How to repel money

Apparently the harder you try, the more you repel money. This is from books I have read in recent weeks. Bear with me as from my experience, I think there is some truth in this statement..

Disclaimer: This is not advice. This is information only.

 Have you ever tried too hard for something, and it just feels like you are never going to get what you are after?

I have been pushing hard for Financial Independence over the last few years and maybe I’ve become a little too obsessed. A little too serious. Being too serious in the past is definitely one of my poor traits and I am going to try and be a bit more laid back. Especially with my attempts at FI. I need to go with the flow a bit.

Reek of desperation

Trying too hard reminds me of college …

I chose Statistics, English Language and Geography. With them lesson choices, it is clear I wasn’t there for the education. I was there to have fun and go on nights out.

My 8 months at college was spent playing pool and trying to get a girlfriend.

Emphasis on the word try as I didn’t get a girlfriend. I became quite good at pool, but I was always rubbish at getting myself a girlfriend.

Looking back, I reeked of desperation and this is a contributing factor to me repelling the girls at college.

If only I could go back and tell myself to be aloof and I might have stood a chance.

But I can use this experience now with my obsession of money and FI. I need to calm myself down and be aloof.

Go with the flow

 Being obsessed with single shares in the past didn’t help me. Checking in on my shares every 5 minutes reeked of desperation. The opposite of going with the flow.

Being obsessed with my crypto assets a few weeks ago didn’t help me. It brought anxiety and stress. Checking on my crypto assets every 5 minutes reeked of desperation. The opposite of going with the flow.

I done this sort of thing with my Premium bonds. I was obsessed and was sort of trying to force the money to come to me. Not good and not the way to go. Again, I need to calm myself down and learn to finally go with the flow.

I’m convinced that going with the flow and trusting the process will attract the money I’ve been looking for.

With my strategy of long-term buy and hold I will get to where I am going financially. What I mean is that I will get my FI. I don’t know when, but I will get there. It’s about having a bit of faith in what you are doing and letting things take their natural course.

Just to be transparent, this is advice I’m giving myself as well as the reader. Because my previous mistakes are exactly the opposite of going with the flow. But we live and we learn and hopefully the penny has finally dropped for yours truly …

The thing is good things happen when you least expect them. Like when some of my crypto increased significantly in January 2021. Or when I got a new job a few weeks ago.

They don’t happen when you obsess about what you want. Or by giving too much thought on the how. This is from my experience anyway.

What to do

If you are like me, you want some early FI.

What we are going to do is trust in the process.

We are going to get a financial plan in place. Personally, my plan is long-term buy and hold with property, index investing and ethereum.

With our plan in place, we going to go with the flow and have a little faith.

Book of the week: The subtle art of not giving a fuck, Mark Manson. Personally, I do give a fuck. I give a fuck about personal finance and helping others with their personal finance. Nevertheless, this book is worth a read. It’s funny and might just help you to not give too much of a fuck (like me when I’m being too serious) and to go with the flow a bit more.

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

The expert on how not to invest

I am not an expert on personal finance.

But I am an expert on how not to invest.

And all my old (bad) habits have kicked in over the last few months.

How I invest

Over the last few years I have become an investor. This is after years of being a poor investor. As I say, an expert on how not to invest. Looking at duffmoney, there are numerous examples of poor personal finances – singles shares loss.

With a better relationship with money, I have now put a financial plan in-place. With some much-needed financial literacy, I am confident with the way I invest.

My strategy is long-term buy and hold. That is with property, index funds and Ethereum (crypto asset). This strategy will get me some early financial independence (FI). It is not if, it’s when.

One of my problems in the past was trying get rich quick schemes. I tried this with single shares and became obsessed with checking in on my shares – literally every 5 minutes.

And unfortunately, I have slipped back into this type of investing over the last few months. Dreaming of getting rich quick with my crypto assets. This brought stress and anxiety like when I was investing in single shares in previous years. Please don’t get emotional with your investments.

I do want to become FI but I don’t want stress and anxiety. I need to stick to the plan and get back to being disciplined. Over the last 2 years I have been very disciplined. This 8 week period is a little blip and I have started to get back on track.

