Stick to your own game

Sticking to your own game is about understanding your relationship with money. For example, your preference might be high risk high reward.

In this scenario, you might favour single shares. Personally, single shares are not for me: Single shares

After being awful with personal finance, I had to change my ways. I had to force myself to go and learn about money.

That is what I am recommending you do. Get some financial literacy. And this will help you make educated financial decisions. You will be able to put a financial plan in-place for your future.

You can look for the tried and tested approach. The proven approach. In my opinion, long-term buy and hold is the best way to invest. It is the only way that works for me.

I have tried most of the get rich quick schemes and they don’t work. That was when I was a dark cloud and was chasing the pot at the end of the rainbow.

Disclaimer: I am not a Financial advisor and I am 100% not an expert. I have just learned the hard way: Learn the hard way. I have learned what suits me.

Investing coz your mate said …

I have been there and got the t-shirt. I have got a few of these t-shirts. And lost money by gambling on shares or investments I had no clue about.

About 10 years ago I gambled about £8000 on single shares. On companies I didn’t know anything about. I done zero research and it was a painful experience.

My poor investing caused me stress and anxiety. Learn from my mistakes and do some serious research before you gamble. Before you gamble your hard-earned money.

Why did I make mistake after mistake? I listened to my work mate. Or one of the lads down the pub. Lads similar to me who where looking to make quick money.

This happened recently in my local town. Everyone was putting money into the local mine: Betting on the mine

I knew a few people who put tens of thousands into a share they knew little or nothing about.

Many of my work mates had bought in at 20p. Sirius struggled for funding and eventually were taken over by Anglo American. They were bought out for 4p a share and massive amounts of money disappeared.

Don’t let this be you. Don’t invest coz your mate said.

Investing coz of FOMO …

I have got this t-shirt also. I even bought a house because of FOMO.

2 of my friends (twins) bought a house back in 2006. It was off-plan, and they were excited about making money.

Jealousy kicked in and with it, FOMO. As I was leaving the RAF with no job, I made the wise decision of buying a new house off-plan.

I paid £120,000 and would sell for at least £130,000 and make an easy £10,000. That was the plan. It never got valued above £120,000. And 15 years on, is still not valued above £120,000.

This has turned into a good investment as my investing strategy has changed. I am investing for cashflow. I am not selling anytime soon. And any capital appreciation will be a bonus.

In 10 years, the mortgage will be paid off. And tenants will have paid the mortgage off. This is one of the benefits of long-term buy and hold. Even a shitty investment (initially), can turn out to be a good investment.

But don’t invest coz of FOMO. The reasons for buying this house were wrong. And anything but educated.

I have no doubt this will be happening with Crypto assets. I nearly bought 1x BTC (Bitcoin) in August: Almost 1 BTC

As BTC is now around $50,000 for 1 coin, many people will have FOMO kicking in.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have got in early and bought 5 or even 10 BTC. But I didn’t as I didn’t know the asset class. I wasn’t willing to gamble.

BTC could well go above $100,000 for 1 coin or go right back down. It is a risky asset class. Don’t just buy because of FOMO.

I know a few people who believe in BTC and other crypto assets. Not only that, they understand it.

If you want to invest in BTC and other crypto assets, do it for the right reasons. Do some research. Don’t gamble because of FOMO.

Long term investor

This is where I am at. I am long-term buy and hold. If you are aware of Simon Zutshi and his excellent book, Property Magic, you will know his 5 golden rules of property investing. Number 4 of his 5 rules is: long-term buy and hold.

Over the last few years, I have been reading many books. Books written by successful investors and business men/women. This long-term buy and hold comes up time and time again.

I tried getting quick easy money. Single shares. Football bets. Lottery. And a few other failed attempts. All gambling with no strategy at all.

Now I am no expert. I am just saying it from experience and what I have learned.

With a little bit of financial literacy. I know what game suits me financially. I am too emotional for single shares. But that doesn’t mean I can’t invest in the stock market.

Index investing is what suits me. Don’t settle for less than 1% in high street banks. Look into index investing: index investing. Many experts feel that 7-8% is achievable if you track the markets.

My preference is long-term buy and hold. It will enable me to benefit from compound interest. I use this strategy with index investing and property.

Don’t worry too much about how I invest. My point is that you should do what is most beneficial to you.

Get some financial literacy.

Do some financial planning.

Suss out what your game is financially – what is your preferred strategy.

And stick to your own game.

