Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on F.I.R.E, and Happy New Year to all my readers. 2021 sees a few minor changes to the blog, as mentioned in Part 61. I did state that I would be covering my experiences of 2020 in this post, but instead I wrote about that in a special post you can read here.
Quote of the Week
This quote is a great explanation of the FIRE goal. For most people, work is a major part of life. Everything about life is anchored around employment, and then many people are left with no energy, physical or mental, to actively enjoy life. The end result is a self-perpetuating cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep. I refuse to accept that this is all there is to life, and that’s why I am determined to achieve FIRE as soon as possible.
The last few months have been enlightening for me. I’ve been forced to put myself under the spotlight in a way I’ve never done before. I’ve had to be honest with myself about my abilities, strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I’ve realised that a lot of my mental exhaustion has come from acting a role I’m not comfortable with. In effect, I’ve spent a lot of time “faking it until I make it”. The problem is, I will never “make it” in that I’ll never become the person I’m pretending to be.
I’m not making a statement that I’m a completely different person or that I’ve been lying to those who know me about who I am. I’m talking about subtle things; lines of thought and patterns of behaviour. There’s also an element of acceptance, in that some of the mental things I’ve been struggling with are a part of me rather than something that has happened to me. This has helped to ease the mental strain.
One thing for certain is that I’m not built for the corporate lifestyle. I’m not built for work in environments like busy offices or hectic workplaces. I need stability and calm. I have no complaints whatsoever about the treatment I receive from my employer. They have been fantastic in their level of support and commitment to me. I will forever be grateful for that, and I will work to my best ability for as long as I’m under contract with them. It would be dishonest of me to claim that I see a long-term career with them though. I’ve been with my employer for a decade now, and I’m mentally drained. I need a change of direction and a change of environment for my sanity and health. This is what FIRE will provide me with, and this is what this week’s quote is stating.
The biggest news this week is the completion of Brexit, which I think will go down in history as one of our nation’s biggest mistakes. The whole campaign was fought on a foundation of half-truths and outright lies. When the referendum was held, I think many people misjudged just how complex an issue it was, as well as just how much benefit EU membership brought us. I really, honestly, totally and completely hate the Tory party. I’m struggling to think of anything they have done to improve the lives of the most vulnerable sections of society, which is surely one of the benchmarks by which any government should be judged.
I’m still without a working coffee machine after Nespresso, somewhat impressively, managed to find new levels of incompetence. I’m waiting for a refund that was promised within two-weeks, just over two-weeks ago. I’ll give them the benefit of doubt with the time of year, but when I called them to check the progress of the refund, at first they couldn’t find a record of the refund request. Stay tuned to see if Nespresso complete this refund with no further encouragement from me.
I was a little disappointed that I did not match my reading challenge of 2019, as I only read 83 books in 2020. Considering the year I had though, plenty of people have reassured me that it’s still a great achievement. Looking ahead to 2021 I would like to get back to the rate of finishing two books per week. It’s not about reading for reading’s sake. I love learning, and listening to a good audiobook or becoming so immersed in a physical book you forget you are reading, is one of life’s great pleasures.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg.
2 – Finish 104 new books.
3 – Complete RO3 for my DipFA.
4 – Complete RO4 for my DipFA.
5 – Complete RO5 for my DipFA.
6 – Complete RO6 for my DipFA.
I did have a seventh goal, to walk 2,500km by the end of the year. However, after some thought I’ve removed that goal. My reasoning is that I’ve had way too many injuries that have stopped me in my tracks, and I don’t want to create an unnecessary stick to beat myself with. Throughout the year I will have new goals that I add to this list though.
Premium Bonds: £2,500 (no change from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £16,804.82 (down £839.28 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £400.00 (no change from last update).
Residential Property Value: £187,554 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £124,500 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £331,758.82 (down £839.28 from last update).
Credit Card: £541.78 (up £72.46 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £141,779.65 (up £38.67 from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,375 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £235,696.43 (up £111.13 from last update).
Total Wealth Figure: £96,062.39 (down £950.41 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £0.00 (first entry) (target £5,000).
The stock market took a hit this week, or at least the stocks I’m exposed to did. It’s not a big deal though, as the market is volatile right now due to Brexit, Covid-19 and the time of year. My credit card balance should have been reduced by the refund I’m expecting for my coffee machine. Also, I was expecting to make a payment to my credit card but I just didn’t get around to it with the holidays. I have the money to pay it off, but I’ve just been a bit lazy. My mortgage balance also went up slightly as the monthly interest was added just in time to make this blog, but before my January payment which will be credited in time for next week’s post.
As expected there was not enough time to get a tenant into the property before Christmas. There was a list of minor jobs that needed completing to make the house ready for occupation, and that list is now complete. There is another viewing booked in for January 4th and whilst it would be nice to have a tenant in as soon as possible, I’d be surprised if we have a tenant within the next couple of weeks.
Now that most of the work to let the property is being completed by our agents, attention turns to funding and finding the next property. I suspect that in the coming months the market will drop as people look to sell properties they can no longer afford. My plan is not dependent on that happening, it would just help speed up the acquisition of the next property. If the reverse happens and the properties go up in value, then from June (six-months after completing the first BTL purchase) we may be able to pull equity out of the first property to help fund the second. The minimum amount we can release from the first property is £10,000, and the maximum is whatever takes the mortgage LTV to 75%. The property is currently worth £124,500, with a mortgage of £93,375. To release £10,000 the value would need to increase to £137,835; a 10.7% increase in value.
As mentioned at the start of this post, I explained that I wrote a special blog covering 2020 instead of covering my look back here. That review was one of the hardest things I’ve written as it left me quite vulnerable. This is a difficult thing for someone like me to do. However, I received some nice, supporting feedback following that post. We’re in a time of year which is normally hard on mental health, but in the Covid era it will be even more difficult. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about feeling overwhelmed or depressed. If any of my readers are feeling down or that they want to vent to a stranger, please feel free to use the contact details on my site and I’ll offer a supportive (virtual) shoulder.
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Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s blog at darrenscothern.com.