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8 December 2022

Die hard financial advice for Christmas

Autumn is officially ending, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble have come out of their summer hibernation to take over our radio and I find myself after a four year break writing another Carbon Christmas Blog.

My past blogs have taken inspiration from Christmas stories such as a Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life but this time I thought I would take inspiration from another classic Christmas story…Die Hard.

Now a financial blog and Die Hard might seem odd bedfellows and some of these links might seem extremely tenuous but if John McClane can thank a terrorist for advice around pulling the trigger, let’s be open-minded.

So what has Die Hard taught us from a financial advice perspective:

Create a positive culture for your staff and customers

So financial tip number 1 from Die Hard is strive to create a culture in your business that your colleagues and ultimately your customers will appreciate.

Joe Takagi the boss of the Nakatomi Corporation is a great example of this. Not only is he quick to put himself in harm’s way for his staff, he also takes the time to know his staff’s personal lives, such as an executive’s estranged husband flying into Los Angeles. A survey done by small businesses put Scotland at a -7.14% skills shortage in 2022 and retaining good staff as one of the top challenges facing business owners in Scotland. In a survey done around ‘quiet quitting’ amongst the top things staff said would have kept them at the company were if their boss made them feel valued and engaged with them.

This positive culture and ‘going the extra mile’ such as arranging for a limousine to meet John McClane at the airport, bring him to the Christmas party and include him in the celebrations means even the cynical John is turned round by the culture and as a recent survey by HubSpot Research showed 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who go the extra mile with their customer service. This idea is definitely embedded in the culture at Carbon and a core part of our company values (Financial Planning, Investments & Pensions (carbonfinancial.co.uk)).

So Die Hard lesson number 1, be more like Joe Takagi!

Pre-nuptial agreements don’t have the stigma they used to

John McClane and Holly Gennero/McClane are having marital issues and find it hard to even be in the same room without dissolving into an argument.

Pre-nuptial agreements were once seen as only for the rich and famous, but they are on the rise in Scotland and as they can provide a level of certainty and massively reduce lengthy legal disputes during a divorce, they are becoming a more valuable tool. Now John & Holly find their relationship mended by the end of the film, but if you find yourself without the intervention of a German terrorist to re-ignite that passion in your relationship – pre-nuptial agreements can save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Hans Gruber would have hated 2022 if he’d successfully stole the bearer bonds

The McGuffin of Die Hard is that the antagonist Hans Gruber is trying to steal $640 million in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Plaza. If he’d ‘got away with it’ and held them to 2022 then he’d have been in for a very painful time with 2022 being the worst year since 1788 in the US bond markets.

If he had watched the daily prices for 2022 it would have felt like he was getting dropped off a building (pun very much intended). Of course our advice to him would be to hold fast and not react. As interest rates drop in time, bond prices will rise and the higher long-term yield bonds are offering will reward the patient investor.

Not all cowboys are good

John McClane is referred to as a cowboy multiple times, leading to the birth of his catchphrase “Yippee Ki Yay – something or other” but cowboys from a financial advice perspective are not normally the good guys.

Various social influencers have been paid to promote electronic investments such as cryptocurrency or NFT’s in recent years, relying on their social pull to attract investment rather than any data or investment theory. However, with 73% of those who invest in ‘crypto’ reporting losses and an estimated $2trillion lost since 2021 those involved have been labelled as cowboys.

In line with Carbon’s core investment principle that “Investments that appear too good to be true usually are” leave the Cowboys to the silver screen and make sure that you’re investing with authorised firms and that they’re protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, such as “Carbon Financial: Yippee Ki Yay Sensible Investors” (this slogan is not endorsed by the board).

And there you have it, the ‘Die Hard Financial Advice Christmas blog’ that nobody asked for. If over the festive period you’re inspired by John McClane & Hans Gruber to seek financial advice; or perhaps Buddy the Elf’s budding career as a children’s author sparks you to think about your own self-employed earnings; maybe, Home Alone makes you wonder if there’s any financial things you should be doing to protect your children, here at Carbon we are always happy to hear from you and look forward to chatting in the new year.

For further inspiration, please find links to my below festive blogs:

It’s a Wonderful Financial Life - Carbon Financial

A Carbon Christmas Carol - Carbon Financial

From everyone at Carbon we wish you a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a hootenanny of a Hogmanay when it comes.

The value of investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest.

This communication is for general information only and is not intended to be individual advice. It represents our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice. You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking any action.

Tax and Estate Planning Services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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