Proud to be British

In hindsight, the UK Government should have skipped the mitigation attempts and went straight into Suppression. I have been saying it for the last 4 weeks as I have read horrific stories mainly from the Chinese and Italian struggles with COVID-19.

That being said, I am not going to sit back in my armchair and criticize the Government. They are doing their best and are putting all their efforts into protecting the British public. What they need is the support of the public who should take their advice.

Cabin up. Stick to social distancing. And only go out for essential supplies.

If we all stick together we can move past this horrible surreal situation we find ourselves in.

Going to crowded beaches or getting on crowded tubes or trains is not the answer. Come on wake up and smell the coffee. If you are still relaxed about COVID-19 you have got serious issues. If you carry on as if nothing is happening you are either selfish or clueless and are risking yourself and others.

You are risking overwhelming the NHS. You know the doctors, nurses and other workers who are risking their lives everyday for others.

This is a time when we should be grateful of the NHS and other essential services like the Police and the Military.

As part of the fight against COVID-19, the UK Government has asked for 250,000 volunteers. As of Wednesday evening, they had over 500,000 volunteers and this is an example of what Great Britain does when the shit hits the fan.

There are loads of examples of people joining the front line to join in and do what they can. I have friends and family who are in the NHS and work as care workers who are carrying on as normal with their work without hesitation.

The supermarkets have been flooded with crowds of people panic buying and emptying the shelves. This is another industry that needs help and support so they can continue to provide essential supplies. The workers need protection and it seems that things have started to calm down as people adjust to this surreal moment in time.

I have a friend who has started to work for Tesco in the warehouses and the supermarkets have had an influx of workers who are keen to keep the money coming in and to help where they can.

We have many people up and down the country who are doing other peoples shopping. They are shopping for relatives who have kids or it may be they have a Mam who is in her 80s. Absolute heroes who are stepping up to the mark.

Although I have been reading the tragic stories that are dominating the news, I am also reading the positive stories of how people are helping. This is also a time when you realize that celebrities and people with a significant amount of money are also willing to help.

Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi have both donated 1million euros to provide equipment to fight COVID-19. There are many more stories like this.

Back to Britain and my favorite story is of Manchester United Legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs donating their 2 hotels to accommodate NHS staff free of charge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neville said: “It’s at this moment in time the whole of our (hospitality) industry needs to show solidarity, not just with our staff in these uncertain times but for obviously the people who need the accommodation most in the coming months, and it’s something that we’re delighted to have been able to have come to agreement with.

“It’ll be free of charge, our staff will operate the hotels as normal, and the health workers will be allowed to stay there without any cost whatsoever in these in these next few months when they need isolation away from family members who may be affected by what’s going on.”

This amazing gesture just adds to both their legendary statuses.

Everyone in the UK (and around the World) have to come together and help each other in this fight against COVID-19. From what I am seeing, I am confident that is happening and it makes me very proud to be British.

On a side note

It is times like these that highlight the importance of getting your house in order.

Many people are struggling up and down the country and especially contractors. Contractors who I normally work with seem to live week-to-week and month-to-month.

They are not thinking about the future and normally spend what they earn. In some cases, it gets out of control and they spend more than they earn as their consumer debt builds and builds.

This has to change and we have to look after our future. No one else is going to look after our financial needs, as we are no longer in the industrial age. We don’t have the luxury of working for British Steel or ICI for 40 years and ending up with a big fat pension.

We have to look after ourselves.

Look at all my financial mistakes and learn from them.

Read a few books and do some research. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. In material I have read, it is recommended to save at least 10% of your monthly income.

It sounds very easy but we all get carried away with our spending. My hope is that when we do move past COVID-19 (and the inevitable financial repercussions) we all start to look at getting our (financial) houses in order.

Freeze the mortgage

What a difference a week makes.

Last week I was topping up my LS 80/20 stocks and shares fund (ISA) and now thoughts of my FI have been pushed to the back of my mind.

I have read snippets about finance markets. The effects of lowering interest rates. How much money will be pumped into the economy by the state and how we will recover financially.

