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The Life of the Party

Join Steve, our founder, as he reminisces about family parties and the importance of spending time with the ones we love.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fairly close family, you will have spent a number of evenings across your lifetime at family parties. Usually, this is to celebrate something, like a wedding, a coming of age or a significant birthday. Sadly, sometimes it will be a funeral, but there’s a party afterwards, right? A celebration of their life.

Ignoring the last one, generally these are happy occasions. Multiple generations are in one room, usually 3 but sometimes 4 generations. Grandparents, their middle-aged children and grandchildren of varying ages from toddlers to twenty somethings. At the best family parties, friends of those families come together too; parents of friends you grew up with that you may have called ‘auntie’.

You can picture it, you have attended these all your life. In village halls, back rooms of pubs and community centres. When you were younger, you remember smoked filled rooms, tables laden with sandwiches and sticks with sausages on, pork pies and bowls of jellied eels. In more recent times, these have become Indian / Chinese / Mexican buffet snack packs of samosas, satay chicken sticks and nachos. Times move on, tastes move on. The drinks have stayed fairly similar though, mainly beer, wine and gin in various formats. But there are a lot more shots now!

I might lead a revival for the jellied eel, but that’s for another newsletter.

I am guessing that over your lifetime, you may also have felt differently about these parties? When you were the youngest, you looked forward to them with relish. After promising your parents you would be well behaved, you then got spoiled by everyone! Then you got too cool for family parties, and didn’t enjoy them as much. Then, all of a sudden, you look forward to them again.

Have you ever sat back, probably in a tiddly fog of happiness or melancholia and watched a family party unwind, or thought about it whilst interacting?

These are your people. The ones you have spent most time with across your life. The ones that have influenced you, that you have influenced (for good or for bad here folks!) and the older ones are the ones you are most likely to grow into in later life!

Let’s start with the lighthearted: kids. They aren’t going to change are they? When we were young, we could get enjoyment out of the smallest of things. A big family party is exciting for seeing people they rarely do; like aunties, uncles and cousins etc. They reestablish relationships with each other quickly and have a ball. Quickly taking part in any activities that are on, whether it be the dance floor or the photo booth. Roping the ‘grown ups’ into doing it and getting them to have fun participating too.

Then the late teenagers and the 20-somethings. The self-limiting veil of ‘cool’, ‘savage’ or ‘sick’ (whatever the word is now!) and others’ perception of them has descended somewhat. However, they do not have the tolerance for the old faithfuls of beer, gin and garishly coloured shots that the older family members do and so that veil is quickly lifted! And quite often ends up in a post disco ball of chunder to the beat of self-pitying moans!

You chuckle to yourself as you think you would have done it better! Thrown better shapes, sank more shots, or made more people laugh. And so, the life within you is back! You seek out friends, siblings etc at the bar and get stuck in. You’re there for fun. But! We’ve taken some hits over the years and unbridled fun is hard to achieve consistently. You’re all there doing the same thing, but some of you carry some darkness. Tough times, usually health or money related, pervade the conversation. As everyone is with their closest people, these conversations come out more easily. The fear of death, the positivity that they will beat it and the good wishes and assurances from others that they can. And so, the conversation turns with each telling their story. Those that have a worry about something that they are yet to face up to, often keeping it to themselves. They’re here to enjoy themselves and forget about it. But others need to talk, they need to share to cope. Their family and friends are happy to do it for them and share their experiences. These people are aware of what is coming and still think they can be like it was. There are tinges of regret that they are not involved in the shot drinking contest at the bar with the 20 somethings; they want to be, but they know that they can’t hack it. That life stage is gone. Unless you’re that 50 something uncle that wears skintight white denim trousers, slaps yourself in teak-coloured fake tan and has a shirt that you think 6 of the 7 buttons are for decoration and only one for use. (I looked this up! These newsletters are anything if not well researched!). In which case, all power to you!

Then looking to the oldest generation. They used to be the life of the party, the centre of everything. You would run to them as a child at these events and tell them what you have done. How many pork pies you have eaten and ask them to watch your dancing. But now they sit more alone, a bit more wobbly, a bit hard of hearing and maybe finding it harder to keep up with the conversation. Their children and grandchildren attend to them, bringing them drinks and sitting with them for a while. Gamely, they will try to have a dance for a few moments and the grandchildren love it!

