Part 115

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week’s post is a little bit different.  There is no quote of the week, but rather a few memes that express my mood over the last few days.  There are the usual financial updates, and a lengthy response to the feedback I’ve received following the article about my plans in The Telegraph. So, buckle up for the longest blog I’ve published.

Memes of the Week

Weekly Update

Another week of having covid, and it’s been a long, tiring week.  My symptoms have been fairly mild overall, with the main issues being a headache, a cough, and hardly any energy.  A few times I’ve had to have a short nap in the middle of the day.  Finally, on Friday, I had my first negative test. 

I went to look at a potential property on Friday evening, but it was a non-starter.  It would have needed too much work and the returns were not enough to be worth it.  The search continues and eventually the right opportunity will present itself.  In the meantime, we continue saving up.

Between our self-isolation, full days of working from home, and struggling to stay awake, there is not much to report.  Hopefully I will have some news on the cost of repairing the damage at our BTL by next week.  We’ve had people look around the property and are just waiting on their feedback.

The biggest news of the week was the publication of an article in The Telegraph about my plans for financial freedom.  The story prompted a somewhat predictable response; you could even say the response was Telegraphed.

Anyway, what follows is my response to some of the feedback I’ve received, along with screenshots of comments that caught my attention.  

The Telegraph Article

A few days ago The Telegraph published an article about me, this blog, and my plans for early retirement.  It was a great article, and I’m very happy with the publicity and the content of Jessica’s writing.  However, for all the supportive comments I’ve received, there have been some negative ones.  I want to address a few points, and provide some context for the questions and comments that have been raised.

How did the article come about?  Was I paid?

Since I started the blog in 2019 I’ve been contacted several times by journalists asking to interview me regarding this blog.  I turned one down as I wasn’t comfortable with them, or their publication.  Another journalist had a long conversation with me, but decided not to run the article.  I was contacted by Jessica a few months ago by email, but I didn’t see it right away as it went to my junk folder.  I replied with an apology for not seeing the email.  Jessica emailed me back to arrange a time to speak.  We had a phone call, and she arranged for a photographer to come out.  I was not paid, nor did I expect any payment.  The free publicity was fine by me.

About Me

Some of the responses to the article claimed that I was funding my FIRE journey through the bank of Mom and Dad.  Some people also claimed I was some lazy boyfriend living off his girlfriend’s income.  Other people questioned my intelligence and my appearance.  Pretty much every single comment was wrong, so what follows is a brief autobiography to set the record straight.

The home I own with my girlfriend was bought with our own savings, and a small contribution (less than 1% of the total purchase price) from my Gran.

My parents were young when they had me.  They would not have been old enough to buy alcohol legally; that’s how young they were.  I was born into poverty.  I lived in council housing with my parents, and our house was broken into several times.  My parents separated and reunited several times during my childhood.  Eventually, when I was 13, my parents bought a house in a decent area.  Then, my parents separated for the final time but have remained in contact and are now friends.  Until that point we had lived in a part of Sheffield that was rough AF.  In my primary school years, I attended a school alongside children of refugees and asylum seekers.  English was a minority language.  In some ways it was great; I was immersed in other cultures from an early age.  My first experience of Indian food was going to a friend’s house and tasting his parents’ cooking.  No onion bhaji since has come close.  On the other hand, being one of only two white boys in my class, I was bullied.

When the time came to go to secondary school my parents fought tooth and nail to get me a spot in a good school.  It took a lot of effort on their part but I ended up at one of the best schools in Sheffield.  This came with some downsides though.  My schoolmates all lived near the school in posh housing, with their journey to and from school taking just a few minutes.  I had an hour-long commute each way, having to get two buses there and two back.  After the first few years I was able to just get a tram each way.  The point here is that I worked my ass off to go through school and get my GCSEs and A-Levels.  

I was the first person in my family to go to university.  I was accepted into the University of Leicester, and I studied there for a couple of years before dropping out.  Mentally, I was not in a good place.  This was the start of a long battle with depression.  I took some time out, and then went back to university.  This time, to UCLan.  I completed my BSc in psychology, earning a first in my dissertation and coming agonisingly close to a first in my degree overall.  My final year at university was again plagued with depression, and this impacted my exam performance.  Following this I have earned some postgraduate qualifications, in addition to qualifications relating to mental health awareness, and professional qualifications such as CeMAP.  I’m also part way through studying for my DipFA, having completed two of the required six exams.  

