The Financial Dashboard – July 2019

The goals for July were:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out (slipping off the bandwagon!)
  • Clear last of credit card debts

Checking the assets and liabilities:

July AssetsJuly Liabilities

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by 4.33%. By sheer fluke it was the exact same net figure as last month. My savings rate, not including mortgage repayment, was 28.99%, nudging up my 2019 average rate to 16.28%.

Goals:

Goal failed: Plan healthy weekly dinners

The last two months have been properly hectic. There was a solid four week block at the end of June/ start of July where I was only at home for 8-12 hours every 2-3 days, through combination of some horrendous shift patterns, work trips and conferences. It’s therefore been pretty difficult to actually eat a healthy diet. I found myself snacking or having whatever was convenient. The last two weeks of July have been better, with proper healthy meals cooked using decent ingredients. The goal now is to set an actual meal plan for the week that we can stick to.

Goal failed: Exercise at least 3x a week

This is part of an ongoing goal/ battle to maintain some semblance of fitness. Same reason for failure as above, same excuse. When you’re working 12-16 hour days, plus commute, how to find time to exercise. One of the big issues was that the main gym I go to has very limited hours for the classes I do. I absolutely love it, and find it difficult to achieve dem gainz without going to these classes. I can probably manage two a week if I prioritise, but it’s a steep £55/month. I know from experience that on my own I lack the motivation to achieve my fitness goals. On top of this I pay £20/month to a sports club to go one-two times a week. This isn’t just exercise, but also a hobby and an interest, so I’m reluctant to give it up. So I’m left with £75/month for classes which sometimes I can only attend once or twice a week.

I could drop one of the above and go somewhere else. The logical option is to drop one. The emotive, irrational, behavioural driver of my decisions said no. Again from experience, exercise is incredibly important for my mental wellbeing. My self-image, self-confidence and tension/ stress levels are all tied to my exercise frequency. Instead I joined another (very local, very cheap) gym. It adds £26/month, but means I can exercise pretty much 24/7. I’m up to £101/month for my exercising choices.

How do you put a price on improved wellbeing?

How do you do a cost-benefit analysis for the spending choices you make?

Most of my cost-benefit spending choices are emotive. I write pros/ cons lists. I challenge myself- “Will I regret not making this spending”. But it’s not logical. So how to lay it out as cold hard facts.

In the medical world we use Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYS) to make utilitarian decisions about whether a healthcare intervention is cost effective. QALYS are defined by NICE as:

A measure of the state of health of a person or group in which the benefits, in terms of length of life, are adjusted to reflect the quality of life. One QALY is equal to 1 year of life in perfect health.
QALYs are calculated by estimating the years of life remaining for a patient following a particular treatment or intervention and weighting each year with a quality-of-life score (on a 0 to 1 scale). It is often measured in terms of the person’s ability to carry out the activities of daily life, and freedom from pain and mental disturbance. (1, 2)

It’s a pretty rough and ready system. It boils down a host of human experience to binary outputs. It’s led to a lot of complaints as exorbitantly expensive therapies are not supported by the NHS, because the cost does not outweigh the cumulative population benefit. E.g. spending a million quid to give a cancer/ cystic fibrosis/ MS patient an extra year, or spending a million quid to give 50,000 people with high blood pressure a 10% lower chance of a heart attack. Because it’s working on a population level it’s not really applicable to an individuals choices, but I wondered if there I something similar for individual wellbeing. EQ-5D-5L

The measure expected by NICE for the calculation of QALYS is the EQ-5D-5L (see above) (3). It’s brief, easy to answer, and primarily assess function. There is a push from the MRC towards developing a wellbeing-adjusted life year (WELBY) (4, 5). Some scales and tools are already being trialled, including the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (6). They have emerging evidence, but primarily function as an adjunct to existing disability measures (7). Trying to quantify functional happiness resultant from choices is something I’ll come back to in the future to flesh out as a separate post. Suffice to say I haven’t got an answer to my utilitarian question, so the heart will continue to rule.

