Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

The myth, fantasy or religion of the superhero or saviour is pretty much embedded in every culture in the world. For those of us that grew up watching Spock, Kirk and Bones boldly go where no man had gone before, the idea of a mixed crew facing new existential threats in new frontiers is nothing new. The global melting pot that is post-modern America, is represented in contemporary superhero saviours.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the many branches of Marvel comic superheroes. Unlike many of the more two-dimensional superheroes that are “good” and fight “bad”, the Guardians are a more eclectic mix of pirates with a conscience, out to save life-kind. Any reading of most myths would likely suggest that subtlety is an unlikely prerequisite for the role of hero, saviour or guardian and this motley crew are as subtle as the obligatory movie soundtrack sale (ker-ching!).

Sadly, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is a rather more obvious copy of previous attempts of the same story, almost a direct copy of “Return to the Forbidden Planet” which is derived from “The Tempest” by Shakespeare. The CGI is obviously better, but essentially, it’s the same.

Superhero your financial plan?

So what on earth can a financial planner gain from a Superhero film? Well, perhaps a reminder that relationship is at the heart of everything and those that are obsessed with their own ego, the narcissists, are just about the worst people to hang out with. However, perhaps allowing for the more nuanced subtlety that real people (and real clients) require, there is one particularly vital lesson for investors. It is this. The perfect world does not exist…. life is brief.

The real world is as complex and as messy as the people that inhabit it. Investors seeking illusory risk-free bumper returns, yet despite regulation, your inbox or “newspaper” is probably crammed with offers of them. Investing in property because you believe equities are “risky” is a misunderstanding of both. We might want jargon free, easy to understand financial products (most could be substantially improved) yet we live in an imperfect world where often all is not as it appears and our own desires may not necessarily be the best path for us to take. Simple is not always better.

The Perfect Life?… good luck with that

We live in a world of fairly immediate gratification, yet there are consequences to every decision. What we require, all of us, is wise and good counsel, that is designed for our best interest, not necessarily the convenience of “perfection”, which is invariably disguised as more earthy, pithy virtues such as redemption or restoration of broken relationships… or perhaps simply finally attaining the approval of a parental figure, through the acquisition of “stuff” that is the equivalent of those unnoticed (or noticed) gold stars.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on: and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest, Prospero Act 4, Scene 1.

As for Guardians, well it’s a bit of fun and in a world where distraction from the trials of life is the invisible drug that keeps most of us going, it will doubtless make a fortune. I hear that the third film is already commissioned. Here is the trailer for the latest movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2… and no it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, however Guardians is all about the ordinary doing the extraordinary when sharing a common cause together as a family, tribe or group of misfits.

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

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 22017-05-08T16:57:36+01:00

Nocturnal Animals, skin-deep values

Nocturnal Animals

The stories we tell ourselves invariably shape our lives. The choices we make about a partner, a spouse or a career are born of our own life experiences, encouragements and admonishments.  In our culture, success, invariably translates as material wealth. Increasingly this is underlined by fame or notoriety, where maintaining an image is all. Nocturnal Animals explores these ideas.

Hungry 

Traditionally within financial services, we have all been encouraged to want rather more. More will make us happier. To define our success by the amount of our net worth.  When I began advising, over a quarter of a century ago, the mantra of the day by those leading and training new recruits was to encourage over-reach. To ensure that advisers were sufficiently motivated (hungry) to achieve sales.  We were encouraged to appear successful, to be the success we wanted, despite not yet possessing any. Many took this as instruction to buy and acquire the things that presented the appearance of success, getting into debt in the process. This created further imperative to sell. The world of the adviser was very much “eat what you kill” which in short meant, if you don’t sell, you don’t eat. Almost everyone was self-employed.

Pressured Living

The result of a commission only culture, was unsurprising. “Advisers” were under huge pressure to make a living – which involved selling policies. This resulted in high-pressured sales and of course the bigger the commission the better. Anyone that genuinely wanted to advise clients fairly (by which I mean, not to rip off) was generally derided and ridiculed for their paltry earnings and stance.

Stand up, get out, shake up

Those advisers and firms that wanted a more ethical, sustainable approach had to choose to go against the grain, charging fees in a world of “free advice”.  There were not many and it was only in 2013 that the regulation was put in place to make this the case, though it’s still half-baked now.

Predators and wild beasts

The stories we tell ourselves, to justify our actions are important and explored in the gripping, violent and intense drama of “Nocturnal Animals”. Exploring the base elemental instincts of desire, hunger and longing for success. Like animals on the prowl, laying traps for prey. The villain of the film, Ray Marcus, is utterly horrible and brought to life with a performance that will leave you sleepless by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Now you see me…

Today the entrapments are ever more subtle, though I’m sure Shakespeare and others would contend otherwise. Hiding a lie between two truths, disguising fact for fiction and vice versa (how Shakespearian right?). In the film, art dealer Susan (Amy Adams) is confronted with truths about her past that go some way to explaining her current malaise. The revelations are presented in a gripping, horrifying work of fiction. There are discomforting lessons for Susan and for us all. Who and what we choose to listen to and believe, has consequences, contrary to the narrative that implies otherwise.

Knowing not wanting

Whether you are a client, an adviser or just checking out our website, the key to knowing what we (all) really want and what we (all) value, requires understanding what and who we don’t want to be. As for Nocturnal Animals, it has both style and substance. As for the financial services industry, it still lives with the legacy of the past, as do many investors. Here is the trailer for Nocturnal Animals, an enthralling film by Tom Ford…

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

Nocturnal Animals, skin-deep values2017-02-17T10:13:23+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

Julieta2017-02-02T13:28:06+00:00

Sadly, we do forget

Sadly, we do forget

Well, it has been quite a week, something straight out of a Shakespearian plot, but then, Shakespeare endures largely because his assessment is that the human condition is all too predictable under certain pressures.

One thing that has not been predictable of late is the performance of the global stock markets. Well, now that I have said that, perhaps I’m not being fair. When there are times of significant uncertainty, there are usually rapid swings in the price of shares, both up and down and we have had a lot of that in the last week. However you voted in the referendum, the movements in the markets do not prove anything, other than that things are “uncertain”. This is all likely to drag on for a long time – at least if Article 50 is ever “triggered”.

As one client pointed out to me this week – there is no shortage of clowns at the moment. Indeed and perhaps many of us are wearing a smile and trying to make the best of things this week.

Something to remember

I wonder if you noticed how at times like these, we all (well many of us) tend to use words that are more akin to describing military hardware or actions? Our war of words seems rather sad and pathetic in the context of remembering the first World War and in particular the Battle of the Somme which happened 100 years ago today. The worst day in the history of the British Army with over 57,000 casualties on the first day. Can you imagine it! I wonder if we will ever learn. Shakespeare would probably suggest we won’t. There have been some moving and innovative ways to bring this to our attention. Perhaps you have seen the Because We Are Here website.

Waiting to hear from you

By now you should have received our 2016 Half Year Report. We sent it as both a pdf to your email address and also a hard copy. Our circus theme says all that needs saying, but clearly my crystal ball is working better than many.  Anyhow, when you get the chance to send me some feedback I would really appreciate it.

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

Sadly, we do forget2017-01-06T14:39:15+00:00
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