariably reliant upon it.

It is fairly difficult to escape the value system that money provides. Our legal system is founded upon protecting property, not necessarily people. Ownership and its legal entitlement are the basis for building wealth. A walk around London, or most British cities, at this time of year exposes an alarming number of homeless, rough sleepers. Yet we live in one of the world’s richest societies

Awareness of Lack

We all struggle to find our own sense of balance and place in society.  Some are better at achieving this than most, becoming gurus to finding peace of mind or a state of contentment. No easy feat in a world in which we are bombarded by messages designed to make us feel anxious. We anaesthetize ourselves with a new purchase, providing temporary relief to make us feel better. We walk the tightrope of an awareness of lack and soothing this with a pursuit of more, however small or insignificant. There are few better examples of this internal war than within my own field of financial services.

Acts of Loving

Any relationship with another person, particularly one which involves the formation of a marital partnership, will experience the pressure and exposure of differing views about money and how it is handled, or indeed what it represents. For some, money represents love. So it follows that spending and extravagance are merely demonstrations of that love.  For others, it represents security and provision, so acquiring more (spending less) demonstrates love. No religion is immune from money, some selecting an approach of more is a blessing and less is a punishment. Others that less (or none) and reliance upon deity for the next meal and a place to rest a weary head each night is true spirituality. In short there is a very varied spectrum of values that in turn form the basis of our beliefs and actions when it comes to how money is handled and thought about.

Peace of Mind

So it is little wonder that most of us struggle with our relationship money.   We are aware that there are enormous differences, culturally, socially, economically, politically, financially and spiritually. Our personal values are shaped by our upbringing and the context of our place in history. So when I talk in (what can seem bland) terms about “peace of mind” I am of course meaning a sense of balance. A balance between what you have disclosed to be your values and how this inter-relates with ongoing actions that you take within a financial context.  Actions that you have taken to demonstrate love and care, for yourself, others and wider society. Dare I suggest that a financial plan might be an act of love itself?

 

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

Relationships and Money2023-12-01T12:18:41+00:00

Julieta

Julieta

One of my favourite Directors, Pedro Almodóvar has a new movie out. Julieta. As ever it is a sumptuous, pithy film that uncovers the dark and deep dysfunctions within various relationships. Julieta is the story of a woman ravaged by guilt, though the sort that is taught rather than deserved. We see a modern sophisticated woman thrown into reflection due to a chance meeting with a friend of her daughter uncovering a history that needs re-visitation.

Not being Spanish or Catholic, it is hard to fully grasp the deeply imbedded cultural dynamic that is evident in much of Almodóvar’s work. Shakespeare would probably grin at his use of timing, misunderstanding and the communion of words without understanding, the essence of dysfunction within any or perhaps every family or relationship.

Your Canvas

I don’t wish to give the story away, it is worthy of 1 hour 39 minutes of your time if simply to remind us all that honesty is a vital element of a healthy relationship, not simply with others but also with ourselves. The lack of honesty and the inability of those closest to provide the environment for its great unmasking, creates the dramatic tension that shapes the path that this and many other stories run.

When I am seeing clients, there have been numerous times, when it is clear to me and to the client, that nobody seems to have asked the important questions… “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” which I mean in the deepest sense I can muster. The answers to these questions are of course not as easy to provide, invariably requiring a life-long sojourn or a form of Socratic scrutiny. This is a journey that both Julieta and her daughter Antia embark upon but without possessing the facts or reliable confessional support.

How we all ponder our deepest reflections needs considerable care, Narcissus didn’t do so well in this regard, which is why a.n.other is so important in the process of discovering and why as a financial planner, my role is not to grant wishes or paint canvases of colourful dreams but to help find the corners of what it is that you value, to help provide a form and shape that has sufficient meaning to be a life well spent. The money part… well, that’s just the tools to get it done.

Here’s 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

Julieta2023-12-01T12:19:11+00:00

King to Pawn and seedy money? The Look of Love

Celluloid Reflections: The Look of Love

The Look of Love is a new film that was shown at Sundance London last night. It goes on general release this weekend. The film explores the life of Paul Raymond who at one point was the richest man in England. I’m not really clear who the film is aimed at. Mr Raymond derived his fortune from strip clubs in Soho and pornography, the film is most certainly an “18” and many (perhaps most) will find the admittedly “probably necessary” nudity (given the context) rather excessive. Then again, part of the purpose of the film is to help reveal how our attitudes towards sex have altered over the last 40 years or so. However, it is not a film about sex, nor is it a sex film and whilst it has comedic moments and a plethora of current comedians  in the cast (including the lead Steve Coogan) it isn’t much of a comedy either. It is much more of a biopic of a man that “had it all” but actually had nothing, rather more of a tragedy.

The main plot of the story reveals fragile relationships, a deeply dysfunctional family and an inability to draw boundaries. We see a disturbing portrayal of his relationship with his daughter, which at best might be described as “unhelpful” and at worst, deeply irresponsible. There is a sense of self-importance “we’re not normal people” and a disconnection with the reality of real relationships. A long-lost son “managed”, another son bullied and a daughter indulged, who dies of a drug overdose (I’m not giving the plot away – opening scene). A habit that was used, as is often the case, to dull the pain of reality. If the film is even vaguely accurate, Mr Raymond was certainly someone that was very confused about love and relationship. Materially successful, but emotionally bankrupt, I assumed the title of the film ” The Look of Love” is deliberately ironic.

Whilst Paul Raymond’s life may have been somewhat extreme, it is a reminder (not a new one) that few people go to their deathbed, wishing that they had spent more time at the office. To be known is to be human. Money is little more than a tool, it is not real security and it certainly is no compensation for a lack of relationship. A good financial planner doesn’t just point out that you will die one day, but will help prompt you to reflect on what you value and want from life and then build a plan around your values. Being the richest man in Britain is little more than a game, in the end all the kings and pawns go back into the box.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

King to Pawn and seedy money? The Look of Love2023-12-01T12:23:34+00:00
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