Part 93

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I discuss the news that energy companies will be increasing the price charged to variable rate customers and those on pre-payment meters. Also, an amusing deal in the stock market and the usual financial updates. Finally, a less positive development in my mental health. First, the Quote of the Week:

In recent news Ofgem, the regulator for the UK’s energy industry, has agreed to increase the cap on what energy firms can charge customers for their standard variable tariffs and pre-payment meters.  It got me thinking about why we still need to pay for electricity at all.

Over the years I have loosely followed the development of renewable and nuclear energy.  There have been some really cool ideas put forward to move our planet from fossil fuels to renewable energy but it is not happening quickly enough.  Whether you believe in human made climate change or not (you should – it’s real) there is no down side to evolving from the finite supply of fossil fuels to the infinite (for our frame of reference) supply of renewable energy.  

In very general terms there are three sources of electricity; fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear.  If we are to create a more environmentally friendly energy network then we need to concentrate on moving from fossil fuels to nuclear, until such time that solar energy becomes more cost effective.

Why solar?

Generating electricity from wind and water is limited by the weather.  Sometimes you will get power and sometimes you will not.  It can’t be depended on 24/7.  The sun is always shining on part of the planet.  Ultimately we should be aiming for solar panels in space that beam the energy wirelessly down to Earth.  We have the technology to do this, albeit at a primitive level, and we just need it to develop so that the tech is cheaper and more efficient.  Imagine a world where all of our electricity is provided from vast solar farms in space.  No more coal, gas or oil fired power stations polluting the atmosphere.  Where is the downside?  

Once we arrive at a situation where we can harness the power of the sun we will move from a Type 0 civilisation on the Kardashev scale to a Type 1; which is a civilisation that can utilise the full potential energy of their own planet.  The question is whether we can get there before we destroy the planet.  It’s a race against time but sadly half the planet does not even realise we are in a race. 

Coming back to my original point, there is no reason we should have to pay for electricity.  We have the technology to build vast solar farms which could convert the sun’s energy into electricity.  I once suggested in conversation that we could build huge solar farms in the deserts of Africa.  This would provide a huge boost to the economy of the continent.  In addition to building solar farms in Africa, there are huge areas of land in Russia, Australia and the US which could be home to similar farms.  

Now, I have to admit that my original question, “why should we pay for electricity?” is a little misleading.  The amount of investment needed to create the future I describe is no small thing.  However, we are talking about creating an infrastructure that will reap almost infinite rewards.  Yes, solar panels need replacing and all technology is subject to wear and tear, but that is no different to the current energy infrastructure.  

In the meantime, until renewable energy production develops to a point where it’s a serious contributor to global energy demand, we need to get over our fear of nuclear power.  It is possible to create nuclear power stations that are safe.  We just lack the political will and the understanding of the general public that nuclear power is safe.  

The other major issue in switching to renewables is making sure that there is enough grid storage for times when demand outstrips supply.  The long-term solution would be to have batteries in each community that would allow for power to be saved for when needed.  Also, it should be a requirement that new homes are built with solar panels on the roof.  There are also exciting developments in solar tech which allows the panels to be integrated into windows.  

Weekly Update

I have been signed off work by my GP due to my deteriorating mental health.  I have felt it sneaking up on me for a while now as the impact of masking my true mental state from the world has caught up with me.  

One of the ways I describe my mental exhaustion is to use the example of a computer with multiple applications open.  The computer only has so much processing power, and the more demands you make of it, the slower it gets.  The computer will start heating up and you will probably hear it whirring more.  Eventually, applications will freeze and crash.  Sometimes, the computer as a whole will crash.  This is what my mind is like; too many applications open at once.

There are some applications which are unavoidable, such as the basics of day-to-day life.  Then, there are other demands such as interacting with the people around you.  Now, I use the word demand but this should not be taken as a negative.  I do not mean that the people are demanding, but rather that when one is in a certain state of mind interacting with anyone is demanding.

In addition to the basics of daily life, I have all my physical health problems.  My GP wanted to add two more meds to my daily set of pills but I refused.  I’m already taking a ridiculous amount of pills each day (18-20 depending on symptoms on a given day).  I was not going to add to that.  

I feel bad being off work again but I was approaching a point where I was going to explode.  The GP recognised that and told me I needed the time, and so here I am.  

I need to make sure that I do the right things to help my mental health.  I will be getting as much walking in as possible and listening to audiobooks, which have become my favourite form of entertainment.  

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

1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg.  (Current weight 121.6kg).

2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 70).

I’ve lost a bit of weight this week which is a positive.  There is still a long way to go though.  I’ve also been hammering the audiobooks in recent weeks and have loved Jeremy Robinson’s work.  He is a sci-fi/horror author and many of his books are interconnected in both subtle and obvious ways.  He also has a lot of pop culture references in his work, which gives it an almost meta feel.  

I’ve been exchanging some tweets with Jeremy and he’s told me which order to best work through the books to prepare for what’s coming, which he termed “crossover madness”.  I should also give a shout out to narrator R.C. Bray who lends fantastic voicework to these books and brings the characters to life.  When you get a great narrator and a talented author, it’s as good as entertainment gets.  

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £18,500.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £27,961.80 (up £705.52 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £125.00 (no change from last update). 

Crypto: £467.41 (up £21.66 from last update). 

Pensions: £48,499.85 (up £361.20 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £207,807.00 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £134,098.00 (no change from last update).

Total Assets: £437,459.06 (up £1,088.38 from last update). 

Debts

Credit Card: £992.84 (up £71.57 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £158,492.24 (down £433.33 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,061.34 (down £18.18 from last update). 

Total Debts: £252,546.42 (down £379.94 from last update).

Total Wealth: £184,912.64 (up £1,468.32 from last update).

Investment Income in 2021: £2,105.57 (target £5,000).

A good week in most respects but I’m still a little annoyed that my credit card is maintaining a balance.  I keep paying it off and then things keep cropping up.  It’s frustrating but it will not get out of control.  One way or another it will get paid down over time.  It may take some hammer in the next few months though as we need some work done in our apartment.  

There was an amusing incident earlier in the week where I decided to sell some shares.  I placed a deal to sell £10,000 worth of shares and the next day, the share price dropped.  I had intended to use the money raised to put towards my next BTL deposit but I worked out that I could instead reinvest back into that stock and end up with over 400 more units than I started with.  So, in the space of two days I sold and bought £10,000 worth of shares and ended up with more units overall.  I didn’t plan on this and had no expectation of the share price dropping.  It was just one of those random fluctuations in the price and it’s already recovered and moved past the value it had when I originally sold.

I am considering taking a small loan to pay for some of the work we need doing in the apartment, and to pay for a few other bits and pieces here and there.  If I can find something with a low enough APR I may consider it.  I don’t generally like personal loans, but sometimes it can be better than using a credit card.  The thing about credit cards is that so long as you pay off the debt you have accumulated within a month, you don’t generally incur interest.  So even though I have maintained a balance for several months now, it’s been a balance that has been churning over and over.  If I’m needing to spend a few thousand though, it’s more difficult to pay that off in a timely manner using a credit card.  

BTL Update

I’ve started tentatively looking for a second BTL but it will still be a while until I have enough money saved to fund the deposit, legal fees and other costs.  If the right deal presents itself I can always free up cash from my ISA, but I’d rather avoid that if possible.  The next purchase will be a solo venture where as my first BTL was bought jointly.  My next property will probably be slightly cheaper.  The first BTL was outside our preferred budget but we were eager to get that first property bought.  If I can secure another purchase before the end of the year I will be delighted.

Biolink

You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink at bio.link/davidscothern.

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.

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.

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