P.S. if you are interested in index investing – leave a comment – and I will forward you some free information that will help you to understand the fundamentals …

Book of the week:

The Little book of common sense investing, by John Bogle. The book’s main theme is the positives of indexing (a way of tracking the market with a small slice of many companies). The intelligent investor will reduce the costs of financial intermediaries (the middle men). That is what common sense tells us and is what indexing is all about according to Bogle.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: Imagined things.

Ken Honda’s Happy Money

Back when I was a dormant landlord (Dormant Landlord) I was negative with money. Unhappy money. Since the start of 2019, I have tried to improve my relationship with money. A bit of Happy money.

Being a landlord, I would dread that phone call from a tenant. It would be for some repair and would ruin my day. Or even my week if it was a boiler.

Over the last 2 years my relationship with money has improved. Even when I had 3 boilers to buy in 6 months: When it rains it pours

Now I track my properties

At the start of 2021, I had some repairs to pay for.

One tenant had a leaky roof – cost £160.

And another tenant needed a new front door – cost £720.

Not an ideal start to the year. But now I have a better relationship with money, I am happy to pay for the repairs. And I am a Landlord who cares about his tenants.

This is par for the course. If I want to profit from being a landlord, I have to play the game. I have to pay for repairs that are my responsibility.

Now I am tracking my properties with spreadsheets, I can monitor these costs over the year. I have been doing this for the last 2 years.

What I have found is that I am spending £500 pa on each property. That is less than £50 pcm. This means I am still making my target of £200 pcm profit from each property.

This happening 3 or 4 years ago would have made me even more negative towards money. And even more negative towards property.

Part of the reason, for my new money mindset is Ken Honda’s excellent Happy Money.

Ken Honda’s Happy Money

Happy Money

I have always been happy to receive Money. Now I am happy to give it away. As I have said, I don’t even get that sinking feeling when a tenant calls.

Money has caused me stress and anxiety in the past. Even when I got decent money through work, I was still worried.

This is because I had a shitty relationship with money.

My financial house wasn’t in order. And my finances were all over the place.

I will keep going until I am financially literate. And I will keep going until I get my financial house in order.

Your money mindset or your relationship with money is massively important. This is something I have come to realise over the last few years.

If you are struggling with your personal finances, there are many ways to improve your situation. Like reading the excellent Happy Money by Ken Honda.

As we receive money and give it away, money flows like water. Honda says that money is flowing everywhere if you are open to it.

Now I realise that the philosophy in this book is very optimistic. But why not? Personally, I open minded and I like Honda’s optimism.

It is not just about accumulating more and more. It is about being happy with what you have. It is about expressing gratitude around money.

‘If you appreciate what you have, it opens a door to happiness,’ and he also says: ‘When money comes into your life say arigato (thank you in Japanese) and when you spend money, when money leaves your life, you also say thanks.’

After reading Happy Money, I spent a couple of months saying arigato. In my head but still, I kept doing it.

At the time I was working in Northern Ireland (mid 2020) and my expenses were high. They were on my mind. Instead of getting myself worked up over money, I forced myself to say arigato. Every ferry ticket. Every plane ticket. Until eventually, I didn’t care about my expenses.

Lessons learned

This book is only one of the reasons for my improved money mindset. But it definitely helped me.

It is out there. But I will try just about anything to improve my relationship with money. I was sick of being anxious over it and needed to sort my act out.

Like Honda’s message, it is not just about accumulating money. It is about improving my relationship with money full stop. So that I am not anxious about money. And that I am grateful for what I have got.

If you want to improve your personal finances, the answers are out there. Make the decision to turn things around and go and find out what works for you.

Book of the week:

Happy Money, by Ken Honda. Money EQ is a reflection of your personal beliefs and thoughts about money. Your emotions when you think about money. And how your subconscious mind makes financial decisions on autopilot. I have been too emotional when it comes to money. Honda talks a lot about Money EQ and this helps the reader understand their relationship with money.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: Imagined things.

Keep doing what you love

COVID is a bastard that has caused carnage since early 2020. I have suffered like most people. Nowhere near the extent of some poor people. I am certainly not looking for any sympathy.

I am just going to tell you how I have managed to keep doing what I love. Barely. But I have still, just about managed it.

What I love is BJJ (Brasilian Jiu Jitsu). I used to love football. But BJJ has definitely taken over.

But like my training partners (and everyone else who loves BJJ), I haven’t trained since last February. It breaks my heart.

Even before COVID

Even before COVID, my BJJ was affected by work. Like Tunisia for example.

