Part 171

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week I discuss the sale of my BTL, and explain briefly how mortgage interest is calculated.  Also, more health problems, and thoughts on The Last Kingdom.

Weekly Update

The planned surgery on Monday didn’t happen.  I was feeling too rough on Sunday evening into Monday morning, and so it’s been pushed back.  I think the stress of a possible spinal injection, and hours spent waiting around in a busy NHS ward was building up in my mind.  I’m not afraid of hospitals, but I find the waiting around, the hustle and bustle, and the fact that the procedure itself is not exactly fun, all incredibly stressful.  The fact I’m autistic adds to this to create a perfect storm of stress and anxiety.

I’ve been exploring the possibility of being seen privately but for some reason the urologists in Sheffield all seem busy, and the earliest I could be operated on would be April.  I don’t think I can wait that long.  So, I’m waiting to hear back from the NHS about a new date.

We’ve booked another little trip for later this year as we’re going to see Kygo in London.  It’s not my favourite type of music but Oana loves it, and it’ll be nice to have a couple of days in London.  

I finished up the week with a trip to hospital with Oana.  On our way back into town we stopped for a meal at a Turkish restaurant we like.  They serve a meal of chicken cooked on a skewer with rice and salad.  It’s simple food but fresh and very tasty.  On Saturday I met my Dad and we decided to brave the local shopping centre, Meadowhall.  We had a coffee, bought a few bits, looked in the Lego shop, by which point we’d both reached our limit with the mall.  There’s only so much I can take of crowds of people aimlessly meandering around, with all the noise, flashing lights from the signs on stores, and the smells coming from shops like Lush.  It’s an autistic nightmare.

Gluten Intolerance

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with gastrointestinal problems.  I’ve had test after test to try and identify what the hell is causing my symptoms, including tests for gluten intolerance which have all come back negative.  It’s been awful at times dealing with this.

A few weeks ago I happened to notice that my symptoms were much improved.  The only thing that had changed was that I’d not had any bread or pasta for a few days.  A lightbulb came on inside my head.

I had a chat with my GP who ordered more blood tests but for the first time I had something explained to me.  The GP stated that the tests for gluten sensitivity are not completely reliable, and it’s not that uncommon to get a negative result even though you are sensitive to gluten.  She said I should try avoiding gluten for a while, and then reintroduce it, and see what differences I notice.   Also, it’s possible for gluten intolerance to arise, or worsen, at any age.  Well… Fuck.

What I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is that if I have gluten, I have a bad time of it for a few days after.  This includes stomach cramps and back aches, indigestion, and a host of other problems.  As one often does when confronted with a health issue, I turned to google.

A couple of other things I’ve learned about eating gluten; it can cause tiredness and mental fog, and can lead to permanent damage to the gastrointestinal system.  Well… double fuck. 

It’s clear I need to do more research, and I’m going to look for some subreddits which might be helpful.  If you are reading this and have any advice about avoiding gluten, and strategies to cope without gluten, I’d appreciate any suggestions or advice. 

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2023 Goals

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

I’m going to have to cancel my distance challenge for 2023.  My health problems are getting in the way.  I might revisit it at a later date.  

What Am I Doing?

TV: The Last Kingdom.

Audiobook: Khaos: Infinite Timeline by Jeremy Robinson.

This week we finished the final season of The Last Kingdom, and it was incredible.  This show should be more popular, considering the success of Game of Thrones.  I don’t say this lightly, because for a time Game of Thrones was excellent, but overall The Last Kingdom is the superior show.  Where Game of Thrones started a little weak, peaked halfway through its run, and then declined, The Last Kingdom started strong and just got better and better.  I’ve read the first ten books of The Last Kingdom, and I’m going to start them again from the beginning soon.

Financial Update


Premium Bonds: £38,000.00 (+£18,000.00). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £70,786.30 (+£879.91). 

Fuck It Fund: £50.00 (no change).