In short, everything I’ve done, I’ve earned.  To state that I’m reaping the benefits of a privileged upbringing or wealthy parents is wrong, and arguably insulting.  My achievements are my own. 

My parents, despite being young, working-class, and having no financial education, and not staying together, are the best parents I could ever wish for.  They are supportive, loving, and my two best friends.  I love them both and we speak almost everyday.  They are not the stereotypical teenage parents; they have always had my back and when I made mistakes they would encourage me to put things right rather than scold me for doing things wrong.  

Although I’m investing in property with my Dad, it’s a 50/50 split all the way.  I suppose if we’re being technical, he pays for petrol when we drive to a viewing and I buy the coffees.  So 50/50 might not be 100% accurate.  I’m sure my Dad will not mind me saying that I’m the one with the financial education.  I’m the one that has read or listened to over 75 books on investing, money, economics, property, and personal development since 2018.  My Dad is intelligent and has a whole host of qualifications he has earned, but the financial side of this has been driven by me.  I told my Dad about FIRE and about how I wanted to work towards it.  I asked if he wanted to come along for the ride, and he agreed.

The Headline

A few people are hung up about the headline to the piece, stating;

‘Buy-to-let properties will allow me to retire a millionaire in 2023’

So I think we have to take this with a pinch of salt.  This is a small piece in a newspaper; not an academic journal or a book.  There are whole books written about FIRE that barely scratch the surface.  It’s hardly surprising that a catchy headline was chosen for the piece.  When we talked, I explained that I felt I could have £1M in assets by the end of 2023; not that I would be a millionaire by 2023.  There is a distinction between the two.  For my plans to work, I don’t need to be a millionaire; I just need to have enough passive income, after expenses, to live on.  That’s all.  I don’t have a concrete “FIRE number”, but using an average 5% yield, I’ll need a net wealth of £500,000 or so.  I appreciate it’s not that simple as some assets don’t provide an immediate income, such as my SIPP or my workplace pension.  So, the £500,000 figure is not very useful.  That’s why I’m focusing on income.

Income

The last two years have been strange.  Covid, Brexit and a number of other things have impacted on dividend payments.  In 2019 I only had a few hundred pounds of investment income.  In 2020 that increased to over £3,500.  Looking ahead, I’m expecting to increase that yet again.  If I increase or maintain my investment income year-on-year, then I’ll get to my target eventually.  

Some people have commented that I’ve a long way to go to get to my £1,500-£2,000pcm income.  That’s right; I do.  I may not hit the goal by the end of 2023, but so what?  If I hit it, great.  If I don’t, then at least I’ve tried and I’ll be in a better position than if I had not tried.

Your girlfriend is going to leave you/She’ll want kids eventually/You’re sponging off your Mrs

Cal, if you’re reading this, I think this could be a learning moment for you. How am I lying to my partner and hiding money by posting a weekly blog about it? You might need to call an engineer because your lift doesn’t seem to be going all the way to the top floor.

Oh man, both my girlfriend and I laughed at these comments.  We’ve been together for almost 15 years.  She is not from the UK originally.  She is now a British citizen.  Neither of us want kids.  We like our independence.  We like being able to do whatever the fuck we want, when we want.  We have talked, on occasion, about the slim possibility of adoption in a few decades.  We travelled to India a couple of years ago and the poverty was fucking heartbreaking.  The world is overpopulated as it is, and I simply refuse to bring another life into the world.  We both also have opinions on whether it’s right to bring a life into existence that never asked to be born. (There’s a whole debate about this in philosophical circles, but I’m in danger of going off topic).  I’m a nihilist though, which is itself a little out there.  The fact is, neither of us agree with the assumptions that; all relationships should lead to marriage, or that all relationships lead to children, or that all women want to have kids.  

