A kick up the ass from my better half

2021 goalsVery recently, I was suffering from a little bit of self-pity. It was down to an injury I had suffered. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had torn my MCL (Medial cruciate ligament) on my right knee.

This happened on a Friday night and my self-pity kicked in on the Saturday. I had an ice bath on the Friday night and Saturday morning. And still I was hobbling around.

I was starting to realise that I was going to be out of action for a few weeks. After 3 physio sessions (where I got the MCL diagnosis) and 8 weeks of specific exercises, I am just about walking normally again. This is towards the end of December as I am writing this post.

Let us go back to the self-pity

On that miserable Saturday afternoon, I was feeling sorry for myself. I am not a fan of being injured and it turned my mood south!

I was limping around the house. Whinging about not being able to train.

So, Mrs Duffy told me to get a grip and get to the gym. She told me that there was nothing wrong with my upper body and to go and train despite my knee.

I listened to the boss and went to the gym – after a little lesson in mental strength, I have managed to train in one form or another, for the last 8 weeks. And after that Saturday, I have decided against self-pity. It really is a poor trait!

Roles reversed

I have always been into training. I used to try and get Mrs Duffy into training, but it wasn’t her thing.

About 15 years ago, I managed to convince her to go for a run. Her Mam and sister joined us which helped to convince her to go.

It was a 1.5 mile run and was a lap of a popular park close to where we live. The plan was a jog to the red gate and warm up. Then we would do a steady jog to ease the 3 ladies into their first run – not ever but for a very long time.

I ran to the gate. And started to warm up. Mrs Duffy’s Mam and sister soon jogged past me as they didn’t fancy the warm-up. A few seconds later, I seen my future wife walking down the hill with a bag of hula hoops and a fag.

I made several similar attempts. Let us just say I was up against it.

Fast forward to 2020 and our roles are reversed. Mrs Duffy doesn’t smoke. She knows much more about nutrition than I do. And reluctantly, I have to admit she trains harder than me. In 2020, she has trained much harder than me!

A kick up the ass

A few words of wisdom from my better half, were enough to give me kick up the ass. I have pushed myself in the gym recently. And I have pushed myself with my rehabilitation exercises I was given by the physio.

I love the fact that I am not the only one into training in our house. I seriously need to up my game in 2021 and know I can do much more.

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help with whatever we are doing. I got help in this situation from a very unlikely source. If you had told me this 15 years ago, I would think you were talking about a different woman.

This is a little lesson in mental strength I will use going forward. I can’t have my wife thinking I’m a big puff who wallows in self-pity.

On this occasion, I needed a bit of help to get a grip. Normally I have a few healthy habits that get me out of my own head: https://duffmoney.com/2020/04/17/my-1st-run-in-with-anxiety/

Picture: https://startupanz.com/planning-2021-not-2020/

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

On Christmas day, 2011 I was a joke. I was an embarrassment from start to finish.

This is a little story that shows how naïve I was. I am gullible anyway. But this is me at my most gullible.

Christmas morning

This was a happy time for me and my future wife as we had recently had our second baby girl. Despite having a baby (few months old) and a toddler, my Christmas routine would not be broken.

At 0930 me and my little family went down my Grandma’s (Duffy side). This was to exchange gifts like any normal family. It was also to have a few cans of lager, a chaser (whisky) and sausage stuffing – not really normal at 0930 but that was our routine.

As my future wife was being a responsible parent – she stayed sober all day. She was not happy – but we will come to that later.

The club

5-6 drinks in and it is time to go to the club. Me and my cousin rock into the club at 1100 as usual on Christmas day. It was our routine.

We are downstairs having a few games of snooker. This is before going upstairs to watch the turn (or comedian).

After a few more drinks, I am well on my way. This is when my day turns South.

Not really paying attention one of my closest friends (Seamus) hands me a scratch card. Although I considered this particular friend to be family, he is also a horrible man! You will realise why very shortly.

Everyone is having a good time. The drinks are flowing and everyone is tearing into each other as blokes do.

There is a lull in the crack, and I start scratching my scratch card. As I finish scratching, my heart starts to race. No fucking way!

