Part 159

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  Thoughts on crypto, and questions you should ask yourself when looking at an investment opportunity.  Also, how Covid has kicked my ass this last week.  

Weekly Update

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week as I started feeling rough last weekend, and then tested positive for Covid on Monday.  In many ways, this bout was worse than the first time I had it, and I’ve spent most of the week stuck inside.  As someone who gets physically restless, this has been very frustrating.

Another thing that annoyed me about getting Covid is that I’d just started my Movember challenge, which depended on me being physically active.  With a week lost to Covid, I don’t think I’m going to be able to give the challenge my best, especially as it looks like my self-isolation will continue into next week.  

I suspect I probably caught Covid at the gig I mentioned last week.  The venue was crowded so I’d imagine a few people came away from that gig with symptoms. 

I’ve had four vaccines, and Covid on at least two occasions.  It’s possible I’ve had other, minor, instances of it.  The fact that Covid is probably here to stay should not be seen as a criticism of the vaccines.  Rather, the vaccines have provided a layer of defence to reduce the impact of infection.  Think of it like this, if you build a castle you don’t destroy the enemy’s army.  The castle reduces the ability of the enemy army to damage your home.  In this example, the castle is the vaccine and the enemy army is the virus.  

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

1 – Reduce weight to 90kg.  (Current weight 126.4kg).

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 (24/10)

  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 ✅
  10. Rob Hart ✅
  11. Edward Aubry ✅
  12. Marina J. Lostetter ✅
  13. S. J. Morden ✅
  14. C. J. Tudor ✅
  15. Greer Hendricks ✅
  16. Clare Mackintosh ✅
  17. Stephen Baxter ✅
  18. Pete Wharmby ✅
  19. Devon Price ✅
  20. Nick Jones ✅
  21. Nathan Hystad ✅ 
  22. J. P. Pomare ✅
  23. Max Hastings ✅
  24. Brian Lumley ✅

What Am I Doing?

Reading: Fake History by Otto English.

Listening: Necroscope V: Deadspawn by Brian Lumley.

Watching: The Crown.

Although I’m as far from a monarchist as you can get, I have enjoyed The Crown on Netflix.  The key is to remember that it’s a work of fiction based loosely around the royal family.  The production values are incredible and every episode is a work of art, from the direction, costume and set design, and the fantastic score.  Season five recently dropped on Netflix and we smashed through it in short order.  Sheffield’s own Dominic West plays Charles and gives a great performance.  Although, I feel West is too stocky for the role.  My favourite performance is from Jonathan Pryce who plays the Duke of Edinburgh.  Quite how much of the story of the show is true to life is up for debate, but the show manages to create a version of Philip that is often sympathetic, in that we have a man trapped by the system and tradition.

I’m on book five of the Necroscope series and whilst it’s still enjoyable, I think there’s been a slight drop in quality.  Some of this is down to the awful narration on books four and five.  The narrator manages to make many of the characters sound like people from a Harry Enfield sketch show.  I have no idea what, if any, direction the voice actor received but their performance is detracting from the enjoyment of the series.  A good narrator can elevate the material.  The best example I can think of is Jonathan Keeble’s work on Bernard Cornwell’s Arthur trilogy.  The writing alone is fantastic, and Keeble’s voice work elevates it even further.  A competent narrator should not be noticed; as their voice work should be neutral and not stand out.  Every now and then, though, I come across one who negatively impacts the material being read.  It’s annoying.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £9,360.00 (+£100.00). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £61,501.03 (+£913.30). 

Fuck It Fund: £1,625.00 (no change).

Pensions: £54,030.94 (+£715.83). 

Residential Property Value: £233,989.00 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £150,993.00 (no change). 

Total Assets: £511,498.97 (+£1,729.13).

Debts

Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £180,466.52 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,193.90 (no change). 

Total Debts: £285,660.42 (no change). 

Total Wealth: £225,838.55 (+£1,729.13)

Investment Income in 2022: £4,805.27 (target £6,000).

The stock market has rallied this week and added some value back to my bottom line.  It all feels like a bit of a waiting game with my finances now, until we start the new financial year in April.  I’ve maxed out my ISA some time ago, and it’s looking like a second BTL purchase will also be a few months away.  In the meantime, I’m consolidating funds where I can and trying to account for upcoming expenses.