As for sponging off my girlfriend.  We also had a good laugh about that.  For a number of years I’ve been paying for more than half our total expenses, in addition to saving or investing £1,000 per month.  My girlfriend has been doing postgraduate courses, and on the job training.  She recently got a great job and now we share most expenses 50/50, but she’s happy to pay a little more if it helps me save more.  We treat each other to meals, gifts, and so on.  We don’t count pennies and we’re both fine with the arrangement.  

My girlfriend likes to work.  She likes to stay busy.  She loves being in the thick of it and getting stuff done.  I don’t.  Am I lazy?  Not really.  I just don’t want to work for anyone else.  I want to have enough money coming in so that I can choose to not work.  At that point, I may go back to studying.  I may start writing again.  In the words of Hank Moody I may even; 

​​”…start the day with some dry toast and half a grapefruit, bust out the old computer, bang out ten pages, maybe go for a run… Maybe I’ll just jerk off and go back to bed.”

The point is to have the ability to choose.  My girlfriend also has the right to choose, and her choice is to work.  She has absolutely no issue with me not working, so long as I take our (future) dogs for a walk.  My girlfriend supports my goals and my FIRE project; so in the words of my girlfriend, “stop treating [him] like a misogynist”.

Madrid, Bucharest, Sheffield, and so on…

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world.  Our planet and our civilization is amazing.  There is so much to see and explore.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel to India and see the contrast between the historic beauty and the current, heartbreaking, poverty.  I’ve spent time in the US, going up and down much of the Eastern coast from Niagara Falls to Georgia, and the Carolinas.  I’ve travelled through much of Europe.  The idea of staying in one place for any length of time feels claustrophobic.  

Bucharest was an option because we’ve spent a lot of time there, and had maybe 20 visits in the past five years.  We’ve also spent time in other Romanian cities, such as Brasov, Sighisoara, Medias, and several smaller towns and villages.  The natural beauty of Romania is surpassed only by the fjords of Norway (in my opinion).  We could move there and have a very comfortable life.  We have many friends there, as well as extended family.  It was the preferred option for a long time.  However, we simply changed our mind.  Nothing unusual or suspect about this; we simply changed our mind.

We love Spanish culture, the food and the language (my girlfriend can speak Spanish to a fairly fluent standard, and I can speak a bizarre version of Spanglish, but I’m studying it a few hours each week).  Madrid is an awesome city.  We’ve spoken with residents there, and done a lot of online research, and we could make it work.  Can we be fully prepared by 2023? Possibly, but there is the real possibility we will not be ready.  So what? The deadline of 2023 is a self-imposed deadline.  If I don’t meet that deadline, I only need to answer to myself.  

We could very well change our minds about our destination again in the future.  My ultimate dream would be to have a house somewhere like Geiranger, Norway.  On our cruise around the fjords in 2019, the beauty of the country was breathtaking.  Having a house there, with a couple of dogs (German Shepherd for me, and a Dachshund for my girlfriend), with a view of the fjords and mountains… That’s all I want.  A simple life with good food, and good company to enjoy it with.  We both share this dream.  However, that’s for several decades down the line.  Norway is expensive, but it would be worth it.

He’s not made much progress to say he’s 38!

As I’ve stated several times, I started out with hardly any advantage or privilege.  My successes are my own, as are my failures.  I’ve had some major health problems over the years, including some extended periods of depression that left me in a very dark place.  Part of that was caused by a crippling gambling addiction, which I’ve now overcome and gone 900 days without placing a bet.  

I only started to seriously look at my finances in 2017-2018.  A chance conversation with a friend led me to Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  I’ve stated a few times that I’ve found Kiyosaki’s books lacking in practical knowledge and advice, but in terms of changing my mindset it was an absolute game changer.  I started devouring books on finance and investing.  I reached out to authors of these books; including high profile investors and business people.  This led to several productive phone calls, email conversations, and working-lunches.  It’s amazing how many people are willing to talk to you when you ask them nicely, and offer to pay for lunch or a coffee.  Some of these contacts have become friends, and mentors.

Much of my savings have come from regular sources like my salary.  I earn a fair bit above the national average, and aim to invest or save a minimum of 50% of my net salary.  Some of my deductions from my salary now include extra contributions to a workplace pension which my employer more than matches.  I’ve also made some educated trades that came off, including the decision to buy shares in a growing airline which I made a good return on when I sold those units.  I also invested heavily after the Brexit referendum, making a good return when sanity prevailed in the market just a few days later.  I don’t generally buy shares to sell; I normally buy to hold.  Sometimes though, there are opportunities too good to pass up.  

