JollyScot's Journey Starts

Where are you and where are you going?
Mister Imperceptible
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

JollyScot wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:01 pm
I will probably never trust a governmental official/civil servant again in my life however. My political outlook is now very much on the line of severely limiting state power and having clear and extremely harsh penalties on those who abuse that power they do obtain. Whether this is via incompetence or otherwise.
Amen

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

I will agree that the first decision can have many mistakes when someone with limited training is left with little supervision. However when a body has the power to dismantle lives, the bar should be much higher than it is. Not correcting or looking into these potential errors becomes unacceptable.

Or is it acceptable to have collateral damage to arrive at a system the majority of the public perceive as being correct. Some think so, generally those who think they will never fall on wrong side of the line. Maybe this is one of the things that cause people to gradually become more conservative in their lives. You live long enough to eventually have a run in with the system. I don't know. The immigration one is more heavily skewed towards the old though so maybe not.


At some point in a system there should be accountability and repercussions for those doing the job, for us this has not been the case.

At the point of appeal being submitted, they made choice to defend and pursue their decision
At point of submitting the "defense" to the courts, they didn't actually send any evidence. Just reprinted my wifes basic details
At the point where my MP directly contacted the Home Secretary (Sajid Javid at the time), defended the decision told us we would need to restart the whole application
It wasn't until the final day they withdrew, but accepted no fault over the 11 month process


I admit we may have just stumbled into a combination of bad luck and incompetence. If it has been shown to repeatedly happen and to an increasingly large numbers of citizens then what do you do.

They are exempt from providing compensation, exempt from criminal charges and you can never deal with the decision makers. Can you still call it a Civil Service at that point? If it is then where is the line? Is there even a line now? I mean they deported British citizens and nothing much of anything has happened to them or the system.

Although I won't personally hate anyone who works for the state, that is unreasonable. Everyone is just trying to do a job and support their family in the way they think is correct. In all my future dealings though I will not trust what they are doing.

I will also now resist and fight against any attempts by people to increase the size and scope of the state. Regardless on how many good intentions they think they have.

I do appreciate the voice of reason though and I don't entirely disagree with your post. I am very aware I am on the wrong side of fury at the moment, makes it impossible to see some sides of a point. I will eventually also calm down over the decision.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

So we are back in the UK. It was nice to have the whole immigration thing sorted and spend time with family. We will be staying with them until the tenants in my flat move out. This should be by the end of the month.


My wife now has a 2.5 year VISA for the UK before we need to apply to extend it. That said the plan to get work to update my CV to potentially relocate has worked out better than expected.


The current company I am working with seem is willing to increase my pay to compensate for the law change that the UK is doing. This would be for the next year on a large project they have. In additional I have 2 Swiss based contracts sitting with me, one looking for the skills I learned at my role last year and one wanting the skills picked up at my current role.


I am not entirely sure what to do as I am Financially Independent by some margin now. I don't need the money and I don't particularly want to work. However the last year has spooked me enough to consider moving out of the UK again (even immediately after arriving). Or at the very least building wealth to a level to "buy" my way out.


This may be unnecessary, I'm not sure.


The UK role would be earning 1 year of expenses every 1.5 months
The Swiss ones would be earning 1 year of expenses every month


Ridiculous earnings really and I'm not sure how I stumbled into this position. The level makes me somewhat uncomfortable as I'm obviously not worth that. But it seems businesses are willing to pay what is asked for if you can fix their problem. Considering it is financial companies then I would obviously prefer the money goes to me than them I guess.


I will need to sit down and decide with my wife about what to do. Retire in UK and take the risk of issues in the VISA renewal points. Relocate again and work for 5 years and earn enough to just buy more options. I am now at the top cap of what my profession could earn. That said it is still an exchange of my time for money and increasingly I don't like that exchange.


The second option would mean my "post" retired life of actually stumbling through contracts will be longer than my "pre" retired proper working career. It is weird as money has been solved for me, but another bunch of problems appeared that I'm trying to figure out.


If I could trust UK not to skrew us over again the plan was to

build some furniture,
build a mini raspberry pi arcade,
look into making a simple computer game,
volunteer at some local charities.

