Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on F.I.R.E. This week’s blog is a little different as I tell the story of a prank I pulled that sent shockwaves around international football (a very minor shockwave, but I like to be dramatic). I also discuss my stocks and shares ISA and how it’s earned me a decent profit in the past few years. First, as always, the quote of the week.
Quote of the Week
This phrase, or ones like it, are often stated by those who are suffering as an attempt to make light of their situation. The idea that one’s suffering is somehow invalidated because someone is worse off just doesn’t sit right with me though. Granted, there are occasions when it’s right and healthy to check one’s own privilege, for example when a burger place puts the wrong topping on your order. It’s not generally that big of a deal, and having a massive tantrum over it is neither healthy or helpful. In those situations, taking a breath and remembering it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things is a wise move.
The thing is, there are times when stating, “there’s always someone worse off” is not healthy. It can invalidate your own feelings of pain, be it physical or emotional. Sometimes, you need to listen to that pain, and acknowledge it fully so that you can take steps to work through it and resolve it. Whenever a celebrity comes out as being depressed, there are always those people who say, “what do they have to be depressed about?”. This is hugely ignorant of the nature of mental illness. If the celebrity in question is also thinking, “there’s always someone worse off” then it will lead to a spiral of depression; the initial depression and then further depression about their seemingly unwarranted depression.
Pain and suffering are unique to the individual. Yes, there are people in war torn countries struggling for food and shelter, and that’s a real human tragedy. However, a thirty-something professional woman in the UK suffering depression has no impact on those suffering in the war torn country. That woman’s pain is unique to her; it’s independent of the war in the other country and the suffering it is causing. Invalidating that woman’s suffering by pointing out the suffering of others is unhelpful and potentially worse than just saying nothing.
Next time Starbucks gets your order wrong, just take a step back and remember there are worse things in life that could happen. However, when someone is in real pain, whether physical or mental, please don’t invalidate their suffering.
I am a football fan, albeit not as passionate as I used to be. A combination of being a recovering gambling addict and being opposed to how the gambling industry has invaded football has turned me away from the sport. However, I still follow football and keep up to date with my team, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
This past week SWFC parted company with their manager Garry Monk. He had been in charge for just over a year. When the club was looking for a manager prior to his appointment, I decided to have some fun. In order to understand the scheme I set up, I need to give a little background.
My girlfriend is Romanain and her family live in a village called Snagov, a little over half-an-hour from Bucharest. It’s a lovely, quiet village with a mix of old and new houses and villas. There is a large lake and plenty of friendly cats and dogs that roam the streets. It’s a nice place; a home away from home. A couple of years ago, when I was still gambling, I noticed that one of the matches being played had a team called Sportul Snagov. I checked to see if it was my Snagov, and it was. From that point on I made a point to find out everything I could about the club. I started blogging about them, and I even made contact with the club’s officials and struck up a nice little relationship with them. The club was flying high in the Romanian second division and battling against Academica Clinceni for promotion to the top division. Snagov’s manager at the time was Laszlo Balint, a recently retired player who had played under a name I recognised; Dan Petrescu, who had played for my club, SWFC, in the 1990s. It’s a small world in football.
So, when SWFC were looking for a manager last year I decided to have some fun. I sent out a tweet just throwing his name into the hat, and I contacted Sky Bet to check what odds they would offer for Balint to become our next manager. They offered 20/1, the same as was being offered for Mikel Arteta at the time. Then, I went on Owlstalk (a SWFC message board) and threw his name out there, stating that a friend in Romania was at the airport at saw Laszlo Balint boarding a Wizz Air flight from Bucharest to Doncaster; the same route I take when coming back to Sheffield. I looked up flight details to embellish the rumour with accurate details. I then asked my Dad to send out a tweet that he had seen Laszlo Balint walking into Hillsborough, the SWFC stadium.
What happened next was hilarious, at least to my fellow conspirators and myself. The internet went into a small meltdown with SWFC fans furious that our chairman was considering appointing a relative unknown. The link to our former player just made the rumour that much better. Some fans threw tantrums and stated it was “typical Chansiri” (the name of our Chairman who had previously made some questionable managerial appointments). Laszlo Balint’s odds started to shorten as people put money on his appointment. After a couple of days, I had to come clean, and I posted a link on Owlstalk detailing what I had done, and the link is here:
A short time later, we appointed Garry Monk and the issue was forgotten about. Fast forward to now…
Thinking that no one would take this seriously again, I threw Laszlo Balint’s name into the hat again. Surely the SWFC fans online would remember this and not be caught out again… right? Well, no…
Some fans knew it was a wind up but many, many more started talking about Balint in the same way as before; “typical Chansiri” etc. A few were a little more open minded when they saw that Balint actually had a very respectable managerial career to date, and had just won promotion with UTA Arad to the Romanian Liga I. Balint’s name once again found its way into the bookies and odds were offered at 16/1. I thought this was the end of it. I was wrong.
