A TRANSFORMED INVESTOR

TODAY’S BLOG

A TRANSFORMED INVESTOR

I came across this article which may be of some help to you. Dave Goetsch one of the executive producers of the hugely successful “Big Bang Theory”, who wrote a piece for Dimensional, one of our investment partners. This is his experience…

Seeing all the recent headlines about the sudden downturn in the stock market has transported me back to February of 2009, when I was close to despair. It’s striking how different I feel now.

In February 2009, the stock market was down around 50% from its high, and everyone seemed to feel like the sky was falling. I was familiar with this state of panic because my relationship to the financial markets was that I didn’t trust them.

They were always going up and down in ways no one could predict, and I couldn’t trust those folks who said that they could anticipate what was going to happen. So when the market went down, I went down with it—sinking into a depression, knowing there was nothing I could do. What a difference nine years make. I haven’t changed because the stock market rebounded. I changed because I learned that there was a different way to think about investing. I was right not to trust those people who thought they could predict what was going to happen in the markets, but I was wrong in thinking that there was nothing to do. I’ve learned that I can have a great investment experience if I just accept a few simple truths.

DAVE GOETSCH

I have to understand the uncertainty of the market. The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, has returned about 10% per year over the last 90 years, but there are very few individual years in which it has ever actually returned that amount. In fact, how many of those 90 years do you think the S&P 500 was up more than 20% or down more than 20% for that year? The answer is 40. Astounding, right? I wish somebody had explained that to me decades ago. Then I would have known to look at stock market returns in terms of decades—not years, months, days, or hours. I would understand that so many of those articles and cable news pieces are just noise, designed to keep an audience obsessed and unsettled.

I haven’t changed because the stock market rebounded. I changed because I learned that there was a different way to think about investing.

In order to be a long-term investor, you have to have a long time horizon. This can be hard to remember when you’re being assaulted by noise, but if you can stay strong, the results are stunning. By results, I don’t mean the investment returns, which hopefully are good. The return I’m talking about is how I feel every day. I worry less—not just about the future, but also about the present. Of course, I know that there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but I feel like I’m going to be okay. I have a plan.

There’s no way I could’ve done this without a financial advisor. I needed someone who could not just talk me through what my asset allocation should be, but also help me work through how I felt about investing and what exactly I could do to change my perspective.

I was a mess nine years ago. Now, my outlook is totally different. The markets haven’t changed; they still go up and down. The difference is, I don’t anymore.

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 Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

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

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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A TRANSFORMED INVESTOR2020-03-13T12:58:58+00:00

Elle

Elle

There are few films that I have seen that are as disturbing as Elle. Yet is it also a wonderful movie that I’d encourage anyone (over 16) to see. Arguably this is one of the most reflective tales of the current societal state of disassociation, but reduced to the sketches of the personal life of Michele Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert). I might go a little further to suggest that there is arguably a little too much thrown into the film, but that all rather depends on how you interpret.

Make no mistake, this is a traumatic movie. It begins with a rape scene which sets the story in motion and how the viewer reacts to this and the subsequent information. The setting of a severely dysfunctional family provides the context for the series of choices that emerge. There is no attempt to explain or pacify the viewer. This is a harsh, brutal look at “real life” and contemporary life.

A day of signficant trauma

I am conscious of tension that I really don’t want to spoil the film for you, yet wish to convey some of the plot. What is explained is that Michele is the daughter of a devout Catholic man who had managed to repress some of horrific feelings, which are then released in a day of carnage in her childhood and her mass murdering father is imprisoned. There are no explanations or justifications. What follows is assumed to be built upon the backlash of hatred towards the family. It is this trauma upon which Michele gradually builds her life. Relationships are inevitably strained and detached.

This virtual reality

In many respects, what we accept as normal, or ordinary without a questioning mind can leave us all somewhat detached from reality. It also leaves us poorer within a context that could be so much better. This is not a film about victim mentality, but of passive, detached voyeurism. Whether that be the obviously disturbing video game violence or the inability to value relationship. A religious persona that masks deep violence and crime against other. A simple a lack of honesty or inability to take responsibility, all the while soothed by a plethora of cute cat videos and nice cars. We are the sum of our choices.

The sum of your choices

So, what on earth has this to do with financial planning? I would argue that your choices are significant. A choice to do nothing is still a choice. People worry about money, but do little to address those concerns, making the choice to defer, to delay. Time is against us. It is the one resource that we all have equally today. The choices you are making compound into a result. Financial planning provides the space and opportunity for you to reflect on what you genuinely value, to challenge your own thinking and the narrative of our consumer culture. However, we all have a past, some have experienced awful traumas, this needs to be addressed if a better future is to be created. We all have limitations, but almost all have unlimited desires. A sense of peace and direction can be achieved when these are identified thoughtfully and respectfully.

