Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I discuss opinions and expertise. Also, an update on my mental health and potential return to work. I also discuss the predicted alien invasion that failed to materialise this week, and as usual the normal financial updates. First, the Quote of the Week:
Quote of the Week
Here is a simple thought experiment. Let’s say you are walking along the street with your loved one, and they collapse having had a sudden heart attack. Two strangers rush over and suggest different actions. One of these strangers you recognise as your GP. The other is the owner of the local takeaway. Do you listen to both of their suggestions or do you just tell the GP to crack on? Whilst both strangers have a right to their opinion on the best course of action, to suggest that both opinions are equally valid is just absurd. However, it seems that many people now advocate for society to treat all opinions as equally valid. We see this on the news where presenters interview an expert in vaccines whilst having the competing view expressed by an anti-vaxxer; a stance that is very much in the minority. These views are presented as being equally valid, when the reality is completely different. It’s irresponsible to present these views as being equally valid. If you have 99.9% of experts saying vaccines are safe, and then 0.1% stating vaccines are unsafe, and all this is coupled with decades of evidence showing vaccines are safe, to present both positions as being equally valid is wrong and dangerous.
I’m not saying experts should be trusted without question. It’s crucial that experts are trusted within their field of expertise so long as the consensus of opinion is with them. For example, I heard about an airline pilot who believes in the flat earth theory. This pilot is an expert in their field and I would trust them to fly me around the globe (see what I did there) but seeing as though the overwhelming majority of pilots, scientists and humans believe the earth is round, I’ll go with the general opinion. Just because someone is considered an expert in one area, that expertise does not bleed over into unrelated fields. An expert in geology would not necessarily be an expert in diet and nutrition, for example. Here are two fantastic explanations of what I’m talking about:
Unfortunately I don’t know who to credit for the second quote, but if you know please leave a comment and I’ll update this quote with the appropriate credit.
Weekly Update – The Great Nozic Invasion
A (self proclaimed) time traveller from the year 2714 made a series of staggering predictions, which should have seen an invasion by an alien race known as the Nozic this past week. The invasion did not take place and life continues as normal. I had a little fun with these predictions, as I spun a tale of epic struggle as seen in the screenshots below.
I’ve spent much of the week stressed out, which is pretty much a normal state of affairs. My increasing awareness that I’m not neurotypical has led to some understanding of why I feel, and react, the way I do. This understanding has not led to any major change in how I feel though. It’s like understanding that your toe hurts because you kicked the corner of the bed; you know why there is pain but you still feel the pain.
Last week I mentioned that I have been signed off work and I’m due to return on Thursday this coming week. I’m not ready to return, but it appears I have little choice but to return. The stress of further absence will be more than the stress of working, and so I’m taking the least worst option. I just need to stay focused on the end goal and keep working towards financial independence. There is a good chance that I’ll be FIREd by the end of 2022 which would be a year ahead of my 31/12/23 deadline.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 121.2kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 74).
Another week of modest weight loss, but as long as I’m moving in the right direction I’m happy. I would love to snap my fingers and be back at 85kg but that’s just not going to happen. I’m a long way from being in that sort of condition again.
I’ve been smashing through the audiobooks recently but I’ve had to give up on the physical book I was reading, 84K. I hate giving up on something I’ve started reading but I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up and continue with it. I made it just past halfway but it’s so relentlessly grim and depressing. I also found the writing style a little too out there with half finished sentences making up most of the text. It’s a bold piece of writing and the story itself was interesting, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up the book and continue with it. My girlfriend, who is also a voracious reader, tried to read it several times but also found it too grim to complete.
A few people have asked about my progress in studying for DipFA. My progress is non-existent. I just don’t have the mental capacity for another commitment. My mental health is hanging by a thread most of the time. Adding the pressure of studying to the mix would not be healthy or wise right now. Also, with my progress towards FIRE being pretty rapid, I probably wouldn’t have much time to take advantage of the qualification. So, there seems little point in continuing with those studies.
Premium Bonds: £20,650.00 (up £2,150.00 from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £28,172.33 (up £210.53 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £150.00 (up £25.00 from last update).
Crypto: £523.71 (up £56.30 from last update).
Pensions: £48,862.59 (up £362.74 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: £440,263.63 (up £2,804.57 from last update).
Credit Card: £1,934.13 (up £941.29 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £158,492.24 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,061.34 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £253,487.71 (up £941.29 from last update).
Total Wealth: £186,775.92 (up £1,863.28 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £2,110.65 (target £5,000).
I was able to free up some funds to boost my Premium Bonds balance. Also, some modest gains in the stock market boosted my ISA and pensions. My credit card balance has had a rocket strapped to it and it’s soared. There have been some unexpected expenses that have cropped up, such as our washing machine breaking down. I can’t complain too much as we’ve had it for almost a decade. But the cost of buying another washer dryer, and having it delivered with the old machine taken away all costs money. I’m not in a state of panic yet but I hate having credit card debt. I’m working on a couple of things to try and get it paid down and I’ll update as and when something develops.
Planning for FIRE
I’m in a position where FIRE seems a long way off as the days seem to drag but when I look back at how quickly the last couple of years have passed I try to think about how I will look back at 2021 in a couple of years down the line. I’ve spoken before about Lean FIRE and Fat FIRE; the former is having all your essentials covered by passive income, whilst the latter is having enough passive income to live your desired lifestyle. I could achieve LF on £900pcm but FF would require a minimum of £1,500pcm passive income.
I’m getting close to having enough money in Premium Bonds for a BTL deposit. This will be a cheaper property than the first BTL I acquired but I’m still expecting a return of £250pcm after expenses. Coupled with the return on my first BTL and my other investments, this would take my monthly passive income to around £500pcm. There are two other things I need to happen; I need my shares to increase in value and I also need to sell my residence. I owe approximately £158,500 on the mortgage but the same spec apartments as mine have been selling for over £200,000. By the time I come to sell, I should be able to release a minimum of £50,000, which would be enough for another property. In total, I’m looking at needing 4-5 BTLs before I hit FIRE.
As regular readers will know, I love to listen to audiobooks. When I’m out and about, I always have headphones on listening to a book. When I’m at home, my favourite source of entertainment is listening to an audiobook. Basically, I love audiobooks. When I’m listening at home, though, I need to be doing something else whilst listening or my mind drifts. It’s almost like I need something else to focus on, so that I can also focus on the book. Puzzle type games are the best, but nothing that involves words or language. So, I enjoy things like solitaire, freecell, candy crush, blockudoku and brick breaker. The thing is, some of those games have lives which take time to build up once used. What I need is a game that I can play for extended periods that does not rely on lives or lots of adverts between levels. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com.