Part 179

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week I discuss financial successes and failures.  Also, what my “ideal day” looks like.  There are the usual financial updates, and some more poor customer service stories.

Weekly Update  

Last weekend we saw John Wick: Chapter 4 at the cinema, and it was awesome.  Some film purists might look down on action films like these, but they are what they are; highly entertaining.  Unfortunately, we had a disappointing meal at Miller and Carter after.  All businesses make mistakes, I don’t generally get angry when mistakes are made as long as they are rectified.  Our experience at Miller and Carter was a prime example of how not to rectify a mistake.  The long and short of it was that our steaks were massively overcooked.  We had ordered them cooked medium but there was not a trace of pink anywhere.  The meat was tough and inedible.  One of the steaks was replaced and we all left much of our meals.  We were told that this would be reflected in the bill.  It wasn’t.  So, we asked about it, and what followed was thirty minutes of us having to explain over and over what the issue was.  It wasn’t a good time.  

I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks the problems we’ve had getting our kitchen replaced. The company we went with have been awful from start to finish. We were sold a story of how things would go, and it was all false. I’m not going to go into detail about it because I’m just going to get angry again, but we’ve cancelled the work that was due to start this coming week knowing that we might not get our £800 deposit back (despite being told at the point of sale we could get it back any time before the work started). I had zero faith in them to complete the job to an acceptable standard, and so I wasn’t willing to have them in our home especially as they called us to state that full payment would be required before work started, whereas we were told initially full payment would be made after the works were completed in full.

On Tuesday I went to see a consultant about my suspected gluten intolerance.  I went into the appointment feeling optimistic about finally getting to the heart of what’s been causing my GI issues.  The appointment did not go well.  I was asked a question, and as I was answering, I was interrupted and asked another question.  The whole thing felt rushed, and I didn’t feel as though I was listened to.  It’s like I was treated as a list of symptoms, many of which were misunderstood by the consultant as she didn’t let me answer fully or even correct her misunderstandings, rather than being treated as a person.  I came out of the appointment feeling really fucking down, to be honest.  

One of the things I have to do from the appointment is a “gluten challenge”, which involves eating gluten for several weeks and then having a blood test.  This will look for the markers that suggest an intolerance to gluten.  So, for now this means I can have decent pizza at least.

Values and Your Ideal Day

A friend suggested I listen to the ChooseFI podcast, and I’m thankful they did.  I’ve been going through the back catalogue and picking out episodes that sounded interesting.  There was one episode where they talked about your personal values, and how these can help guide your investing decisions.  Also, they talked about building your ideal day, with the idea being once you have a mental picture of your perfect day you can then start working towards it.  So, what are my values?

  • Acting with integrity and honesty.
  • Being considerate and respectful of others.
  • Trying to act in a way that is the least damaging to the life we share the planet with.

Those are just a few thoughts, but I always find it tricky to put into words what I’m thinking or feeling.  It’s almost like as soon as you try to describe an emotion, thought, or concept, it instantly loses some of its meaning when you try to define it.  

My Ideal Day

I don’t think there is just one “ideal day” as everyone needs some variety.  However, if I’m trying to get the most bang for my buck out of my “ideal day” I’ll give an example below.  Note, this would all be from my perspective but in my mind, I’m with Oana whilst this is all going on.  Also, in my ideal retirement scenario, I’d be living in Malta.

Walking around Malta and being close to the sea makes me happy.

I’d get out of bed around 06:00 and make an espresso whilst I wake up.  I’d then go for a walk along the seafront with my German Shepherd, whom I’d name Barkus Aurelius but that’s another story, early before the pavements get too hot.  

After some walkies, I’d bring Barkus Aurelius home, freshen up and head out for breakfast.  I’d stop for a croissant somewhere, or maybe sit down and have an omelette.  After an hour or so of reading the news or a book, I’d head to the gym.

Lunch would be at a traditional Maltese restaurant or one of the many fresh pasta restaurants on the island.  After a leisurely lunch, I’d head home and do some writing and generally just chill out with B.A.  As the evening arrives and the pavements get cooler, I’d go out for walkies with my buddy again, and we’d have dinner at one of the many great restaurants on the island.  More walkies and drinks at one of the seafront bars would see the evening out.  

When I think about my ideal day, it’s very simple; good food, exercise, fresh air, the sea, coffee, the company of a loyal dog, and Oana (who would probably want a dachshund of her own).  

So, all this is nice and all, but am I working towards it?

I think the answer is yes.  Every month that goes by sees me investing more and increasing my total wealth.  My income is slowly, but surely, being replaced by my investment income.  I just need to stay the course and follow the process, and the results will come.  

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2023 Goals

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

What Am I Doing?

TV: The Boys (Amazon), Picard (Amazon).

Audiobook: Jackpot: How Gambling Conquered Britain by Rob Davies.

We finished The Boys earlier this week, and it was brilliant.  I can’t wait for the next season.  For those easily offended, I’d avoid watching it, but if you don’t mind brutal gore with fairly liberal use of the “c word” then I can’t recommend the show highly enough. 

