Part 44

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on F.I.R.E.  This week I will be talking a little more about mental health, and dealing with difficult people.  I’ll also touch briefly on asset allocation within my ISA.

Quote of the Week

A quote that feels relevant today (as I write this) having heard the news that actor Chadwick Boseman has passed away at the age of 43.  Although he is not an actor I am hugely acquainted with, as a Marvel fan I loved his portrayal of T’Challa.  He may not have had length of life, but he had depth of life.  His life had meaning and he leaves behind a proud legacy.  My thoughts are with Chadwick’s family and friends.  

In the wider context, I think we can all take wisdom from these words.  We can only do so much to control or affect length of life but the depth of life is within our control.  We can practice mindfulness and stoicism to live in the moment, and to choose our response to what life throws our way.  It’s not an easy path to take in life, but it can bring peace.  

Weekly Update

There are certain things happening in my life at the moment which are causing a lot of stress.  I’m not going to talk in detail about those things, as they concern not only myself but people I care about.  There are a couple of concepts that I want to discuss in general though. 

All behaviour has a cause.  It’s like stimulus and response; you feel hungry and so you eat.  How you eat, and what you eat, can vary greatly.  When you are hungry, it is generally much better to reach for an apple than a tube of pringles.  Just because behaviour can be explained, it does not make that behaviour acceptable.  Someone might be able to point to a specific trigger for their behaviour, but if that behaviour hurts someone else, be it physically or mentally, then the wounded party has no obligation to stick around.  

I’m not saying that past trauma is irrelevant and that people should just get over past experiences.  Bad things happen all the time, unfortunately, and people are being hurt and abused all around the world.  It’s tragic, and unfortunately part of daily life for many.  It’s wrong.  What I’m driving at, is perhaps best explained with a fictional example.  Let’s take Bob and Joan; two completely made up people.  In his past, Bob was emotionally abused by his previous girlfriend.  He was belittled, and mocked for his interests and hobbies.  He was also physically abused, as Joan would smash cups against his head.  Eventually, Bob left Joan and sometime later started a relationship with Susan.  After a while, Susan made a passing comment about Bob’s hobbies which caused him to fly into a rage.  He screamed at Susan and grabbed her by the throat.  

In the above example, we can explain Bob’s behaviour towards Susan through what happened in his previous relationship.  However, just because we can explain it, the behaviour is not acceptable.  What Bob did towards Susan was wrong.  An explanation for behaviour does make it acceptable, and let’s assume that Bob later explained to Susan why he acted that way, she is under no obligation to stick around to experience that behaviour again.  Susan might understand the reason for Bob’s actions.  She might even forgive him in light of the explanation, but she is under no obligation to stick around.  People do not have to spend their lives fixing other people.  They may choose to, and in some cases that is admirable.  In other cases, foolish.  

For those who know me personally, please do not read anything into the example provided other than the general concept.  The content of the example is not a window into my life; it’s just a fictional example to illustrate an idea.

Over the last two-years, but especially the last three or four months, my capacity to cope with other people’s bullshit has reduced to almost zero.  I’m still there for the people I care about, but those on the periphery of my life, I just don’t have time for their drama.  I recently made a joke about the A-Level exam results scandal, that was obviously a joke, but I was then sent an essay by someone on my friends list who took exception to my joke.  I ran the message through google docs and it was 1,755 words long.  I got a couple of sentences into the message and just thought, “I don’t have time for this.”  My comment was obviously a joke, and this person had typed up a rant.  If they had reached out and asked me to explain my comment, I would have stated it was a joke and apologised for any hurt caused.  I’m not a complete asshole.  This person did not do that though; they tried to lecture me about something they did not understand.  I replied, “It was a joke.”  A day later, I received another rant from this person, to which my reply was, “I think you need to grow up and get a grip.”

I blocked that person from my social media accounts. As I said, my capacity to deal with other people’s bullshit is almost zero. Using Bob’s example, I can’t explain the person’s behaviour, but to be honest, in my mind the explanation is irrelevant. A mutual friend reported back to me a conversation with them where this incident cropped up. The mutual friend asked this person if they knew what was going on in my life right now, and the person said they didn’t. Had they known, maybe they would have approached me in a different way, but I doubt it based on the nature and content of their rant. Was my zero tolerance approach to this acceptable? That’s up to each person to decide. I didn’t go off on an abusive tirade against this person, despite my initial reaction being to tell them to “get fucked”. The replies I’ve quoted are my actual replies verbatim. I didn’t actually swear, but I did feel like it. My behaviour may not be acceptable, but it can certainly be explained.