May still happen, depends on the next 2-3 months really

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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by jacob »

JollyScot wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:35 pm
If I could trust UK not to skrew us over again the plan was to

build some furniture,
build a mini raspberry pi arcade,
look into making a simple computer game,
volunteer at some local charities.
Oh man, I can relate. The thing is to consider this rationally---which admittedly is really hard when you're in it---and focus on hedging the big stuff rather than worrying about minutia insofar the political stars don't align. The big stuff as an expat in these days of volatile nationalism are things like the status and positioning (country and tax status) of financial accounts and ownership/dependence on illiquid and immobile assets (like homes or expensive tools or "collections"). Get that right.

Over the past few years I've wasted too much time thinking about "little stuff" as I'm wont to do given the ERE systems approach. My advice would be to break that approach by pre-empting the potential losses from an untimely exfill. If you have an rPi project that's worth $500 but the thought of "unwinding the position" over some immigration spat is putting it on hold mentally, just say fuck it and write off the loss immediately. The worst case is that you'll have to leave it on the curb.

In short, don't let pandering politicians keep you from your planned projects.

Note, this advice is biased from being able to afford to take the full depreciation hit of the expense with no recovery or thoughts of recovery. If this doesn't feel natural/come easy, one way to think about it is to think of it as a donation. E.g. you're building an arcade game with the explicit purpose to donate it to someone. Whether it's "in parts because @#$@$ visas" or "assembled to the orphanarium", you've pushed the decision out of your hands.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Yeah I should probably just make a start on the things I want to do regardless on the big choice. The combination of losing EU free movement, hardening of UK nationalism, prior refusal of VISA have all come together to put the rethink on the table. I just need to watch the level of sunk cost fallacy vs panic action decision making.


The cost of material on an arcade is a couple hundred. As long as I'm not a major sausage fingers then I'm sure it can be sold. Or as you say donated.


Main choice is the where to base for most secure position. I still want access to my Scottish water and free university libraries. However maybe I can exchange for Swiss water and less swirling around of rules. The spendy spendy expat bubble there got annoying first time round though.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Through all my time on the forum I have been a little vague about the exact earning I've had and only sort of mentioned it here and there as part of something else. As a lot of people are interested in the earning side I thought I'd put together a full career summary of how it progressed.

Actually I'd already done it and thought "hey I know a group of nerds that like lists of numbers". It was an interesting list to see the progression of the numbers though. I have included things like pension in the "employed" part of my career as consulting assumes you do that yourself.

Breakdown of my approximate earnings since leaving university. I have done this as an "hourly" number since the last part of my work was part time consulting. I have also converted my Swiss earnings into £ for easier comparison.

2008 - £15.50 (graduate starting salary)
2009 - £16.41 (move teams and good performace review)
2010 - £18.23 (Don't know why I got paid more here)
2011 - £20.06 (Promoted into more senior position)
2012 - £36.31 (move to Switzerland)
2013 - £42.81 (Pay rise for over delivering)
2014 - £54.11 (Pay rise because I found out I was lowest paid and kicked up a stink)
2015 - £85.33 (Eh "retired" and began consulting)
2016 - £100.00 (Pay jump because I was planning to leave)
2017 - £0.00 (Eh "retired" for a second time)
2018 - £78.57 (Dropped price to win complex role)
2019 - £86.67 (Average price to get big name on CV)
2020 - £120.00 (Potential being offered to me just now because I want to leave)

First big jump came from moving to Switzerland. However the increase in costs means my actual per hour savings rate was probably less than UK. It wasn't until later in my time there I wrestled my way out of the expat bubble.

The next was when I actually decided to pull the work plug. I sort of stumbled my way into consulting at a very high hourly rate. The value I have been paid has jumped about all over the place. The kind of swings in pay makes you see how stupid the 2% annual pay rise and company wage banding and blah de blab drivel HR people foist on us is.

I'm listening to people talk about their "year end reviews" and hoping to get permission for the holidays they want. I'm glad consulting removes me from that, I now negotiate on a business to business level and it just works differently.

I have discovered over the last 4 years that most consultants are actually pretty average. So most have no renegotiation after the initial term. I'm fairly belligerent about it though. I go in at the lower end of rates and then come out at the higher end, or i just leave. I don't know how much of this is down to luck vs me being a negotiating genius (probably 99% to 1%)

Over the last 11 years my earning have increased almost 8x. Now have I become 8x more productive...in certain types of situations I probably have. I was pretty slow as a graduate. A career of picking up the hard jobs in a team has paid off I guess. However its still a difficult number to justify considering how pointless large swathes of my work is.

