Their Finest

Their Finest

In these days of some rather confused notions about patriotism, any film that looks back to “the good old days” is likely to cause a few raised eyebrows. This year, films that look back at events of World War II now have a slightly different resonance. There will be several significant films released in 2017. One that has already been released is “Their Finest”.

The film is essentially about crafting a patriotic, encouraging story (propaganda) within the constraints of the reality of grave uncertainty about the future. Whilst “The War” is an obvious milestone in history, (and I might argue still has a legacy that we are living with) this is also a significant turning point in the progress of women in the workplace.  Catrin Cole (Gemma Arteton) has a flair of creative writing and together with an ensemble of men, unfit for fighting, begins her own battle for perspective… she is brought in to write the “slop” by which is meant “women’s dialogue”. Facing more than bombs falling on London from Hitler, she faces the culture of the day that appears to see women rather simplistically.

Churchill and of course Hitler, both believed in the power of film to inspire and convey their own messages. Today we are perhaps a little more sophisticated when it comes to deciphering the messages contained within, although elections tend to suggest otherwise.

A Life Story or Story of Life

It reminded me that I often talk of “the story of our life” with clients. Thankfully, here in Britain, we now live largely at peace, able to shape our own destiny to a greater or lesser extent. This is of course in large part, thanks to those that fought for our freedoms in both wars. In many senses, as in the film, we know both the beginning and the ending, perhaps a few points along the way, but there is a significant amount of gap filling. It is these smaller details that make a film believable and likeable.

The same is true of our own story. Our lives are obviously rather more than a simple tale of birth, education, work, retirement and then death. The way “retirement” is discussed would suggest that it is simply the point at which you reach 65… or later. Yet of course life certainly does not stop at retirement (which can be at any age and I would redefine as “financial freedom day” – simply the day you choose to work because you want to, not because you need to). When we demonstrate to our clients, their lifetime cash flow, it is not a simple account of what money is available. Instead it is a truly interactive demonstration of a “spending plan” or perhaps better – a life plan. This is based upon genuine goals, milestones, desires and yes, a few wishes. It enables you to clearly see what the future might look like if you take a certain course and what it would cost. The skill of the planner is in the editing – carefully avoiding over-detailed plans, whilst ensuring that they remain consistent and true to the facts.

Living Your Finest

Like Catrin, we all get to write our own stories, we do not let others write them for us, however sometimes we all need the right encouragement and space to dream. We might even call this our own form of propaganda, which is why having an impartial planner is vital to ensure that our dreams are not pipe dreams, but a pathway of choices that fit into our own story. So that you can make it your finest work. Here’s the trailer for the film.

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

Their Finest2023-12-01T12:18:34+00:00

Don’t Panic! Captain Mainwaring… don’t panic!

Don’t Panic Captain Mainwaring

I find it increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to comment on the world stock markets. The media is constantly moving from positions of fear or greed, buy or sell. This serves their purpose of having something to say and of course becomes something that they then have to continue to say for fear of not providing “the news”. Of course panic is contagious and whenever I see it, I tend to think of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army – don’t panic Captain Mainwaring.

So what is happening? The price of oil has fallen dramatically. The Chinese economy is not growing as quickly as it was. There is nervousness about the UK leaving the EU, the possibility of a thug winning the US presidential election, perhaps forcing a showdown with anyone with different opinion. Europe has little idea about what to do with thousands fleeing war in Syria or their own ravaged economies offering few prospects of employment. Our own austerity is causing our public services significant stress and of course there is the recurring fears about viruses, war, the environment and terrorism which all play into the narrative of “its bleak”.

Fear and Greed

Shares are part, ownership of businesses. The value of which is based in part on its actual physical assets (premises, stock etc.) and part on future revenue streams (forward orders, based on data from historic orders). There is also the matter of market share, industry sector and general perception of the company. The price of shares is therefore in part objective maths, part subjective opinion.

The problem with sudden shifts in price are invariably linked to a herd mentality – playing inevitably into two camps – fear or greed.

We know this when we invest. It is not new news, but it is certainly hard to live with, particularly when the noise is very loud and the doom-sayers are everywhere.

Any real changes?

If you have genuinely altered your long-term goals and do not wish to invest ever again, you probably should rethink your entire strategy, perhaps investing is not for you. I am being serious.

However if your long term goals remain roughly the same, then the key question is has anything really changed?


Your portfolio is split across a variety of asset classes, shares, bonds, cash and commodities. There is a global spread. You have a diversified portfolio. We have established tried and tested evidence based analysis to check that you have the right “mix” of holdings to suit your attitude to risk. To date, whilst the markets have been “disappointing” (understatement) since April 2015, the degree of “shock” is within your tolerance, but it is of course deeply unnerving, very unsatisfying and frustrating.

Time in the market not timing the market

However we are holding to the long-term principles of disciplined investing, which have been proven successful over time. This is simply part of the investment experience, albeit “painful”.

It is very tempting to think that getting out of the market now (or 12 months ago) would provide some solidity. However this is based on the notion of being able to time the market and determine opportune points to get in and out of the market (and which market). This is really therefore a double decision, when to sell and then when to buy again.

Historically, investors (professional and private) get this very wrong. Invariably they panic and sell towards or at the bottom of a market, and then decide to invest again once they are confident in the recovery (which has already happened by the time they get back “in”). This leads to further frustration and doing the exact opposite of what we all know investing is about – sell at the top, buy at the bottom. Selling holdings is the only actual way to make a loss real.

Reserve Levels

Any discussion about your financial plan has involved thinking about an appropriate amount of cash to hold on deposit – your emergency fund. You may have used some of this, you may not. It is there as a buffer, and is designed to mean that you don’t have to take money from investments when they are suffering. Perhaps some adjustments may be prudent, but this is your choice, money should serve you, not the other way around.

I am not pretending that the market turmoil is not scary. This is a normal, understandable reaction to headline news. I know of nobody that likes to lose money. Everyone wants high rewards for low risk. However, unless your circumstances have really changed, if you are at the end of your tether with the concept of “investing”, then stick to the course, taking the life-long perspective.

Pain is part of growth, falls are part of average annual returns, finance is not magic and doesn’t provide any real account of who or what you are.

We remain vigilant, we continue to work in your interests but yes, your funds have reduced in value, but we have no good reason to believe that this will be a permanent status. We do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future with certainty, nobody can (despite inferences by others). We are doing our best in an imperfect world. Thankfully, this is 2016 and we are not on rations or at war with the world and whilst not dismissing our troubles (which are very real) perhaps some old school laughter might help.

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

Don’t Panic! Captain Mainwaring… don’t panic!2023-12-01T12:19:27+00:00
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