Safemoon

Safemoon is an alternative coin that I have been investing in since March 2021. And this alt coin is the main reason for my little blip. I’m not blaming Safemoon it is 100% my responsibility how I invest.

I had a few alt coins in my binance account at this stage and wasn’t really bothered about getting anymore. A few of my colleagues had got in very early (the coin only started in early March) and they were all talking about it. I ignored them for about a week as I stuck to the plan.

But then safemoon Matty convinced me this coin was going to go up. And he was very convincing. He was adamant and had put some serious hours in with his research.

A little bit of FOMO kicked in and I invested. It was hard to get into. You had to open a metamask wallet and pancake swap exchange. I wont go too much into it but it took about an hour of watching a youtube video to get the safemoon tokens into my metamask wallet.

I put $2000 in as I had made some decent profits from another alt coin.

Getting back to being a disciplined investor, I put safemoon to the back of my mind and turned my attention back to property and DUFF PROPERTIES.

This was up until April 21st.

This is a day me and the lads who invested in safemoon will probably always remember. It was a day of gambling and doing exactly the opposite to what an investor should do. But fuck me, it was exciting …

The safemoon retirement plan

Going into April 21st, 10 out of 12 of us in our little commissioning team had invested in safemoon. By the end of the day, it was 12/12 and quite a few more of the lads from the rest of the site.

There was serious FOMO kicking in. The 12 of us from our team thought we were going to retire by the end of the week.

Ultimately, we got very greedy and all egged each other on. Especially our ringleader – Safemoon Matty.

Should of. Would of. Could of.

We all got in at about 0.000000005… Im not sure of the figure, but you get the point, we got in early.

The amount we could have cashed out at was crazy – but non of us cashed out. Big balls or silly little boys? I’m going with the latter.

Safemoon Matty – £11,000 in and that went up to £690,000

Jacko – £10,000 (approx.) in and that went up to £320,000

Jamie – £20,000 (approx..) in and went up to £260,000

Phil – £1000 in and went up to £80,000

Me (the expert on how not to invest) – £1500 in and went up to £65,000

If you look closely at the figures, they are not quite aligned. This is because we all got in at different times and therefore got in at different prices.

In a 10-hour shift, we all spent about 9.5 hours looking at the safemoon price charts. We were going through some serious emotions.

It was exciting, stressful, funny, anxiety kicked in, FOMO kicked in as none of us wanted to cash out and others were trying to get in on it, happy, sad and every other emotion you can think of … Im even getting emotional writing this weeks blog!!!

The price has went down over the last few weeks and we are about 70% down on our April the 21st highs. By the way, no one has cashed out still. The safemoon retirement dream is still there …

What to do

Don’t do what we done during this period.

Get a financial plan in-place. And stick to the plan.

Over the last 2-3 weeks, I have gone back to practising what I preach. I have gone back to duffmoney and my financial plan. I am not anxious like I was and am back to focusing on long-term buy and hold.

A good little rollercoaster ride but I wouldn’t recommend it. Checking on your investments every 5 minutes is not the way to go – unless you like stress and anxiety …

Book of the week: The monk who sold his Ferrari, Robin Sharma. An excellent personal development book that is worth a read! With today’s hectic modern society, it easy to suffer from overwhelm and stress. This book will help you take a look inside and make you realise the importance of living in the present moment.

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

Focus on where we live

Going into 2013, I was stressed to bits. Through a friend (Ste) I had got into commissioning. Through Ste I had managed to get promoted to Commissioning Engineer on a small Gas platform just off Hull.

I am not the best Electrician and at the time, was nowhere near Engineer level. I had my HNC but that was a piece of paper and didn’t make me an Engineer.

I took the job anyway. This was a massive step outside my comfort zone. I ended up supervising up to 30 men as we were pushing towards first gas and there was a big push to get the job over the line.

The project was a success and I somehow muddled through and done ok. I would have been lost without the Instrument Engineer who helped me out massively. Chris was good as gold and we worked well together for over 12 months.

