Dear reader, I apologise for taking so long to post news of my quest.
It’s been a busy period for MrMB3, and there’s lots to report on the three fronts upon which I group my thoughts – the mind, the body and the bank balance.
It is important for me to take up the challenge of writing these notes because they help me recognise and appreciate the fact that I’m doing OK on all fronts. It is important that this overarching thought is not swamped and hidden amongst the daily minutiae and imperfections that life brings. I’m not really a gratitude diary sort of person so remembering to couch the daily challenges life can throw at us against the notion that things are pretty bloody good overall is a simple and underused happiness strategy.
One reason for failing to provide a July update is that the MB3 till has been ticking over nicely the last few months. I’ve been nice and busy and have therefore billed a decent chunk of change to the nice people who engage my services from time to time.
As per my strategy of getting and keeping overheads as low as possible, I have taken the opportunity to pay down a not-insignificant chuck of the mortgage while getting new deals on mortgage parts whose ‘deal period’ had run out. It’s truly astounding that so many people (I don’t know how many) people stick with mortgage providers’ ‘standard rate’ when a quick call to their bank / building society could see them on a better deal. I won’t get all Martin Money Saving on you the initiated reader but seriously what are these people doing pissing their hard earned money away while simultaneously complaining about being the squeezed middle or whatever?
Regular readers will noticed that my little graph hasn’t shown many significant shifts in the right direction but I’m expecting a Ketchup Moment soon. I’ve been tapping on my ketchup bottle in the form of working hard, billing clients and managing spending reasonably well. As a result I have just about a year’s worth of living expenses in the business so that a lot of income for the next few months can be put towards paying down debt or buying positions in good companies or index funds.
The graph as you’ll see doesn’t show much movement, but the presence of the cash in the business, and the reduced monthly commitments will see the blue bar move rightwards nicely. We hope!
The presence of the cash in the business brings a good feeling. In my years of being more sensible with money and more recent focus on saving enough not to have to work, I’ve been a bit risky and never held a lot of cash. I see it as a positive step that I’m now in a position to save a chunk of cash. For the first time I have a buffer in play to protect me from bad times (or more specifically, not having an income). Fortunately, since parenthood I’ve managed to keep the lights on and pay the mortgage, but that’s been because I’ve managed to stay employed. If I hadn’t, then it might not have been pretty…..
So, I’m now one of those people I’ve always envied; I have some money spare! Real money that I can access quickly. My plan is to save two years of money for living and then really hit the mortgage debt hard, and buy equities. The point is that I’m happy and grateful to have manoeuvred myself into that position. I also feel a sense of focus towards carrying on working hard and earning money to put to work.
I’m also in pretty good mental state having enjoyed a nice family holiday through most of August. As a small business owner, I exercised my right to autonomy and went off on holiday with the wife and kids for 4 weeks. As I say – remember to count blessings. It’s also a good lesson for us pre-millenials. I ran the business perfectly well during August; the existence of WiFi, Smartphones, cloud storage and the humble telephone call allowed me to keep on top and in -touch. I’m not saying I can (or want to) become a digital nomad but I’m at the back end of the generation who equate work to workplace, and a reminder that I can run a business with minimal kit is a useful one.
I read a good tweet just before my holiday which reminded me that being on holiday is not necessarily a reasonable excuse to abuse your body by getting pissed, eating bad food and sitting on your arse. Why would you do that to yourself just because you’re not sleeping at home for a period of time? So I was more mindful than I might have been about moderating food intake, exercising and boozing. Consequently, I enjoyed the hols, wasn’t too grumpy and have come back to a pleasing weigh in.
*I learned the phrase from watching the AGM presentation from Terry Smith – who runs a fund I hold called the Fundsmith Emerging Equities Fund. Follow this link if you wish to spend an hour learning about this fund from a fund manager who seems pretty sensible to me. The footage from this year’s AGM is worth a watch in my view:
Other pearls that emerged from watching the presentation are Mr Smith’s investment strategy, which is delightfully simple: 1) Find good companies 2) buy a piece of them for a reasonable price 3) do nothing. This is a good reminder to avoid pissing away profits through trading and panicking when the price of the piece of that company inevitably moves up and down day to day.