Part 138

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. A return to normal service this week following my trip to Malta. In Part 138 I discuss asylum seekers, and the disgraceful policies of this Tory government. Also, some updates on our search for a BTL, with a slight change of direction, and the usual financial updates. First, the Quote of the Week:

Credit: Sky News

Grant Shapps, the UK’s Transport Secretary, has come out fighting in response to the series of rail strikes happening across the country.  With hundreds of workers refusing to work, Shapps has suggested that agency workers may be brought in to replace those on strike.

A few months earlier…

Grant Shapps urges the people of Britain to boycott P&O after they sacked hundreds of workers and *checks notes* replaced them with agency staff.

It’s not even subtle how the Tory party, and politicians in general, jump on the latest bandwagon in an attempt to gain favour with the electorate.  The age of reasoned, considered politics is gone. 

Weekly Update

The first week back at work after a holiday is always tough.  I’ve spent most of this week sleepy and in pain.  I’ve got a problem with my hip that seems to be getting worse, along with an issue with my elbow.  So, I’m taking a short break from the gym whilst I seek medical advice.  It’s frustrating because the gym really helps with my mental health.  

The Bank of England base rate has increased again this week.  This means the base rate is at the highest level in thirteen years.  I’m fully expecting the base rate to continue increasing through the rest of the year.  There are four more meetings of the MPC this year, and I think it’s likely there will be further increases at each of those meetings.  My prediction is a further three increases of .25% and an increase of .5%, so that as we end 2022 the base rate will be 2.5%.

Although it’s sucked coming back to reality after a break in the sun, it’s been great reuniting with Poppy.  It’s the first time we’ve left her in a cattery and we were nervous about how she would handle it.  The staff at the cattery sent us photos and updates, and she seemed to manage ok.  Since we picked her up, she’s been affectionate and vocal.  I think she’s happy to be back home with us.

On a different subject, in India a 70-year-old woman was trampled to death by an elephant.  At her funeral, the elephant turned up and dragged the woman from her pyre before trampling her some more.  Then, the elephant is reported to have gathered the herd and destroyed the woman’s home, along with nearby buildings.  Not content with this carnage, the elephants are alleged to have stolen food.  

I have questions.

First of all, what caused this feud between the woman and the elephant?

Second; how did the elephant know when, and where, the funeral would be held?

This Week’s Tory Shambles

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or as he’s also known; Bumbling Boris, He of the Moppy Hair, or Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has defended plans to electronically tag those who enter the country via “dangerous or unnecessary” routes.  

To understand why this is a bizarre idea, let’s take a step back and look at what an asylum seeker is.

Someone seeking asylum leaves their country of origin and enters another country with the intention to settle.  Asylum seekers are generally fleeing persecution, war, or other hardships.  The terms “refugee” and “asylum seeker” are sometimes used interchangeably but there are differences between the two terms, depending on who you ask.  In basic terms, you enter the country to seek asylum.  Once granted, you become a refugee.

There are international laws and treaties that outline the rights and protections afforded to asylum seekers and refugees.  There is the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the 1967 Protocol, for example.  What these treaties and agreements do, amongst other things, is to declare that seeking asylum in another country is not an illegal act.  To be clear, there is no such thing as an “illegal asylum seeker” or “illegal refugee”.  It is possible to be an illegal immigrant, but that’s a different concept altogether.  

It’s possible there are some who take their chances crossing the English Channel in a dinghy to land in the UK who are not asylum seekers, but really we are talking about a fraction, of a fraction, of a percent of the total number of people wanting to claim asylum in the UK.  We are not a country facing waves of invading foreign nationals.  It’s media hype.  For those who bang on about these asylum seekers bypassing other countries, such as France or Germany, to arrive in the UK, the facts just don’t match your beliefs.  Many countries take in more asylum seekers than the UK; France and Germany amongst them.  

The idea that we should tag these people like cattle just doesn’t sit right with me, but I’m sure the Tories think they’re on to a winner with this policy.  

In a related story, Home Secretary Priti Patel has claimed that the judges from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) who blocked the deportation flight from the UK to Rwanda are racists.

Hmmm… “Google? How long can the body survive without a brain?”

It should be noted that the ECHR was created in large part due to the efforts of the British government following the end of the Second World War.  Many of the rights we now take for granted, can be traced back to these agreements.  Declaring that those seeking to protect people from policies that are (and I’m being generous here) potentially racist, are themselves racist is just fucking moronic.  In fact, it pretty much nails the top spot on the Dorries Dipshittery Scale.

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 118.9kg).