Buying our dream home

I am mentioning this particular project because it was a bit of a game changer. In a 4-month period, I spent 12 days at home. It was brutal but it bought us a house that we never thought we would live in.

Up to this point, I’d had a really good year work wise. But the decision to jump in and buy our dream home was a mistake.

We had been to see the house at the back end of 2012 just to be nosey really. And maybe get some interior design ideas for the home we lived in.

What I remember is me and Mrs Duffy sat on the landing saying, ‘Imagine if we could buy this house.’ I even think my better half said she would never want anything again …

A few months later, I was lucky enough to get the deposit money together. I got over excited in early February 2013 and suggested we should go up to our dream estate and buy our dream home.

It felt good seeing how happy my wife was, but it was still the wrong move. I let my emotions take over.

Chris who I was working with at the time had about 15 houses. That was an excellent plan B for him as he made over £3000 pcm in cashflow from his rental properties. He was on good money, and he invested wisely.

A few months before buying our dream home, I almost got back into property. I went to see 2 or 3 houses and almost put a bid in for one of them. A pitiful effort and I should have known better.

But my negativity towards rental properties was still there. My negative equity had a bigger impact on me than I realised at the time. It must have really bruised my ego.

IF I got back into property at the time …

At this point I am going to imagine I made the wise decision of getting back into property. Just to illustrate the importance of investing your money wisely.

Between 2012 and 2017, I made very good money in commissioning in various different roles. I was fortunate enough to have a good network and I got a lucky break. I might have went back to get some qualifications but I was an average Electrician. But, I made the most of my break and made good money along the way.

At the end of 2012, I had 3 rental properties making me a positive cashflow of £700 pcm. We are going to say that any rentals bought going forward, are going to make me a very conservative £200 pcm.

Let us imagine that me and Mrs Duffy didn’t buy our dream home. Instead, we got the property bug and decided to buy more rental properties.

We decided to get 2 properties a year between 2012 and 2017. That would have been 10 houses to add to the existing three. That would have been £2000 pcm to add to the £700 pcm we were getting initially.

That is a grand total of £32,400 pa. That is an awesome plan B.

It would have meant I would have stopped being a dark cloud over money and work in 2012. It would have meant that I wouldn’t have had to work all over the UK and all over the world.

But I didn’t buy any properties during this period and made several mistakes up to about 2018. You can learn from my mistakes in my new book.

The last thing I want is sympathy. I earned very good money and have been very poor at managing my money. Me and personal finance really didn’t get on from 2008 to 2018.

I just wanted to highlight what I should have done. What we done was get the bigger house and we got more expensive cars and generally fell into the consumer trap.

How not to do personal finance!!!!

Getting the big house with the bigger mortgage, put pressure on me to keep earning good money. 2012 to 2014 I earned good money and managed to buy our dream home. I managed to save some money as well.

This continued up to 2016 and I continued to save. I was a contractor and wanted to have some security behind me. Again, I could have bought another rental even after we bought our dream house. My mindset was very poor at the time, and I continued to just focus on work.

2016 was a year my personal finances went South. I decided I ‘d had enough of Offshore as my fear of helicopters was getting worse. Plus, I was spending 50% of my life in the North Sea away from my family.

I managed to get a good job onshore, but my wages dropped significantly. With our high expenses, we were now spending more than we were earning. Spend more than you earn, and worry about it later!

Not only that, but this was also a year we really made a fuss of ourselves. Instead of tightening the purse strings, we buried our head in the sand with our personal finances.

We decided we would buy a log burner. This cost £5000. Not only that we had to get a new settee, new armchair, basically a new front room. The front room cost £10,000 in total. Alarm bells started ringing and this is the time when I discovered spreadsheets.

I was on a job in Chester working in a team of about 10. We had a good team. A team that had been spoilt work wise and were all used to decent money at this point. And we were all shit with money.

We all got into putting all our income and expense on spreadsheets as we didn’t know where our money was going.

This was the start of me half-heartedly telling Mrs Duffy that we needed to change our ways. I was sick of the high outgoings and having to chase the money offshore and now away from home Monday to Friday.