Goal failed: Get two more blogposts out

Really struggled with this too. I’ve fourteen (count ’em) posts sat in my drafts box in various states of preparation, but had no time to actually finish any off. We’ll try this month.

Goal achieved: Clear last of credit card debts

I forgive myself my month of failures because for the first time in (I think) six years I’ve cleared all my credit card debt. Not since I started university have I had no unsecured debts. It’s a good feeling.

Short-Term Debt Q2

N.B. Eagle-eyed readers will note the £150 on my credit card in the liabilities dashboard above. I forgot to change some payment details on an online account, so that appeared after I had been at £0. 

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £300, spent £254, last month £139.65.
  • Entertainment – Budget £150, spent £186, last month £75. Turns out we didn’t spend nothing last month, my spreadsheet was out of whack. Now updated and we overspent this month by having a few dinners out and buying gifts for friends.
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £618.29, last month £631.07. Lots of driving to different sites, plus a service means another expensive month.
  • Holiday – £150, spent £103.50, last month £0. We had a short break away.
  • Personal – £100/ £130.76/ £198.43. Saved much more this month.
  • Loans/ Credit – £350/ £493.30/ £890
  • Misc – £50/ £168.31/ £314.37. Soft furnishings mainly.

In the garden:

Overflowing with tomatoes (little cherries mainly), dwarf french and runner beans, courgettes and cucumbers. Onions going off, and some other bits going to seed. Pumpkins and squashes starting to really spread, and I’ve got some little cucamelons on the way.

Goals for next month:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Recheck my budgets as I change jobs and drop my income by 1/4 (gotta love the NHS)

What’s in the pipeline: (Life continues to get in the way of blogging)

  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Should I buy an electric car?
  • Q2 2019 – Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy August everyone,

The Shrink

  1. https://www.nice.org.uk/glossary?letter=q
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-adjusted_life_year
  3. https://euroqol.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/EQ-5D-5L_UserGuide_2015.pdf
  4. https://mrc.ukri.org/documents/pdf/improving-cross-sector-comparisons-using-qalys-and-other-measures-a-review-of-alternative-approaches-and-future-research/
  5. https://concepts.effectivealtruism.org/concepts/measuring-healthy-life-years/
  6. https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/med/research/platform/wemwbs/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5016960/
Advertisements

The Full English – Sparking joy

What am I blathering on about this week?

We’ve been watching a lot of Marie Kondo on Netflix in our house. If you’ve not seen it, it’s a bit of a weird sell. A tiny japanese woman with a penchant for organising sorts out hoarders houses. Here she is (1):

Now she’s made a profession (and massive cash) out of perfecting tidying up. She’s sold millions of books, and sparked plenty of knock-offs (2). Her key points are fairly simple, and revolve around attacking things in a certain order, with a future goal in mind, and only keeping items which ‘spark joy’ (3). There’s no point having 20 photo albums you never look at. Keep one or two collated versions somewhere you can see them regularly, etc…

This floats pretty close to minimalism for me. It’s an easy to digest, more accessible, less elite version (4). After all, minimalism aims to:

  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Pursue our passions
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives (5)

It’s a counter-cultural push against the consumerism of general life (6). And as such it sits well with the FI community, in the general ‘buy less shit’ stakes. I’ve always liked the idea of minimalism. It fits a Manhattan loft/ bourbon and grubby nightclubs life-direction which is never likely to be achieved. I’m just fairly shit at it. I own a lot of stuff. Much of the stuff is fairly tatty. We’ve lived like students for 10 years and many items have been bought as ‘do-fers’; they’ll do for now. 5-10 years on they’re still doing. I’ve been de-cluttering over the last six months, but I’m still left with a sense that a lot of stuff with remain. I will never be minimalist. Marie Kondo tells me it’s okay if my stuff sparks joy. So my garage full of tools which spark joy when I have the right tool for the job is okay. The ‘do-fers’ don’t spark joy, so they’ll be replaced with items which do. Ultimately I think that boils down to an intentionalism approach to items, as we try to be more intentional with the choices we make in our lives. Why fill your life with shit that makes you miserable.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” -Epictetus

