Loving and not so loving

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 loving2017-02-20T17:27:28+00:00

Bonfire of the Vanities and Awards

Bonfire of the Vanities and Awards

Perhaps you watched the BAFTAs at the weekend? It was certainly hard to miss Monday morning headlines, which largely featured Leonardo DiCaprio clutching his award for best lead male actor for his role as Hugh Glass in The Revenant.

The double-edge sword of social media is that anyone gets to have a say, which frankly is often unwise. If you follow twitter or any social media, you will probably be aware of the proverbial storm in a teacup following remarks the host Stephen Fry made about Jenny Beavan’s appearance. If you didn’t see it, well, she is a brilliant costume designer and was perhaps the only one that didn’t appear to dress up for the awards, which is generally regarded as a black tie/cocktail dress event. Though some men wear a regular tie rather than a bow tie. Ironic gesture, couldn’t be bothered, making a point, or didn’t read the memo. I have no idea, but as someone that was in London at the same time, one might consider another view that she was appropriately dressed for the weather on 14th February 2016. The truth is I have no idea.

Fury Road

Anyhow, she won a BAFTA for costume design for the film “Mad Max, Fury Road”. Mr Fry made a comment about her attire, which was met with gasps from the audience and a tidal wave of comment on social media. Mr Fry then chose to tackle this head on, saying it was a joke, with a close friend and people should.. well, find other uses for their time…. In fact had this all happened before the film was released, one could have been forgiven for thinking it was a PR stunt (Mad Max, Fury Road).

Et tu Brute?

So why bring this to your attention, what has it to do with financial planning? Nothing and everything. There isn’t a connection, but there is an observable behaviour that took place – that of the herd mentality. It seems that there are a great many people who are very quick to pass judgment without possession of all the facts and very quick to pronounce others as something unpalatable. There was the equivalent of a stampede to get one’s knife in… et tu Brute? The exchange between sides was fairly unsavoury, albeit without a single physical blow.

Investor Behaviour – the herd mentality

This happens with investors too. They panic in a herd and run for the lifeboats, just because someone seems to have yelled “lifeboats?” (or crash). There appears to be little thought of whether the facts are accurate, the context or whether to the lifeboat option is actually the safer approach. If you are RBS and your portfolio is full of rubbish, you might understandably say “sell everything” but if you don’t it makes little sense.

Investor panic is understandable in a world where the media is reporting doom and gloom, red exchange boards and falling stock markets. But remember that the media is there for a variety of reasons, not simply to provide “the truth”. It will never be held accountable for predicting the future other than in a joke about previous blunders.

As I hope you know by now, most investors underperform the market by attempting to time the market – trying to second guess when is the right time to buy and sell. They underperform by around 3%-6% a year. Yet all the time, there are those screaming – do something, sell, buy… whatever the herd is doing. If you don’t believe me check some easily found research at Dalbar.

The Subjectivity of Art

The BAFTAs and any other award ceremony is frankly nice, but just silly. They are highly subjective gongs for a very small number of people, selected by a lightly larger group of people. Yet even within the hallowed walls of such organisations, one wonders if everyone that voted actually saw the films they voted on. Frankly I suspect not. It is the only way I can rationalise some of the winners…. But then its subjective and nobody gets hurt… right?

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

Bonfire of the Vanities and Awards2017-01-06T14:39:19+00:00
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