Local media and bloggers started reporting on the rumours. Yorkshire Live even wrote a profile on the man. At this point I was tweeting that it was all a wind up and posting links to the original thread on Owlstalk, but the rumour seemed to be taking on a life of its own. Then, this morning I was sent a link to a Romanian media site that was running a headline on the rumour.
I contacted Laszlo Balint a short time ago to explain the rumour and asked him for any comment. He simply said he was very happy at UTA Arad, whom he referred to as a big club, and that he did not want to comment on any specific rumour. I wished him all the best in return.
This saga should highlight a few points; first, do not believe people who claim to be ITK (in the know). Second, bored people on the internet like to have fun. Third, gambling based off unconfirmed rumours from someone you don’t know is just dumb.
I have been told by my own GP and an Occupational Health specialist that I’m not ready to return to work just yet. As such, I’ll be off a little while longer yet. The physical pain is getting better little by little, but the mental health side of things is still a struggle. I’ve gone back to studying Stoicism and the writings of Marcus Aurelius. I never cease to be amazed that this man’s writing is still being studied almost two-thousand years after he died. If more people lived by his writing, and that of the other Stoics, than by the various religious texts then I believe the world would be a much better place. I’ve previously found comfort in the words of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca, and so I’ve returned to some of those texts and it has made me feel a little better. I’m going to search out some more books on Stoicism and I’ll write about it more in the future.
Premium Bonds: £20,700 (no change from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £15,681.42 (up £2,950.57 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £175.00 (no change from last update).
Property Value: £187,554 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £224,110.42 (up £2,950.57 from last update).
Credit Card: £179.92 (down £60.29 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £142,099.37 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £142,279.29 (down £60.29 from last update).
Total Wealth Figure: £81,831.13 (up £3,010.86 from last update).
Investment Income in 2020: £164.81 (no change from last update) (target £2,000).
An amazing increase in the stock market from last week off the back of the US Presidential Election and the news that there may be a viable Covid-19 vaccine. Although it’s good news that the ISA is increasing in value, it does mean that from a pound-cost-averaging perspective I don’t get as many units of stock from my monthly investment. What I’m hoping for now, is slow and stable gains. Once we have completed our first BTL purchase, the plan is to use some of the funds in the ISA to put towards the second BTL purchase. For that to be realistic in the next few months, we really need the stock market to continue on an upward path. Had it not been for Covid-19, I’m convinced I would have hit my investment income target this year. Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed the housing market and our BTL purchase, as well as cancelling many dividends. However, there’s always someone worse off…
Stocks and Shares ISA
I had an interesting conversation with a fellow investor the other day. I had recommended this person invest in a stocks and shares ISA some time ago, and they followed my advice and made significant gains in the process. The current value of their ISA was just over the amount of their total investment, but they had also made a withdrawal of over £2,000. So, they had essentially earned £2,000 for nothing. I hadn’t looked at my ISA in this way for some time, so I did a little digging.
Since I started my ISA with my current provider I have paid £15,400 in. I have been charged £54.22 in fees, but it’s tricky to quantify this as initially the fees were coming out of my investment. I have since arranged with the provider for the fees to come out of a separate pot. I have earned £30.88 in dividend payments. The current ISA value of £15,681 shows I am slightly up on my investment, but none of this takes into account an £800 withdrawal I made several months ago. So, all in all, I’ve done pretty well out of this.
I strongly believe that for most people investing regularly into a stocks and shares ISA is a wise move, especially if they concentrate on index trackers which follow the FTSE or S&P500.
A Quick Request
I know there is a small group of people that read this blog regularly and I enjoy the engagement I have with those readers through email and social media. I would love for this blog to take off and grow through 2021. Gaining readers is the hardest thing for any blogger to achieve. I enjoy writing this blog and want it to grow, so if you are enjoying this content, please take a moment to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Whatsapp or any other social media. Shares are the ultimate sign of success for any blogger. If you have any feedback, comments or questions whether positive or negative, please leave a comment below.
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Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s blog at darrenscothern.com.