I, Tonya – it figures

I, Tonya

I have to admit to having only a vague recollection of the infamous events surrounding Tonya Harding in the early 90’s. Figure skating is not something that I know much about, I grew up within a family that watched a fair bit of sport on TV. I can just about remember John Curry winning his gold Olympic medal in 1976, but more significantly Robin Cousins, who was “a local” and became an Olympic champion in 1980. Then of course came Torvill and Dean who blew us all away in 1984.The new and somewhat controversial film about “the incident” is currently playing in cinemas and raises plenty of questions.

Chaos, Controversy and Context

Controversy centres around the accuracy of the portrayal of the facts, which are all important. The film attempts to clearly state that some of the “facts” are inaccurate, but others, are a bit more one word against another. In reality the film is all about relationships.  The Tonya Harding (played by Margot Robbie) of the movie is young and hard-edged having lived without much affirmation. She receives constant criticism from an authoritarian, punishing mother (played by Allison Janney) who regularly struck her. This provides fairly much ideal circumstances for a relationship with a man that regularly beat her up.  Sadly, all lack any emotional intelligence and none of them appear to have received much of an education.

The Real Thing

Despite a life of struggle, Tonya is certainly a brilliant figure skater. She is the first American female to successfully complete a triple axel. Clearly her home is on the ice. The film is clear that her success and support is lacking due to her inability to fit with the required image. It is suggested that she is thwarted by judges who simply don’t want her kind in the same circles. This of course is a mixed blessing, earning her fans. Harding managed to break the taboos and gained a place on the US team for the Olympics.

Behind the Curtain

The film is of course largely concerned with the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, a team-mate and rival, who is assaulted with a baton, with the aim of preventing her from competing. The movie contends that Harding had no involvement, that she was at the very worst involved in agreeing to send threatening letters to spook Kerrigan. Those that carry out the assault are portrayed as, frankly inept, half-wits who can barely operate a kettle.

Skating on Thin Ice

It’s an engaging movie, it lacks depth or analysis, but it’s a decent story. How much is fact, or a work of fiction is very much up for debate. As Harding has seemingly changed her version of events numerous times, there will always remain some scepticism over any claim to truth. What struck me was the resulting unfairness (in the movie) of the punishment. This implied that the thugs had a short sentence, whereas Harding had a life-long sentence of being unable to teach, coach or compete in any skating event, ever. This was her one unique ability, her one chance of being able to carve a career that could provide for her and her family. Kerrigan went on to win a silver medal.

Technical Merit and Artistic Interpretation

Harding had sufficient focus and natural talent to be hugely successful and make a good life for herself from skating. This was extinguished through folly. I was at a conference recently where a similar message was delivered. People self-destruct, human nature is the enemy of successful investing. A significant part of being a financial planner, is being a coach, helping clients to alter their investment behaviours from those that are more innate and self-defeating, to those that are based on a disciplined approach, with a long-term mind-set. In a lifetime of investing, remembering the one fabulous investment you made whilst blowing the whole plan, has only one possible result and it strips you of both your dignity and independence.

Anyway, here is the trailer for the movie which is currently in cinemas.

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

I, Tonya – it figures2023-12-01T12:18:12+00:00

Loving and not so loving


Yet another example of how times have changed – thankfully. The new film “Loving” is the true story of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga). White man falls in love with black woman and marry in 1958, but not recognised within their own state of Virginia. Hard to believe that it was not even 60 years ago, yet thankfully seems a lifetime and world away from where we are today.

Or not so loving…

This is an ordinary couple, with an ordinary story, except for their determination to fight for what they believe to be right. Their surname is, of course, perfect for their story and perfect backdrop for its opponent, the State of Virginia.

A lifetime ago

60 Years ago, not that long ago really is it. Of course it’s a lifetime ago. Certainly, in lifetime financial planning terms these days that would be the rough timeframe we use for clients in their 40’s. Lots of people will be celebrating their sixtieth birthdays this year, people like Jo Brand, Robin Cousins, Steve Davis, Fern Britton, Paul Merton, Jayne Torvill, Dawn French, Billy Bragg and Stephen Fry to name just a few. It may interest you to recall the BBC TV news programme called Nationwide, which aired its infamous April Fool joke about Spaghetti growing on trees… was aired in 1957. Fake news is clearly not new.

Tempus Fugit

In short, time passes quickly. You cannot really put your financial planning on pause. Life moves on, rules change, economically, socially and environmentally. Change is our constant and whilst often feared, is generally our friend – except when it comes to deteriorating health.

Not always happy, shiny people…

The problem I have with some financial planners and supposed gurus within our field is that whilst they mean well, the future is uncertain. However adept they are at cashflow planning and deep-diving on your personal values and goals, life isn’t always a neat straight-line. Sometimes, horrible stuff happens, like an uninvited thug turning up in your bedroom in the dead of night. Health can fade, as can memory and the real problem is if everything is as it is today. Now. It is in the darker moments that a great financial plan will be tested. Your concern is unlikely to be about your next holiday or where to moor your yacht.

A New Rising Star

At 35, Ruth Negga, was nominated at the BAFTAs for the 2017 Rising Star Award and is nominated for an OSCAR as leading actress for this film “Loving”. She is great in the movie, though will have tough competition with Isabelle Huppert, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman. Anyhow, if Ruth Negga were a client (do get in touch if you are keen), then we would likely consider a 65-year time horizon for her financial plan. That is a long time. So much can change. She’s a talented actress and I hope that she has plenty of opportunity to get some good roles (there are woefully few for women). Yet her future is no more or less certain than anyone else’s. This is precisely why it is vital to review your financial planning regularly – and clients know we do this annually. Checking our assumptions and progress towards the future you are creating. Little remains unchanged, which based on history, is a rather good thing.

Anyway, here is the trailer for Loving. I gave it 7/10, shot and acted beautifully, some great lines, but it felt a little slow.

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

Loving and not so loving2023-12-01T12:18:44+00:00
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