Part 57

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on F.I.R.E.  This week I talk a little bit about The Expanse, Pound Cost Averaging and provide an important update regarding my BTL purchase.

Quote of the Week

The Expanse is one of the best sci-fi stories out there.  Maybe even the best.  I’ve read a lot of good sci-fi this year and I’ve just started my second watch of the show in anticipation of the new season coming out next month.  The books are written by two guys who use the pen name James S. A. Corey for their work.  The ninth, and final, book is due out in 2021 but the TV series is going to end after the sixth season.  This has not gone down too well with the fanbase with many pointing to the allegations surrounding cast many Cas Anvar as the main reason for the cancellation.  I think this probably has something to do with it, but I suspect part of the reason relates to the story post-book six.  The Expanse has a long running arc that joins each book together, but there are smaller arcs within the series.  A closer inspection of the titles of the books, which at first seem random and cool, actually carry a deeper meaning and explain what the book is about.  Although, you’ll only get this after reading.  There are a couple of ways to split the books.  Some people argue the books can be paired up with one and two, three and four, five and six all telling their own stories, with books seven, eight and nine telling the final part of the story.  I prefer the other approach which splits the books into a trilogy of trilogies.  Either way, the last three books are the most “out there” parts of the story.  There is also a jump in the narrative with thirty-years passing between book six and book seven, and the ending of book six could be seen as a decent ending overall, even if some questions are left unanswered.  

In respect of the quote I’ve chosen for this week.  I think it’s relevant to many people who are struggling with health problems, whether physical or mental.  Sometimes you can sink into a rut so slowly that you don’t even realise.  Little by little, depression can take hold and you don’t realise it.  It’s a little bit like taking a selfie everyday for a decade.  Comparing one day’s picture to the next will not highlight any difference, but if you compare the first and last picture, you will definitely see a change.  I don’t know what the answer is.  Some people don’t feel “right” again.  Some people do “recover” but not to how they were pre-problem.  We can’t always get back to how we were, but we move forward and become something different.  I think that’s the journey I’m on now with my mental and physical health.  There have been times I’ve felt worse and there have been times I’ve been in more pain.  However, this is the worst combination of things I’ve had to cope with.  I don’t know exactly what I need to do to feel “right” again, but I know that one day in the future I will wake up and know that I feel “right”, until the next time at least.

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Weekly Update

I mentioned last week that our dishwasher had broken down, and we’d ordered a new one.  We have finally had it fitted, but I just want to take this opportunity to state that John Lewis are awful.  For some reason, I keep expecting them to demonstrate basic levels of customer service and each time they manage to surprise me with their incompetence.  

The dishwasher was to be delivered on 26/11.  I was given a two-hour slot between 13:00 and 15:00.  I live in a city-centre apartment.  The roads around us are partially closed off due to Covid-19.  The council wanted to help the local bars and restaurants by allowing them to spill out onto the street.  It’s a measure that has been widely welcomed by local residents.  The roads are narrow with extremely limited parking.  So, in a moment of wisdom, John Lewis decided to try and deliver to this address in a massive lorry.  The driver called and asked where he could park.  I explained he would just have to find somewhere.  The driver refused and left, stating that the delivery would have to be made in a smaller van.

The thing is, although the roads are narrow with limited parking, it’s no different to parking on many residential roads out in the suburbs where both sides of the street have cars parked one after another.  It’s absurd to use massive vehicles to make deliveries to residential addresses, especially when you have paid extra for installation and recycling of your old appliance.

The John Lewis customer service team were utterly useless and rude.  I’m not in a good way at the moment, and talking on the phone is very difficult for me.  Yet, John Lewis would not speak to my partner even with my permission.  In terms of logging a complaint, they refused as it did not meet their definition of a complaint.

The following day, they did return in a smaller van yet still had problems parking.  I thought they were going to cancel again, but credit to this driver who just dumped the van outside and cracked on.  There were some other issues with the installation that annoyed me, like them putting things on our dining table without asking and throwing their jackets on our sofa.  It’s just rude.  After an hour or so, the dishwasher was installed.  

If you thought that was the end of this, you would be wrong.  The dishwasher is now leaking.  I spent an hour on the phone with a customer advisor who was about as unhelpful as it was possible to be.  I asked to speak with their manager and she just put me back in the queue. 

