Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on F.I.R.E. This week I will look at shocking developments in the United States, as well as the usual update on my finances. First, the Quote of the Week.
Quote of the Week
Excuse my language, but he really is a fucking idiot. Never in my life have I seen an established democracy elect someone so obviously out of his depth to lead the nation. The man is a fool, which would not normally be an issue except for the fact he is in control of the most powerful military, and the largest economy, on the planet.
The scenes that played out at the Capitol in Washington D.C. were shocking. I have visited the city and was awestruck by the majesty of the building, as well as the other monuments and attractions. I think it might be my favourite American city. When I visited in 2017, I wandered the city for several hours on my own, walking from the Washington Monument, down the National Mall with the Capitol Building getting ever closer was an amazing experience, almost as though I could breathe in the history. I was amazed at how close I could get to the Capitol, and the following day I was fortunate to go on a guided tour. Security inside was tight, but outside it was almost non-existent. This is a privilege that these terrorists, and that is what they are, have taken away from the law-abiding citizens of the US. It will be a long, long time before people can walk freely upto that great symbol of democracy, and that is a real shame.
Like most Europeans I like to trash talk the US from time to time, but it is never malicious and is almost always in jest. I am critical of their healthcare system, and the fascination and relationship the country has with guns. Saying all that, I know a lot of good people in the US, and they deserve better than this moron running the country. Thankfully, he has been banned from Twitter and Facebook, and in a hilarious development might be developing his own social media platform. I think subscribers should be called “Trumpers”, but that is another conversation.
There is an argument to state that people get the politicians they deserve. I think there is some merit to this argument, but it can also be a little harsh as it fails to take into account the different political systems across countries. Take the UK, for example. We do not elect a Prime Minister, we elect a political party. In the US, the election refers to the President and Vice-President. Then, there are elections for the senate and congress. What I find difficult to reconcile is that there are so many Americans who were willing to vote for Trump, and that there are still so many passionate supporters of his. The man is clearly unhinged, and his contrasting attitudes towards the Black Lives Matter protests and the mobs that swarmed the Capitol are a clear window into his internal beliefs.
People joke about how 2020 was an awful year, and no doubt it was. When you look back, however, you can trace a direct line back to the financial crisis of 2007-2008. The western world was hit hard by this crisis, and many people lost their jobs and savings. I stated at the time that the circumstances were similar, granted not exactly the same, but similar to the circumstances in 1930s Germany. This led to the rise of a far-right party in the Nazis, who placed the blame of the country’s economic plight at the door of foreign governments and people. The impact of this was the Second World War and the Holocaust.
Fast forward a few decades and you have Trump elected in the United States, who promised to build a wall across the Mexican border. You have black people killed on the streets and in their own homes by police officers. You have families separated with children kept in cages along the Mexican border. In the UK, the financial crisis led to over a decade of Tory rule, a right-wing party by definition, and the rise of political groups such as UKIP, the Brexit party as well as a seeming growth in right-wing rhetoric. Under the Tory government the welfare state in the UK has been savaged, with levels of poverty rising to record levels. Yes, 2020 was awful in a lot of ways but one just needs to look back at 2016 to see the election of Trump, and the referendum in the UK coming down on the side of leaving the EU, to see where some of our current problems started to gain momentum.
Democracy needs a reset, in my opinion. Party politics does not work in a system of constant election cycles. In the US, the President is elected on a four-year-term, and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. The elections in the US seem to take an age, and so from the outside it is as if the President spends most of their first-term trying to get re-elected with only the second-term being productive. I admit I am simplifying this massively and I do not know what better alternative there is. Maybe there would be some merit in electing a President on an eight-year term with a midterm vote, and if, say two-thirds of voters want a change, the President is removed from office and there is an election. This would give the President much more room to govern effectively without being worried about reelection after just four-years. By setting the bar for removal from office so high, in that over two-thirds of voters would need to vote for change, it would take a very unpopular President to break the almost fifty-fifty split divide in the US between the Democrats and the GOP.
Looking at the UK and it is difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel. We have had a succession of weak Prime Ministers with our current leader seeming like a parody of a British politician. It is almost as if the UK and US had a competition to see who could have the most incompetent leader in history. It’s difficult to see a way forward with only the Tory and Labour parties to choose from, when both parties are anything but unified and are filled with self-serving career politicians more concerned with point-scoring against the other party than governing for the people.
The main news for me this week is that I will be returning to work after several months of absence. I have not been in the right state of mind for work, and I am still not what I would class as “ok” but I’m better than I was. I will resume work on a phased return, working reduced hours to begin with. I am nervous about returning to work, but I know I have good people around me who will support me as I ease back into the role.
I have not yet found a replacement coffee machine and I am having to survive on instant coffee. Whilst this is very much a “first world problem” it is still frustrating for me. As someone who rarely drinks alcohol and has few vices, coffee is my main weakness. I need a good coffee machine, but I am reluctant to give Nespresso my money after the problems I have experienced. The thing is, they utterly dominate the home coffee market and I may have to suck it up and purchase a new machine from them.
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 have lost some weight this week after resuming healthier eating habits. I would like to walk more, but the increasing number of Covid cases and the rapidly rising death total is making me a little nervous about spending too much time in the company of other people.
I am working through two books at the moment, one of which is Barack Obama’s A Promised Land. I am enjoying it and should have it finished in a few days. I am also proofreading the first draft of the new novel from Darren Scothern; a loose sequel to his earlier novel Abominations, which is available on Amazon. I thought Abominations was a fantastic read and look forward to seeing how the follow up develops.
I have not yet started studying for the remaining modules on my DipFA. I plan to start towards the end of this month once I am back in work.
Premium Bonds: £2,650 (up £150.00 from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £17,097.98 (up £293.16 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £425.00 (up £25.00 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: £332,226.98 (up £468.16 from last update).
Credit Card: £454.30 (down £87.48 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £141,383.76 (down £395.89 from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,049.67 (down £325.33 from last update).
Total Debts: £234,887.73 (down £808.70 from last update).
Total Wealth Figure: £97,339.25 (up £1,276.86 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £0.00 (first entry) (target £5,000).
This is the sort of week I like, where my assets go up in value and my debts reduce. Apart from that, there is not much to say as the numbers speak for themselves.
A family has viewed the property and expressed an interest in renting it. They have made an application and are undergoing the normal checks. It’s hard to say how long these checks might take, and it may be the case that the prospective tenants have to give notice on their current property. I only found out about this interest late in the week, so I would hope to know more in time for the next entry in this blog.
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My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @nowwelive01. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.