Pensions: £59,315.56 (+£2,003.88). 

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

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £0.00 (-£147,133.00). 

Total Assets: £396,157.86 (-£126,249.21). 


Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Loans: £9,900.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £179,161.80 (-£433.31). 

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £0.00 (-£105,015.74). 

Total Debts: £189,061.80 (-£105,449.05). 

Total Wealth: £207,096.06 (-£20,800.16).

Investment Income in 2023: £285.46 (target £8,500).

Huge changes this week as the transfer of my BTL completes.  I’ve received payment in full which explains the boost to my Premium Bonds.  Several thousand of the payment was taken out of my FIRE project to pay for some upcoming trips and work to our apartment, but even with that my finances are looking quite healthy.  

The impact to my wealth figure looks negative but it’s purely an artefact of how the numbers are calculated for a mortgaged property.  When you have a joint mortgage, most of the time, each person is wholly and jointly responsible for the debt.  So if one person decides to stop paying, or if they die, the remaining party is still responsible for 100% of the debt.  That’s how I’d calculated it on my FIRE spreadsheet, so despite me getting full payment for my share of the property, it looks like I’ve lost money.  I could have used my share of the debt and value for the purposes of this blog, but it seemed unusually complex so I opted for the simpler option.

I’ve put most of my payment into Premium Bonds because I’ve already used up my ISA allowance for this financial year.  Once the new year starts in April, I’ll have a decision to make about how to use those funds.  

Although I’ve sold my BTL, it doesn’t mean I’ve given up on BTL completely.  I will look for more property in the future, but it will probably not be until 2024 at the earliest.  I want to see what happens with the EPC laws that are due to come into effect in 2025, and I also want to see some sanity restored in the mortgage market.  

My residential mortgage rates are coming to an end soon.  I have multiple sub-accounts with four different rates.  The bulk of my mortgage (£130k+) is on a fixed rate of 0.81%, with the remaining balances on rates between 2%-3%.  The 0.81% rate is ending in January 2024, with some of the other rates ending in July and October this year.

If I was to switch to an available rate now, my monthly payment would increase by a couple of hundred quid.  We can absorb that increase but I’d rather not have to.  There are plenty of people, though, who are already at the absolute limit of what they can afford.  In situations where you literally can’t budget any more effectively, then you need to seek expert help.  One thing I would stress is do not bury your head in the sand.  If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, contact your lender and explain the situation.  Lenders have a duty to help as much as possible, and repossession is an absolute last resort. 

In the coming months I expect that we’ll increase our mortgage payments to try and bring the balance down more quickly.  This means that increases to interest rates are somewhat mitigated, because interest is typically calculated daily.  If you bring your balance down faster, the interest is charged against the lower balance, for example…

A £200,000 mortgage over a term of 25 years, with a rate of 5% produces a monthly payment of £1,170, of which interest makes up roughly £834.  This means that the mortgage debt would reduce by (£1,170 – £834) £336.  The following month, the mortgage balance is £199,664, meaning the interest portion of the monthly payment is £833.  This is why many people say that in the first few years of the mortgage you are mostly paying interest.  Over time, your mortgage payment may stay the same but as the balance reduces the amount of that payment which is interest reduces.

Using the same example, but with a term of 18 years, the figures look like this; the monthly payment is £1,406 with £834 of that payment being interest.  The mortgage balance comes down by £572, meaning the balance in month two is £199,428.  As such, the interest in month two is £832.  

When you look at the difference month-to-month, it doesn’t look like more than a drop in the ocean.  The thing to remember is that even the largest ocean is made up of drops.  If you can afford to pay more off your mortgage, it will reduce the balance and reduce the interest charged.  


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.

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2 thoughts on “Part 171

  1. I can’t remember if you said you were teetotal or not but in any case, whilst wines, spirits and liqueurs are gluten-free, beers, lagers and ales are not, so that might be something else to consider if you hadn’t already done so. However, I believe there are gluten-free beer options available these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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