Wrong end of the contract
Mr Hardy seemed to have something of a gambling habit, it isn’t clear from the story if this was problematic, but it is inferred. What I had not realised was that unlike the movie stars of today, they were employees of Hal Roach. He was a ground-breaking film maker of the day, but also a shrewd businessman. there was no bonus scheme or royalties and if a film failed or succeeded, they were paid the same. Laurel was clearly more financially astute, demanding that his contract be properly revised, Hardy’s contract still had time to run. The contracts were deliberately established this way by Roach, precisely to prevent them from negotiating together. Hardy seems not to have appreciated the implications and also lacked the courage to stand up to Roach, perhaps (I don’t know) because his gambling required the certainty of a regular income, not least to provide for his 3 ex-wives.
Here today, gone tomorrow
Laurel and Hardy movies were shown around the world and Roach made them shoot each in several major European languages. They were coached and read from out-of-sight blackboards, phonetically, all to maximise revenue for Roach. Laurel and Hardy were consequently never financially secure, at least not by today’s Hollywood standards. The movie picks up at the end of their career, when they are mainly forgotten and having to earn a crust. Many are surprised that they are not retired, but this is a case of having to work.
Genius at work?
As much as Laurel and Hardy loved their work and working together, clearly, as a financial planner, the aim is to ensure that you have the choice about whether to work or not. Retirement is a poor word; a better phrase is “financial Freedom Day” – the day you choose to work because you want to rather than have to.
In any partnership, speaking the same language and having shared goals is vital to financial wellbeing. Your financial planning really doesn’t need to be comedic, it is your life’s work so invest in the right counsel with a proper financial planner.
Here is the trailer. I’m confident it will make you smile.
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