Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I look at the murder of Sarah Everard. Also, some updated logos for the site, the usual financial updates and a look at Spoon Theory. First, the Quote of the Week:
Quote of the Week
I can’t even imagine the terror that Sarah Everard must have felt in her final hours. Some cases touch the public consciousness in a way that others, for some reason, do not. This case has raised all sorts of questions about female safety, male privilege and obeying perceived authority figures.
Sarah was approached by her killer, a police officer, and no doubt did what the overwhelming majority of the population would do; she complied. The police have now said that if you are approached by a lone police officer, you are within your rights to challenge them. This advice has proved somewhat controversial.
The fallout from this case will continue for some time, but there are already reports that the police missed opportunities to remove the killer from the streets. The police in the UK do not have a great reputation amongst the general public. Some of their perceived inadequacies are due to budget cuts and the reduction in absolute numbers of police on the streets. However, there also seems to be institutionalised incompetence in certain quarters, as well as an attitude of looking after their own.
In an ideal world, women, children and men would be able to walk the streets at any time without fear of being attacked. In an ideal world, one would be able to leave their doors unlocked, or let their children play outside without being in eyesight at all times. We don’t live in an ideal world though. We can strive for that, and we should strive for that, but we will never get there because some people are unable to live in that ideal world. For all of human history there have been murderers, rapists and pedophiles.
What is the Answer?
There are two approaches, I think. We need to work towards the ideal, whilst at the same time putting measures in place to reflect the reality of the world we live in. There is no magic bullet here. We need a combination of education from a young age about social responsibility, and a drive to make people aware of the privilege they have, be it white privilege, male privilege, economic privilege and so on. We also need to accept that there is no substitute for police patrolling the street and for community police officers to be known within their local area. In the UK we have a fantastic tradition of policing by consent. For this to be effective, the institutions of law enforcement need to be transparent. There needs to be real accountability to the public. Also, there needs to be actual police on patrol.
The tragic truth of the matter is that, for as long as there are humans, there will be violent crime. It’s not fair. It’s not right. As a people, though, we could and should do better.
My thoughts are with Sarah’s friends and family.
I’ve been off work for much of the week as I had booked time off to finish up the work to our bathrooms. As it happens, that work was completed much sooner than expected, so I used that time to relax following my infection. I’m pretty much back to normal, but I’m still lacking energy. Also, in a strange turn of events I’m finding I no longer have the same taste for coffee. For those who know me, this must come as a huge shock. There are certain factors in life that are constant; the Tories are evil, water is wet and David likes coffee. I’m still having the occasional coffee, but rather than four or five a day I’m having one a day.
There is not a huge amount more to tell from me this week due to my illness. However, there has been some great news for my girlfriend who passed her UK citizenship test at the first attempt. I had every confidence in her, and she can now proceed with the final steps of becoming a full UK citizen, just as the country is struggling with Covid, has left the EU, has no fuel, hardly any fresh food and is looking forward to a cancelled Christmas. Apart from that….. Yay?
I think it’s a little bizarre she had to take the test in the first place. She has lived here since 2010, and has completed a degree, as well as some postgrad qualifications. She has a number of other professional qualifications and pays her way in tax and national insurance. She also speaks English better than her native language, as she studied in British and American schools. Did she really need to know when Charles I was executed, or be able to quote Hamlet? I reckon I could ask a dozen British people at random and most of them would be lucky to guess the right decade, or century, for the execution of King Charles I.
A Brief Interlude
I’ll never hide this blog behind a paywall, but it does cost money to run the site. I spend a minimum of six hours each week writing the blog, and maintaining the other parts of davidscothern.com. It is a labour of love. However, many of you have asked how you can show your appreciation. I set up a Buy Me A Coffee page but the main feedback was that you couldn’t pay by card. Well, now you can! My page now supports card payments and Apple Pay. So, if you want to show your support and appreciation for the content I create, please buy me a coffee. It really does mean a lot. Click on the image above to be taken to my supporter page.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 120kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 93).
Premium Bonds: £6,550.00 (no change from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £41,191.60 (up £133.48 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £1,000.00 (no change from last update).
Crypto: £758.32 (up £40.22 from last update).
Pensions: £49,579.70 (up £311.85 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: £440,984.62 (up £485.55 from last update).
Credit Card: £251.09 (up £251.09 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £157,555.15 (down £495.24 from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,019.03 (down £24.11 from last update).
Total Debts: £250,825.27 (down £268.26 from last update).
Total Wealth: £190,159.35 (up £753.81from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £3,014.46 (target £5,000).
Another steady week with my two mortgages being paid down a little. My credit card went up because I didn’t quite make the payment in time following my illness. It should be back down by next week. I received rental income this week which pushed my 2021 investment income above £3,000. I don’t think I’ll quite hit the £5,000 target, but in 2020 I didn’t even hit the £2,000 target. So, definite progress this year.
In the next two weeks the index values of my properties should update. I’m hopeful that this will allow me to pull out more equity to use towards our next BTL. If the valuations don’t move in that direction, it’s not a huge issue at the moment. I’m no longer working under such urgency to try and hit FIRE. I have until the end of 2023. As I approach the halfway point of my journey, I’m happy with the progress made. My total wealth has increased from approx £50k to almost £200k. I’ve gone from zero passive income, to around £300pcm on average. The foundations are there, and I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.
I Don’t Have Enough Spoons
Spoon Theory is something I’ve only recently become aware of. First developed by lupus sufferer Christine Miserandino, it has now been adopted by the autistic community to explain how mentally exhausting dealing with the neurotypical world can be.
In basic terms, spoon theory states that we all have a number of spoons which represent our mental and/or physical energy. Each activity uses a number of spoons. Once the spoons are depleted, we no longer have enough left to do anything else. For example, you might have five spoons one day. Food shopping may use two spoons. Getting showered and dressed may take another spoon. Dealing with public transport to and from the supermarket may take two more spoons. By the time you get home with your shopping you don’t have any spoons left over to cook, clean and eat. So, you order in.
There is no set number of spoons each activity takes. It’s unique to each individual, and can even vary for the same person depending on their mood and circumstances. It’s an interesting way to conceptualise the idea of mental energy though. It’s also great shorthand to be able to state, “I don’t have the spoons,” in response to a request and have it understood what you mean.
I’ve always conceptualised this idea in a different way, by imagining my mental stamina as a computer. It can happily deal with basic processes all day without an issue. However, as more processes are opened, like work, socialising, household chores, worrying about health and so on, more and more processes are competing for limited computer memory. We all know what happens when a computer has too much going on. It slows down. Applications crash. The machine can overheat. In extreme circumstances, the machine burns out and needs repair.
This is why people often breakdown over seemingly trivial things. It’s not so much that the issue at hand holds special significance. It can simply be that they have no more resources left to allocate to this new problem, and it becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Quarter 4 – 2021
It’s looking like the latter weeks of this year will be a little quiet. My girlfriend starts a new job in a few weeks, but until then I will be subsidising both of us which eats into how much I have available to invest. As she starts to earn more money, we can go back to a more proportional split in our household income which will free up money for investing.
What I’m really hoping for is to secure a second BTL before the start of the new financial year so that I can look to maximise my ISA allowance for 2022/2023 as soon as possible. In any case, my finances are looking healthier than ever and if I keep on doing what I’m doing, I will hit FIRE eventually.
You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink at bio.link/davidscothern.
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Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com.