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

 

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Kondo
  2. https://konmari.com/
  3. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/a25846191/what-is-the-konmari-method/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimalism
  5. https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/
  6. https://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism/
  7. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-7140919/Can-modify-car-finance-dangers.html
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/26/uk-economy-cliff-edge
  9. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48820573
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/05/bury-bodies-along-uks-motorway-to-ease-burial-crisis-expert-suggests
  11. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-your-money-48776454
  12. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48776125
  13. https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/hargreaves-lansdown-just-removed-nick-085637525.html
  14. https://www.cityam.com/freetrade-to-close-7m-in-second-crowdfunding-round/
  15. https://monevator.com/passive-fund-of-funds-the-rivals/
  16. https://monevator.com/defined-benefit-to-defined-contribution-pension-transfers/
  17. https://monevator.com/the-slow-and-steady-passive-portfolio-update-q2-2019/
  18. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/07/selling-vodafone-lessons-learned-from-one-of-my-first-defensive-value-investments.html/
  19. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/06/ftse-100-ftse-250-valuations.html/
  20. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/06/25/why-capitalism-is-better-for-your-pet-dog-than-communism/
  21. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2019/06/26/does-a-4-percent-withdrawal-rate-survive-a-60-year-retirement/
  22. https://cashflowcop.com/when-to-buy-a-house-if-you-have-student-loans-debt/
  23. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/how-to-drastically-cut-expenses/
  24. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/06/aquila-european-renewables-trust-new.html
  25. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/07/half-year-portfolio-update.html
  26. https://indeedably.com/independence/
  27. https://indeedably.com/indeedably-meta-redux/
  28. https://indeedably.com/inflection-point/
  29. https://firevlondon.com/2019/07/01/doubling-party/
  30. https://firevlondon.com/2019/07/03/june-2019-q2-review/
  31. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/07/07/june-2019-other-updates/
  32. https://ditchthecave.com/30s-and-40s-financial-independence/
  33. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/june-19-net-worth-and-monthly-update-11-514218-9687/
  34. https://thesavingninja.com/twelve-months-later-savings-report-12/
  35. https://www.msziyou.com/true-love-never-smooth/
  36. https://awaytoless.com/monthly-spending-june-2019/
  37. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/cashback-success-saving-30-100-on-car-insurance/
  38. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/wild-strawberries-and-wild-gardens/
  39. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/07/01/month-end-accounts-june-2019/
  40. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/07/investment-review-june-2019.html
  41. https://financeyourfire.com/2019/07/02/portfolio-update-june-2019/
  42. https://financeyourfire.com/2019/06/28/adventures-in-cryptospace/
  43. https://www.earlyretirementguy.com/summer-2019-networth-update/
  44. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/07/05/Early-retirement-costs-targets—June-2019
  45. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/07/02/june-review-and-spending/
  46. https://www.1500days.com/uk-chautauqua-fi-peeps-scarce-sleep-and-lots-of-sheep
  47. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/07/07/allotment-jobs-for-july/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Full English – Evolving radicalism vs Thanatos

What am I buggering on about this week?

We, as a society, are crap about talking about death. We don’t like to talk about it. It’s not polite conversation. It’s morbid. It’s uncomfortable. Yet we should talk about it. Getting old is part of life. Dying is part of life. You start off in nappies, get taller, get smarter, achieve your potential, then get smaller, ending up back in nappies. That end nappy part may be an uncomfortable thought, but it needs to be considered. Firstly because, as I’ve said before, that sort of care is expensive. Secondly, as The Accumulator at Monevator pointed out this week, longevity risk is a significant sword of Damocles over your portfolio that we’re increasingly error-prone at calculating (1).

I’m a pretty morbid sort on this blog. I suspect it comes from spending most days discussing suicide. But why as a society are we so bad at it? Fear of death is innate and hard-wired after millions of years of predation. Our ancestors evolved senses to not only hunt, but not be hunted. After all, you can’t procreate if you’re someone’s dinner. The awareness of this fact is intrinsically to the concept of ego and self-awareness, and has therefore been around for as long (2, 3). The logical step from ‘I think therefore I am’. You become aware of your identity, a self. An argument states the pressure of death anxiety led to the formation of early religions, as a way of placating anxiety at the extinguishing of the self and the maintenance of ego.

