Part 128

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I ask the question, What does Financial Freedom mean to you? Also, the search for our second BTL begins, and details on our first holiday booking in a long time.

What does financial freedom mean to you?

Since starting this blog in 2019 I’ve noticed a slight increase in people talking about financial freedom.  They might not use the terms, financial freedom, FIRE, or financial independence, but the way they talk makes it clear that it’s the same concept they are discussing.  This could just be an example of frequency bias, in that once you become aware of something you start to see it more often.  Whilst this might play a part, I believe more people are starting to realise that our capitalist, profit-at-all-costs mentality is not right.  

The past few years have seen one calamity after another; Brexit, Covid, and the rise of politicians like Trump and Boris.  Now, we have the war in Ukraine.  On the face of it, it might not seem obvious why these things have contributed to an increasing interest in FIRE, but all these events have knocked the stock market, and/or caused many employers to cut staff numbers or even close down completely.

It’s never been more obvious that you can’t rely on a job, even if you’ve worked for the company for decades.  A business will drop you in seconds based on nothing more than a slump in the share price.  A CEO will sign off on a decision to make hundreds, or thousands, of people unemployed just to boost the company’s stock in the short term.  This sort of thinking is both a contributing cause of, and result of, things like Brexit.

For me, financial freedom is about buying time.  Time is the most precious resource we have.  Having financial independence means that you can choose what to do with your time, as opposed to having to put a third, or more, of your day towards making money for someone else.  

What about you?  What does financial freedom mean to you? What does your financially independent life look like?  Leave a comment, and let me know.

Weekly Update

When you don’t have anything planned it seems that one week just rolls into the next.  Time just passes by.  It’s all just routine.  I think much of this is a hangover from the pandemic where we’re just used to staying home and doing the basics.

Poppy has been with us for almost two weeks now and she’s still happy and settled.  She has such a crazy personality, and she’s a shameless beggar for food.  She will eat anything you put in front of her.  It’s impossible to have a meal in peace, but we love it.  The charity we adopted her from called to check how it was all going, and I explained it’s like we’ve had her for years as she’s settled in so quickly and seamlessly.

Older cats, and dogs, are so often overlooked in favour of adopting the younger ones.  People who do this are missing out as older animals have so much love to give.  Their personalities are established and they are used to being in a home.  Yes, it’s heartbreaking when you have to say goodbye, and you probably will not get as long with them before they pass.  For the animal though, the fact they’ve been rescued from a shelter and are given a loving home, means the world to them.

Apart from Poppy, the only other exciting news is that Oana and I have booked a city break for Paris later in the year.  As food lovers, we are excited to sample some top restaurants.  I’m a big fan of classical French cooking, and I’ll be in my element when we arrive.  

In addition to the restaurants, there are some places we are looking forward to seeing and we plan on taking a few trips away from Paris.  One place we want to visit is the Château de Chambord.

As the week comes to a close I find myself physically and mentally weary.  Being back at the gym and working full-time is tiring.  I need to push through until this routine becomes the new normal, and I’ll be fine.  It’s going to take a few weeks, but the hard work will be worth it. 

Sheffield Ceramics Festival and the war in Ukraine

Last weekend we visited the Sheffield Ceramics Festival at the Kelham Island Museum.  There are some great pieces of work and we enjoy having a leisurely browse.  We noticed one of the stalls had a fundraiser going for Ukraine through an auction for a custom teapot in the blue and yellow colours of the country.  The vendor was accepting bids, with the teapot going to the winner who then paid their bid as a donation to the DEC to support their work in the warzone.  Anyway, we won the teapot with a bid of £50.  We plan to give the teapot to our friend in Kyiv when we get to meet in person.

Although the war is still in the news, it’s not the overwhelming main story anymore.  I worry that the conflict will slip from our minds as the war drags on.  If you can help support our friends in Ukraine, please consider donating to the DEC:

https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

Support Mortgage Advisor on FIRE

I love writing this blog, and I’ve met some great people because of it.  Maintaining a website costs money though, and if you want to say thanks for the content I publish, consider a donation to my virtual tip jar on the link below:

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/davidscothern

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

1 – Reduce weight to 90kg.  (Current weight 120.3kg).