This was all based on gross numbers, accounting for tax was too much of a faff to think about. Net the multiplier over my career is maybe closer to 5x-5.5x though (its a half guess though)

Looking at a list like this makes me want to try and build something on my own and see what "hourly" rate I can get. I remember watching a talk by a games programmer who did this and it was interesting to see all of his own games returned the highest hourly rate. Even though none were particularly successful.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

So it has been an eventful first month back in the country.

I have had a back and forth with my current employer regarding my contract. The people I am directly working with wanted me to stay. The Human Resource department wanted me to leave because of the upcoming contractor law changes in UK. Easier to a blanket ban than to worry about doing it properly.

The result was them,

Firing me (Nov)
Unfired me (Dec)
Fired me again (Dec)
Unfired me (Jan)
Fired me immediately (Jan)
Unfired a couple days later (Jan)

Now finally I am set to leave end February. They have been expressly forbidden to extend my contract on renegotiated terms. I think their expectation is that most will take the 25% pay cut to keep working. I refused so hence the farce above.

Had it not been for the savings I suspect the whole episode would have been stressful. As an outside observer that wasn't too bothered it was quite funny watching them fight with themselves.


My wife has made a start looking for a job. Mostly getting the right bits of paperwork. Need an address for a bank account, but with us staying with family getting the right things has proved annoying (as usual, eff the system).

All of that is now sorted though and she can start settling in properly. I have seen a large list of groups she plans to join and projects to start. So I suspect she will get busy quite quick and the job may not happen.


Now the big news of the month is that we have bought a new property. A large city centre place came up for sale (230 m2) that was split across 2 levels. We agreed to go half and half for it with my parents. So relative to where I am now my housing is about £50,000 more expensive (£200,000 share). That said we are in one of the best accommodations in the city.

We will rework the flat where my wife and I will take the upstairs and my parents will take the downstairs. We had some chats about whether it was a good idea to live with them or not. We agreed that the place is sufficiently separated and a sufficiently large life style upgrade. We all get along unlike some families so its ok.

I looked at the expense increase and although bills are rising, the additional person split means that our costs will come out about the same. Actually maybe a little lower.

Longer term we will eventually buy the rest from my parents if they decide they want a country house or somewhere else. Then at that point with the division of the spaces we will rent out their section to someone for most of our expenses.

This fixes my parents rental issue, they have been house hunting for 3 years but have been too scared to pull the trigger. For us we managed to secure life long property that we wouldn't have manage to do on our own. Fingers crossed it all works out. Worst case scenario we can rent the place for £2,000 per month if needed.

Even without the reworking we could rent the extra rooms in the place at £1,200-£1,400 per month. So equivalent to £360,000-£420,000 in safe investment income. When you look at it that way the £400,000 sticker price become less of a gamble. We would have been competing against people who wanted it for themselves so really I was doing a different set of sums than they were.

With the amount of calculations I have run on properties over the last few years. I wanted to buy it almost as soon as it came up for sale. So it was a process of to getting everyone else on side with the plan. I guess a combination of Brexit and higher taxes on property at these levels means most people were reluctant to go as high.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

The property sale is now officially agreed and we will be moving at the end of the month. The day after I finish working, nice timing. Due to UK taxes my current flat will be getting sold and will form the majority of my wife and I's share of the new purchase.

I ran some numbers as to how the move will really impact our position for now and for when we eventually buy it outright.

current flat Value: £150,000
2 bed 88 m2

Costs
Council Tax: £136
Factor Fee: £130
Bills: £80
Total: £346

Room rental: £575 (thought it was 500 and then 650, its in the middle somewhere)
Investment Income: £1,333 (£400,000 @ 4%)

Net with rent: £1,562
Net no rent: £987


New flat value (half share): £200,000
3 bed 230 m2

Costs
Council Tax: £154
Factor Fee: £65
Bills: £75
Total: £294

Room Rental: £400 (half share of large room rental)
Investment Income: £1,167 (£350,000 @ 4%)

Net with rent: £1,272
Net no rent: £873


New flat value: £400,000
3 bed 230 m2

Costs
Council Tax: £307
Factor Fee: £130
Bills: £150
Total: £587

Room Rental: £1400 (2 large rooms rented)
Room Rental: £800 (Largest room rented)
Investment Income: £500 (£150,000 @ 4%)

Net with rent (2): £1,313
Net with rent (1): £713
Net no rent: -£87 (oh dear)

We would on a pure numbers perspective been better off in our current place and renting out the room we have and investing the difference. We would probably earn more than the 4% too.

