Part 133

Hello, and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I discuss the recent crypto crash. Also, just to shake things up a bit, I take aim at the Tory party *Surprised Pikachu*. I also discuss my mental health and try to work out why my tolerance for the neurotypical world is reducing. First, the Quote of the Week:

Quote of the Week

“My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing. So, I believe in the workplace environment,”

 ~ Boris Johnson

I really don’t want this blog to turn into a political piece, but our government is so incompetent I can’t leave it alone.  The thing about incompetence is that it’s not always deliberate or nasty.  It can happen because someone is promoted out of a position where they do the most damage (which helps explain why so many people in senior positions are utterly and completely useless, but I digress).  I don’t think that is what is happening here though.  Intelligence comes in many forms, and I don’t doubt that Bumbling Boris is intelligent in his own way.  I don’t think his incompetence is innocent though, nor do I believe the Tories are working for the good of the country.  

Let’s take a look at what has happened under our Tory government, and this is not an exhaustive list but rather what came to mind:

  1. Expenses fiasco.
  2. Windrush.
  3. Grenfell.
  4. “Cash for access.”
  5. “Piggate.”
  6. Brexit Referendum clusterfuck, linked with Cambridge Analytica.
  7. 2019 Prorogation saga.
  8. Covid-19; the transfer of billions upon billions of pounds from the taxpayer to companies with links to various politicians and members of the “elite”. 
  9. Partygate.

More recently, there have been stories such as the Freedom Bus Pass disgrace, which I covered in a previous blog.  There is the recent story about the bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson with an attached note from Oliver Dowden which shows the utter contempt with which these people view the public.  Yet, where is the outrage?

If only this was it.  A few days ago photos went viral on social media showing Dartford’s Tory council leader grinning like an idiot at the opening of a food bank.  The opening of a food bank should not be a source of pride.  It should be a source of absolute fucking embarrassment and shame.  As James Oh Brien said; “WTF are they all so happy about?”

So, back to Boris and his theory that people shouldn’t work from home because of their addiction to cheese.  There are millions of households across the UK where food is rationed, and people have to plan how every single ingredient is to be used.  How many people working from home will stroll to their fridge and cut a chunk of brie or blacksticks blue to nibble on whilst waiting for the kettle to boil?  I’m sure that the Tories would be able to spin this number just like they did with the covid testing numbers.  Another point about working from home; what would Boris know about working from home?  His office is based at 10 Downing Street.  His home is **checks notes** ‘motherfucker’.

The UK is in a strange, and worrying, place right now.  We are coming out of several national crises, such as Brexit and Covid.  The economy has been hammered, inflation is high and rates are increasing to try and stop inflation from getting further out of control.  The housing market will almost certainly take a hit in the coming months, and we have immigration policies that are on a par with some of history’s worst governments.  

Across the Irish Sea, there are developments that could easily lead to a renewed movement toward unifying Ireland.  The Tories have taken the Good Friday Agreement and shat all over it.  The details as to why would take too long to discuss here, but I suggest you read up on it.  It could get very messy.  To the north, we have increased talk of a new Scottish referendum for independence.  You can put money on the Irish and Scottish framing independence as a means of rejoining the EU.  If you look back at the regional results from the Brexit referendum, you will see that large parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland wanted to stay in the EU.  

I don’t make too many predictions, but I suspect by the end of the decade the Union could very well have broken into pieces.  If there is an Irish unification and Scottish independence you can bet that the Welsh will want a piece of that too.  Combined with the Ukraine war, climate change and the immense power that private companies now wield internationally, you can be forgiven for thinking “what the fuck is the point?”

Weekly Update

I’ve not been feeling great this last week.  It’s been creeping up on me slowly for a while I think.  At the back end of 2020, I was not in a good way.  My mental health was the worst it’s been.  With my recent autism diagnosis, I’ve been able to look back at my life with a new filter.  I can spot the times in my life when I’ve been in a very dark place mentally.  The gaps between those times seem to be getting shorter.  

I was talking to a fellow autistic recently and I explained that, since it became clear I’m autistic, my mental endurance, patience, and capacity for bullshit have been drastically reduced.  Apparently, this is a common thing amongst those identified as autistic.  Years of masking leads to emotional and cognitive burnout, which leads to mental breakdown.

Imagine a dam stretching across a large river.  The water builds and builds.  Eventually, the water is released through outlets so the pressure on the structure of the dam never overloads.  However, imagine what would happen if that water could not be released in a controlled way.  There would be floods.  The structure of the dam could be weakened.  With enough stress on the dam, it starts to crack.  Those cracks spread.  Water starts to burst through the cracks, and then the whole thing collapses and water surges down the river damaging everything in its path.  

