Part 90

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week, in the 90th part of the blog, I look at masking again, in addition to looking at the fallout from England’s defeat in the EURO final.  Also, another frustrating interaction with the agent managing our BTL.  First, the Quote of the Week:

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote comes from Darren’s excellent blog which discusses autism, and as I read his latest post this part really stood out to me.

I have sometimes stated that there are different versions of me.  There’s the version of me that goes out into the world and interacts with people, and there’s the version of me in private.  It’s only recently that I’ve discovered the concept of masking, which relates to hiding your own mental health, and basically just acting a part.  It’s like the idea of faking it until you make it.  Where masking and faking differ is that faking it relates to specific behaviours, and masking relates to changing the majority of your personality.  Masking is emotionally and mentally exhausting.

There is a level of mental exhaustion that comes with operating in a neurotypical world, filled with neurotypical people, when you are not neurotypical.  I’m starting to feel that exhaustion wearing me down more every day.  Like the quote, I am also called grumpy or miserable pretty often and it is quite hurtful.  It’s easier to just laugh it off, because most people don’t want to hear the real reason why you appear as you do.  Most people just don’t understand what feeling non neurotypical feels like.  So, like the quote states, it is just easier to laugh it off or fall back on the easy reply of, “I’m just tired.”  There is an element of truth in the explanation of being tired, but just like saying someone dying of thirst needs a drink, it does not convey the full depth of feeling or suffering.

I have struggled a fair bit this week.  I’m still not sleeping well and I had a mini anxiety attack, which thankfully did not last too long and I was able to ground myself quickly.  It’s instances like this that reinforce the need for my journey to FIRE.

Weekly Update

Our cat, Bob, was supposed to have his teeth removed this week but it didn’t happen.  He has an upset stomach which we’ve been trying to treat and the vets were not comfortable operating on him with this ongoing stomach issue.  It was felt the stress of surgery would be too much, and so it has been postponed until we get this under control.

I don’t think I can look back over the week without touching on the EURO final, with England losing out to Italy.  The racist abuse of Rashford, Sancho and Saka is disgusting and, sadly, not surprising.  There are just too many morons out there who can’t watch football without a belly full of alcohol.  I’m convinced that part of the reason we see so much racist abuse in football is because of the bizarre relationship we have between football and beer.  It does not excuse the racist abuse, rather I think it’s part of the explanation.  I also think there are a minority of people who, due to lack of education and the absence of a moral compass, think it’s funny to abuse players on social media.  

In our society we have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and this, unfortunately, makes it very difficult to prosecute cases of abuse on social media.  All it takes is for someone to claim they were hacked or that someone else was using their account, and the situation becomes pretty complex.  Just because someone has a post on their social media account, it does not mean they definitely posted it.  I think the actual cases of people being hacked is extremely low and in almost every case the person who owns the profile is responsible.  However, we can’t assume that someone is definitely guilty until we prove them guilty.  

I don’t know what the answer is to tackle racism in football but the answer probably lies in tackling racism in society.  At one end of the spectrum is the awful, hateful bile that is directed at black people, and those of other cultures and religions.  However, the other end of the spectrum has all the casual racism, with “jokes” about different religions, cultures and skin colours.  This casual racism needs to be tackled instantly so that it stops being a gateway for people to gradually behave in increasingly racist ways.  One excellent piece of advice I remember reading, and this can be used against racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry, is to ask the person making the racist, sexist or biggoted comment to explain it.  They will probably then respond that their comment was “just a joke” at which point you explain that you don’t understand the joke and you want them to explain it.  