I had only won £20,000. Instead of being discreet about it, I got very excited! I cuddled Seamus and told him about the win – more like shouted as I was too excited. I even made the statement, ‘this will go towards buying a rental.’ I made many more statements similar to this … my reaction was embarrassing.

How do I claim the prize? This was because the scratch cards had been bought at the club. Alarm bells should have been ringing …

I even went to the bar to see how to claim the prize. I felt ten feet tall as I strode over to the bar. The bar lady had no idea what I was talking about. It started to stink in.

I looked at the back of the scratch card and it was clear it was a prank. It even said, ‘How could you fall for this scam you wolly,’ or something along them lines.

As I walked back to the snooker tables, the 25-30 lads were howling. I felt about four feet at this stage.

I was bright red and had to sit there and take the abuse. I got annihilated for being so gullible. To be fair, for being so naïve I deserved the abuse.

I would like to say I got Seamus back, but I didn’t bother. I took it on the chin and put it down to stupidity and a lesson learned. With certain friends, you need to stand guard. You have to be aware of the friends who like a prank or practical joke. Plus, I knew that if I started to retaliate, Seamus would keep going and it would go too far.

Things got worse

The comedian finished at 2 p.m. and I was having my dinner by 3 p.m. Future Mrs D was fuming as I was very merry.

We had dinner at mine and then it was down to the better half’s sisters for Christmas tea.

I continued to enjoy myself. Swearing away. Far too loud and not paying any attention to my little family. Future Mrs D was not happy!

The last straw came when I fell asleep. Not only did I fall asleep, but I feel asleep whilst feeding my 3-month-old daughter.

This was like throwing a red flag to a bull. Future Mrs D erupted and we had an argument in front of her family.

She has always schooled me in arguments, and this was no different. My ego didn’t like this so as usual, I finished it with some words I would later regret.

Enough was enough. I was ready to get out of there. Until I had my now Mother-in law in tears asking me to stay.

I stayed and spent the rest of the night sulking in the kitchen.

Lessons learned

This was an awful Christmas and wasn’t repeated. After 2011, I remembered what Christmas was all about. It’s about family. Most importantly in my case, it’s about my wife and kids.

I learned that drinking too much can cloud your judgement. I made a fool of myself because I was too pissed. I was too pissed to realise a prank I should have seen a mile off. And I was too pissed to feed my 3-month-old daughter.

I also learned that it is good to have a laugh at yourself. I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t mind if I am the brunt of the joke.

After the year everyone has had, I hope anyone who reads DUFFMONEY has an amazing Christmas in 2020! With 2011 firmly behind me, I’ll be trying to make it special for my little squad.

Picture: https://ncar.org.uk/christmas-at-ncar/

Almost getting 1 BTC

Bitcoin investing

Back in August I was very close to getting 1 BTC. Unfortunately for me, I went against it. Digital currency was definitely on my mind as I was getting to know the fundamentals: https://duffmoney.com/2020/08/14/buy-exchange-and-store-bitcoin/

What if

The plan was to buy 1 BTC and I was going to hold it long term. I had been told by a few people, that BTC will go above $100k.

My problem at the time was that I didn’t have a spare £8000 (the approximate price of 1 BTC at the start of August).

What I did have was around £8,000 in tax (and VAT) money. The thinking was to use the tax money and then find the money at a later date.

Even if the BTC didn’t go up in value, I could always use my overdraft to pay my tax bill …

If I ended up going with the little gamble, I would have more than doubled my money. I could have sold 0.5 BTC and put the money back into my tax account. And then still had £8000 worth of BTC.

With hindsight, this would have been a wise move. You could say an educated guess …

Why I didn’t

My poor investing decisions from previous years have made me that much more cautious. It reminded me of investing in single shares. And I am not a fan of single shares: https://duffmoney.com/2019/10/04/single-shares-high-risk-and-little-or-no-reward/

Part of me regrets being cautious – who wouldn’t want a quick £9000 profit? But most of me knows it was the right thing to do for me.

I finally understand my relationship with money. I know it gets me emotional. Too emotional! When it comes to single shares, I obsess about the price and am constantly looking for updates. This would have been the case with BTC.