The economy pales into insignificance when people’s lives are at risk. I am genuinely worried about my family and friends. I am worried about the UK and I am worried about the World. Seeing people suffer is horrendous as there is nothing but BAD news to read.

Normally I don’t read the news as it always negative and puts me in a bad mood but the last week or 2 I have been reading as the current situation is consuming everyone around me.

With all that has been going on my anxiety and OCD are through the roof. What we have to do is to take one day at a time. We have to look after ourselves. Eat healthy, exercise and try to stay positive. If we look after ourselves we can then look after those around us. Especially the most vulnerable of us who are going to need our help and support.

As a landlord I have a responsibility to look after the interests of my tenants and that is what I will try and do. My stance is that if they are out of work, I will freeze the rent payments for 3 months.

Looking at my 4 rentals I have 2 of the tenants that need support at this stage. They are out of work and will not be paying rent for 3 months. One of my tenants get their rent paid via DSS so that rent will continue. The 4th tenant is still working so I am in touch with them and am monitoring their situation closely.

The next question is whether I can get the mortgage companies to freeze the mortgage payments. I don’t see it being an issue as I have already received e-mails from mortgage companies offering their support. The problem is that I can’t get through to them.

Getting through to them on-line hasn’t been possible as I am out of the country and I have had issues when trying to access my on-line accounts. Mrs Duffy stepped in and was able to access the mortgages on-line. Then she had to apply for a mortgage holiday so we will find out in the next few days.

Personally, I might be out of work from next week so at that point I will also have to apply for a mortgage holiday for the house we live in.

If I am out of work, it is really time to look at trimming the budget. My plan is to freeze my mortgage payments and also to temporarily stop paying into my fund.

I am not worried about the stock market long term and won’t be selling what I have in my ISA (not yet anyway) but have got to keep my expenses as low as possible. With all the uncertainty, it really is anyone’s guess as to when we will get passed the effects of COVID 19.

We all have to listen to government advice and do our best to stop COVID 19. We all have our ways of dealing with things but if we can stay healthy and positive, we can help the people around us.

Take care.

1666

Sounds similar to my favourite lager.

And more importantly is the monthly figure I need to put into my stocks and shares ISA to max it out – 12 x £1666 = £20,000. At this moment in time, £20,000 is our tax-free allowance what we can invest into a cash ISA or Stocks and shares ISA (in the UK).  

At the moment, I am putting £800 pcm into my stocks and shares ISA and £200 pcm into my SIPP. Do some research on both and start to invest as early as possible to take advantage of compound interest.

After reading book after book, blog after blog and loads of other content, I am convinced this type of investing is a must. It is a must so you can reach your FI earlier than expected or at the very least, look after you and your family as you approach your retirement years.

This week I am hoping I have had my final dealings with single shares. I sold my Sirius minerals @5.5p a share. I have received just under £500 back and have made a loss of just over £250. Not much to lose but another loss nonetheless.

That £500 will be going straight into my lifestrategy 80/20 stocks and shares fund. Taking my total monthly investment in my ISA up to £1300. Fuck it, I am going to stay in 2 weekends and put another £366 in and make the total £1666.

It might sound boring staying in and watching the pennies for a couple of weekends but fuck it I am a happy fun sponge. I am thinking bigger picture and am pushing hard towards FI.

If I can find a way to double my current ISA investment up to £1666 pcm and £20,000 per year, I will get my FI in my mid to late 40s. A large amount to invest but where there is a will there is a way.

At least I have got a target that I can work towards.

So the number 1666 may seem pretty random from the outside looking in but it is a significant milestone for me. If at all possible my set and forget strategy will soon gather momentum with this sort of monthly investment.

The timing of making this size of investment is significant also. In money books I have read, they say that when the there is chaos in the markets and the prices are going down, that it is key that you stay the course and remain calm.

When the stock market goes down, try and think of getting slices of companies (if you have a fund that contains numerous companies) for a discounted rate.

My set and forget strategy is a long-term investment strategy. I am very much aware that there will be ups and downs.