Coming back to the football itself, the match was so frustrating to watch.  We had Italy on the backfoot for much of the first half and then we just seemed to retreat deeper and deeper in the second half.  When Southgate decided to bring Rashford and Sancho on in the 119th minute just to take a penalty, I knew it was a mistake.  The two players are exceptionally talented and Rashford is a hero to this country who has done more to oppose the Tory government than the Labour party has done in a decade.  The issue here is that football, and penalty shootouts especially, is not just about technical ability.  Once a game goes to penalties, luck is such an important factor.  Another important factor is psychology.  Rashford and Sancho came into the game cold.  They had hardly kicked a ball through the whole competition.  Anyone who has followed football, or played football, knows that it can take a little bit of time to grow into a match when you are brought on part way through the game.  I would have rather seen the players brought on earlier or not at all.  Southgate gambled and lost.  He could have easily gambled and won.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I would keep Southgate as manager, so long as he wants the job, because in his short time leading the national side he has restored pride in the team.  We have a young group of players and the country has rallied behind them in a way I’ve not seen in a long, long time.  There is a World Cup next year but I don’t know if I will be able to bring myself to watch it, due to the human rights record of the host nation.  It will almost certainly not happen but I would love our team to stand up and refuse to participate due to the human rights issue.  I feel it would only take a high profile stand by one nation for the whole ridiculous enterprise to come crashing down.  

2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021

1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg.  (Current weight 123.2kg).

2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 61).

Another week of progress with my reading challenge.  The last few books have been a little disappointing, with the exception of the latest one, Project Nemesis.  This was a Kaiju story and was completely batshit crazy, and I loved every minute of it.  It’s the first book in a series and I can’t wait to start the second book.  

Financial Update


Premium Bonds: £17,500.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £27,202.46 (down £406.10 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £0.00 (down £525.00 from last update). 

Crypto: £401.33 (down £37.39 from last update). 

Pensions: £47,698.17 (down £164.57 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £207,807.00 (up £8,452.00 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £134,098.00 (up £5,454.00 from last update).

Total Assets: £434,706.96 (up £12,772.94 from last update). 


Credit Card: £179.43 (down £554.55 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £158,925.57 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,079.52 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £252,184.52 (down £554.55 from last update).

Total Wealth: £182,522.44 (up £13,327.49 from last update).

Investment Income in 2021: £1,388.77 (target £5,000).

Although my total wealth has increased a lot since last week, this is because of the index valuations of my properties updating and not because of any change to my more tangible assets.  My ISA has now decreased in value for three consecutive weeks, which is a little disappointing.  It will not last forever though and these blips are to be expected. 

I made the decision to use my Fuck It Fund to pay off my credit card because the 0% period was coming to an end.  It’s frustrating to have to dip into that fund, but it’s not like the money has been lost.  I could have paid more of the card from other funds, but those funds are being held back to pay my excess on my private health insurance and to pay for Bob’s vet bills.  

Letting Agent

I’ve posted previously about the problems we have had with the agent managing our BTL.  I thought it was all resolved.  I was wrong.  Our tenant was signed up in February to a standard six month AST.  As they are in receipt of housing benefit, we requested a guarantor which the tenant provided.  A few weeks ago the agent informed me they were going to start renewing the tenancy and they wanted to charge me for the privilege.  Due to the issues I’ve had with the agent, I explained I wanted the tenancy to revert to a rolling monthly agreement, as normally happens when an AST ends.  I was told this would be fine and the branch manager informed me she was taking personal charge of our account because of all the issues we had to this point.

At the start of last week I was pretty annoyed to get an email from their renewals team stating they had begun the process of renewing the tenancy but our tenant would not be able to provide a guarantor on the new AST.  I was not happy.  A lengthy back and forth ensued and we are now back where we originally started; the tenant will revert to a rolling tenancy.  

Once this tenant leaves the property we will be sacking this agent.  We are reluctant to sack them mid tenancy because of all the complications that will arise.  I’ve spoken with a couple of other agents and they’ve said that, although management can be changed mid tenancy, it’s more complicated and things can go wrong.  For now, as long as the tenant continues to pay on time, I am hesitant to rock the boat.  

Please show your support

I spend several hours each week writing this blog and make it freely available to all readers.  I do not hide my content behind a paywall.  However, maintaining a website incurs costs.  If you can afford a small donation, it would be gratefully accepted.  Click on the Buy Me A Coffee image to be taken to my supporter page.  You can either make a one off donation, or sign up to a monthly subscription.  If you can’t make a donation, please share my blog on your social media.

My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @advisoronfire. You can also email me at  Also, if you are on Facebook please check out the Mortgage Advisor on FIRE page here.

You can still see Sweep’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat.  

Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at


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