However the level of upgrade to living space means it misses a large part of the value. The new place also has the possibility to rent the spare rooms to tourists or professionals as opposed to a normal renter. This could potentially boost income there significantly, but I have not assumed this.

Functionally we can still be retired after this purchase. However unlike the current flat we would "need" to rent the extra space. Have to see if it is worth some extra work to get out of that requirement or not. I will probably do the same as before if work finds me I might agree if not just do my own thing.

The fact that it helps my family out as well as myself means I think this is a good step. If it was just a normal 2 bed -> 3 bed change then probably not. Also if it was just for my wife an I then equally I wouldn't have considered it.

A little bit of comfort in the whole thing is that when I retired the first time I had 300k net worth and was ok with pulling the trigger then. 4 years later and I'm past the 550k mark and can see that not having a "proper" job is actually quite easy. I did cheat a bit with doing consulting though.

JollyScot
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

This month my investments took a battering much like everyone else. Since the start of the drops net worth has taken an approximate 4% hit. All things considered not been too bad. A lot of this is because large chunks of my stocks were sold before Christmas.

It was my intention to sell my old flat to cover the costs of the new house purchase. Not sure how that will go. Flat has been put on the market and will see how it goes. If the offers are below market rate the I may rent it instead.

Pros and cons to each choice. Currently some pretty good mortgage deals going. Means choosing between 3 options

1. Sell Flat, market valuation is 170k (cash flow +sale price immediately)

2. Rent flat out with low Buy to Let mortgage (5 year fixed @2.04%). Due to the way UK taxes work would need to absorb a 16k tax bill due to second home rules. (cash flow -16k immediately, +16k net over next 5 years)

3. Sell property to company to rent out (5 year fixed @3.24%). With this option absorbing around 7k tax bill instead. (cash flow -8k immediately (fees), +10k net over next 5 years)

First choice gives me cash to cover property and invest in other items during falls. Second 2 will give some cash once mortgage organised. The hassle of renting for 5 years broadly just breaks even because of the tax.

And this it at estimated yields of 10.17% and 7.41% respectively. Not particularly happy with the options, so will wait to see what the offers are like before deciding. As usual another rule that when you look at the reality of life is ill designed. Still hopefully price lands in appropriate margin where a sale makes sense.

Outwith property and markets, the last week of my work role went ok. The company may be looking to bring me back in another area after all. Still going over contracts and things. If agreed would be based in Scotland this time. Another 6 months of work. Hopefully a good time to get some cash flow together to buy during the crisis.

As for expenses, had a few extra costs due to moving house. Thankfully though the monthly average is still trending downwards. Being set up in my own place makes keeping costs down a LOT easier than when we were in France. Had a couple of attempts at home made pizza this month, pretty good so another takeaway to remove from my eat out list.

Last item is the new list of house upgrades to try my hand at. Last time round I did the flooring, plastering, the bathroom (minus plumbing) and the painting.

This time round not sure what to attempt. Looking at insulation options first, the last 2-3 weeks were awful weather so might not be as bad it seems, hopefully just a couple of clothing layers will suffice. Other than that flooring again, maybe some of the kitchen, downstairs could do with some wall changes, but maybe not enough to justify costs. Bathrooms are nice, but there is a massive Jacuzzi bath that will never be used so could do with being changed. Some built in storage options make use of the sloped ceiling areas.

Finally my mini arcade plan has been changed to a full sized arcade plan. The rooms are much larger would rather have a multiplayer version with a bench and everything, so will be looking for materials based on that.

A few curve balls, but all in all been a productive few weeks.

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Bankai
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by Bankai »

Are you the sole owner of your flat? If yes, would it change anything wrt taxes if your wife bought the second with your parents instead of you (or both of you)?