Mental Health

Last week I talked a little about my mental health struggles, and several people reached out to me to check I was ok, and to offer support.  I want to thank each of those people for taking the time to check in and reach out.  It came at the right time and gave me a much needed boost when I really needed it, so thank you. 

I have started keeping a written journal, as in actual writing on paper, which is unusual for me.  I have no idea how I used to write all day in school.  Writing is hard on the hand.  It’s helping though.  I’m also trying to practice mindfulness alongside my stoic philosophy.  The gym is also helping.  Lifting weights is a satisfying way to work the stress out of the body.  

The thing with mental health, is that it’s a lifelong battle.  That’s not something that people want to hear.  People suffering with depression, obsessive or intrusive thoughts, or anxiety, generally want to find a cure.  There is no cure, at least not in my opinion, for these mental health conditions.  There are treatments and ways to manage the symptoms, though.  Ways to dial down the mental noise from these conditions.  Once I realised it was a lifelong battle, it was something of a release.  There is no point stressing about something that can’t be changed.  So, my efforts switch towards tackling this acute phase.  I feel as though I’ve bottomed out and am climbing back out of the dark place I’ve been in for the last few weeks and months.  No doubt, it will not be a straight, upward line as I climb out. There will be setbacks, but I feel as though I’m moving in the right direction.  

Health Update

Current Weight: 114.4kg (down 0.5kg from last update).

Current Body Fat: 39.2% (up 3.1% from last update).

BMI: 34.5 (down 0.2 from last update).

Weekly Goal: lose 0.75kg.

Ultimate Goal: 90kg.

Weekly Steps: 31,614.

A decent week healthwise with some weight loss but a big spike in my body fat percentage.  The problem with measuring these things is that you can get weighed five times in one day and get five different results.  So, it’s important not to get too fixated on an individual data point, but to instead look at the trend.  Last week I talked about setting a target for getting my weight to 100kg by Christmas.  That is still the target.  I’m going to be gradually ramping up my cardio, alongside my weight workouts.

I’ve decided that I will donate £1 for every 0.1kg lost between now and Christmas, to a maximum of £150, to Rain Rescue, an animal charity in my local area. I’ve had a few interactions with them in the past and they are dedicated to the welfare of all animals. If you want more information about Rain Rescue, their website is: http://www.rainrescue.co.uk.

I’m having to be so careful with my weight training due to the shoulder surgeries I have had in the past.  I have this annoying need to push myself as hard as I can in the gym, and this often creates injury problems.  I read somewhere, a long time ago, that when you are lifting weights your muscles strengthen faster than your tendons and bones, which is part of the reason why people suffer joint problems when they push themselves too hard.  The lesson to take from this is slow, steady increases in what you are lifting.  Increase the weight in small amounts every few weeks, or even months.  

Financial Update

Premium Bonds: £20,550 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £12,456.92 (up £151.34 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £0.00 (no change from last update).

Property Value: £187,554 (no change from last update).

Total Assets: £220,560.92 (up £151.34 from last update).

Credit Card: £0.00 (no change from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £143,171.61 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £143,171.61 (no change from last update).

Total Wealth Figure: £77,389.31 (up £151.34 from last update). 

Investment Income in 2020: £86.36 (no change from last update) (target £2,000).

Another steady week for the finances.  I feel like everything is on hold until the BTL purchase goes through.  We are still making progress on that front, and we might be in a position to take on a second property by the end of 2020/early 2021.  My hope/aim is to try and have three properties by the end of Q2 2021.  Then, pushing into the second half of the year I should be able to take on a fourth property.  It’s all looking very promising at this stage.  The closer we get to this first property, the more impatient I’m getting.  

To help fund these purchases I may have to cash in some of my ISA.  This will be a difficult decision to make, but it will help increase the passive income coming in now which in turn will help me replenish my ISA balance.  There are some stocks in my ISA that I will not be cashing in though, as I believe they have a huge amount of long-term capital growth potential.  

Asset Allocation

I was talking with someone a few days ago who has a similar outlook on investing as myself.  We had a long discussion about asset allocation, and it occurred to me that I’ve not looked at my allocation for some time.  This is what I found:

Most of my UK shares are from one UK-based company, and I think those shares are currently trading way under value. I’ll be holding on to those shares for the long-term, as I can see them quite easily tripling in value as a minimum within the next five-to-ten years. I’m still buying those shares as the current price makes it foolish not to. It’s a risk putting so much emphasis on one stock, but the company is too big to fail (the government would have to bail it out) and the stock can hardly fall lower than its current price. Time will either prove me right or wrong.

Thank you for reading this week, and I hope you have a great week ahead.  If you are following FIRE or would like to know more about it, please get in touch via Twitter (https://twitter.com/NowWeLive01) or leave a comment on this post. 

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