When you look at my progress, you aren’t seeing 38 years of progress.  You’re seeing someone who in 2015 had £20k+ in loan and credit card debt.  At the start of 2022, my assets minus my debts leave me with over £200,000 of positive wealth.

He invests in Premium Bonds, what a loser/why has he got so much in Premium Bonds?

Interest rates on savings accounts are essentially non-existent right now.  Premium Bonds are safe, almost instant access, and come with the possibility of winning a prize.  I had to think seriously about whether this constituted gambling, and decided it wasn’t.  The main reason is that I can cash these bonds in whenever I want and get the sum I invested back (ignoring inflation for the sake of simplicity).  If I gamble, I have no guarantee I will see the money. 

So, Premium Bonds work as a deposit fund for our BTLs.  I save my share, and my Dad saves his share.  Then, we pool our cash 50/50.  Each year, my main priority is to max out my ISA.  I achieved that last year.  When the new financial year starts, I’ll work my ass off to maximise my allowance again.  Once that is done, I then turn my attention back to Premium Bonds, and making sure I have enough cash in my Fuck It Fund.  

There are several pots of money that I don’t include in my blog, otherwise it would be a mad jumble.  My bank provider has the facility to have different pots of money for different things.  I have pots for; pet expenses/vet bills etc, my tax bill, to cover my annual subscriptions to Audible, Amazon Prime, my website host, and to cover my excess on my private health insurance, to pay ground rent and management costs on the apartment we live in, and so on.  I make sure these are all topped up, so that when we get a bill, it can be paid.  Sometimes, things happen and the money has to go on a credit card.  However, the balance is soon paid off.  

What about agent fees, void periods, damage to the property? Also, £150 each from the first BTL isn’t much!

So, these two points are related.  Before we bought our first BTL, we did a lot of viewings but none of the properties fit the bill.  We have a spreadsheet where we list all the different costs of buying a property, including taxes, fees, mortgage costs and so on.  I also included a “stress test” to see what the impact would be if interest rates rise.  From a conservative estimate of the projected rent, I then deduct all the costs, including a small overpayment off the interest only capital each month (rounding up £137.87 to £150.00 for example) to create a safety buffer.  Also, before we take any money out, we move a proportion of the gross rent to a contingency fund.  The £150 we take each month is after all these expenses including paying our agent.

He’s already changing agent – what a clown!

We decided that we wanted to use a smaller agency, where we could have continuity of care, rather than dealing with a bigger company.  The agents were great to start with, but they were taken over.  The agency that took them over is completely useless.  They’ve made one mistake after another, ignoring our instructions and not calculating expenses correctly, for example.  One example of their incompetence was not bringing the property keys to the check out inspection, despite me reminding them via email on at least three different occasions, and receiving a reply each time that they would definitely have them to hand.  

So yeah, it’s hard to see what we could have done differently here.  We considered changing agents, but when you have a tenant in place it’s not that simple.  We were also concerned that the current agent would fuck up any transfer; so we made the decision to sit tight and change agents when the tenant left.

Our tenant never missed a payment.  However, they did trash the property.  After finding out some more information, which I’m not going into too much detail about here, we suspect the damage was intentional and malicious as the tenant’s deposit was paid for by another party.  The theory is that the person trashed the property after falling out with the person who paid the deposit, to ensure they would not get their money back.  We knew this was a possibility when we entered the BTL market.  It sucks that it happened with our first property, for our first tenant, but we’ve learned from it and have put in place measures to reduce the chance of this happening again.

We have found another agent who is investigating how we can get work completed to bring the property back up to spec.  I have friends and family who are plumbers, electricians, painter/decorators, so if the agent can’t arrange it, we can arrange it ourselves.  The main issue for us is that we want to be hands off.  We don’t want to be landlords; we want to be investors.  There’s a fundamental difference between the two. 

PARASITE!

No, not the excellent South Korean film, but rather what some people decided to label me.  Not much of an explanation is given for this, except that I’m apparently depriving people of being able to buy their own home.  