What I do instead

My investments are long term buy-and-hold. When it comes to stocks and shares, I go with a low-cost index fund.

I am convinced my fund will return at least 7% in interest per year. It might be lower some years, it might be higher. But from what I have read, it will average out to around 7-8%. This is based on historical figures: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042415/what-average-annual-return-sp-500.asp

Holding the fund long-term, will allow me to ride the inevitable ups and downs.

This is the same strategy I have for property. Any rentals I buy, will not be sold and will be passed onto family.

Both of my long-term strategies mean that I am not getting myself wound up over my investments. I’m not obsessing over them like I maybe would with BTC.

If you have any spare money month to month, it might be an idea to get some BTC. You never know, it might get up to £100,000 – for 1 BTC.

Hopefully you have managed to get some BTC over the last few years. You can sell some for a tidy profit. Or you might be more adventurous and hold out for an even bigger return. Either way, BTC seems to be here to stay …

Picture: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/nov/24/bitcoin-price-high-19000-cryptocurrency-covid

Bet on yourself

Investing in yourself

I have always liked a bet. And not just football bets and a little flutter on the horses. I have also had a bit of faith and bet on myself.

This led to me going back to college in my late 20s. I expected to do 2 years. But it turned into 6 years of hard graft and I ended up with a degree.

What it was at the time was an expensive gamble. It cost me £8,000 to get that piece of paper and there were certainly no guarantees of it paying off.

The expected job offers didn’t come in. Although I honestly thought that I would get load of job offers but that wasn’t the case. Ultimately, any success I have had career wise, have come because of other people. They have come because of my network.

My honest opinion is that my further education hasn’t done that much for me. I can barely remember what I was studying, and it certainly didn’t make me better at my job. I’m still a poor electrician and can barely put a light fitting up.

The point is, I was willing to invest in myself.

Investing in yourself – the failures  

An expensive course that I have never used was a planning course. This was when I was obsessed with doing anything to avoid working offshore.

Nothing to do with the work. And the rotation of 2 on 2 off was very doable. My fear of helicopters got the better of me after 8 years of working offshore on and off.

This wasn’t just a £100 safety course. The course was £800, and I thought it would help me get into project management. Maybe I should have done some more research and actually done a project management course …

Another expensive course that I haven’t used is an Autocad course. That was another £500 down the drain

The positive about that £1300 is that I don’t regret paying for the courses. I invested in myself and I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. I thought the courses would help me career wise. I thought wrong but again, you have to make mistakes along the way.

Me being ok with failure hasn’t always been the case. I have had many failures and beat myself up time and time again.

“Don’t fear failure—not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” -Bruce Lee:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/30-quotes-failure-that-will-lead-you-success.html

Investing in yourself – the unknown

Over the last few years, I have been working on my first book. This is what led me to writing:

  • I had years of being negative over money and work
  • I decided I was going to change my outlook one way or another
  • I became obsessed with self-development and learning about money
  • I read the excellent RESET and that led me to writing a blog
  • I wrote an 85,000 word 1st attempt in Tunisia last year – it was very poor
  • After another year, I felt I was ready for round 2
  • I have now written a 55,000 word book that is at least better than the 1st attempt

Now I have self-doubt about this book. It is a little bit out there. What if people don’t like it? What if no one reads it?

But …

I am going to push on anyway.

I sent it to over 50 agents in an attempt to get it published traditionally. I got excited when I had three responses. With a little digging, the responses weren’t legitimate, and they were trying to scam me. The traditional route didn’t work out.

But …

I am still going to push on!

I am now going to self-publish despite my self doubts. And this brings me back to having a little bet on yourself.

I have invested a lot of time into this book. I have also invested money into getting it published:

  • £800 on an editor I found on upwork (well worth it as my grammar was awful):

https://www.upwork.com/ab/account-security/login?redir=/

  • £400 on a front cover
  • £350 to format the book so that it can be uploaded onto Amazon and any other site I decide to go with
  • £400 to market it

That is a total of £1950. Hands down my biggest gamble to date. It might flop. It might do ok. Either way, I will let you know how my little bet goes.

p.s. my aim is to publish in January 2021 – for a limited time, I will offer it for free to readers of DUFFMONEY.