Death is therefore something the classical psychoanalytical types spend a lot of time on. Freud’s Todestreib (death drive) was in opposition to Eros, the life instinct/ drive (4). It is sometimes referred to as Thanatos. It was the drive and deep-rooted instinct towards destruction in opposition to the life instinct, which pushes us towards creation and fertility. All life had an innate drive to not exist; to return to a non-conscious state. Melanie Klein took this further in her description and psychoanalytical approach. As part of object-relations theory, Klein would suggest that elements of anxiety and fear are deep-rooted at an early stage, as part of a fear of death (5). In general I find Freud and Klein too contrived, too derivative and too full of collective assumption, without practical observation.

I much prefer Erik Eriksons’ explanation – it’s easier to understand and relate to. As part of the Psychosocial Stages of Development a person reaches a stage in their life called ‘Ego Integrity vs Despair’ (6). Conventionally it could be understood as a point where a person is a wise elder. If we accept our life cycle is our one and only chance, and we feel we have been successful, we are inherently satisfied. If feel guilt, we felt we have been unproductive or we did not accomplish our life goals we become despairing. Erikson said this applied from age 65+, but I feel this is much more flexible, and people’s ego states can move in or out.

Why am I talking about this? Well I think a lot of articles base their word count on this very contrast. I’m not just talking about that Guardian article about millenials smashing avocado (7). I’m talking about a huge quantity of the opinion pieces that litter written media. I was prompted to write this by an article, “How the baby boomers sold out”, that was in last weeks New Statesman (8).

Every generation has a hill it dies upon in it’s youth. As the radical fire is burnt out it becomes indentured. It develops Stockholm Syndrome for the capitalist society that props it up and provides it’s creature comforts. Erikson defines this as “Identity vs Role Confusion”, as part of defining the self and one’s political/ social/ moral beliefs (6). If you extend that out across a generation you see how each successive group of teenagers seeks to define itself against it’s elders. Thus every generation, in the course of normal self-development, will be in conflict with those older than it and their expected societal margins. You can see it now in the school strikes. It has existed since the concept of self. The old have always complained about the young in turn. Aristotle said:

“They [Young People] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning — all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything — they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.”  (9, 10)

So next time you read an article which complains about the young, or rails against the boomers, remember your own life course. This is the path we all tread. Reflect on what you were radical about, and enjoy this new generations radicalism.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References:

  1. https://monevator.com/why-your-life-expectancy-is-much-longer-than-you-think/
  2. https://sites.ualberta.ca/~jennyy/PDFs/13713823.pdf
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_anxiety_(psychology)
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_drive
  5. http://www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk/paranoid-schizoid-position
  6. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/15/australian-millionaire-millennials-avocado-toast-house
  8. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2019/05/how-baby-boomers-sold-out
  9. https://proto-knowledge.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-is-wrong-with-young-people-today.html
  10. http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20171003-proof-that-people-have-always-complained-about-young-adults
  11. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7066265/Stagecoach-launches-second-legal-action-Government-block-rail-bids.html
  12. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48306172
  13. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/may/19/google-huawei-trump-blacklist-report
  14. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48347711
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/23/zero-recycling-to-zero-waste-how-ljubljana-rethought-its-rubbish
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/21/belgian-monks-grimbergen-abbey-old-beer
  17. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
  18. https://seths.blog/2019/04/the-avocado-principles/
  19. https://www.vox.com/platform/the-goods/2019/5/14/18563375/zero-waste-products-straws-jars-tote-bags
  20. https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/opinion/3076069/renewable-energy-is-now-a-commercially-attractive-investment-opportunity
  21. https://monevator.com/will-the-passive-investing-revolution-eat-itself/
  22. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/05/cranswicks-low-dividend-yield.html/
  23. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/05/22/dont-be-a-nice-guy-be-a-good-guy-part-2/
  24. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/green-money-greencoat-uk-wind-share-offer-may-2019/
  25. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2019/05/22/how-to-lie-with-personal-finance/
  26. http://earlyretirementextreme.com/why-do-so-many-people-hoard-so-much.html
  27. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/05/vanguard-lifestrategy-60-year-4-update.html
  28. https://firevlondon.com/2019/05/26/holding-up-the-mirror-to-my-own-trading-behaviour/
  29. http://www.frugalwoods.com/2019/05/24/drink-whisky-look-at-stars-make-maple-syrup/
  30. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/05/26/serious-investing/
  31. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/home-comforts/
  32. https://ditchthecave.com/love-your-job/
  33. https://thesavingninja.com/thinking-about-the-future/
  34. https://littlemissfire.com/springmount-gin-has-launched/
  35. https://awaytoless.com/productivity-systems/
  36. https://pursuefire.com/monthly-net-worth-report-11-april/
  37. https://pursuefire.com/meet-the-bettors/
  38. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/05/24/Early-retirement—life-as-a-247-couple%F0%9F%A4%B7%E2%80%8D%E2%99%80%EF%B8%8F%F0%9F%A4%A6%E2%80%8D%E2%99%82%EF%B8%8F%F0%9F%99%84
  39. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/05/26/treat-yourself/
  40. https://indeedably.com/flying-money/
  41. https://indeedably.com/ennui/
  42. http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/2019/05/an-interview-with-medwyn-williams-veg-growing-ace/
  43. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/05/10/allotment-jobs-for-may/

Thought Experiment #5 – The grid? What grid?

I’ve not participated in the Saving Ninja’s ‘Thought Experiment’ series to date, so this is #1 for me. The premise is a stream of consciousness amble through your response to a hypothetical question. For this one:

Life is good. You finally did it! You pulled the plug on your day job after reaching financial independence. You never have to work for money ever again. But, you’re bored. You need something to do… You need a project! You grab a piece of paper and a pen and start thinking. Now that you’re financially free, what projects do you want to complete? However ambitious, however small, you now have the time to pursue anything that you like, what will you accomplish?

The Expanse

Not the epic sci-fi show now on Amazon Prime. I’m talking about the sudden expanse of time available to me for long awaited projects. Like many other FIRE bloggers, a lot of the things I want to do, the projects, are already started or integral to my current path. I’m not actually sure I’d even retire. I wear many hats in my day job, and some of them I enjoy sufficiently that they don’t feel like work. Even if I didn’t have to work for money I’d probably try and continue a few days a week out of intellectual curiosity.

Beyond the sphere of my work, I have a list of semi-started projects which bring me happiness or satisfaction that I could dedicate more time to. I would:

  • Learn how to and then practise welding and sheet metal working. To spend some of my time buying rotten classic cars and restoring them from the ground up. Maybe racing them, maybe selling for a profit, maybe just to drive. Do some sculpture work in metal.
  • Continue learning languages. But be able to dedicate more time to it, maybe evening classes.
  • Build a suitable vehicle and then go overlanding. Probably some sort of Kamaz or Bedford 6×6. Spend some time, as long as it took, driving the Silk Road, the Panamerican Highway. Maybe Aus and trans-Africa. Detours on the Trans-Siberian Railway and travelling the US and Canada by rail. No rush, no goals, just the road to see. Sate my wanderlust.
  • Return to the UK and complete some more property renovation projects. Working through phases and styles. Maybe convert some industrial buildings. Build an eco house working with a friends company; off mains electric and water, incorporating space for family and guests.
  • Grow, cook, bake and brew. More time on each, growing more food, keeping more animals, experimenting brewing, funding a friends micro-brewery (which doesn’t really need funding as it’s going from strength to strength).

Kids would change the approach but not the direction of travel. There’s other targets in my goals list which don’t feature here, perhaps they’d feature too, there would be no rush. Living for joy and contentment would be my project. Soppy bugger.