Is there a housing shortage? Well, it depends who you ask.  There are plenty of empty houses, but these are not all habitable.  Also, there’s little use having empty terraced houses in Burnley, for example, when there are families in Luton that need a house.  What I’m saying is that it’s not just as simple as saying there are X number of houses and X number of people looking for accommodation.  It’s a case of matching the right type of housing with the appropriate type of person.  

Not everyone wants to buy a property.  There are plenty of people who want the flexibility of renting.  Here are just a few reasons why people might want to rent, rather than buy:

  • Being in a profession where you are moving around the country, such as certain doctors, solicitors, armed forces, civil servants, and so on.
  • People might not want to use their “first time buyer” status on a cheap or small property.  They might want to rent for a while until they save a bigger deposit. 
  • They might not want the hassle of organising maintenance and repair of the property.
  • They might only want to live somewhere for a while to be near an elderly relative who does not have long to live.
  • They might want to stay near their children/grandchildren for a few months to help with child care. 
  • They might be on a secondment with work that requires them to relocate for 6-12 months.

These are just a few of the reasons why people might choose to rent instead of buying a property. 

As for me being a parasite.  I don’t believe I am.  I’m not greedy, despite how it might appear.  When asked what three words define me, I’d reply, “humanism, nihilism and stoicism.”  I try to go through life causing the least amount of harm to others, whilst being the best version of myself I can be.  I don’t always succeed, but I try every single day.  I understand the privileged position I’m in, being white, male, and born into a wealthy, developed and safe country.  The fact is that white privilege is a thing, as is male privilege.  So, what do I do with this?  I give back to society.

Charities I donate to on a regular basis include;

  • Rain Rescue animal charity
  • Cats Protection
  • The Movember Foundation
  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity
  • The Cathedral Archer Project
  • British Heart Foundation

In addition to simple cash donations, I’ve donated time to some charities, such as;

  • Walking dogs that are in a shelter.
  • Going to a primary school over several weeks to help young children learn to read.
  • Buying and delivering shopping for vulnerable neighbours during the covid pandemic.  
  • I raised money for Movember a few years ago by cycling (on a stationary bike) the distance from Land’s End to John O Groats.  I raised a few hundred pounds doing this.  

I don’t generally shout about it, unless I’m generating support and awareness for the charity in question, but calling me a parasite seems to be missing the point.

Oh no, he’s wearing a beanie and a hoodie!

There seems to be an unhealthy fixation on my decision to wear a beanie in the photoshoot.  I like beanies.  I’m not really sure what else to say about it, except that I’m surprised how many people seem to have either a kink, or a phobia, of warm, comfortable headwear.  There are resources out there that can help you if you are struggling with kapelaphobia.  Have a talk with your GP; you have this.

I also like hoodies, I’m wearing one now.  The specific hoodie I was wearing in the photos for the article was a shoutout to an online forum I’m a member of.  The thing I don’t understand is what difference my choice of clothing, that I wear in my personal time, has on my ability to give mortgage advice.  I also don’t understand how people can confidently express that I’m stupid because I’m wearing a beanie and hoodie.  It’s just a bit weird.

The attacks on my appearance are just bizarre, but if that brings joy to your life so be it.  If you feel better about yourself judging someone you don’t know, based on a couple of photos and a short article in a newspaper, then great; you do you.

My philosophy in life is that it takes more effort to be an asshole.  For example, those who don’t like my approach, or my choice of clothing, could have just scrolled the story and then got on with their day.  Instead, they signed in to their account and typed something up.  It literally took time and effort to do this. 

I mentioned the beanie situation on my social media, and one of my favourite authors, who is now a friend, left the following comment and photo:

He doesn’t drink alcohol, do drugs or have a car – yuk!

If anyone can explain why my choice of lifestyle offends, please get in touch.  I’m genuinely curious.  For the most part, I enjoy my life, well as much as one can do when struggling with their mental health.  I’ll have a pint or a glass of wine once a year, possibly.  I’m not a big fan of alcohol.  I used to be, but as I’ve grown older I just don’t see the point.  I also don’t feel the need to get off my face on drugs.  If you like to do so, and I acknowledge that drug use is much more common than most people realise, then I can’t say I agree with your choice but it’s not my problem.  