If you're in Glasgow or Edinburgh, these are quite hot right now - I've seen some predictions of prices going up by 20% in the next 5 years. That could be a solid argument for keeping the old flat, and it gets better the more leverage you have. On the other hand, FTSE also starts to look tempting and probably will look even more so in a few months. Strategically, it's not bad to own a property in turbulent times though.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

It is in my name, however once you are married you count as a single person from a stamp duty tax perspective. So unfortunately no way to get out of it that way. They all wanted to be on the lease, which is understandable with everyone putting into the pot initially.

It is however going to lead to some extra costs, these ones I was less concerned about. Part of the process of bringing everyone along with me.

The property valuation on my flat as of now is a 17% increase on initial price paid + upgrade costs. So agree the markets are still moving quick. Scotland is still quite cheap really, Edinburgh less so. Still kinda doable. My worry is more this is a short term lull that could force me into a tax bill that really wasn't planned for.

In reality I would have preferred to have kept the flat, as it is very nice and highly desirable rental wise. Had it not been for this extra tax cost the yield would be pushing 12%, which is a slam dunk good choice. That said the yield is only doable with the low interest rates. With no interest numbers drop a lot at the valuation price, here it is more on the line of probably should be sold.

The low interest rates are really warping what makes sense. Still don't see it ending well. There seems to be an almost unlimited supply of cheap money just making everything a bit broken.

The flat can rent at about £900-£950 per month, with owning outright and at current valuation, accounting for all costs and voids. I would get over the longer term about 4%, plus and price increase.

To have the same yield with the cheap mortgage it would mean charging a rent of £675. Price increase would count more, but ignored it here.

Now if I were a bad neighbor and were to go the Airbnb route, then you can push to yields of almost 25%. So can understand why there are so many, skirting the law is VERY profitable it seems.

I will probably still sell. I just can't bring myself to start the illegal hotel in my building. Even though I have used the service myself and know there are a lot of people who have convinced themselves it is fine. You will know from Edinburgh that it is a bit of a nightmare for residents. Even here there are currently 8 in my building, so maybe I am using the wrong compass for my choices.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

So after a proper look through the number taking into account the following

Cash flow of renting out property (Normal and Airbnb)
Investment returns on non-house money (7% assumed)
Potential Property Value in 5 years

For the property price I have assumed the number the flat will go in 5 years is +20k over now. There were recent comparable that were going for that in prior months so I think is reasonable estimate.

For the Airbnb had a look at Airdna to get an idea of the expected occupancy and nightly rate of the flat. I then underestimated what they said but 10% on nightly rate and occupancy.

Then I come up with a "profit" over the next 5 years.
Base decision is selling the flat and just investing the cash.
Based on that starting point (59,500 - 5 year return) the relative values of each choice are given below.

NRN: -22.1k
NRC: -13.5k
NAN: +13.1k
NAC: +21.8k
MRN: +8.4k
MRC: +8.5k
MAN: +25.9k
MAC: +34.6k

The coding are as follow:-
First letter: N=No Mortgage, M=Mortgage
Second letter: R=Normal Rental, A=Airbnb Rental
Third letter: N=No Company, C=Company

So code of NRN = No Mortgage, Normal Rent, No Company


Then I had a second look at the numbers where my flat sells below market rate and I break even on it. So an approximate 15k hit on the valuation. So starting point of 54,250.

NRN: -16.9k
NRC: -8.2k
NAN: +18.4k
NAC: +27.1k
MRN: +13.6k
MRC: +13.7k
MAN: +31.1k
MAC: +39.8k

This highlighted a few things for me.

First, renting out normally with no mortgage make no sense at all. It is a big hit even when considering a poor sale price now.

Second, the normal renting with a mortgage does provide a decent extra yield. Once that initial 5 year window is over and I am out from under the tax charge it could be a good earner.

Third, the Airbnb returns are outrageous. I have assumed 5% mortgage interest rate and also under estimated the rental rate and occupancy. Even with that a 170,000 investment could earn up to 94,000 in profit over 5 years. Or the property would need to sell for almost 265,000 to be equivalent to the Airbnb return.

When you see the discrepancy listed out like that there will be no stopping the increase in holiday lets. Not until regulation comes in and hammers it out. Scotland has started to look at curtailing them, so there are risks with it.

I had my first viewing today and will see how the next week goes. I have a lot of thinking to do though.

