Part 142

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week I discuss the first set of images from the James Webb Space Telescope.  Also, a look at the Tory leadership contest.  I also look at how best to pay my mortgage off.  There are the usual financial updates, and what I think is the cutest photo of my cat, Poppy.  First, the Quote of the Week:

Quote of the Week

Wow” Me, seeing the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope

This week saw the first images from the JWST released to the public.  These images are, simply put, jaw-dropping and stunning.  

I’m not going to debate the issues surrounding the naming of the telescope, but rather concentrate on the technology, which is just incredible.  We have been treated to the first image of another solar system, with planets clearly visible as they orbit their star.  We have crisp pictures of galaxies, nebulae, and individual stars further away than we’ve seen before.  I can see why some of those who work on the project have been reduced to tears at the beauty and scale of the universe.  It is just incredible.

Stephan’s Quintet: https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages
Carina Nebula: https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

I hope that within my lifetime we will have even more powerful telescopes to see the finer detail of nearby star systems, where we can scan for signs of life, whether that be atmospheric markers or signs of space travel within those solar systems.  

Weekly Update

Our apartment is upside down at the moment, as we prepare for the work to be completed this coming week.  We are having most of our furniture replaced, and our carpets all taken up.  Also, the whole flat is being repainted.  

This is the first time we have done a full refurb on the place.  We bought it in late 2012 and are the first people to reside here.  The woman we bought from had bought the property off-plan for her daughter, who decided she didn’t want it.  The mother had carpets down on top of the lovely wooden flooring, and a fridge and washing machine installed.  So technically it wasn’t classed as a new build, but it may as well have been.  

It’s a bit stressful at the moment as we don’t have a sofa, and we have disposed of several bookcases and storage units.  We’re trying to empty the place as much as possible before the work starts, and it will make it easier to install new furniture going forward.

We gave some of our furniture to the British Heart Foundation, so they could sell it.  They arrived to collect our sofa and cuddler chair, but declined to take the sofa as the fire label had been removed.  The cuddler was ok though, as the label was still attached.  However, later that day, as I walked through our complex, I saw the fire label on the corridor.  It must have ripped off as they were taking it out of the building, so I wonder if they’ll be able to sell it.  

I’ve reduced my sertraline again this week. I was taking 200mg a few weeks ago, when the GP recommended I start dropping to a lower level. This is in response to my disturbed sleep and severe night sweats. I dropped to 150mg for a few weeks, and I’ve now reduced it to 125mg. I’m aiming to get to 100mg and then see how I cope.

Random Cat Picture

I was sat on our balcony the other day, and Poppy was on our table. I took a series of photos just as she yawned, and the last photo just as she closed her mouth is adorable and hilarious. See below:

THE TEETH!

This Week’s Tory Shambles

Another week where the Tories gave me plenty of material, but I’m going to just touch on the leadership contest.  I watched the debate on Friday night on Channel 4, and it was amazing comedy value.  Overall, I think Tom Tugeha… Tom Tudegn… Tom Tuhga…, overall I think that Tom guy came across the best.  He was calm, assured, and a confident public speaker.  His background in the military probably has something to do with that.  

Liz Truss was like a rabbit in the headlights I thought.  As I looked into her eyes I could see the faint spark of neurons firing in the void inside her skull.  However, none of this translated into any points that made me a Truss supporter.  I shouldn’t be too harsh, as sources tell me she is still trying to find her way out of the Channel 4 studio.

Penny Mordaunt gave a dazzling lesson in how to destroy one’s own campaign in record time, as she attempted to explain her stance on trans people.  She did not seem very comfortable in her own skin, and lacked the gravitas of a leader.  Maybe her gravitas has been diluted so much as to be ineffective, just like the homoeopathy that she has promoted.

I felt bad for Rishi Sunak as he seemingly struggled to balance behind his podium.  Rumours abound that he was given a box to stand on, so he could see over the dais, but I give these suggestions short shrift, as it would be a tall order to hide this from the viewing public.  The thing is, he finds himself with the most votes from other Tory MPs in this contest, meaning that he can stand head and shoulders above his peers, in his heart if not in reality (ain’t that right, Suella Braverman?).  

Kemi Badenoch was also present.  

Communication as an Autistic

Some people claim that autistics struggle to communicate effectively, arguing that we can’t pick up on social cues, and that we find turn-taking in conversation difficult.  For some autistics, this is true.  It’s also true for some neurotypical people.  It’s a bizarre point to make.  However, what I’ve noticed since I’ve started communicating with other autistics is a general sense that we seem to be more courteous in our communications, and seem to obey etiquette around turn-taking better.  