I’m also curious why people get riled up when I say I don’t have a car.  I just don’t see the point in owning something that immediately loses value as soon as you buy it, costs hundreds of pounds to run, maintain, tax and insure, and then spends the vast majority of its life parked up.  If I need to go somewhere, I walk or use another form of transport if it’s too far away or the weather is crap.  

He’s a fat idiot

I know I’m overweight.  I don’t like it, but I know it happened due to bad luck.  A few years ago I was in great shape.  I was going to the gym several nights a week.  I was fairly lean and doing really well.  One day I sat down to do some preacher curls and as I was getting into position, but before I was supporting any weight, I felt something in my right shoulder go.  This was the start of a horrible few years.

I was booked in for surgery at a private hospital after being diagnosed with a SLAP tear in my shoulder.  As I was being taken in to be put to sleep, the consultants noticed an issue with my heart and blood pressure.  The op was postponed whilst this was investigated.  I was told to not exercise, apart from light walking, until they knew what was happening.  I then spent a few weeks under the care of an excellent cardiologist.  I had a number of tests which led to a diagnosis of impaired ventricular function.  I was given three new drugs to take daily and was then under supervision for a few months.  As my heart function returned to normal, I was given clearance to have the surgery.  I then spent several weeks recovering from the op.  

As the year was drawing to a close I was just getting back to lifting some light weights.  I was rehabbing a strained achilles tendon with a series of stretches and thought no more of it.  I woke up one morning in the worst pain I have ever experienced.  My ankle and foot was in so much pain that even the weight of the duvet was excruciating.  I went to hospital but they said it was just a sprained ankle.  I tried battling through with painkillers but couldn’t sleep.  In the early hours of the following morning I got a cab to A&E.  In the waiting area my girlfriend said I looked like death.  I had turned grey and was drenched in sweat even though it was freezing.  It got so bad that I passed out from the pain.  This was the start of several months on crutches.

It was discovered that I have some sort of bone abnormality in my foot, where some bones are fused that shouldn’t be.  My exercise appeared to have caused a series of fractures which then filled with fluid.  Over time it healed.  Then, I injured my other achilles tendon.  As that healed up, I had a build up of uric acid in the original foot and ankle, which is what leads to flare ups of gout.  

By this time I had not done any serious exercise or walking in a year.  I was depressed, and when I’m struggling with my mental health, I comfort eat.  My usual remedy for keeping my mental health in check is exercise.  I couldn’t do that and entered a horrible cycle. 

As we entered 2020, and the pandemic, some things happened in my personal life.  Those who know, know.  Those who don’t, don’t need to know.  The fact is I had a complete mental breakdown.  I was at the lowest point I’ve ever been at.  I had months off work, and just getting through one hour at a time was an achievement.  Over time, things started to look up, but two-years on I’m still not fully recovered from that time.  Maybe I will never be fully recovered.  

Coming back to something I said before; it takes more effort to be an asshole.  You never know what someone is going through, or where they’ve come from.  You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but you also don’t have to attack people for no justifiable reason.  If you have done this, I have some advice for you by way of a quote;

“Somewhere out there a tree is tirelessly producing oxygen so you can breathe.  I think you owe it an apology.”

David Keiller

I take it from David Keiller’s comments that he’s not heard of the BRRR model of property investment. I’ve talked about this many times in previous posts, so I’m only going to mention it very briefly here; you buy a property that you can add value to, either through securing a deal you feel is a bargain or one where you can spend money on improving the property knowing that for every £1 you spend on the refurb you are increasing the value by more than £1. You then have several options to release the increased equity which provides funds for your next property deposit. You don’t need to save for each one individually.

As for a credible plan to pay an interest only mortgage off, the exact criteria differ from lender to lender. Generally though, as most BTLs are unregulated, the checks on repayment plans are not overly strict.

Also, as my girlfriend and I are both solely and jointly responsible for our residential mortgage, I’m not sure what difference getting married makes.

Finally, don’t worry about me being bored. I work so that I can have money. I have plenty of projects in mind to keep active both physically and mentally.

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.

2022 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2022

1 – Reduce weight to 90kg.  (Current weight 126.1kg).