The lubricant of modern life

Many people are detached from their finances, seeing them merely as a necessary lubricant for getting through life. Yet finance is active, we invest globally. We know the power of money and the pain of not having enough. Money can be violent or it can bring respite and relief. Somehow a healthy balanced view towards money needs to be constructed by each of us, which can act as the map to get us where we really want to be. In short, to be engaged with your finances, your financial plan needs to reflect your values – the real ones, some of which may be painful.

Here is the trailer for this very good, but disturbing movie, which has collected several awards and for which Isabelle Huppert is nominated for an Oscar as Best Leading Actress.

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

Elle2017-02-21T12:23:43+00:00

Financial Planning in a Box

Financial Planning in a Box

It is easy to believe that the world is an unsafe place, full of people determined to do us harm or ill. We all know about the continuing extremism and acts of terror, but are increasingly aware that the answers provided by world leaders seem misguided at “best” and “just as bad” at worst. Politics is one way we tend to divide ourselves into camps of allegiance, yet this is simply one of many ways to put each other into a box, indeed perhaps your understanding of financial planning is in a box – or a certain type of box. Perhaps we could remember more about what we share alike than what differentiates us.

Tick Box Approach

Marketing is perhaps the ultimate tool for putting us all into a specific box and if this is done to identify who might benefit from a product or service, then there’s nothing that I can see that’s wrong with it. We might exclude ourselves or be excluded for good reason, the problems come when we are excluded without any valid reason. It ought to be win-win if I am excluded from the mailing list of skydiving weekly – I have no interest in skydiving and cannot believe that this would change. Those marketing skydiving courses or related products are not wasting their resources attempting to offer me great deals. That’s a win-win as far as I can tell.

Outside the Box… or how about a different box?

So, I was challenged and encouraged by a TV advert “All That We Share” from Denmark (and no I’m not on their mailing list either!). A friend shared it and it is a great reminder that the boxes we put each other in can vary enormously, yet the media (not all) and politicians (not all) seem intent on placing us into more limited, confrontational boxes. Its title might have a message for those of us that use social media too – what we share, how and to whom. Anyway, have a look for yourself.

The financial planning angle…

What has this to do with financial planning? Well very little – except to say that your financial plan should be about your life, your values and your future, not the things you think advisers want to hear (a yacht, fast car, enormous house and huge portfolio). These might have a place in your financial plan, but until we meet to discuss it, I’d rather assume nothing and wait to hear your story.

The right fit

So, when it comes to our own marketing, we are looking for people that we can help. That means – helping to improve, organise and structure what you have better, so that it works for you, saving you time, reducing anxiety and bringing about a sense of “peace of mind”. Obviously, we need paying, which means you need to have resources to do so, but its more than that – it’s also for people that are looking for a long-term professional relationship from which we can work on your plan together.

Anyhow, here is the video.

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

Financial Planning in a Box2017-01-30T13:19:14+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

Captain Fantastic

Captain Fantastic

The new movie Captain Fantastic won’t be everyone’s proverbial “cup of tea” but it is perhaps one of the better movies that I have seen over the last few months. In essence it is the challenge that we all face, (not merely parents) about how to carve out a life worth living from the plethora of choices that exist.

In the film, a couple (Ben and Trin) decide to go “off grid” to educate their children in the things that they believe to be truly important. There is much to their credit, not least of which is the relationships that they build between each other. Of course not all the decisions are wise, sometimes getting lucky, narrowly avoiding disaster. Their choices are grounded in beliefs, naturally rather leftist and alternative to the mainstream, but are a welcome and timely reminder that the status quo or indeed the general culture of the day, clearly hasn’t really achieved its promises, which often seem as empty as the off casts and refuse that at best, are redirected to landfill. This is a vivid reflection of the tension within the American dream, though of course, could equally be a British one.

Values, norms and challenges

This is not a comfortable watch, there are a plethora of challenges, notably the physical endurance challenges that the children face, but also our own cultural comforts and inability to face some of the glaring facts of modern, or post-modern life. One cannot help but admire the comprehension, creativity and engaged accomplishment achieved by all the children, albeit without the context of wider “socialisation”.

I’m not giving anything away by outlining a plot which centres around Ben, (Captain Fantastic) trying to look after his children following the death of their mother. Cultural values collide within the wider family leading to the inevitable flashpoint. Whatever you think of Ben’s methods or values (played by Viggo Mortensen – you may know from Lord of the Rings) there is a very moving penultimate scene in which he provides some parting words as he “blesses” his son Bo (George MacKay). Words that perhaps we all long to hear.

So, as ever, this prompted me to consider the choices we (ok…. I) make all the time. Invariably clients want to protect the lifestyle that they have, but perhaps it is worth pausing to reflect if this is really what you want. We all tend to live within what is familiar and shy away from giving ourselves too much creative leeway to construct a life that may look and feel considerably different from the one we currently live. I’m not passing any value judgement, merely reminding you (and myself) to pause to consider if we are conforming to expectations rather than forming them.