My obsession with spreadsheets was very half-hearted as we pushed on with our horrendous personal finances.

The next little treat was a brand-new Audi Q5. This was on lease and added £400 pcm to our outgoings. Not to mention the cost of running it. We did love this car, but we just didn’t have the spare money to go out and get this upgrade.

Then there was the holidays. Now we felt like we deserved at least one holiday as we both worked hard. And we wanted to treat our girls. But we didn’t have the money.

We just thought we had good savings. We ignored the fact that our outgoings were now devouring our income. So, the savings started to head South very quickly.

The week’s holiday in Spain was about £4000 all in. We loved it don’t get me wrong. But again, we couldn’t afford it.

Then there was Lapland to see Santa Claus. Again, this cost about £4000 all in. And again, we couldn’t afford it.

Putting my poor personal finances aside, I have no regrets about Lapland. It was awesome and me and Mrs Duffy were very grateful to take our girls to see Santa Claus.

This was a once in a lifetime holiday and it was worth every penny. We were well aware of making the most of the kids believing in Santa and this added fuel to the fire. They loved everything about it.

The country where Santa lives (Finland) is beautiful and the cold snowy conditions add a bit of magic. The holiday makers go above and beyond as well and even me, and Mrs Duffy were believing in Santa by the end of the holiday.

As we had decent savings still, you could be thinking what is he talking about? Why is he getting worried and why is he getting obsessed with spreadsheets?

The point was our expenses were now higher than our income. And I was well aware of this fact. This brought with it a lot of stress and anxiety. I did enjoy our holidays and other luxuries but the nagging thoughts about money and work wouldn’t go away.

Along with our big mortgage, our new spending habits caused me a big headache. One positive from this headache was that I forced myself to focus on my 3 existing rentals.

This was hard to do as I really had a bad relationship with the rentals due to the negative equity. I’d now had enough of my negative equity and decided to overpay my interest only mortgages.

This led to 3 years of aggressive overpayments and being back in the black. This was a little milestone I was particularly happy with.

Personally, I was happy with our 3-bed semi-detached house. But the boss wanted a bigger kitchen and we ended up moving into our dream home.

What to do

I want you to use my example and try to implement some delayed gratification. If you earn extra money in your job or get a little side hustle, look to invest. Look to invest in property and get your plan B up and running.

Please don’t fall into the trap of letting your expenses match your income. Or worse still, spend more than you earn and worry about it later.

Book of the week: GOOD VIBES, GOOD LIFE, Vex King. Stop trying to impress people. Impress yourself. Stretch yourself. Test yourself. And be the best version of you that you  can be with this excellent book.

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

The Dangers of one income

‘Buying or building assets that deliver cash flow is putting your money to work for you. High-paying jobs mean two things: you’re working for money and the taxes you pay will probably increase’– Robert Kiyosaki

Focusing on one income

Back in 2012, I got a big break work wise.

I started my HNC to get into commissioning. I won’t bore you with details of my job, but commissioning was what every contractor I knew was hoping to get into. It was very lucrative, and I was determined to get my break.

Towards the end of my HNC, I got my break. It wasn’t even due to my HNC. I got the break because of my network. Two of my friends are twins, Carl and Chris. Through the twins, I met their uncle Ste.

Anyway, Ste got me my break into commissioning. My money worries were about to disappear. But just because you come into money, doesn’t mean you can manage it. Not only was I a poor excuse of a landlord, but I was also poor at personal finance.

Unfortunately, I spent the next 6 years focusing on my job. Focusing on one income. I earned good money. But I didn’t invest that money.

My income increased. And my expenses increased. Very poor personal finance.

Much needed financial literacy

At this point, I am going to introduce Robert Kiyosaki. If you read the excellent Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Kiyosaki, it will help you to get some much-needed financial literacy. Reading Kiyosaki’s books will lead to a stronger financial IQ.

By educating yourself, you will come to realise that one source of income is risky. From my experience, you could do with at least a plan B. The ideal scenario would be to have multiple streams of income.