In 2019, there was a 5-month period when I hardly trained BJJ. This was due to my 37 day on, 12 days off rotation in very poor conditions.

This was when I first started to train with jeans. I know it sounds mental, but I needed to keep training BJJ. Adapt and overcome as they say.

I started doing leglocks on my jeans. Every day I would do 100 reps on each leg.

Another way to train was to do wrestling with one of the lads on the beach. He would only do it twice a week, so I was limited.

The beach was awful. It was black from all the pollution. The pollution from the chemical plant that was pumping out all kinds of shit.

Not only that, it was full of plastic bottles and various other bit’s of plastic. The black sand was very uncomfortable on the skin as was the plastic. But I love BJJ and I kept doing it.

When COVID kicked in

When COVID kicked in, I had a little 12-week stint in Oman. So, I was back doing my training with a pair of jeans.

I would also force myself to watch 20 minutes of an instructional each day. I love BJJ but I do get bored when I watch it – especially when it is an instructional. They tend to put me to sleep. But I forced myself to keep doing what I love.

After getting home from Oman I still couldn’t train. So, I started to train with Dave the Dummy. Dave was my BJJ dummy who I practised drills on. It sounds weird but BJJ is addictive even with a dummy.

Whenever I am training with Dave with the garage open, I get some strange looks from neighbours walking by. But as long as I’m getting the reps in, I’m happy.

Even when I’m injured

Late October 2020, I injured my knee so I couldn’t even train with Dave.

So, I kept on with the instructional watching. But I got bored, so I had to try something else.

In my new job in Finland, I had a 30-minute drive to work. I done what any normal person would do.

I recorded 30 minutes of BJJ notes (I make notes of most of my lessons at Stealth North East) and listened to it on the way to work.

This was painful. I have a very monotone voice and it is difficult to listen to myself. But I forced myself to do it because I love BJJ.

To do

I know it isn’t always possible. But try and give COVID the finger. Keep smiling and keep doing what you love.

I am currently towards the back end of a 5-week trip in Holland and am struggling to be honest. But I keep doing my BJJ drills. And listening to my recording when I can force myself to listen to myself.

If I’m feeling a bit down, I will train. I will do press ups or squats in my hotel room. I have even convinced the hotel manager to stick an exercise bike in the room. With some exercise and endorphins released, I feel much better.

I have everything crossed that we can get back to some form of normality in the near future. Keep positive as much as possible and we will all get back to doing what we love.

Book of the week:

What a flanker, by James Haskell. This a funny read! An added bonus is that it is making me want to train really hard.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: https://imaginedthings.co.uk/

A bit of inspiration for the month of Mondays

Property Investor Network

Inspiration for January

January to me is like a month of Monday’s. In fact, it is the shittiest month by far.

To counter my feelings towards January, I went looking for some inspiration. I found it at PIN Meetings: PIN

PIN are a training company for property investors. You are taught by the experts. It can also get you around like-minded people.

This January every PIN meeting around the UK has included case studies. Successful students telling us about some of their deals and portfolios.

It is a way of motivating the attendees on the PIN meetings. And to be honest, it is a way of funnelling potential customers in to training courses.

The case studies

Each case study starts off with a bit of their background story. Literally, 9 out of 10 of them found initial inspiration from reading Rich Dad Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki). And most of them have also read Property Magic (Simon Zutshi). Two awesome books I highly recommend.

The case studies illustrate what is possible with a change of mindset. What is possible when you get taught by the experts. And what is possible when you get around like minded people.

Some of the investors have achieved far more than I have in much less time. What I have achieved in 18 years is poor. One of the reasons is because I have done it alone.

The case studies have motivated me to push harder. They have set off a fire work up my ass – and that is what I need!

Especially when you hear Valter Pontes’ story.

Here is a brief summary:

  • 1st year property investing – he made £180,000 deal sourcing (basically packaging property deals and selling them on)
  • 2nd year on Master Mind (year-long training with Simon Zutshi and his team) he made 2.5 million
  • He won Master Mind and has been featured in Forbes magazine

I can’t do him enough justice so I will point you towards YouTube: Valter Pontes

The man is a beast of a property investor. And his story is worth a listen. Me being a big puff, almost shed a tear.

Mindset

As well as reading Rich Dad, all of the case studies have something else in common. They have found a way to massively improve their mindset.

Personally, this is something I am working hard on. I had 10 years of being negative and it has proven hard to reverse: Negative About Property

After 2 years of self-development, I have made big improvements. But I still need a lot of work.