Here’s the trailer, the film is officially released on Friday 9th September. The American “child actors” are typically brilliant, but 24 year-old London born George MacKay is exceptional and certainly has a very bright future as an actor and continues to make some very sensible role choices.

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

Captain Fantastic2017-01-27T10:54:52+00:00

This is Your Life

This is Your Life

You may remember the TV show “This is Your Life” – the big red book of a lifetime of memories.As a child, it often seemed to me at the time, many of the celebrities were not very old, so had not actually had much “life” yet. Yet today I find myself rethinking my position.

Over the last few weeks I have been house-hunting and after what feels like a trial of will over energy, tomorrow I finally move house. This is not something that I have done often, indeed the entire process of buying and selling houses does make me wonder why anyone would wish to move regularly or indeed be a landlord.

As we all know, everything has its time. The memories created in our current home, seeing the children grow up, being part of the community, having lots of wonderful parties – these are not sold off in the process, but of course they can and do fade over time. To me it has always been important to have some form of record of those memories

 

Planning an ending

The advantage of moving home is that to some extent it is possible to plan a clear “ending” and say goodbye. On Sunday night, we had a small goodbye party with our neighbours. Life itself rarely gives many people this opportunity. Sudden death is precisely that – sudden and unexpected.

Of course we will all experience loss, some will be expected and some something of a shock. Irrespective of when or how, there are things that we can all do to help prepare others and ourselves. The most obvious aspect of any funeral and mourning period is the recounting of stories. These are naturally far more revealing of who the real person is or was. Yet often these tales rely upon the memories and survival of others.

I encourage clients to design their own “life book” full of pictures, quotes, memories, stories, some basic factual stuff and a load of thoughts about “how I was shaped”. These days it is relatively easy to get a book printed for a very small sum. This makes a great document which you can keep up to date, but importantly an opportunity to tell your own story, in your own way, in your own words. Why not give some thought to what you would like to say – not as important as a Will or adequate financial protection, but far more enjoyable. Of course I might suggest that this can act as a catalyst for the life you still have left, to reflect on making your time count – whatever that means for you.

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

This is Your Life2017-01-06T14:39:14+00:00

Those overpaid teachers….

Those overpaid teachers…

This is an item I came across online that amused me and felt it should be reproduced. I imagine and hope that all of us can remember at least one inspirational teacher, probably rather more. As in all things, people are people and some are far better at their work than others. No single profession or group are all good or all bad. However I have come to deeply respect teachers over the years and they have had more than their fair share of mountains to climb. So here is a piece that I am reposting in response to criticism that is seriously misplaced.

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do -babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right. Let’s give them £5.93 an hour and only the hours they work; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be £41.51 a day (8.30 am to 3:30 PM with 30 min. off for lunch and play –that equals 7 1/2 hours).

 

Babysitting Service

Each parent could pay £41.51 a day for these teachers to babysit their children. Now how many children do they teach in a day…32? So that’s £41.51 x 32 = £1328.32 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any holidays .LET’S SEE…. That’s £1328.32 X 180= £239,097.60 per year.

Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries. What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage (£6.90), and just to be fair, round it off to £7.00 an hour. That would be £7.00 X 7 1/2 hours X 32 children X 180 days = £302,400.00 per year. Wait a minute –there’s something wrong here! There sure is! The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is £25,000.00/180 days = £138.90 per day/ 32 children = £4.34 / 7 1/2 hours = £0.58 per hour per student–a very inexpensive babysitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

(from a post online)

In support of teachers

Whilst it is true that teachers have half-term and end of term breaks. It is grossly unfair and misleading to assume that they have lots of time off. The increased testing and micro management implemented over the years by successive “we know best” Governments has essentially replaced a lot of teaching with a lot of form filling. Something that the bueracrats are attempting to introduce everywhere with their obsession about “outcomes”.

The reposted story above assumes a very unusual day. I am unhappy to report that I know a great many teachers who work at least 12 hours a day often 6 days a week. They are exhausted. This is the experience from top to bottom across the age spectrum.

I appreciate that the reposted story is only one way of considering the numbers. There are many costs in running a school, not simply the cost of each teacher.

Let me pose a question. If we actually believe the experts who tell us that the formative years are the most important to “personhood” which has a life-long impact on citizenship, the ability to be part of a community that thinks and acts beyond self; shouldn’t we be investing in children and those that inspire and encourage them for the greater good. After all, these children will grow up to one day govern, pose and vote on laws about social policy, including whether you are cared for or dispatched early to make way for the new (which makes more “economic sense”).