A couple of weeks ago I was very impressed by Picard, but now it’s just, well, a bit stupid.  They keep talking about how the “entire fleet” is gathering in the Sol System for this celebration, yet that whole idea is absurd.  Imagine if the US suddenly pulled all its armed forces from around the world back to Washington D.C. for July 4th.  Yeah, it’s that stupid.

The audiobook I’m listening to, Jackpot, is making me angry.  Rob Davies goes into detail about the gambling companies create addictive products, and how they put so much research into pulling in customers and essentially turning them into addicts.  It’s one of those books that should be compulsory reading for anyone before they’re allowed to open a betting account.  If that happened, these companies would go out of business quickly.

I’ve been quite open in this blog about my struggles with gambling addiction.  It’s now 1,346 days since I last gambled, but as I read this book I realise that I came very close to being one of those tragic stories of people who lost everything, with many taking their own lives as a result.  

Financial Update


Premium Bonds: £38,000.00 (no change). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £65,471.84 (+£2,583.40). 

Fuck It Fund: £125.00 (no change).

Pensions: £57,273.31 (+£1,592.41). 

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

BTL Property Value: £147,133.00 (no change).

Total Assets: £536,009.15 (+£4,175.81). 


Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Loans: £9,700.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £178,674.86 (no change). 

BTL Mortgage: £105,001.75 (no change).

Total Debts: £293,376.61 (no change). 

Total Wealth: £242,632.54 (+£4,175.81).

Investment Income in 2023: £607.16 (target £8,500).

A solid week of gains in the stock market and by the time of the next post my finances will look very different.  I will have cashed in most of my Premium Bonds and maxed out my ISA allowance for the new financial year which starts on Thursday.  This prompted me to ask people about their plans for the coming financial year, and what their biggest successes and failures were from the last financial year.

2022/2023 & 2023/2024

Years ago I read something and it stuck in my mind, guiding many decisions I’ve made since.  It was someone suggesting that our biggest regrets in life come from the things we didn’t do, rather than what we did do.  So many people will miss out on massive financial success because they are fearful of investing and getting it wrong.  The thing is, at its core, investing is very simple.  If you want to be as hand off as possible, you set up a stocks and shares ISA, and set up a regular investment into a low-cost, diversified index fund.  Then, you let the regular investments you make build up and compound over time.  Entire books have been written that essentially boil down to that single piece of advice.  

In the financial year that is coming to an end I think my biggest mistake was signing up to another module of my DipFA studies.  It only cost around £300, but it feels like a waste.  As I’m working full-time hours, I’m not finding enough quality time to revise as well as maintaining my blog, and chipping away (slowly) on another couple of projects.  I want to finish the DipFA, but I don’t think I will if I’m being honest with myself.  

What I’ve found, since my 2020 mental burnout which kept me sidelined for months, is that I’m no longer able to hyperfocus on studying like I used to be able to.  When I was at university working on my dissertation, it was not unusual for me to go to the library at 10am, and not leave until 3am the next day.  It paid off as I smashed my dissertation out of the park and got a first for it.  Those days are long gone, though.  I’m also starting to wonder if I have undiagnosed ADHD.  It’s extremely common in autistic people, and, no word of a lie, I started an ADHD assessment, got distracted and forgot to return to it.  Basically, I’m like a magpie distracted by shiny things.

Anyway, I was talking about my financial mistakes and ended up on a tangent about magpies.  *cough* ADHD *cough*

So, I don’t think I’ll finish the DipFA until I have much more quality time to study.  It’s not enough to free up time after work when I’m just utterly and completely mentally burned out.  

On to my successes… I think that my main success for the last financial year is maxing out my ISA.  Finding £20k in a year that you can just assign to investments is a big deal, and I’ve done that for two consecutive financial years.  In the next few days that will be three consecutive financial years.

A friend of mine gave me an answer I liked, which was how they had taken advantage of a variety of reward points, air miles, and offers to have a free weekend break.  Their hotel, transport, food and drink, were all either free or massively discounted.  They said it became a competition to see just how much they get could get from the various rewards programmes they are a part of.  There are so many ways to save money online but most people are just not willing to spend an extra thirty seconds to earn those rewards.  For example, the British Airways Executive Club is free to register with, and they work in partnership with dozens of other brands.  If I want to shop online at John Lewis, Lego, Nespresso, or Apple, for example, rather than going to their website directly, you go to the BA website, click the link for their online store, and then the link for the brand you want.  It’s an extra thirty seconds of work, but then when you shop with the retailer you earn Avios points, which can then be converted to free flights, hotels, and much more.  There is no downside, yet when I try to explain this to people, I just know that they either (a) don’t believe it and/or (b) think it’s too much work.  

Someone else I know gave me a great answer to their biggest financial success, and it transcends financial success and should instead be considered a great win for quality of life overall.  This person was in a stressful, but manageable, situation with work and home.  They were in a situation that was just about manageable, but not necessarily stressful enough to push them into making a major change, as that change would also come with stress.  Anyway, an opportunity came up and they dove in headfirst.  They took their shot and hit the bullseye, and now their work-life balance is a thousand times better.  The key point here is that even if they’d taken their shot and missed, they’d be no worse off than they were to begin with.  Sometimes, we just have to take that shot.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.


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:



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