Assumption

Assumption

You will have probably heard the saying “assume – makes an ass of u and me”. Whilst this holds some truth, it naturally requires context. As financial planners, we make assumptions about the future all the time, but equally we review these on a regular basis.

Watergate Bay

Like most people, I have picked up the occasional parking fine in the course of my driving lifetime, most, on reflection, were fair. One more recent experience, where I paid and displayed, resulted in a fine as my ticket “wasn’t seen”. I didn’t keep the original ticket, (does anyone?) so I had no evidence to affirm my claim. Reluctantly I paid the fine, which left me with a fairly bitter feeling towards the car park at Watergate Bay in Cornwall and its fine dining (yes, I have an irrational streak).

Court Orders Woman to pay £24,500 in parking fines

The headline above grabbed my attention. You can read the full story here about how Carly Mackie managed to accumulate fines that she could have avoided fairly easily – if only she had paid a small monthly fee. This would have permitted her to park in exactly the same spot, but ensuring that she could do with peace of mind, legitimately.

Price and Value

This reminded me of the mess that people can get in because they don’t see the value of a maintenance agreement. OK, it doesn’t necessarily hold true all the time, (electric goods “service agreement”) but it made me think about our services to clients. We provide an ongoing service to look after your financial “stuff”. We keep you posted about changes to rules and your arrangements. The purpose in doing so is to help prevent a larger expense later, because something was missed or not known. The problem with any such service is that most people see the price not the value. They assume that this aspect of life is all very straight-forward and any such service is an unnecessary cost. In fairness, it doesn’t help that the point of the service agreement is to do precisely that – to avoid unnecessary cost and making things appear to be simple.

Are you still paying attention?

I don’t wish to overstate, but a phrase that comes to mind is “those that pay, pay attention”. In other words, if you don’t really pay (enough) for something you tend not to value it. If you don’t value it, you probably ignore it….which can lead to problems.

Whilst some aspects of financial planning are “blindingly obvious” – such as spending less than you earn. Some are not (think new tax on annual pension allowance excess). Also, if nobody is around to challenge you on some “obvious” stuff, who will keep you on track? There are some “basic” traps that most people fall into…. Ready for it? (this is basic, but uncomfortable)…. If you spend more on your car each month than you put towards your pension, you are set for a miserable retirement. Most cars are monthly payment plans. It’s true of your holiday spending and so on… your pension is your future income stream, not an optional extra.

How is that coffee smelling?

All of which reminds me of one of the short films (Bombita) within “Wild Tales” (one of my favourite) about a demolition manager who takes the law into his own hands after dealing with the city parking bureaucrats.

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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Assumption2017-04-03T14:09:40+01:00

Art and the art of friendship

Art and the art of friendship

There is a revival of the play “Art” currently in residence at The Old Vic. This is a comedic and (as is invariably the case) deeply poignant play, making observations about friends and relationships.  The focus is a work of art itself, arguably over the last 25 years, the art involved is probably less contentious than it would be by some of today’s work that has grabbed headlines in selective media.

Indeed the other notable change since the original French script by Jasmina Reza first premiered in 1994, was that the price of the painting was repriced in Euros rather than Francs. Something that we might do well to remember in the coming days – there was life in Europe before the Euro (no, I’m not making a political point, merely highlighting a historical one).

Older friends

The play is having a 20 year revival since it reopened in December 2016. The play was first (and last) in London opened in October 1996 and was hugely successful, so much so, that its endurance began to draw comparisons with The Mousetrap (for continued performances). However the run eventually came to an end in 2004, having provided a platform for many actors and comedians, with the cast changing multiple times. I cannot recall quite when I saw the play first, but let’s just say it was some while ago and whilst it has not changed, I certainly have.

A friendship of types

The play is about three friends, whose reaction to an expensive, bare, exposed, white, not quite “blank canvas” painting, that Serge buys, in turn reveals the bare-bones and home truths about their relationships. It is a fascinating, often hilarious, exploration of friendship, class, taste and identity. Everyone probably resonates more with a particular character and at various points in the play, I imagine that its possible to identify those in the audience most like the characters by their reactions at key moments, right from the very first scene. Yet despite the genuine discomfort the audience is taken on a journey to resolution.

How people talk about money

Most relationships have a degree of complexity, but what Reza notices most obviously is the way relationships are altered by money. Had the price of the painting been a few pounds, it is unlikely that the subsequent heated exchanges would have occurred. Whilst clearly we have all have friends for a reason, it is unlikely that a friend is a sensible choice for advice when it comes to matters of money. Impartiality and professionalism of course apply to many aspects of “advice” that we all seek from time to time, but financial advice, is rarely, probably never, best discussed with friends around your table of choice.

Time is short

Art is currently showing at The Old Vic in London, until 18 February 2017; starring Rufus Sewell (Serge), Paul Ritter (Mark) and Tim Key (Yvan).

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

Art and the art of friendship2017-01-27T11:11:14+00:00
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