Of course the same could be said of many aspects of our “State employees” – doctors, nurses, firemen, police and so on. The constant undervaluing and bogus attempts to apply market values to everything is utterly flawed.

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

Those overpaid teachers….2017-01-06T14:39:18+00:00

Did you enjoy Le Weekend?

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Something for Le Weekend?

I am glad to report that I returned home safely last night, ahead of the then impending storm but still somewhat perplexed at the speeds some drive in heavy rain along the M4. I hope that you had a good weekend, mine was spent with good friends in my old home town of Bath and was reminded yet again of the immeasurable wealth that friends provide in life.  I also had a moment to watch a new film “Le Weekend” a story about an older couple, who return to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Honesty and AvoidanceLeWeekend

I have to say that whilst there were many good moments in the film, I didn’t really “get it”. This, it seemed, was a couple near to retirement, who were worn down by life’s disappointments. Their marriage is in crisis as they navigate the “empty nest syndrome”, but still manage to hold the relationship together with some tenderness and honesty… just. This is a common experience of course. Theirs seemed exaggerated, rather than an opportunity to reflect and determine the next course for their lives from the wide menu on offer… much like the indecision or disagreement about where they will literally eat their next course.  This was more of an adolescent tantrum, displaying their folly in a single weekend that had presumably accompanied them on the previous 30 years and many poor decisions or at least their denial of reality and a possible sad last gasp for adrenalin, now a distant memory in their relationship.

Setting your own agenda or determined by others?

I often encourage clients to take a weekend break (or longer) to figure out what they really want from life and each other so that we can build a plan around what they really want, not what they think they should want. This isn’t a quick process and can take significant time, but it is a vital element of a good financial plan. However, this couple, wonderfully played by Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, have deep disappointment, which neither of them properly discuss together, despite their apparent honesty and a life spent educating others about the meaning of life. There is little or no attempt to reflect how things might change…how they might be. They have a “needy son” who is described in impoverished terms, yet seems to be merely a reflection of their own inability to attend to what is important. They are profligate with what little they have, deliberately avoiding responsibility for their actions, culminating in their own dependency on an old friend (Jeff Goldblum), for whom Meg and Nick appear to have little real regard. It wasn’t the ending that I was expecting, but precisely the scenario that I help clients to avoid as they plan for their future, however long and whatever it looks like, but based upon their own values and objectives, not simply keeping up with the Blairs…as they do when they take on a “whatever it costs” luxury suite in a luxury Parisian hotel “once rented by the Blairs”. The thing is, “whatever it costs” has rather more to do with honest reflection than the ability to pay the price tag.

Le Weekend is now on general release. Here’s the official trailer.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

Did you enjoy Le Weekend?2017-01-06T14:39:43+00:00

A Class Act Performance

A Class Act

Some people are a class act. Anyone that knows me, will be aware that I love the creative arts, be it music, theatre, film, art and literature and will often soak myself in it. Whilst this isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea” for me the creative arts are inspirational and sustaining in a way that little else achieves (for me). Anyway, I was delighted to be at a Martyn Joseph performance on Friday night. Martyn is someone that I have followed since 1985, he is a folk singer (and I’m not particularly into folk music). Why I enjoy his performances so much is that he comes across as a truly genuine man, full of hopes, fears and doubts. He wrestles with some of the big questions and many of the less obvious. He is a creative, writes great poems to music that seek to touch and inspire the soul. He is passionate about his music and about the world in which he resides. He doesn’t opt for the easy answers or duck the difficult, questions. As with every person, I may not agree with all of his ideas or thoughts, but he is one of those people that conveys warmth, acceptance and a truly inspiring sense of love.

Deep Confidence

It struck me in particular at this latest performance, possibly because I’m a little older and hopefully wiser, that he is also able to share and indeed give a platform to someone else, however much his junior. In my experience, there are not many performers that can do this quite as well. Perhaps this is the mark of someone that has not only kept true to himself, but also knows himself and has the self-confidence that eludes so many. By “pop” standards, he has not had huge “commercial success” yet surely exemplifies what it is to be truly successful by remaining committed, creative and inspiring. A life on the road was given new significance, apart from the obvious strain of a life performing around the world out of a suitcase and away from family and friends which I imagine to be tough; it is also the road of life, on which he is so well travelled and has many helpful insights to offer.

Authentic Values

As a financial planner, my objective is to help money make sense for my clients. To help them live a life that is authentic to their values and work towards their ambitions. Creativity is very much part of the thinking process, not in the way some might imagine of “creative accounting” but of thinking differently, of thinking of the life you want rather than simply the one that appears prescribed by the media. This is a frequently revisited conversation with clients and of course as it is something that I’m interested in, invariably creeps into dinner table conversations as it did again this weekend. People like Martyn inspire us all to think about what we can add.

A Class Act Performance2017-01-06T14:39:51+00:00
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