Hello, and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I discuss a tweet that made me facepalm so hard I thought I’d been paid a visit by the Fresh Prince. Also, updates on our BTL now that we are having viewings. I also announce a new addition to my family, and highlight the work of an artist I’ve mentioned before. In addition to all this, I offer some advice for people feeling overwhelmed with all the jobs on their to-do list. First, the Quote of the Week:
Quote of the Week
Sometimes a facepalm just isn’t enough. I don’t get this line of thought where people just assume everyone wants kids and that no couple is complete without kids. Everyone I know who has kids has one, or more, of the following: a lack of time, a lack of energy, increased stress, little spare cash, and is at the beck and call of their offspring for a minimum of eighteen years. Some people want that because they have love to give, and there are some great parents out there. When I look at some of the relationships my friends have with their parents, I realise that I won the parent lottery. The fact is, having children and “starting a family” whatever the hell that means isn’t for everyone. I don’t look down on people who have kids. It’s none of my business. So please don’t look down on people who don’t want children.
The term “starting a family” is a little offensive. Are two people in a long-term, committed relationship, not a family?
The Earth is overpopulated as it is and we would all benefit from a drop in global population through declining birth rates. As populations become more educated and wealthy, birth rates drop. I’m not making a value judgement here, it’s just an accepted correlation that’s been demonstrated many times. It’s expected that over the next few decades, possibly by the middle of the century, population growth will peak and then reverse course across the globe.
There is a term for the projected number of people the Earth can carry. As would make sense, the term is Carrying Capacity and estimates range from approximately 9 billion people to approximately 12 billion. There are some fringe theories suggesting upwards of 20 billion, but I can’t see how that would work without some huge technological leaps and a change to our way of life. However, just because the Earth could potentially provide for 9-12 billion people it does not mean we should strive for that. Our planet is changing. If climate change continues on its current path we will see a reduction in arable land, with some parts of the world becoming inhospitable.
When the human body’s internal temperature exceeds 108 degrees F (42C), that person dies. This is the level at which proteins break down, and the brain is damaged beyond repair. In the grand scheme of things, 42C is not that warm. In 2019, parts of the UK experienced temperatures of almost 39C. I need to reiterate that there’s a difference between the external and internal temperatures we experience, but when it’s warmer outside you are at increased risk of your internal temperature rising. In many wealthy countries, we have ice cold drinks and air conditioning to help. In many of the regions most at risk, these luxuries are simply not available.
So, let me bring this point full circle. In 2022 if you have a baby in the northern hemisphere, then it’s projected that child will have a carbon footprint of over 50 metric tonnes. This isn’t a lifetime figure; this is an annual figure.
If you want kids, all I ask is that you think about whether you are certain you want kids. Also, don’t have kids to try and repair a relationship. It will not work and it’s pretty shitty to bring a child into the world to try and make a relationship better.
Another busy week started with a new addition to our family in the form of a 12-year-old lady called Poppy. She’s absolutely beautiful, and she’s got a great personality. Within a couple of hours of her coming home, she had settled down for a nap on my chest as I lounged on the sofa. She is a small kitty, weighing in at 3kg. Our two previous cats were 4-5kg. She has the smallest meow, but she makes it clear when she wants feeding, which seems to be every time I venture near the kitchen. I made a bolognese in the slow cooker and she loved the ragu. As soon as we put our bowls down, she leapt up and started licking the plate clean. So, when we had the leftovers the following day I made sure to serve her a little of the bolognese. She licked the whole plate clean.
We also received a painting we commissioned from artist Laura Slade. We’ve had three paintings from her in total and we love them all. We have a large frame with Sweep, our first cat. We have a small painting of a Kingfisher because Kingfishers are awesome. Now, we have one of our sweet Bobby. He was such a great cat but I feel guilty because I think we adopted him too soon after losing Sweep. It took some time for me to connect with him, but we did eventually. The last few months of his life were happy. Laura has done a fantastic job of capturing his innocence.
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”? I like the above version better.
It took me a bit of time to work out the meaning of the phrase and I had to do a bit of google-fu to reveal why doing something badly was a good thing. So, why is it worth doing something badly? Let’s consider a few examples. You are going through a period of depression and you have lots of things you feel you should be doing. The house needs cleaning, and you need to cook some meals for the week. You also need to do some exercise. The problem is, it all seems overwhelming. You feel like you need to clean the whole house until it sparkles. You feel like you need to cook three different meals you can then reheat through the week. You need to go to the gym and do a full weights workout. After all, these are all things worth doing and so they should be done well. Faced with such an overwhelming to-do list, you do what many people do and ignore all those tasks and sit in front of the TV all day.
