Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.
I’m having shockwave therapy on my elbows and I was reassured a little at my last appointment that it’s not just me experiencing crap customer service. My physio, who is great by the way, was explaining that he’d recently moved house and had nothing but problems dealing with everyone from British Gas, to retailers he used to buy things for his new home. One of my readers also commented that they’d had no end of problems trying to update basic details on their accounts with various investment account providers. Is service getting worse generally? Are we simply less tolerant of dealing with bullshit from companies? Is it a mixture of both?
So much in customer service, and business dealings in general, comes down to transparency and trust. When you deal with the company, you want clear, transparent communication. Every single time you deal with a business, you are placing a degree of trust in them, but that relationship also works the other way. I don’t like the argument that “respect is earned”. It’s intellectually lazy, and if you think about it for more than a moment you realise that the end result of that argument is that we should only treat people with respect once, well, once they’ve earned it. That’s not helpful for building business relationships. With any business relationship, there is a degree of vulnerability as both sides feel each other out to see if they can work together. In these early stages, any behaviour or action that casts doubt on that trust can be irreparable. I’m thinking about times when a business says one thing verbally, say over the phone, but then something else in writing. Or, one thing over the phone, like they have gluten-free options in a restaurant, but when you turn up everything has gluten in it.
No, the “respect is earned” argument is bullshit. Respect should be the default position. Trust should be the default position. Basic levels of respect and trust should not have to be earned, but they can be easily lost in the early days of any business relationship.
It’s Easter, sorry Eostre as per the original pagan festival, weekend. The only benefit to me, an atheist, is the long weekend. Oh, and chocolate eggs. Lots of chocolate eggs.
Normally when I’m stressed I comfort eat, and chocolate can be a big part of my comfort eating. If I’m stressed beyond a certain point, though, I tend to not feel like eating at all. I’m in that phase at the moment. I’ve got a lot of stress coming at me from a lot of different directions, and there’s not really anything I can do to avoid it. I just have to weather the storm and come out the other side.
One thing that was fun this weekend was when Oana and I tried out an augmented reality app around Sheffield city centre. Below are some images taken from the videos we recorded.
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What Am I Doing?
TV: Picard (Amazon), Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix).
Picard is stumbling along and now has just two episodes left. The plot seems to have moved along at a glacial pace, and I’m not sure how they can bring the story to a satisfactory close in less than two hours.
Unsolved Mysteries is a little guilty pleasure. Some of the supposed mysteries are easy to explain, but also tragic, such as the episode on the tsunami in Japan in 2011. The episode explained that many people who survived had encountered the spirits of those who died in the disaster. Incidents included people thinking they’d seen a close relative, but when they got closer to them their appearance changed. I really feel for those who lost loved ones in events such as these, but we know human perception and memory are far from perfect. Under periods of extreme stress and trauma, our brains can do strange things.
Audiobook: The Flame Bearer: Last Kingdom Book 10 by Bernard Cornwell.I’ve been enjoying The Last Kingdom books, and I now have just three more books in the series of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. It’s a testament to Cornwell’s storytelling that he’s crafted a series of books this long and there’s not really a bad book in the series.
Premium Bonds: £38,000.00 (no change).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £66,814.34 (+£1,342.50).
Fuck It Fund: £325.00 (+£200.00).
Pensions: £57,252.90 (-£20.41).
Residential Property Value: £228,006.00 (no change).
BTL Property Value: £147,133.00 (no change).
Total Assets: £537,531.24 (+£1,522.09).
Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).
Loans: £9,700.00 (no change).
Residential Mortgage: £178,204.93 (-£469.93).
BTL Mortgage: £105,001.75 (no change).
Total Debts: £292,906.68 (-£469.93).
Total Wealth: £244,624.56 (+£1,992.02).
Investment Income in 2023: £632.16 (target £8,500).
It’s the start of the new financial year, and I wrote a little post midweek to mark the occasion. I’ve been looking at how long it will be until I can realistically achieve Lean FIRE, and I think I can get there by the end of 2025. To achieve a level of FIRE that maintains my present standard of living will take longer, but I’m wary of predicting beyond the next couple of years. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s all about following the process and letting the results take care of themselves.
In my midweek post, I talked a little about the difficulty of staying motivated during the long, middle, part of the FIRE journey. Well, one thing that many FIRE followers do to stay motivated is going back to their spreadsheets to crunch the numbers. It can be a huge boost to morale when you see how investments can compound over time. For example, when I max my ISA out in the next few days I’ll have approximately £140,000 in stock market linked investments i.e. ISA and pension. Over the last 100 years or so, depending on who you ask, the stock market has returned a little over 10% a year. If I was to let my investments grow for the next twenty years with no further contributions from me, a smooth 10% rate of growth per year would result in my investments being worth just over £1,000,000.
I did another calculation assuming all the same variables except that for the next five years I invest £1,200 per month, and then let the investments compound for the following fifteen years. This resulted in a pot worth just over £1,400,000.
Next week should see a lot of change in my numbers as my Premium Bonds will have reduced and I’ll have maxed out my ISA. Also, our BTL situation should be much clearer as our potential tenants should have a date for moving in. It seems to have taken an age to get the property ready for letting again, but the wait is almost over.
I’m afraid that’s it for this week. I’m not in a good mental state at the moment, with my stress levels very high. Hopefully, by next week some things will have settled down and I’ll feel a bit more upbeat. I hope you’re having a great Easter break, and as always thank you for reading and your support.
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3 thoughts on “Part 180: Under Pressure, and Compounding Gains”
Hello, hope you get a chance to relax this weekend. I wanted to ask for a view; I am considering a second property, that longer term I may move into to downsize. Is the interest deductible on a buy to let? I am concerned that my rent will only just cover the mortgage, and then I may have the burden of tax on top of it.
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The tax position can be complicated, and I’m no expert. On my tax returns, the interest appears to be a valid deduction. I’ve used online calculators to help with working out my tax position, as well as gov.uk. Whether it’s a cost effective exercise for you will depend on your overall tax position The biggest possible issue I can see with your plan is that if you buy somewhere to rent out on a BTL mortgage, it’s a standard part of BTL mortgage conditions that you can’t live there; it has to be let. So, if you wanted to live there in the future, you’d potentially have to then remortgage from a BTL mortgage to a residential mortgage and this could come with fees. Before going down that route I would suggest you speak with a qualified, independent mortgage broker.
Thank you. I didn’t appreciate the complexity of the terms and conditions of a BTL mortgage. They may be difficult to ‘police’ in practice, but would not want additional stress.