Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I touch on the COP26 summit, and take a look back over a tiring week. Also, some major developments in my finances, and some thoughts on how to tackle the climate crisis. First, the Quote of the Week:
Quote of the Week
The leaders of the world have come together to talk about the climate. This should be a positive thing, except for the fact I don’t think anything will be achieved. It would be incredible to live in a world where these leaders came together and put together a realistic plan to get us out of this mess. Instead, I predict soundbytes with promises of action before a return to business as usual.
With the UK hosting this conference, it was a great opportunity for us to present the world with a dignified, intelligent leader. Instead, we have Boris Johnson. A few minutes spent googling his history will tell you all you need to know, and if he was just a celebrity we would laugh at him. The dangerous fact is that Johnson is our Prime Minister, and his incompetence could, and during Covid probably has, cost lives.
The climate issue is one of those problems that requires a multigenerational, global response. Unfortunately, our system of party politics does not lend itself to thinking outside the normal election cycle. Personally, I’m just hoping that there is a game-changing discovery made that allows for abundant, cheap, clean energy to be deployed around the world. It’s not just the deployment of clean energy that we need though. We also need an improved system of grid storage; that is the means to store energy when we have a surplus so that we can draw upon those reserves when needed.
I don’t think there is one magic bullet to solve the climate crisis, but there are a few things we could do to help reduce our impact on the climate. One change would be to eat a more environmentally friendly diet. The carbon footprint from eating meat is much higher than eating fruit and vegetables. I’m not arguing for global veganism; we need meat as part of a healthy diet. However, when we have a steak, we don’t need a 350g steak. For a healthy diet, we only need a fraction of that. We don’t need a double cheeseburger. We don’t need a double portion of chicken wings. If we reduce the amount of meat we consume, we will help the environment.
One way I would change the energy industry would be to give each household an energy allowance, which is free. This would be similar to how we have a tax free allowance on income. The household allowance would be based on the number of people living at the address. Anything used above the allowance would then be charged, and as you use more energy it gets progressively more expensive. This would encourage people to be mindful of their energy use.
The third major change I would make would be to the transport sector. I would invest in energy efficient buses, trams and trains. I would also invest heavily in the associated infrastructure so that public transport becomes the preferred method of transportation. This would be the proverbial carrot. The stick would be to make owning, and running, environmentally damaging vehicles cost prohibitive.
Between electricity, heating, agriculture and transport, more than half of greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for. As much as people claim to be frightened of the impending climate crisis, I don’t see many people willing to eat a little differently, or dress a little more warmly in the cold, or make changes to how they travel.
It felt like a long week as I’ve been working long hours and on my day off in the week I had a lot to do. On Thursday I was at the hospital for a CT scan and I was supposed to be injected with a contrast which helps with the resolution on the images produced. So, I’m in the scanning room lying down on the table. There are two radiologists; one man and one woman. They try to find a vein on my right arm but they have no joy. As they withdraw the needle, blood starts running down my arm. Not a great start. They move on to my left arm. After ten minutes of trying to find a vein there, they give up and move back to my right arm. Following more stabbing they admit defeat and move back to my left arm. At this point, they’ve been trying to find a vein for over twenty minutes. Finally, they do it.
If you’ve never had contrast injected before, it’s a strange sensation. There’s a feeling of warmth that starts in your head and moves down your body. Then, you feel like you are about to lose control of your bladder, but you don’t. It’s just the dye moving through your system. The scans were routine following the injection of the contrast. I just need to wait for the results, which I should get next week.
This weekend my girlfriend and I are celebrating our 14th anniversary. Technically, our anniversary was a little while back, but as one of our gifts to each other we booked tickets for the ballet; specifically Merlin by Northern Ballet. We’ve seen a number of productions by this company and they are fantastic. Merlin was possibly our favourite with the staging, production and direction being incredible. The performance was captivating, and (although I think the word is overused) epic.
Attending the ballet nearly went very wrong though. We thought the performance started at 19:45. We arrived at 19:20 and the outside of the theatre was deserted. It turned out it started at 19:15. We missed the first couple of minutes, but as they also had a slightly delayed start there was no real detriment. We were not the only ones late either. There were eight others who got the times mixed up, including a lovely couple from Connecticut that we spoke to for a while.
A Brief Interlude
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2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 122.6kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 100).
Monthly Goals – November
1 – Complete my annual book challenge.
2. Reduce weight to 118kg.
I am up to 102 completed books in 2021. I would be shocked if I’ve not hit the annual total by the next part of this blog. The last few books I’ve finished have not really grabbed me. Bad Pharma was interesting, if a little repetitive. I need a good series to get stuck into. As always, any recommendations would be appreciated. The full reading list in the link below will give you an idea as to what I enjoy:
My weight loss is not happening. I have good days, which are then undone by bad days. I need to get back to the gym. When I work out, my eating habits generally improve. I had a more detailed look at the data from my smart scale, and it suggests the age of my body is closer to 43. I’m 38. I’m surprised the gap was not bigger, but I still need to rectify this.
Premium Bonds: £19,000.00 (up £4,000.00 from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £43,682.99 (down £587.42 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £1,650.00 (up £25.00 from last update).
Crypto: £871.19 (down £6.18 from last update).
Pensions: £51,446.87 (up £651.11 from last update).
Residential Property Value: £210,058.00 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £135,550.00 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £462,259.05 (up £4,082.51 from last update).
Credit Card: £132.72 (down £1,163.05 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £167,164.52 (up £9,609.37 from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,000.74 (down £18.29 change from last update).
Total Debts: £260,297.98 (up £8,428.03 from last update).
Total Wealth: £201,961.07 (down £4,345.52 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £3,415.65 (target £5,000).
We completed a further advance on our residential mortgage for £10,000. Some of those funds have been used for non-investment purposes immediately, whilst the remainder has been placed in my Premium Bonds until it is needed a little further down the line. There’s no point keeping that balance in my bank that pays virtually no interest.
I’m quite heavily exposed to banking shares and the Bank of England’s decision to keep the base rate at 0.1% absolutely hammered those stocks. Fortunately, the rest of my portfolio bailed me out. The following day’s trading saw some of those losses clawed back and I’m confident that this is just a short-term blip.
Our search for the next BTL continues, but there is not a lot out there in our area right now. All we can do is keep searching and eventually something will turn up. On Sunday I’m meeting with my investment partner so we can try and focus our efforts and agree what our search criteria should be. We have been approaching our search in a fairly haphazard manner, so hopefully this meeting will create a sense of focus.
The reality is that buying a house just before Christmas is not ideal. It’s a difficult time to find a tenant, and when a property is unoccupied in the cold it can lead to problems with the heating, and the water pipes. Despite all this, it would make even less sense to turn down a deal just because it’s not the most convenient time of the year.
I’m almost where I need to be in terms of my fund for the next BTL. Moving into 2022 I will stop putting as much money into Premium Bonds and start allocating more towards my ISA for when my allowance refreshes in April. If I can build up a sizable pot between now and the start of the new financial year, it will put me in a good position to once again max out my ISA allowance.
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.