What if those tasks did not need to be completed to perfection? What if you pick up the clothes off the floor and hoover the living room before calling it a day? You’ve done more than the first scenario. What if you cook one meal that will see you through the first half of the week? It’s better than cooking nothing at all and having to rely on fast food or takeaways. What if you go for a walk instead of lifting weights at the gym? It’s exercise and it’s better than sitting all day staring at a screen. For many things in life, doing them badly is better than not doing them at all. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve started back at the gym. I used to love the gym and got to a point where I was in great shape. I was fairly lean and was starting to build some mass. Then, injury after injury brought me down. I’ve been wanting to get back to the gym for a long time, but I’ve been too worried about getting my mental ducks in a row and waiting for the right time. The right time is now, though. I know more about my physical and mental limitations now, and so I took the phrase I’ve been talking about and applied it to my workout. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
A Brief Interlude
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2022 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2022
1 – Reduce weight to 90kg. (Current weight 121.0kg).
2 – Complete 10 “classic” books.
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
- The Iliad by Homer (8th century BC)
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844) ✅
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1867)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)
3 – Read 10 authors I’ve not read before (1/10)
- John Birmingham ✅
I’m continuing to lose weight and have dropped from a high of 125.6kg ten weeks ago to 121kg. It’s not huge progress, but it is some progress. It’s not just about how I look and feel anymore, it’s about making sure my diabetes doesn’t kick my ass.
What Am I Doing?
What I’m reading: The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz.
What I’m listening to: American Kill Switch: End of Days Trilogy Book 3 by John Birmingham.
What I’m watching: Star Trek: Picard, Electric Dreams, & This Is Us, all on Prime Video.
I’m making slow progress with The Future of Another Timeline. It reminds me of another book I read called The Psychology of Time Travel. It wasn’t great. I’ll stick with this for now though. It’s easy enough to dip in and out of.
I’ve been enjoying the End of Days Trilogy and it’s available via Audible Plus so I don’t even have to use credits. The story starts with war breaking out across many countries. It’s done in a fresh way though, with some creative tales of hybrid warfare. The characters are all well developed and memorable, even if some of them are complete assholes. This has been my first experience of John Birmingham but I’ve heard enough to look for more of his books once I finish the final part of this series.
Premium Bonds: £8,000.00 (no change from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £43,415.28 (down £1,087.19 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £4,200.00 (no change from last update).
Pensions: £53,271.98 (up £1,937.06 from last update).
Residential Property Value: £213,900.00 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £138,030.00 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £460,817.26 (up £849.87 from last update).
Credit Card: £203.78 (down £191.18 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £164,465.27 (down £393.35 from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £92,885.26 (down £18.52 from last update).
Total Debts: £257,554.31 (down £603.05 from last update).
Total Wealth: £203,262.95 (up £1,452.92 from last update).
Investment Income in 2022: £525.28 (target £6,000).
A mixed bag with losses to my ISA but gains to my pension. My monthly mortgage payments have reduced my mortgage debt, and I’ve paid my credit card down. Not a bad week but I would like to see a sustained run of gains for my ISA as I’d like to cash out some of my stocks to fund another property purchase. I firmly believe that one stock I hold will increase in value over the next couple of years provided there is not another Brexit, Trump, Covid, or major war to derail things again.
The work on the property is complete and it looks much better (images below). The listing went live on Rightmove in the middle of last week and our first viewings took place on Friday. There were nine viewings in total, with 25 people on a waiting list for viewings. Some of those who viewed have been ruled out by the agent, but there are a few potential tenants there including some who have offered to pay more than the rent we are asking for. I’m hopeful we will have a tenant soon, and maybe by the end of May, we will start seeing some income from this investment.
In less than a fortnight the index valuations of our properties should be updated. I’m hopeful of an increase that will allow us to release some cash from the BTL. We can take the mortgage up to 75% of the value of the property. A 1%-2% increase would be enough for us to release £12k-£13k which we can then use to put towards another BTL. I’ve said it before, but the first couple of properties are the hardest. After that, it’s just a case of letting inflation and compound gains work their magic.
You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink at bio.link/davidscothern.
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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.