What if you had an income from properties? What if you had a side business? What if you managed to get income from affiliate marketing? Or even royalties from a book or series of books? There are many other sources of income you can get other than your main income from your job.

Let’s just say you have managed to secure 10 properties. You earn a conservative £200 pcm after all costs on each property. That is £2000 pcm or £24,000 pa. This means that if you get finished from your job, you have a plan B in-place.

Or you could get 2x HMOs (House of multiple occupancy). This is when you rent out each bedroom. For example, you could have a 5-bed terraced house and make £2000 pcm gross off that one HMO. After all costs, you would easily get £1000 pcm. If you do manage to secure 2x HMOs that is again £2000 pcm or £24,000 pa. Another excellent plan B.

Back in 2012, I didn’t have any idea about plan B’s or multiple streams of income. Even though I had a little plan B in my £700 pcm from my 3 BTL’s. I wasn’t thinking big picture and I wasn’t looking at options if I lost my job.

I made the common mistake of focusing on one income. I put everything into my job.

As a contractor, it is a good idea to get yourself a cash buffer. Even if you have a permanent job, I still recommend you have a cash buffer. If you have 6 months’ worth of expenses, you are in a good place.

At the time, I had 3 months of expenses. It was about £6000 that I had saved from being offshore. I had just set up a limited company as I was getting paid a day rate in my new commissioning role.

My only focus was building my business account as I wanted some security behind me. In that first year, I built my account up. I went from £6000 savings to £26,000 savings in a very short space of time. This is what I had worked hard for. The studying, overtime and working offshore away from my family was starting to really pay off.

Although I thought I had cracked it, I had no clue at all about money or investing. If someone had come and gave me a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad it would have changed everything. The money I earned would have been invested wisely.

If I could go back to 2012, I would give myself a copy of this book to read 3 or 4 times. Just so the concepts really sunk in. I would have realised that what you get per day isn’t important when you look at the bigger picture. What is important is your net worth. What have you got in terms of assets and liabilities.

Just to be clear, your net worth is your total assets minus your total liabilities.

By relying on one income only, you are at risk. You might have savings, but they are savings for your future, not your monthly expenses. Just look at what happened in 2020 and now again in 2021. COVID has left many people on furlough or worse still without a job. Many people in the UK have been struggling during this difficult period.

I would say 95% of the people I have met at work, rely on one income. They earn good money, but they spend good money as well. And this is exactly what I had done from 2008 until 2018.

You can read about my miserable relationship with money in my New Book. This was a 10 year period that I was able to move past.

Whenever I got an increase in wages, my expenses quickly matched my income. My personal finances were all over the place. I didn’t have a clue about taxes, and I didn’t have a clue about anything financial if I am being honest.

My poor personal finances led to anxiety and stress – My 1st taste of anxiety. Many contractors I have worked with are unhappy. 9 times out of 10 it is due to money issues. Like me they earned good money and spent good money. Please take my advice and don’t fall into this trap.

Otherwise, you will end up in locations all over the world just to pay the bills. Trust me you don’t want to have to work away and spend far too much time away from family and friends.  

What to do

Spend less than you earn and invest the rest. This is a mantra I have heard many times after reading 100+ self-development books about money, business and property. This is a mantra I want planted firmly in your head.

You are not going to make the same mistakes that I have made. You are going to learn from my mistakes and start thinking bigger picture.

Lessons learned:

  • Relying on one income can lead to pain
  • You are going to spend less than you earn and invest the rest
  • Even if you get an increase in income, you will keep the same expenses
  • You will read some books and gain some much-needed financial literacy
  • Property is a very good plan B

Over the years, I have done far too much worrying over money and whether or not I will get on the next job. This is far too common in the UK from what I can see. I see many people stressed out over money and usually it is because they are not educated in money.

If we manage to get a plan B, or even multiple sources of income, I am confident that a lot of people in the UK would breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Book of the week: Multiple streams of property income, by Rob Moore. If property is your thing, this book will help you build more than one income. If you have more than one income, you are in a good place financially and it gives you options if the shit hits the proverbial fan.

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