Others thoughts:

  1. Indeedably
  2. Cashflow Cop
  3. The Caveman
  4. A Way To Less – a new blog to me
  5. Dr Fire
  6. Marc at Finance your fire
  7. GFF
  8. Sam at A Simple Life – also new to me
  9. Merely curious

References:

  1. https://thesavingninja.com/what-will-i-do-when-i-retire/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overlanding
  3. https://indeedably.com/whats-next/
  4. https://cashflowcop.com/beyond-financial-independence-tracing-my-roots/
  5. https://ditchthecave.com/when-i-grow-up/
  6. https://awaytoless.com/thought-experiment-5/
  7. https://drfire.co.uk/what-will-you-do-when-you-retire/
  8. https://financeyourfire.com/2019/04/15/thought-experiment-fire-now-what/
  9. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/saving-ninja-thought-experient5-from-gff/
  10. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/04/15/ninja-thought-experiment-5/
  11. https://merelycurious.me/post/thought-experiment-projects-when-fire

The Full English Accompaniment – Making your day more environmentally friendly

What’s piqued my interest this week?

As part of our goals for this year MrsShrink and I are trying to live more sustainably. Recently we’ve got a bit stuck for ideas, and a friend recommended we go through our daily routine to look for places where we couple replace things. Here’s part of MrsShrink’s day as an example:

  • Morning shower:
    • shower gel – swap for soap bar
    • plastic loofah – swap to natural loofa
    • venus razor – ceramic or wood with replaceable blades?
    • face wash – home made
    • face exfoliator – home made
  • Brush teeth:
    • electric toothbrush heads – bamboo heads?
    • toothpaste – tabs?
  • Creams/ lotions/ make-up:
    • moisturiser cream
    • lip balm – metal tins
    • deodorant – bars or powders
    • make-up – plastic free
  • Clothes:
    • buy from charity shops
    • natural fibres only
  • Tea & coffee:
    • teabags (contain plastic) – loose leaf instead
    • coffee – buy beans from sustainable source and grind

This method has helped us recognise areas where we can change. Some of the ideas we came up with are probably more expensive, but we’re going to try and implement the cheaper ones. So why not give it a go as another way of budgeting and accounting in your life.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References

  1. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-6799495/Are-solar-panels-good-investment-feed-tariffs-slashed.html
  2. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-6804455/Official-outlook-finances-five-graphs-Spring-Statement.html
  3. http://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/news/182247/fca-to-clamp-down-on-exit-fees.aspx
  4. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-6781531/House-prices-grow-highest-record-February-fall-January.html
  5. https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l998
  6. https://nypost.com/2019/03/01/archaeologists-uncover-ancient-graffiti-penis/
  7. https://www.mrtakoescapes.com/low-beta-investing-the-anomaly-of-lower-risk-and-greater-returns/
  8. https://www.morningstar.com/articles/919059/understanding-and-navigating-etfs-premiums-and-dis.html
  9. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/03/foresight-solar-it-new-addition.html
  10. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/03/why-centrica-no-longer-meets-my-investment-criteria.html/
  11. https://youngfiguy.com/mrs-yfg-my-top-tips-for-getting-your-partner-on-side/
  12. https://cashflowcop.com/fi-score-test-fist-where-are-you-on-the-journey/
  13. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/saving-ninja-thought-experient5-from-gff/
  14. https://thesavingninja.com/a-close-up-look-at-death/
  15. https://firethe9to5.com/2019/03/15/early-retirement-early-days-what-ive-learned-from-the-first-3-months/
  16. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/03/15/gin-and-win/
  17. https://monevator.com/tax-efficient-saving-for-children-and-grandchildren-with-jisas-and-sipps/
  18. https://www.foxymonkey.com/best-passive-income-investments/
  19. https://indeedably.com/incurable-optimism/
  20. https://ditchthecave.com/shame-poor/
  21. https://www.msziyou.com/tale-of-two-coffee-shops/
  22. http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/2019/03/how-to-season-wood/
  23. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/03/12/peat-free-coco-coir-compost/

The Full English Accompaniment – Zero-waste is still too eco-warrior

What’s piqued my interest this week?