Then there are the ghosts. Loved ones that used to be present but are no longer there. Can you feel their presence sometimes? You glance at people that have aged and recognize them in their faces, it takes you back to previous family parties. You look around and hope that there will be another party with no losses. Or will the next one be a funeral?

And so it goes on, I am sure, through the centuries. The family remains, new members come and old go. The cycle is the same, the enjoyment and love is the same.

Why is this important in a financial adviser’s newsletter? Well, my friends, eel numbers have declined by 95% in the past 40 years and this of course means there are fewer jellied eels at parties. Gen Z haven’t really heard of them and so I think they will become a delicacy. Which is good news for the eels. I don’t want them to die out. Rest assured, jelly is still plentiful.

Oh no, good point about eel conservation there, but wrong timing. The real reason for this is:

Money is most likely not your finite resource – if you want to see if it is or not, give us a shout. We can show you in a few hours.

How much time have you spent worrying about money? Worrying so much you are not doing other things. There is a massive opportunity cost to your worrying and this is your ‘life’.

Time – is your finite resource.

Every family party you miss, every family party you do not hold because “I’m too tired from work” to arrange it. Or, “I’d rather just stay in and watch the streaming Drivel-drama-du-jour” is time wasted with your family and friends or not doing great things you could do.

The following charts are taken from The American Time Use Survey (2009-2019) and Lindberg from ‘Our World in Data’. I know, it’s American, but we are similar societies and they don’t eat many jellied eels either.

Look at the time you spend alone, and the time you spend with coworkers and compare that with the time you spend with family, friends and children.

If you are mid-40s or above, the time you have with your parents (if you’re lucky enough to still have them) is limited. The time you spend with your children is going to decline. The time you spend alone will be on the increase rapidly.

We want you to reconnect with old friends and make new friends. They are in the same boat as you. You will all be happier for it. You can drift downstream on that boat alone, or you can paddle white water with your mates and have a few beers and jellied eels afterwards.

Get paddling!

We can help you:

Stop worrying about your money. We can tell you when you can spend more time with friends and family (the answer is now) and less time with coworkers. We can tell you what you need to do to be able to spend all that time with people you love.

You are worrying about how you spend your money. We are worrying about how you spend your time. Time is running out.

We help all our clients with:

· Social activities – walking clubs / yoga sessions / client events and an online community called ‘Ubuntu’

· We have Jess – our healthy heads guru – she’s a psychologist that will give you the tools to feel better. We pay for sessions with our clients so they feel great again.

We do that for you so all you need to worry about is how you spend your time. Get your spending priorities straight!

Money Tips

It’s a new Tax Year! As of April 6th, everything reverts to zero and accrual of income etc starts again.

There are some changes this year:

Capital Gains Tax Exemption:

This has reduced from £12,300 to £6,000. This will be reduced to £3,000 in 24/25

What you should do:

If you have any assets that could have a capital gain then you should find the purchase prices and current value (alternatively, ask us to do it) then consider what the gain is. Most assets are depressed in value at the moment, so capital gains would be lower and you may even have losses.

Consider what you could do:

· Sell and rebuy in an ISA so you do not have capital gains in the future.

· Sell and rebuy in a pension – this may help lower capital gains tax rate too! But will also mean the asset isn’t subject to capital gains tax anymore as growth in pensions is CGT free.

We can help you explore the most appropriate solution for your individual situation.

Pension Allowances

You are now able to pay in £60,000 a year into a pension or £10,000 if you have already taken taxable income from a pension (both provided you have salaried earnings to do so). These are significant increases on £40,000 and £4,000 in the last tax year.

With the Lifetime Allowance being abolished, everyone should review their pension provision, earnings and income tax bills. Pensions are a great way of reducing income tax and should be used where possible.

Savings Rates

As interest rates have risen to quell inflation, so the amount you can earn in bank accounts has too.

Only for our clients if you are looking for a savings account, just contact us and we will provide you with a list of the best interest-paying accounts.

If you’d like to talk to us about any of the above, we'd love to hear from you.

Call us: 0121 705 1000


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