The hope is that the overall percentage will revert to the mean and have a gradual increase of around 7-8%. That has happened when you look at over 100 years of data.

No one can predict the future and what happens with the financial markets is anyone’s guess. Following the entire market is what my fund is all about.

My fund is made of numerous companies spread across different markets. US stocks, UK stocks and emerging markets stocks make up around 60% of it (plus another 20% spread elsewhere). I also hold 20% bonds. This way my money is diversified and will hopefully perform consistently well in the good times.

Then there are the bad times (i.e. right now as the world tries to deal with the coronavirus) and whether or not the fund you pick is protected. It will have a negative percentage in some years but can it keep the losses minimal.

Regardless of what’s happening in the markets year to year, I am committed to investing for the next few decades.

So if I have to sit in and drink 1664 in the house in order to raise my 1666, then so be it.

Try to be calm when it comes to investing. Try to keep your emotions out of it. And think about your goals so you have a target to work towards.

Mr Positive

‘It Takes What it Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life’ (Trevor Moaward, Andy Staples) is a book I am about to start. This is a book I have to read after listening to Trevor Moaward on Impact theory (one of the self-development podcasts I listen to).

Normally I like to write shit about money and how poor I am with it. Little examples of how I didn’t know how to manage money and how I am working my way to financial literacy (basically fully understanding money and how to use it wisely).

This week I will be writing about psychology as the mind and money are very much linked. At least they are for me.

The thing is with me, I have always known I am a bit of a dark cloud. Since getting into self-development, this drove the point home and is one of the many things I have to sort so that I can fully get my house in order.

Since reading loads of SD books and watching podcasts and absorbing as much content as possible on how to improve, I have become much more self-aware.

I am not necessarily externally negative. As I like to think I am not too much of a misery on the outside. On the other hand, I am very negative on the inside.

Whenever my mind drifts off, invariably it is thinking about something negative. I’ll focus on worst-case scenarios surrounding work and money without even realizing I’m doing it.

The podcast got me thinking further into it and goes into how important it is to stay positive and say positive.

Over the last few months I have being trying to sort this out. Jim Kwik (who has some useful material on learning how to learn) stresses how important it is to kill ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). The way to do it is to replace ANTs with positive thoughts and that is what I have been trying to do.

Fuck me it is hard to do when you have shit loads of ANTs to deal with on a daily basis. The good thing is that now I am aware of just how much of a dark cloud I am or have been I can work on doing something about it.

I am not down in the dumps depressed or anything I would say I am anxious about shit I shouldn’t be. This mainly revolves around work, and money, and getting my house in order.

Good habits are essential in order to have any success and that is what I am trying to do all the time. Being negative and thinking negative thoughts is a shitty habit that I am trying to reverse.

I will fucking force myself to be positive and am slowly realizing that it is an inside job and not my outside circumstances. So fuck if I am stuck in the middle of the desert (with work). I am here for a reason and I have to look at the bigger picture.

What I really like about the Moaward podcast (Impact Theory) is how he goes over the impact of saying negative things. He uses sporting examples of how famous sports stars said something negative and it became a reality.

For example, a famous basketball star was quoted as saying my big fear is playing for 10 years, retiring and dying of a heart attack when I’m 40. This actually happened. Hopefully I haven’t said anything that negative in the past… Hopefully I said something like “I am going to live an awesome life and die a very old very happy man.”

This is an extreme example but it is a powerful message and is one of the ways he warns the listener against using negative language.

A negative thing I do say is “I am terrible with names, I just call everyone mate.” Low and behold I really struggle to remember names. Remembering someones name is an important skill and something I want to improve upon.

Apparently our brain is a super computer and is always listening to what we say. So if I say I am bad with names, I will be bad with names.

So I am going to turn into Mr Positive and crack on trying to reverse bad habits.

“I am really good at remembering names.”

“I am going to get my FI before I am 45.”

“I will have 30 houses and property will be my full time business.”

“Mrs Duffy will get her £50,000 kitchen / extension.”

“I will pay my Mam’s mortgage off so she can retire!!!”