2 – Complete 10 “classic” books (4/10)

  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 (6/10)

  1. John Birmingham ✅
  2. Nicole Perlroth ✅
  3. Sabine Durrant ✅
  4. Luke Smitherd ✅
  5. Max Skittle ✅
  6. Harlan Coben ✅

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading: nothing at the moment, but want to start something.

What I’m listening to: After America: Disappearance Book 2 by John Birmingham.

What I’m watching: Nothing at the moment.

I really wanted to actually read something whilst I was away, but I never got around to it.  Our holiday was not exactly relaxing though, as we would be out of the hotel from morning until evening, coming back to freshen up before heading out for dinner.  By the end of the day, it was too much to even think about picking up a book.

I finished an audiobook whilst I was away; Kill Someone by Luke Smitherd.  It’s a fictional take on the Trolley Problem; a thought experiment where a runaway trolley is going down the tracks and is going to collide with a group of people.  However, you can push a button or pull a lever to direct the trolley to another line where it will kill one person.

There have been many variations on this problem, where the numbers of people involved are changed, as are their ages, ethnicity, or sex, for example.  There are even variations where the action needed to change the course of the trolley are changed, i.e. pulling a lever, pushing a button, or even pushing someone into the path of the trolley to stop it, but I digress.

The experiment asks the question; what is the right thing to do? Is it right to kill one person to save others?  Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one?

By not acting, it can be argued you are not to blame for any deaths. You are not taking an action to kill someone. However, is not acting a form of action? It’s a difficult one. Kill Someone debates this point in an entertaining way. It’s a fairly short book, but it does make you think about the central question.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £19,250.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £40,671.19 (down £431.70 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £100.00 (no change from last update). 

Pensions: £49,631.39 (down £1,738.18 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: £468,806.58 (down £2,169.88 from last update). 

Debts

Credit Card: £0.00 (no change from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £163,673.30 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,354.12 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £269,027.42 (no change from last update).

Total Wealth: £199,779.16 (down £2,169.88 from last update).

Investment Income in 2022: £2,247.18 (target £6,000).

A nice boost to my investment income this week, and it should be even better by next week.  I’m well over halfway to passing my 2021 income, and my rough calculations suggest I’ll fall somewhere between the 2021 figure and the 2022 target by the end of the year.  The key is progress; the speed of progress is secondary so long as I’m still moving in the right direction.  

BTL Update

We lost out on the property we were high on, as the vendor accepted a cash offer.  It’s frustrating because we had everything lined up and ready to go, and would have been able to beat the offer that the vendor accepted.  The agent was not receptive to passing our improved offer on, though.  Seeing as though we had no contact info for the vendor directly (he stated he did not want to communicate with buyers directly), we had to let the property go.  Very disappointing, but these things happen.

We attended another viewing on Thursday but it was a non-starter.  It’s a shame because there were plenty of positives but a couple of issues meant the property would just not work as an investment.  There was no toilet upstairs in the bathroom, with the only toilet being next to the kitchen.  This means that someone wanting to drop a deuce before showering would need to walk through the kitchen, living room and up the stairs to then shower.  Might not be an issue for some people, but a family probably wouldn’t want that hassle.  Also, there was a significant amount of artex in the house, which wasn’t obvious from the photos.  Between these two issues, and a strong smell throughout the house, it would have needed too much work to make a good investment.

For the past few months, myself and my investment partner have been able to split the workload of finding properties, researching them, and then arranging and attending viewings.  However, our work situations are picking up and we are both going to be much busier for the foreseeable.  As a result, we are going to change our focus slightly.  We will still look for property, but not as aggressively as we have been doing.  In the meantime, I will be moving most of my funds in Premium Bonds over to my ISA, to max out my 2022/2023 allowance.  I will then build my Premium Bond balance over time.  

The increase in interest rates will almost certainly cool the market, and will hopefully turn a sellers’ market into a buyers’ market, or at least balance things out.  As long as we get a second property before the end of 2022, I’ll be happy.  If we don’t, then it is what it is, and we’ll roll with it.

The Bank of England Base Rate

As I mentioned earlier, the base rate has increased again.  I fully expect it to continue increasing until inflation is brought under control.  Whether or not raising the base rate will ultimately achieve this is up for debate.  Changing rates is a blunt instrument, and I think our economic problems are going to require a softer, more nuanced approach.  One thing for certain is that inflation will not be brought under control overnight.  I don’t think the cost of living crisis has peaked yet.  We’ll probably not see the worst of it for a few more months at the minimum.  I urge all of you to take the time out to have a good look at your finances.  Look for where you can be smarter or more economical.  Haggle for the best deals you can get across all utilities and services.  Also, if you’re paying a mortgage, contact your lender and see if there’s a better deal to be had.

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:

www.darrenscothern.com

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