Life has been pretty hectic over the last few weeks, preventing much blog reading or writing. At the same time we’ve been trying to make changes to our household usage to decrease the amount of plastic we buy, particularly in our general grocery shop. Our veg and meat already comes either unpackaged or wrapped in waxed paper. We’re switching from plastic packets to jars (for re-use) and tins. What do we do about plastic around our pasta, rice or shampoo?

Zero-waste and packaging-free appears to be 2019’s social trend. Small independent shops are being set-up all over the UK, although the trend towards affluent areas is fairly obvious (1, 2). These shops are targeting the on-trend early-adopters. There’s plenty of blogs with advice, and the mainstream media are cottoning on too (3, 4). There’s a concerted post-Blue Planet 2 movement that societal attitudes towards single-use items has to change. Single-use was the 2018 ‘Word of the Year’ according to Collins (5). The EU has ratified a ban on single-use plastics to come into force (provisionally) in two years time (6). Surfers against Sewage is running a Mass Unwrap event in March where people are encouraged to discard excess packaging at the tills (7).

In our efforts to go further we ventured into a few local packaging-free/ zero-waste type shops to try their wares. We weren’t there long. The organic fruit and veg, the storage jars dispensing dried goods and the shampoo bars were all there. The food was cheap, even if the cosmetics were a bit eye-watering. It was the added extras. The plastic tubs the food had been delivered in, which hadn’t been put away yet. The yak wool fleeces knitted by Mongolian orphans (think of the carbon offset for that mileage). The crocheted face cloths at £5 each. The artisan felting. The slight fug of unwashed vegan. It’s all very lovely but I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into buying an unnecessary item. I just want 500g of plain flour put in my jar. Aldi and Lidl hit my shopping requirements on the head. I can get in, pick up, purchase and get out at maximum speed without spending time trying to choose between brands. They’re convenient. I’ll probably go back to one of the zero-waste shops for dried foods, as I haven’t found a good alternative. Until plastic-free independents focus on the convenience, and not just the eco niche, they’ll never be more than a novelty.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References

  1. https://pebblemag.com/magazine/doing/plastic-free-shopping-13-of-the-uks-best-zero-waste-stores
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46574402
  3. http://trashisfortossers.com/zero-waste-shopping-how-to-guide/
  4. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/news/a26402200/plastic-free-community-berkshire/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/07/single-use-named-word-of-the-year-2018-environment-collins-dictionary
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45965605
  7. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/news/a26439517/mass-unwrap-supermarket-plastic-waste/
  8. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/aliens-vertigo-and-a-glasgow-nightclub-included-in-this-years-expenses-and-excuses
  9. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-6712153/amp/I-fix-broken-banks-started-says-tech-geek-Starling-Bank.html
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47287386
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/23/global-economy-slowing-down-what-can-governments-do
  12. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/23/full-warren-buffett-annual-hareholder-letter-read-it-here.html
  13. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-berkshire-buffett/buffett-appears-to-fault-trump-laments-deals-dearth-in-berkshire-letter-idUSKCN1QC0NH
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/22/just-how-ethical-is-ethical-investment
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/21/uk-and-ireland-retailers-warn-of-40-tariffs-on-food-in-no-deal-brexit
  16. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00026hb
  17. https://moneyweek.com/502080/a-good-time-to-fix-it-and-forget-your-mortgage/
  18. https://moneyweek.com/502089/buying-stocks-is-easy-selling-them-is-the-difficult-bit/
  19. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/foresight-uk-infrastructure-new-addition.html
  20. https://3652daysblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/rental-diy-step-1-find-a-tenant/
  21. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/ready-aim-fire-bye-bye-mary-poppins/
  22. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/02/19/get-rich-without-self-sabotage/
  23. https://littlemissfire.com/january-2019-goals-update-baby-steps/
  24. https://littlemissfire.com/introducing-springmount-gin/
  25. http://www.frugalwoods.com/2019/02/22/port-and-other-january-2019-expenditures/
  26. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/hsbc-investment-financial-crisis.html/
  27. https://youngfiguy.com/international-bonds/
  28. https://youngfiguy.com/mrs-yfg-my-financial-mistakes/
  29. https://ditchthecave.com/ethical-investing/
  30. https://pursuefire.com/when-markets-wobble-dont-look-down/
  31. https://thefemalemoneydoctor.com/how-to-stay-motivated/
  32. https://thesavingninja.com/how-should-you-distribute-your-wealth/
  33. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-see-why-you-should-invest-a-lump-sum-now-and-a-scam-alert/
  34. https://indeedably.com/invert-and-win/
  35. https://www.jackwallington.com/my-allotment-plan-for-2019/