The metaphor here applies to masking.  When autistic people mask, the water is building up inside their mind.  From time to time there will be smaller releases of the water pressure, but over time the stress becomes too great and the dam bursts.  Once it has burst, there is no rebuilding it.  The capacity to absorb that much mental stress can’t be recovered.  This is where I find myself now.  As I look at my situation now, and compare it to 2020, I am in a better position.  Stress can’t always be quantified though.  I might not have as much stress as then, but my defences are weaker now.  I don’t have the spoons I once had, or as I’ve recently heard it referred to, “I don’t have the hit points.”

I’m not sure what the answer is in the short to medium term.  I have lots of support personally and professionally.  It’s not always enough though.  My mood has been very low in the last couple of weeks.  The silver lining is that I know this is part of the cycle.  There are ups and downs, and I’m in the dip right now.  I will drag myself out of it in time.  It’s just a case of how long that will take, and hoping life doesn’t throw something unexpected my way.

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

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 ✅
  2. Nicole Perlroth ✅
  3. Sabine Durrant ✅
  4. Luke Smitherd ✅

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading:

What I’m listening to: The Stone Giant (Stone Man – Book 3) by Luke Smitherd.

What I’m watching: Toc Toc (Netflix), Star Trek: Picard, This is Us (Amazon Prime).

I stumbled across an audible book called The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd, and proceeded to smash through it, and the sequel (The Empty Men) and I’ve almost finished the third book, The Stone Giant.

The first book starts with a stone man appearing in the centre of Coventry.  No one knows where it came from, and as people swarm around it, the stone man starts to move.  I can’t say much more without spoiling the story, but it’s a fascinating sci-fi/horror series set mostly in Coventry and Sheffield.  This in itself is great, as I can’t think of too many stories of this type taking part in my part of the world.

Earlier in the week, I watched an amusing film with my girlfriend called Toc Toc.  It’s a Spanish comedy where a group of people struggling with OCD arrive for therapy with a renowned psychologist.  It’s real slapstick stuff, but it also makes a serious point about how debilitating OCD can be.  My only criticism is that I think the film dragged slightly after the first hour or so, and would have been improved with some more ruthless editing.  On the whole, though, it was entertaining. 

Picard is just not very good.  It’s such a shame as the season started strongly.  It just feels as though the plot was written in a, “yeah, and what if then…” manner.  It’s like the plot was thrown together as fanfiction with little thought to the structure or pacing of the story.  I started watching the last two episodes earlier, but I was bored.  I always say that you can tell how engaging a show or film is by how often you look at your phone.  I found myself looking at my phone quite often whilst watching.  Nu-Trek isn’t great.  Discovery had potential.  I could ignore the contradiction to established canon in the first couple of seasons, but the jump to the future and “the burn” was so stupid it made my head hurt.  I’ll give Strange New Worlds a chance, but I’m not expecting much.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £18,600.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £42,132.53 (down £88.04 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £50.00 (no change from last update). 

Pensions: £50,397.13 (down £1,521.99 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £218,291.00 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £140,863.00 (no change from last update).

Total Assets: £470,333.66 (down £1,610.03 from last update). 

Debts

Credit Card: £0.00 (down £27.90 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £164,067.27 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,338.22 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £269,405.49 (down £27.90 from last update).

Total Wealth: £200,928.17 (down £1,582.13 from last update).

Investment Income in 2022: £956.15 (target £6,000).

A nice bit of income this week, which should be followed by even more next week.  I’m projecting that by the next post my investment income should be just under £2,000 for the year.  

The stock market continues to tread water with the occasional drop, and then mini-surge.  It’s frustrating that for the last thirty weeks or so, my total wealth figure has stalled between £200,000 and £210,000 with no sign of more consistent progress.  It doesn’t matter too much due to pound cost averaging.  Whilst prices are low, I get more units for my investment.  At some point though I will need the market to start increasing.

I’ve not seen many people boasting about their crypto gains lately.  I’m so glad I noped out of this Ponzi scheme when I did.  The whole thing is a house of cards waiting to crash, and it looks as though we will not be waiting too much longer.  In case you missed it, one of the more popular cryptos lost approx 99% of its value in a matter of days.  This had a knock-on impact on other cryptocurrencies.  There are stories in the news about people who had invested all their money in the Terra Luna token which went from $118 to $0.09, who have now had to take jobs they had previously described as menial.  I wonder how many of these people could explain their investment and understand it fully.  I suspect not many.  Some people have made insane sums of money through crypto, but their profit has come from many more people who have lost everything.  

All investments have risk.  Avoiding investments comes with risk.  There are no “risk-free” investments.  The only thing a person can do is manage the risk through a solid financial education.  I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll continue to say it; if you don’t understand an investment, you are gambling with your money.  When you gamble, the punter always ends up losing.

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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