I really, really hate John Lewis.

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We’ve also had a little scare with our cat, Sweep.  He’s an older cat we adopted a couple of years ago.  We believe he is now 19-years-old.  There was an incident where he was panting heavily and could not walk properly.  After half-an-hour or so he was fine.  The vet thinks it’s Sweep’s heart that is starting to give out.  We had to have him checked over by a cat cardiologist a few months ago, so it’s not that surprising but it is still upsetting.  Sweep seems fine most of the time, but it’s starting to become more obvious that he is an old cat.  He is spending more of his time sleeping and he’s not eating as much as he used to.  I’ve no regrets about adopting him though.  He’s been my best friend for the last couple of years.  He is great company and the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met.  Just as I’m typing this he has used the little step we fashioned for him to climb on the sofa.  He can’t climb or jump much anymore.  I’ll miss him so much when he’s gone.

Health Update

I’ve not heard from the hospital regarding my pill camera results.  I’ve got a few aches and pains in my neck and shoulder, but that’s par for the course for me.  I’m no better in respect of my mental health.  The days are just blending into one and there doesn’t seem to be anything changing.  My weight is increasing due to my poor diet and the gym being closed.  I’ve written before about how I struggle with my diet in the evening.  It’s obviously a symptom of stress and depression, that I comfort eat.  I don’t know what the answer is though.  I’m also waking up through the night and eating.  I remember mentioning this to my therapist back when I was still speaking to her, and she suggested I put locks on the cupboards.  I mean, really?  

Night Eating Syndrome is a recognised thing, but it’s not widely known.  I looked on Reddit to see if there was a sub for it, but it’s not very active.  I should probably speak to the GP about it, but at this point it just feels like one thing after another.  

Financial Update

Premium Bonds: £20,700 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £16,651.67 (up £526.15 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £325.00 (no change from last update).

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

Total Assets: £225,230.67 (up £526.15 from last update).

Credit Card: £915.53 (up £803.07 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £142,099.37 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £143,014.90 (up £803.07 from last update).

Total Wealth Figure: £82,215.77 (down £276.92 from last update). 

Investment Income in 2020: £164.90 (no change from last update) (target £2,000).

Although I’ve had another good week for my ISA, I’m not too happy that my credit card balance has increased.  It was inevitable though, as I needed to replace our dishwasher and I also had to pay for a few other bits and pieces.  It will come down again over the next few months.  I just hate having debt. 

BTL Update

At last we seem to be making some progress with the BTL purchase.  We now have a completion date penciled in for December 8th.  Hopefully, we will be able to find a tenant before Christmas.  The whole process has been dragging on for some time, with our offer being accepted on July 16th.  The vendors have been great though, and I hope they are very happy with their new home.  On December 9th, my business partner will be meeting the agent at the property and I will post some pictures of the property on that week’s blog.  

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Pound Cost Averaging

I’ve talked about PCA a few times over the last few months, but I thought it was a good time to bring it back up now.  Over the last few weeks the stock market has shot up and the gains for my ISA have been incredible.  Those gains, however, were only possible because I continued buying shares when the market was low.  Many amatuer investors get nervous when the market drops and stop buying shares, but that’s precisely when you should be buying more because when the market bounces back your gains are magnified.  There is one stock I’ve talked about before, which I felt was trading way under value.  For months I was buying that stock at a certain price, but following the election results in the US and the Covid vaccine news, that share increased in value by over 50%.  The best part is, even with that increase it is still trading at roughly half the 52-week high for that stock.  

Sometimes the best advice is the most simple advice, and when looking at stocks the phrase “buy low, sell high” is as simple as it gets.  The frustrating thing is that many amateur investors jump on a stock when it’s already peaking and then sell as the stock drops.  Unless you have insider knowledge or have really done your research, you cannot time the market.  It’s the time in the market that is most important.  Spread your investment over time and let your investment grow.  This is the best way to make money out of stocks. 

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.  

My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @nowwelive01. You can also email me at mortgageadvisoronfire@gmail.com.

Also, please check out my cat’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat

Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s blog at darrenscothern.com.

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