2 – Complete 10 “classic” books.

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
  2. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
  4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
  5. The Iliad by Homer (8th century BC)
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
  7. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1867)
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)
  9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
  10. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)

3 – Read 10 authors I’ve not read before.

I’ve not really had a chance to start on these goals yet, and so I don’t have anything to say.  I will start on a new book before next week and update you on my progress.

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading: nothing at the moment.

What I’m listening to: Prime: Chess Team Book 0 (A prequel to the Chess Team series) by Jeremy Robinson.

What I’m watching: Bonus Family (Netflix), The Expanse (Amazon Prime).

My girlfriend has been asking me to watch Bonus Family for ages and I finally relented.  It’s a Swedish comedy-drama about the interconnected lives of extended Bonus Families.  You’re probably wondering what a bonus family is, and so did I.  It’s the term given to the family that your step-parent brings to their relationship with your actual parent.  So if your father married someone, and they had children from a previous relationship, then they would be your bonus siblings.

It’s always interesting watching foreign shows as you see a different way of life, and different values and customs.  There have been four seasons of Bonus Family and I’ve enjoyed all of them.  I hope there’s a fifth season but there’s no news of it being renewed yet.

There is just one episode of The Expanse left and I’m gutted.  It’s the best sci-fi show out there, and it’s ruined all other sci-fi for me.  Once it’s done, I’ll have no choice but to wait for the Netflix adaptation of The Three Body Problem.

If you know, you know.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £20,700.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £46,207.87 (up £2,797.82 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £2,000.00 (down £1,000.00 from last update). 

Crypto: £643.15 (down £100.71 from last update). 

Pensions: £52,518.86 (down £588.40 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: £467,677.88 (up £1,108.71 from last update). 

Debts

Credit Card: £103.01 (down £1,678.40 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £165,657.38 (down £708.40 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £92,958.17 (down £18.38 from last update). 

Total Debts: £258,718.56 (down £2,405.18 from last update).

Total Wealth: £208,959.32 (up £3,513.89 from last update).

Investment Income in 2022: £25.00 (target £6,000).

A great week as my ISA performed well, and my mortgage payments were processed.  I decided to take £1,000 from my Fuck It Fund to pay off some of the credit card debt.  I was looking at the transactions and realised that some of them were coming to the end of their interest free period, and so it made sense to pay it off now.  

I had my first bit of investment income come in as well, but there’s still a long way to go until I hit my 2022 target.  Crypto doesn’t seem to be doing well at the moment.  It’s been almost a year since I dipped into this new type of currency and I don’t see what all the hype is about.  I’ll leave the cash in there just in case it suddenly skyrockets, but I’m not holding out much hope. 

This brings me to the end of an unusual post.  If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading.  Next week’s post will be back to the normal sort of length, and will be a bit more lighthearted.  Until then, stay safe and thanks for your support.

Biolink

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

4 thoughts on “Part 115

  1. Great blog, as always! Thank you for clarifying points to those who went out of their way to be assholes, although not sure why you had to justify these as the vast majority are common sense. Keep going, you are doing a wonderful job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this – a great response to those hysterical detractors but a shame they will never get to read this. The negative comments do make me laugh – as you say, it takes much more effort to post something nasty than it is to just scroll past something you disagree with – says so much about the commenters themselves, particularly when they’re not commenting on the article itself but focus on your appearance.

    One question in my mind, which was mentioned, is how you would manage taxes, getting income in the UK and living in Spain?

    Finally, I too am gutted that the Expanse tv series is to end. Foundation might be worth a watch (I haven’t checked it out yet), loosely based on Asmiov’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll talk about taxes a little more in the next part, but basically we’ve not looked at it in any major detail yet. This isn’t because we didn’t think of it, but rather it’s because the situation is so changeable that there’s little point in researching it now when a lot could change between now and when we’re ready to move. The destination doesn’t matter to us too much. If we can’t do Spain, then we’ll try somewhere else. Our first goal is getting to a point where we can move. Then, we’ll see what the tax, covid, and Brexit situation is like. I just know that we could spend ages looking into it now and then find something happens that turns the whole thing on its head.

      Liked by 1 person

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