The one thing that really frustrates me, as an autistic communicating with NTs, is when a closed question is answered with a long-winded, irrelevant answer.  An example;

Me: what time are you coming over?

Them: well I’ve got to go here, and there, and do this, and do that, and then get dressed, and speak with so-and-so, etc etc etc…

Me: so, what time are you coming over?

Or, another one from this week:

Me: what year did you start your business?

Them: *long, rambling answer, without actually providing an answer*

Me: *waits a beat*

Them: *silence*

Me: So, what year did you start your business?

This is one of those situations where I’ve started breaking the imaginary fourth wall and staring at the camera I imagine recording my life.  Either that or I put my hands behind my head, sit back, and let out a long exhale.  

I’m not hammering NT people as a whole.  Some people are great at answering direct questions with a direct answer, and in my experience it tends to be those people trained in critical thinking.  Sadly, in this country, critical thinking is not taught enough.

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 (9/10)

  1. John Birmingham ✅
  2. Nicole Perlroth ✅
  3. Sabine Durrant ✅
  4. Luke Smitherd ✅
  5. Max Skittle ✅
  6. Harlan Coben ✅
  7. Jo Spain ✅
  8. Kate Elizabeth Russell ✅
  9. Kiersten White ✅

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading: The Warehouse by Rob Hart.

What I’m listening to: The Physics of the Dead by Luke Smitherd.

What I’m watching: Nothing at the moment.

I’m not sure where I’m at with my weight at the moment.  The injuries I’ve been carrying, and the stress of daily life, have resulted in no gym visits for a few weeks.  I need to get back into a good routine.  Hopefully, this coming week will see to that as I’m due to be off work.  

I’m listening to a new Luke Smitherd book, but it seems it’s actually the first book he published.  Starting with his most recent work, The Stone Man series, and then coming back to the beginning, it’s clear to see how his writing has developed.  Not to say that The Physics of the Dead is a bad book, but it’s a bit rough around the edges.  

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £5,000.00 (up £4,450.00 from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £58,809.12 (down £398.14 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £550.00 (no change from last update). 

Pensions: £50,739.86 (down £211.90 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £229,159.00 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £147,876.00 (no change from last update).

Total Assets: £492,133.98 (up £3,839.96 from last update). 

Debts

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

Residential Mortgage: £183,174.71 (up £19,900.00 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,331.99 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £288,506.70 (up £19,900.00 from last update).

Total Wealth: £203,627.28 (down £16,060.04 from last update).

Investment Income in 2022: £2,647.20 (target £6,000).

We completed the release of £19,900 from our residential mortgage.  This was to fund the work on our apartment, but it now seems that we may not need quite that much.  So, the surplus will be put on one side for future projects.  

This will be the last time we complete extra borrowing on our residential mortgage for some time.  The aim now is to reduce the debt as quickly as we can, so that when our fixed rates come to an end we have a smaller balance to transfer to a new deal.  

On our mortgage we have the following rates:

0.81% fixed until 31/01/2024 (approx £134,000)

0.91% fixed until 31/10/2023 (approx £18,500)

2.89% fixed until 31/07/2023 (approx £11,000)

3.04% fixed until 31/10/2027 (approx £19,900)

The question here is whether to focus on paying down the balances on rates that end in 2023, or concentrate on reducing the balance of the first part, which ends in January 2024.

When these fixed rates end, the balance will either transfer to the variable rate or I could move to a different product.  However, the likelihood is that rates will not be under 1% again for a long time. Although parts two and three end sooner, the balances are lower, meaning that the impact of rate increases on those parts will be lessened. 

This issue is one that many people up and down the UK will have to face as the era of cheap mortgages comes to an end.  On one hand, you have people who are already at the absolute limit of what they can afford.  Another increase in payments will likely cripple them financially.  These people need to seek expert advice about how to manage their finances moving forward.  On the other hand, there are people who have taken mortgages out with the lowest possible monthly payment, so they can have as much spare cash as possible each month.  For these people, it may be worth looking at the rise in interest rates as a prompt to voluntarily pay more.

A £200,000 repayment mortgage over a term of forty years will have a monthly payment of around £715 at a rate of 3%.  However, increasing the monthly payment to £770 will knock five years off the projected term.  The faster the debt comes down, the lower the impact of rate increases on the monthly payment.  

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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