Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. A short post this week, as I’m feeling mentally exhausted. I talk a little about what success is, and discuss some changes to the financial aspect of the blog. I also look at an argument I had with a moderator on a Facebook group. First, the Quote of the Week:
Quote of the Week
Success is definitely not linear. Success in life is also subjective. Some people count success as the accumulation of wealth, whilst others strive for a life of meaning, and service. As long as your life goals don’t involve murder or other illegal or immoral acts, I don’t think there are any set standards as to what would count as a successful life.
I don’t think I have an overarching life goal, that when I meet it, I will think I’m successful. I do have a series of goals I want to meet, such as achieving financial independence by the time I’m 40. When I do achieve FI, will that mean I’m successful? No, I’ll move on to my next goal.
I think too many people get caught up in comparing themselves to their peers and if they don’t match or exceed the achievements of their peers, they end up disappointed and frustrated. The thing is, people are not always honest about where they are in life. That person who has all the exotic holidays and a nice car could be drowning in debt. The person who appears to be doing extremely well at work could be lying. I think the first step to having a successful life is to stop comparing yourself to others. There is nothing wrong with being inspired, but it should not be a competition with anyone else. Success comes from within; it comes from how you deal with what life throws at you. It comes from how you react to your own circumstances.
It’s been a very tiring week. I’m a bit sick of the daily grind, and I’m frustrated that I’m still not more mobile. I can walk but after more than a few minutes my ankle starts to hurt again. I think I’m at least a week away from normal movement.
Regular readers will know that I recently had to say goodbye to my cat, Sweep. He was my best bud and putting him to sleep was so difficult, but it was his time. Sweep was almost 19, and had lived a good life. His health was failing though and he was miserable in his last few days. He’s always in my thoughts. My girlfriend and I had said we would wait a while before looking for a new cat, but we miss having a cat in our home. We are both animal lovers and we have time, space, money and love to look after a new cat. So, we are in the process of adopting an older lady who has poor eye sight and is recovering from a hernia operation. We purposefully looked for older cats that may have been overlooked due to their age and health. These cats deserve love and affection too, and we will be delighted to welcome this older lady to our home in the next few weeks. Assuming the adoption goes smoothly, I’ll post more updates including pictures.
I’m a little concerned about how busy everything has become now that the lockdown is being eased. Where I live, the streets are closed so that bars and restaurants can have tables in the road. Normally, this is great, but it’s just so busy. I really hope we are not headed for another spike in Covid cases. Another lockdown will be devastating. I can’t express how strongly I hope we are over the worst of the pandemic. It’s been a long journey since this all kicked off in China late in 2019.
I hate Facebook, but the fact is nothing else replicates what Facebook offers. Twitter is, in my opinion, difficult to use and is very negative at times. Instagram seems to be full of people trying to sell you things. There are other sites, but they don’t offer that mix of sharing content and personal communication that Facebook offers. My main issue with Facebook is how it decides what to show you. I would much rather see a simple chronological timeline of my friends’ activity. Instead, we get an algorithm that decides what we see.
Anyway, now that I have unloaded those frustrations I just want to share something that annoyed me last week when I tried to share my post. There are a number of places I promote my blog, and one of those was a private Facebook group called Financial Independence UK. It wasn’t a great group with the vast majority of posts falling into one of two categories. The first type of posts were typically from people asking what funds they should invest in. This usually resulted in a lot of people saying the same thing in response; index trackers with global exposure. The second type of post was the “boast post”. Something like, “I’ve got a million pounds in my pension and I don’t know what to do.” As a result, the group became a bit boring and stale. From time to time, I would provide my opinion on some more unusual debates such as those to do with property, or crypto.
When I joined the group, I asked if I could promote my blog. I was told it was fine so long as it was no more than once a week, and that it was good quality. Last week, they rejected my post. I had a back and forth via PM with a group admin and it looked to have been a mistake from their end and the post was allowed. The admin stated they were concerned that I offered little of value to the group, which got my back up a little. I explained that the vast majority of group content was repetitive and that if I had nothing different to add, I was not going to post just to get my name out there.
An hour or so later someone asked for advice about their circumstances. They had poor credit and wanted a mortgage. It was a lengthy post and there were some questions I felt I could offer useful clarity on. I typed up a reply and explained I was a mortgage advisor and that I was happy to explain concepts that they found confusing. The person had stated they didn’t want to publicly go into too much detail about their financial trouble so I offered, at the end of my reply, to offer my opinion if they wanted to send me a message.
My post was almost instantly removed and the admin contacted me, and the following conversation took place:
Sometimes it’s just more trouble than it’s worth being a part of these groups as they become echo chambers with the same conversations taking place over and over again. I tried looking for the group but I think they’ve blocked me.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 121.3kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 31).
3 – Complete RO3 for my DipFA. (In progress).
4 – Complete RO4 for my DipFA. (Not started).
5 – Complete RO5 for my DipFA. (Not started).
6 – Complete RO6 for my DipFA. (Not started).
My weight has spiked but I’m convinced this is an anomaly. Weight can fluctuate from day to day, so although I’m frustrated I don’t think it’s a disaster.
I have read a few books since the last update and I’m on track to hit my end of year target. My to-read list is growing quickly though so I perhaps need to calm down with buying new audiobooks and physical books.
I’m still thinking about whether to continue studying for DipFA. Whilst having the qualification would be great, I just don’t know if I’ve got the mental stamina and bandwidth to deal with it right now. The thing is, my goal is financial independence and part of that involves being able to give up employment. If I study for DipFA it is only going to benefit me in terms of employability. There’s little benefit to me once I achieve FI, so I am questioning whether it’s worth focusing time, energy and mental resources on something that does not fit into my goals.
Premium Bonds: £950.00 (up £425.00 from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £20,119.38 (down £463.07 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £562.31 (up £170.02 from last update).
Crypto: £602.94 (down £118.11 from last update).
Pensions: £44,953.39 (first entry).
Residential Property Value: £199,355.00 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £128,644.00 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £395,187.02 (up £44,967.23 from last update).
Credit Card: £165.12 (up £165.12 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £140,308.18 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,145.49 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £233,618.79 (up £165.12 from last update).
Total Wealth: £161,568.23 (up £44,802.11 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £467.64 (target £5,000).
I’ve been able to invest more into Premium Bonds this week and increase my Fuck It Fund. The big news is that I’ve decided to include my pensions in this project. A few people have asked why I wasn’t including pensions, and I didn’t have a compelling reason. I simply hadn’t included them so far. This means that my wealth figure has dramatically increased.
The other major difference from last week is the receipt of another rental payment. Assuming that the tenant pays on time, and in full, it should account for around half my annual target. The remaining half will hopefully come from dividends and the rent from a second property to be purchased later this year.
My credit card will probably take some punishment over the next few weeks. I’m supporting both myself and my girlfriend whilst she waits for her new job to start. I could use the money I invest each month to support us, but I really did not want to stop investing and my credit card currently has 0% interest on purchases. So, I’ll let it increase for now and then pay it down once my girlfriend resumes contributing to the household finances.
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My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @advisoronfire. You can also email me at email@example.com.
You can still see Sweep’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat.
Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com.