The Full English Accompaniment – Are you ignoring the biggest risk?

What’s piqued my interest this week?

I bang on about it a lot, so I’ll make this post short. I’ve spent a lot of my working life treating people who are knocking on death’s door. That’s not just the old and the sick, but also people who have had the worst day of their life. They woke up thinking that day was going to be like any other, and they end up lying in the bed of A&E Resus. A lot of the themes of what they tell me come through that influential book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying (1). TL:DR, the top five are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life expected of me
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  • I wish I had let myself be happier (2)

Hard lines. Many echo in the motivations for early retirement, as we hope to reconnect with friends, find happiness and express our feelings in new hobbies and activities. At it’s core early retirement allows us to live a life true to our hopes, dreams and interests, and not based upon the expectations of the man.

All this post aims to do is to challenge the weightings mentally applied to the above. The trade-off made between working hard for the future, and enjoying the now. There is a temptation to work twice as hard to reach an early retirement future in half the time. That relies upon the certainty of your future. That certainty is a risk that needs to be thought about and managed, by taking care of yourself. Having a million quid in the bank is useless if you’ve given yourself scurvy by eating nothing but porridge and rice. I’ll end this with two short examples pulled from the Reddit vaults (3, 4):

Have a morbid great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (now affiliate links):

Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

SowHow: A Modern Guide to Grow-Your-Own-Veg – Paul Matson & Lucy Anna Scott – I’ve been reading this in the evenings ahead of the sowing season. Simple, neat and effective in both design and instruction.

Enchiridion by Epictetus – Bedside reading for a bad day

References:

  1. https://amzn.to/2TOczPu
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying
  3. https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/8vwc8l/consider_that_you_might_never_enjoy_your_nest_egg/
  4. https://www.reddit.com/r/FIREUK/comments/amfmuv/ahso_ive_been_mitigating_the_wrong_risk/
  5. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/02/starling-launches-euro-currency-account-could-it-save-your-cash-from-brexit/
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-47164882/what-would-you-do-if-you-were-financially-independent
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/07/bank-of-england-holds-interest-rates-cuts-growth-forecast
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47155145
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/07/uk-house-prices-fall-in-january-as-brexit-puts-off-buyers
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47133564
  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47068401
  12. https://www.physicianonfire.com/fire-movement/
  13. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-look-at-green-bonds.html
  14. https://youngfiguy.com/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should/
  15. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/02/n-brown-dividend-cut.html/
  16. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/02/high-yield-portfolio-whats-in-name.html
  17. https://cashflowcop.com/my-stone-of-life/
  18. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/02/05/work-bitch/
  19. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-january-2019/
  20. http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/2019/02/managing-retirement-drawdown.html
  21. https://ditchthecave.com/january2019update/
  22. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-january-2019/
  23. https://firevlondon.com/2019/02/03/january-2019-many-happy-returns/
  24. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/02/02/january-2019-plus-other-updates-2/
  25. https://drfire.co.uk/investment-strategy/
  26. https://indeedably.com/shortcut/
  27. https://monevator.com/low-cost-index-trackers/
  28. https://monevator.com/find-the-best-online-broker/
  29. https://monevator.com/is-capitalism-in-crisis/
  30. https://firethe9to5.com/2019/02/03/its-official-i-fired-the-9-to-5/
  31. https://lovelygreens.com/create-wood-chip-garden-paths/
  32. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/02/04/incredible-crops-im-growing-in-2019-vital-seeds/