Part 169

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  A strange one this week as I’d put together a whole blog post which, on reflection, may have caused me some problems.  So, I ended up deleting a thousand or so words and tweaking what was left.  No, I will not comment on what was deleted.

Weekly Update

I had an interesting meeting about my apartment’s service charges this week.  You may remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the charges have increased by almost 50% in just a couple of years.  Well, one of the people with some units in the development reached out to me to see if we could meet up to discuss some of what is happening behind the scenes.  It was fascinating and worrying in equal measure.  I can’t go into too much detail until some of these issues are resolved, but if you are paying service charges and are concerned about how your money is being used I would suggest you get involved with your local management company.  

I returned to work this week following my enforced absence as I recover from surgery.  It’s frustrating because it now looks as though I’m going to wait until mid-February for the next operation.  This means I’m going to struggle to get my teeth stuck into anything significant before I am in the hospital again.

On Saturday I went for lunch with Oana at Lucky Fox, a fried chicken place.  I had the “chick ‘n’ waffles” and Oana had “chick ‘n’ fries”.  We probably ordered a bit too much, but it was goooood.  My waffles came with cinnamon butter and maple syrup.  Now, there’s no Earthly reason why waffles, fried chicken, cinnamon butter, and chicken gravy should work, but they do and it was an almost spiritual experience. 

Following lunch we went to the Millenium Gallery and looked around the From Sky to Sea exhibit.  There were some great pieces on display.  I love the sea, and those close to me know that, in my mind, nothing compares to the feeling I get from being by the coast.  Some of the paintings helped bring that feeling of peace.  I can’t wait for our cruise later this year… 

I’ve decided that I’m going to resume my DipFA studies.  I’ve been debating whether or not to pick it up again for a while, but after speaking with Oana and talking through our plans for the coming months and years, it feels like a sensible decision.  

My Home Office

It’s starting to come together at last and is feeling like a chilled-out space for work.  I’ve got lots of stuff dotted around the walls and shelves but it no longer feels cramped and claustrophobic.  This week I’ve finished three new Lego sets; my Optimus Prime, Lunar Lander, and a fun birdhouse model.  

Oana has done a great job organising everything and making it a nice space to not just work, but for us to chill out in when we want to listen to some music and work on various bits and pieces.  

Health

My recovery from surgery is going well.  I’m just impatient to get the final procedure completed.  My elbow, which has been a source of intense pain for months now, finally feels like it’s getting better.  To help with exercise whilst I wait for my elbow to heal, we’ve bought an exercise bike.  Hopefully, it will fulfil its primary purpose and not end up as a laundry hanger.

A friend of mine and Oana’s was talking to us the other day and he said it was a shame I’ve not been able to do much exercise recently.  In his words, I seemed so much more content, and alive, when I was in my groove at the gym.  It’s true, weight training always does wonders for my mental health.

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2023 Goals

Click here to see my 2023 progress (opens a new tab). 

What Am I Doing?

TV: The Last Kingdom (Netflix)

Audiobook: 9/11 The Conspiracy Theories by David Gardner.

We’ve started The Last Kingdom again as we’ve only seen the first few seasons.  I still need to read the last few books in the series as well.  I’d forgotten how strong the show was almost from the start.  

I’ve found 9/11 The Conspiracy Theories interesting, although some of the more fanciful theories are more than a little batshit.  There are some who believe that the planes hitting the towers were nothing more than holograms.  Some of the more plausible theories relating to 7 World Trade Centre are not easily explained away, such as how it came down so uniformly.  One theory suggests that explosives were planted throughout the building during a refit of the building’s elevators.  With any conspiracy theory, there are two main questions I always ask; why? and who?

The first question, why, is often fairly easy to answer.  The answer is almost always related to money.  The second question is where most conspiracy theories fall down, in my opinion.  Take the moon landings as an example, or the idea that the Earth is flat.  So many thousands of people would have to be in on the secret for it to collapse under its own weight.  Do I believe we know the full story behind 9/11?  Not a chance.  Do I believe it was a false flag operation? Almost certainly not as too many people would have to be in the know.  Was it a major failure of intelligence?  Probably.  Generally, the more extravagant and far-reaching the conspiracy theory, the more people have to be involved, and every extra person involved makes it that much more likely that the conspiracy will implode. 

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £19,800.00 (+£450.00). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £67,215.74 (-£501.27). 

Fuck It Fund: £50.00 (+£50.00).

Pensions: £56,370.03 (-£786.83). 

Residential Property Value: £228,006.00 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £147,133.00 (no change). 

Total Assets: £518,574.77 (-£788.10).

Debts

Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Loans: £9,900.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £179,595.11 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,015.74 (no change). 

Total Debts: £294,510.85 (no change). 

Total Wealth: £224,063.92 (-£788.10).

Investment Income in 2023: £220.46 (target £8,500).

Not much to talk about financially this week.  There always seems to be a lull between the New Year and the new financial year.  This lull, coupled with the imminent transfer of my share in the BTL, means I’m in something of a holding pattern for now.  Once the money comes through for the BTL, I’ll be able to start planning the next phase of my FIRE project. 

When I first started planning for FIRE, I believed I could hit my targets by the end of 2023.  Had it not been for *deep breath* Brexit, Covid, The War in Ukraine, Truss-Kwarteng, then I believe I’d be much further along.  I joked to Oana at lunch on Saturday that I’ve had enough once-in-a-lifetime events to last, well, a lifetime.  Assuming no other major events, I’m probably still 2-3 years away from being able to FIRE.

It’s interesting to look back at how my plans have evolved.  Initially, the plan was for us to retire to Romania, where we had Oana’s family, and many mutual friends.  Unfortunately, the complete breakdown of our relationship with her family killed any chance of that.  I mean, we could still do it, but one of the major reasons for choosing Romania was so Oana could be close to her family.  Now, we are dreaming of Spain.  We love the language, the culture, and the weather.  It will be more complicated than Romania as we will not have the same in-built support network, but it’s our current dream.  Maybe it will not be possible, but the FIRE plan is not wholly dependent on the destination.  Maybe we will end up in Spain.  Maybe in Canada.  Maybe in Malta.  It just needs to be somewhere else.

Like I always say, my FIRE plan is flexible.  The process is more important than the end result.  I can control the process of investing, and if I stick with it the result will take care of itself.  

Thanks for reading, and 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

If you want to show your support for my FIRE blog, please Buy Me A Coffee at the link below: 

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/davidscothern

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