JollyScot
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

It has been another interesting month. With life handing another pile of curve balls my way.


First off I have had a few things go on with the old flat and the new flat we purchased.

Two weeks ago I received an offer on my flat that was less than the going rate for January, but in general a good price relative to what I paid. The planned completion date is for the end of June. However there are a few items that could derail the sale of the flat. We will see, but fingers crossed on it.

1. The UK housing market has been locked down. So there is no guarantee that my deal could be completed even if we wanted.
2. Potential buyer may not be able to get a mortgage, banks are starting to pull access to funding.
3. The duration of time between now and sale date could lead to the buyer having a change of heart. Possible, but they seemed like they really wanted it, so we will see.
4. An application has been submitted to our local authority to have a 20 story student housing development in front of our building. This may also cause the potential buyer to reconsider.


Now point number 4 there is also going to have an impact on the new property we just bought (same building). Within a month of buying we have a notification of a plan to put up 90m ish high property right in front of us. The building will contain almost 300+ new residents and be one of the most densely populated buildings within the city.

So I have spent the last 2 weeks going through various planning documents, laws and rules to see what to do about the news. If the building does get constructed, then to a large extent it would be done so at the expense of our building, we are the only residential neighbour. There are a few items the developer is ignoring within its application that could see it overturned. The worry I have is that there has been ongoing negotiations with the local authority in advance to this plan being submitted. Based on regulations the developer should have notified us in advance of the application to get public and key stakeholder feed back. This never happened, so the whole thing is pretty suspicious.

We will see how it goes. It is a fight I really didn't want to deal with. Worst case scenario is a massive hit to my property currently being sold and the one we recently bought. If we were to have student dorms overlooking our new building then we would probably sell move somewhere else, absorbing the financial hit as a result. In general I wouldn't object to a new development, however the current plans are taking the piss (as expected). We purchased a property in a listed building to guard against crap like this. It seems anything can be justified if enough profit is available. Fingers crossed the developer goes bankrupt over the next few months.


Next we move onto work. I had an offer of work from my previous employer. The planned start date was to be the beginning of April. As a result of the virus they are on lock down and the role has been indefinitely delayed. So for me it is back to being retired. It is a shame as the income boost at a time when stock markets are in a panic could have been a good time to get in some serious accumulation. Technically there is still a chance I will be asked back when the lock down ends. I will not base any of my planning on that scenario though.


Now finances. I have been trying to transfer over money from our time in France back to the UK. The bank has decided they are not going to let this happen. So I have a decent chunk of money stuck in cash that can't be accessed. Can't travel to France to sort it due to the travel lock down. If any attempts are made to sort it over the phone we get told, everything is fine. Then our money remains locked in France.

In general my net worth has held up reasonably well during the crash. I am a little heavy on the housing side of things though. Exact wrong timing means I could be stuck with two properties that are about to get a big financial hit. Based on the offer price I have received and no student dorms being built then my net worth is level over the month. I have a lot of cash too that I need to begin to invest, a lot of the decisions are tied up in waiting to see if my house will sell or not though.


With respect to general life, my family and I are all coronavirus free through and happily stocked up at home to survive for another 2 months if needed. So although a lot of the above things are annoying, life is still pretty good all things considered.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Been trying to work organise habits again. In France I managed to get a pretty good routine going for 2-3 months. Since then various life challenges and trips away means it all sort of derailed and I have not managed to get back to it again.

The list of habits I would like to instigate are as follows

Wake 7 am - I have been slowly drifting with respect to my wake time to between 9:30 and 10:30. I wouldn't mind so much, but I have found I achieve much less if I wake later.
Exercise - The lock down has scuppered a lot of my exercise (building gym closed, swimming pool closed). So I need to try and get into some kind of daily routine.
Cold Shower - I was fairly good at doing this consistently in France, Scotland I really haven't as the cold here is a order of magnitude colder than in France.

Earl Grey/Green Tea - Drink a pot each day and try to replace some of the coffee I drink with tea. I have a tendency to forget.
Fast 20 hours - Harder with more people in the house. They are 'difficult' about it. Get annoyed when you don't want the random stuff they make themselves. Need to put my foot down more on this one.
Meditate - I have on and off tried this, but never done it for long enough to know if it is useful. So I want to make an attempt to get a 30 days in a row run as a tester. I am still not sold on the benefits.