The deals discussed in the case studies are hard to comprehend. I couldn’t get my head round some of them.

An example was someone securing a PLO (Purchase Lease Option) on 5x HMOs (House of Multiple Occupation).

This investor made the deal with a tired landlord. The portfolio is worth £1.9 million. And the rental income is £48,000 pa.

That would be FI (Financial Independence) for me and no more working away. I have to stop worrying about the how. And get around investors who will provide the inspiration I need.

My questionable mindset kicked in a few weeks ago.

I almost paid to go on Master Mind training with Simon Zutshi. But the tightness kicked in and I backed out. This is the type of mentality that is holding me back.

I am doing a 3-day course at the start of March. If that goes well, I am going to do the MMA (Master Mind Accelerator) course at the end of March. If that goes well, I am going to force myself to do the 12-month Master Mind training.

‘If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.’ – Henry Ford

If I keep investing by myself, I’ll keep getting very average results. But if I push myself hard and get around other investors, anything is possible.

Book of the week:

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. This is a classic self-development book. And will help you realise that anything is possible!

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: Imagined Things

What to expect if you’re a tenant looking to rent

HOWTO RENT GUIDE

Normally, I only write from the landlords perspective. This week I am looking at things from the tenants point of view.

If you are a landlord, as a minimum you should look to make sure your properties are legally compliant. Then you can look to build a strong relationship with your tenant. This will make things a lot smoother. A win-win for everyone involved.

How to … rent

This is a checklist for renting in England: How to Rent Guide

This is a checklist I had no idea existed until very recently. Being a landlord of 18 years, I should know about this checklist. On the other hand, I am very focused on legal compliance: DUFFMONEY and legal compliance

Part of the how to rent guide includes some key questions for the tenant to consider:

  • How much is the deposit? From my experience, this is usually about 1x months rent. Your landlord should protect your deposit. I use DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) and notify tenants to ensure they know where their deposit is
  • How long is the tenancy for? Landlords normally offer tenancies for a fixed term of 6 months or 12 months. Initially, I will offer 6 months. If I am happy with the tenant (e.g. rent is paid on time and house is in a good condition) I will then offer 12 months. Unless I get a nightmare (Nightmare tenant), I explain to the tenant that it is their house for as long as they want it and look to build a lasting relationship
  • What can you afford? This is important. You can look at your budget to see if the rent is affordable. I wasn’t on top of my budget for years and it caused me issues. It only takes 5-10 minutes per week and this will help you to keep on top of your personal finances

Check the paperwork is a useful section:

  • Tenancy agreement – make sure you have a tenancy agreement and that you read it. Read it carefully so that you understand your rights and responsibilities
  • Inventory – this is a check-in report. The landlord will take photos and this is relating to the deposit. A bit of security if you like. If you leave the property in a poor condition, the landlord will look to use the inventory to ensure you don’t see your deposit money again. In case of any disputes, it might be worth taking some photos yourself
  • Meter readings – this has caused me serious pain. With a recent rental, I didn’t take meter readings and neither did the tenant. Based on estimated readings, the energy supplier informed the tenant that they owed around £1400 after 1 month of moving in. This took me about 15 hours on the phone to resolve.

Some must’s and should’s worth knowing

The tenant must …

  • Pay the rent on time. If your rent is more than 14 days late, you could be liable for a default fee
  • Pay any other bills
  • Look after the property
  • Be considerate to the neighbours
  • Not take in a lodger

The tenant should …

  • Know how to operate the boiler and other appliances like the electrical distribution board
  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Report the need for repairs to the Landlord
  • Get your contents insured
  • Get a smart meter installed to save money on your energy bills

Landlord must …

  • Maintain the structure of the property
  • Ensure the property is free from serious hazards
  • Fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply
  • Carry out repairs (within reason)
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check
  • Arrange a 5-year electrical safety check
  • Seek permission to access your home and give at least 24 hours notice
  • Ensure the property is a minimum of EPC energy efficiency band E

Landlord should …

  • Insure building to cover costs of any damage from flood or fire
  • Ensure blinds are safe by design and they don’t have any looped cords

This how to rent guide is 100% worth reading. In fact, I would recommend any tenants or landlords keep a copy as a reference. If both parties play the game and stick to their must’s and should’s, everyone involved will benefit.

Book of the week:

How to be a Landlord, by Rob Dix. This book will tell you all you need to know in terms of being a landlord. And if you’re a tenant, will tell you all you need to know in terms of what to expect from a Landlord.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: https://imaginedthings.co.uk/