Over the coming months, we have a few things to pay for;

  • Norwegian cruise.
  • Work in our kitchen.
  • Increase in mortgage payments when some of our deals end in 2023.

We have funds in place to cover the cruise, and to clear some of the mortgage that is coming to the end of its deal.  The kitchen work will need funding though, and it might have to come from a small loan or credit card.  I’d rather not have to do this, but our kitchen desperately needs improving.

Crypto Madness

This isn’t a boast-post, but I saw the writing on the wall for crypto some time ago; it’s almost 40 weeks since I cash in all my crypto.  In many ways, it was similar to what happened with Football Index, and I exited that platform before it all came crashing down.

There are three main questions any person should ask when confronted with an investment they don’t understand:

  • Where is the money?
  • Who is gaining from this?
  • Can you explain the investment in terms a five-year-old would understand?

Where is the money?

When investing you need to fully understand where and how your money is stored.  Is your cash protected? If the platform becomes insolvent, are your funds safe?  Where are the rewards/interest/dividends coming from?

Who is gaining from this?

If you can’t work out who is gaining from the investment, and if it seems too good to be true, then you are the product.  If the rewards/returns seem too good to be true, go back to the previous question and ask where the money is coming from.

Explaining the investment in simple terms…

As a (very) general rule of thumb, the more complicated an investment seems, the more it is trying to hide the answers to the previous two questions.  Legitimate investments should be clear, transparent, protected, and at their core simple.  If it seems overly complex or too good to be true, then you need to think very carefully before parting with money. 

Take Football Index as an example.  This was an app where you would buy and sell shares in football players.  Note, this did not result in any actual ownership, but simply shares the app created for these players.  For example, you could buy ten shares in Harry Kane, but this did not mean you had any actual interest or stake in Harry Kane.  The shares were, for all intents and purposes, imaginary.  As you held shares in players you would receive dividends based on how those players performed or were mentioned in the media.  What I couldn’t work out was a) how the owners of the app made any money and b) where the money for the dividends came from.  

When I looked at Football Index and attempted to answer the first of my questions, I couldn’t arrive at an acceptable answer.  So, I cashed out and ran.  I was fortunate enough to make money from this venture, but it was small change compared to the eye-watering losses some people experienced when the index came crashing down.

There may be a future in cryptocurrency but my thoughts are it will probably not be one of the current batch of currencies out there.

Here’s a question for you, and please have an actual guess before googling the answer.  How many cryptocurrencies are out there?

The answer; well, depending on which articles you believe it’s anywhere from 10,000 – 20,000+ different cryptocurrencies in circulation.  

If you are thinking about gambling on a cryptocurrency, just ask yourself a few questions;

Why do I believe this crypto is going to perform better than the thousands of others out there?

Do I understand how my money is protected?

Can you explain in simple terms what blockchain is without using the word blockchain?

I swear whenever I hear someone banging on about blockchain I automatically think of someone using the bible as evidence as to why the bible is an accurate history.   

That’s all for this week.  Please remember to like, comment, share, and subscribe to this blog.  Have a great week.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions in this blog are my own, and do not represent the views or opinions of my employer, nor should they be considered advice.

If you want personalised financial advice, seek an appropriate professional.  If you are in financial difficulty, seek advice via the resources below:

StepChange

MoneyHelper

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

2 thoughts on “Part 159

  1. I cashed out too late with Football Index and lost a few hundred quid. Annoying but that money was from matched betting profits so in my mind, I didn’t really lose, I just lost profits (although of course, the fact is, I did lose!). It was unbelievable (and scary) the amount some people had ‘invested’ in Football Index.

    Fortunately, I’ve never put any real cash into cryptocurrency, it just felt and feels like a gamble too far – too many unknowns.

    Hope you recover quickly (and fully) from Covid – one of my friends was saying she’d caught a rotten ‘bug’ and I had to remind her that Covid hadn’t gone away and that she should test herself – lo and behold, she was positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I follow a few people on Twitter who were caught up in the FI crash. Some people lost tens of thousands of pounds.

      Thank you, I’m starting to feel a little better but will probably be a few days before I’m back to normal.

      Like

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