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 (1/10)

  1. John Birmingham ✅

Another week of weight loss which is a huge boost to my confidence.  I need to keep going without going too hard, too soon.  It’s a lack of patience that has contributed to several injuries in the past.  I’m trying to be patient and not push my body too far at the gym, frustrating as it might be.  I remember reading, some time ago, an article that explained muscle strengthens faster than joints and connective tissue.  So, you can end up lifting more than the joints can support even though the muscles are coping fine.  This leads to joint problems.  How true this is, I don’t know.  It does make intuitive sense though, and there’s little to lose by being patient and organised in my approach to training.

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading: The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz. 

What I’m listening to: Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham.

What I’m watching: MasterChef on BBC iPlayer.  Elite on Netflix.

I’m still plugging away with The Future of Another Timeline.  It’s not drawing me back to it, and it feels like an effort to read.  I know that if I get a decent amount of time on one side to smash through a few chapters, that will be the spark I need.

Trigger Warning: Sexual assualt and rape.

After completing the End of Days Trilogy by John Birmingham I have moved on to another series by him.  Weapons of Choice starts with a modern naval task force being transported through time, right into the path of the US fleet sailing to engage the Japanese at Midway during the Second World War.  The general plot and concept are interesting, but the writing, characterisation, and narration are absolutely awful.  There is also one specific part of the plot which feels wrong.  A character is raped, tortured, and murdered.  Although the act is not portrayed in the narrative, it is described after the event by other characters.  It comes across as clumsy, and in poor taste, and is reminiscent of the Women in Refrigerators trope.  The way it is written, the rape is completely unnecessary as a plot device and seems to be there just for shock value.

Elite season five has dropped on Netflix.  The first three seasons were fantastic television, but season four was poor, and season five doesn’t seem to be any better.  The show is based around the lives of students at an elite private school near Madrid, where some students from state education are given scholarships to the prestigious Las Encinas school.  Mixed in with the clash of cultures is a murder mystery when a student is found dead.  Elite also addressed many social issues, such as drug use, homophobia, sexual abuse, and the impact of oppressive parents on their children.  Those first three seasons were great, but once the main story wrapped up with the original cast, the show became less interesting and more style over substance.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £8,000.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £42,188.83 (down £1,226.45 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £4,200.00 (no change from last update). 

Pensions: £52,308.23 (down £963.75 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: £458,627.06 (down £2,190.20 from last update).

Debts

Credit Card: £1,204.28 (up £1,000.50 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £164,465.27 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £92,885.26 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £258,554.81 (up £1,000.50 from last update).

Total Wealth: £200,072.25 (down £3,190.70 from last update).

Investment Income in 2022: £525.28 (target £6,000).

My credit card balance has increased as we used it to pay for the Paris trip.  This will come down again in the next couple of weeks.  By the next part of the blog, I should have the quarterly update on the lender’s valuation of my properties.  I don’t have any advanced knowledge of what is to come, but I’m predicting a 1.5% increase. 

There’s not much else to say about my finances this week.  It’s the same old story of instability, with no sustained periods of growth.  Things will change for the better once the war in Ukraine is resolved, and we find a way to live with covid.  

BTL Update

We have a tenant moving in on Monday, which means we will be able to look at releasing funds from the BTL at some point next week.  We have also started looking for our second BTL property.  I think we’ve learned a lot from our first investment, and there are many things we are going to do differently.  If we can secure a property within the next three months or so, then we might just about sneak a third property purchase before the end of the year.

The key part of the model we are following is that you buy property, increase the valuation, and then release equity to put towards the next deal.  The more properties you have, the more you have building equity.  So, the pace of acquiring new property can increase with each new purchase.

You may remember my rant (rants) about estate agents.  In general, they seem to be getting worse.  I called about a potential property on Saturday morning and arranging a viewing was like pulling teeth, or sitting through a Boris Johnson speech.  After several frustrating minutes of repeating information to the bored-sounding agent, I was told someone might call me back to arrange something.  I know the address of the property so I’m tempted to just drop a note through their door.

Biolink and other links

You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink:

bio.link/davidscothern.

Also, check out Darren Scothern’s blog which talks about autism, being autistic, and general mental health:

http://www.darrenscothern.com

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