Journal/Plan - Want to regularly set aside time to plan or journal my day. Again I have on and off done it. Usually one off large attempt when starting something. The regular refreshing and looking I haven't been able to do.
Work 10 pomodoros a day - I was very productive when I managed to do this in France. That 3 month stint was some of the most productive I have been as I reached a critical mass of forward progress. The getting up in the morning item is a big part on helping this goal.

I have decided to keep track of all these on a wall chart where I mark crosses each day when/if I manage to do them. Trying to limit the use of the smart phone as much as possible. Still distracting, but I am getting better at putting it in a drawer for most of the day. I may add a final one of no YouTube, it is probably the last big social media time suck that I have. It is still a weird feeling as I don't need to be productive but have an underlying urge to do stuff. Hopefully it sticks longer this time instead of just a wave the goes away again or gets derailed.

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Bankai
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Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by Bankai »

"Atomic habits" by James Clear is an excellent book on habit formation.

One of the techniques he recommends is stacking new habits on top of existing habits, so for example, if you already wake up at a certain time, you can meditate first thing in the morning, then once it's established, follow up with exercise, cold shower, etc.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Yeah I read his book, it was one of the things that made me put together the habit list properly this time round. Last time I just sort of had stuff I kinda did sometimes and it still worked well.

Morning routine could be

Wake -> Meditate -> Exercise -> Cold Shower -> Pot of Tea -> Journal/Plan -> first pomodoro

Which gets most of what I want done out by 9am. That said it does seem like an overly managed morning. I'll play about with it all to see if one in particular helps it all stick a bit more.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Over the last month I have stumbled my way back into looking at news. Bad slip up on my part. It is very easy to fall back into a habit of just consuming garbage. Like a lot of people, if there was somewhere I thought I would get impartial reporting of the facts then I would pay for this. This doesn't seem to exist anymore, if anyone knows of one though please let me know.

My plans for forming habits has been going ok, out of the ones listed below my progress on them has been as follows:

Wake 7 am - 20/30 Bad start

Exercise - 11/30 Horrible until I got a couple of kettle bells in, consistent since then

Cold Shower - 21/30 a couple of false starts (being a woose) now I am used to it again and been fine

Tea Drinking - 30/30 replaced my morning coffee with a pot of tea, lasts much longer than my espresso. Been a good change so far

Fast 20 hours - 5/30 not great at being consistent here, too many snacks in the house. Also been doing cooking, decent at Pizza, Ramen and Indian from scratch now.

Meditate - 1/30 I should probably just cross this one off it just doesn't agree with me

Journal/Plan - 18/30 The days I manage to complete my pomodoros I manage to do this. If I don't start then no chance. This kind of leads me into completing the pomodoros. SO should do this first thing really

Work 8 Pomodoros a day - 18/30 I cut the count down to 8 pomodoros (more consistency) I had a couple days where it was after 12 and I had not started and just sacked it all off. Seems to be a better number to make sure i start.

No YouTube - 8/30 All with that last few days with no break in the chain. It was helping me consume too much garbage content. Bloody internet and how they made it addictive. Anyway to help here I ended up paying for the spotify membership. I used to listen to YouTube for background music, then went down a rabbit hole. This means I have no side reason to go there.

See how the next 30 days go, I am getting a bit better at keeping to a productive routine.

basuragomi
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by basuragomi »

Wikipedia's current events portal is a pretty good neutral news source.

My mostly-successful approach to handling Youtube videos was putting a scheduler on my browser. Your video browsing habits may change a lot when there is a definite time limit to watch them in. Skipping past the cruft to the relevant ~10 seconds of novelty per video made me realize how little most videos are actually worth watching in full, which cemented control over the habit. I also found that the top comments usually summarize or call out the most interesting part from the video, which can help you decide if any part of the video is worth watching.

saving-10-years
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by saving-10-years »

@basuragomi - thanks for posting that link. Its so refreshing to read news that is actually news.

JollyScot
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:44 am

Re: JollyScot's Journey Starts

Post by JollyScot »

Hmm, I'll take a look at those each day. I had never really considered wikipedia as a potential of a news source. At some point I'll probably just stick my head back in the sand and pretend everything that is happening isn't a real thing. The mental overhead of watching it all is getting old.

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