Feb 152016
 

I’ve been sucked down an endless rabbit hole of analysis, speculation and opinion on the current state of China, it’s society, it’s government, its environmental destruction and, most of all, it’s declining economy and the associated impact on the rest of us.

While no two analysts agree in full it’s clear there is a large and looming correction both currently on the go and likely to extend well toward the end of the present decade. With the world economies so tightly coupled even we here on the southern tip of the Dark Continent will not escape the escalation of the current trauma. Ours is a mining-based economy and when China sneezes we live with the cold.

Besides the slump in resource prices and lower volumes, we are also having to contend with an absolutely diabolical exchange rate, the worst drought in living memory and government corruption and ineptitude which is off the charts.

No matter what anyone says it’s going to be a tough 4-6 years ahead. Food prices are already noticeably higher (despite the drop in the diesel price), sub-standard municipal services continue to cost more and wage increases are likely to fall far below inflation as they have since 2007/2008.

The worst possible thing for the man in the street right now is to be in over his head in debt and have his only source of income, his job, at risk. And in the South Africa of 2016, if that’s the case and on top of that he happens to be white, then heaven help him over the next few years.

On the personal front one often asks the question “How is it possible to cut back further monthly spend?” After all, I need the car (with the resulting payment) so I can’t possibly cut back further (one of several examples….car, house, yacht, two homes etc).

The real problem is not whether it’s possible to scale back further. The real problem is that it’s not yet a real and tangible emergency.

There is still this thought that “I’ll lose too much by selling now. Its not too bad yet, lets try and maintain the current lifestyle. Better to carry on while I still have the income and while the doom, whatever the real probability, is still somewhere off in the future”.

Now I’m totally not qualified to judge and make decisions for Joe-Average. All I know is, if I didn’t personally have a plan and 4-6 months F-you money in a fund, I’d be very very nervous right now.

Should I by some strange chance be asked what to do, I’d respond; “If you cannot survive being kicked to the curb right now (something i believe is a very real and present danger) then you probably need to go into survival mode and jettison your anchors and reduce your upside-down debt situation as much and as fast as possible, no matter what!” And that’s a difficult ask of anyone so I fear many will suffer the consequences of a lifetime of spending to the limit without too much thought for the future.

Us personally, I think we will survive. We may wish to extract some cash because the F-You fund is currently in a unit trust and taking a beating. But for sure, now is probably not the best time to be buying that Ferrari on terms (or perhaps borrowing to move a yacht to the coast or going further into debt to fund children’s educations) ?

There is undoubtedly doom ahead in the gloom. Just how much remains to be seen!

Feb 032016
 

Our Glencairn rental property is, because of it’s location, size and value, targeted at a certain demographic (by default I guess); typically that of the single mother or lower middle-class income earner. As a result, over the two-and-a-bit years we’ve owned and let the house, we’ve seen many cases of people living pay-check-to-pay-check, unable to pay the rent as soon as their employers make a late payment or they loose their jobs.

Not nice. Not for them and not for us as landlords!

These cases often have me pondering our own situation, our liquidity and our own ability to survive a job loss or a temporary loss of salary. (The issue that clouds my thinking sometimes is the bond debt.)

So, we’re not in the same situation by any means but if we were to max out the bond (I. E. Take the full R1.6M allowed) Then we would have zero means of getting ready cash in an emergency. All our reserves are tied up in assets and investments that, while they can be sold or borrowed against should the need arise, would all take a while to liquidate and would all most certainly take a knock in value with a depressed market and economy. That is, I believe, my greatest concern with the way we are funding UCT this year – we’re greatly diminishing that “buffer”.

A worst case scenario for us in the present moment would be a retrenchment; with UCT fees to pay and no desire to find another corporate Plato’s Cave. Such an event would have us scrambling to see which options suited. There would be three avenues of investigation:

1. Could we sell 253 for a decent price (akaR2.5M)?

*  This would kill the debt and leave us with R1M to R1.5M which would buy a little time but would quickly run out at current burn rates.

2. Could we rent out 253 while living in the cottage?

* The cottage isn’t yet habitable; we need some spend here still but we could live and build while income comes in from the main house.
* The hope is that this option would bring in R20k pm between 253 and 16deV (but it comes with risk and headaches as we’ve seen this month in Glencairn )

3. We could cash in unit trusts (R177k) and SESA shares (R35k?)

* Not ideal right now since the market is in something of a free fall (OM UTs lost about R10k in value already)
* The plus here is these are quick and easy to cash and could buy us time.

So these are our only real options (there may be others but right now I can’t think of any). Damelin is paid for all of 2016. UCT is paid up until mid-year, so as of Feb we’d have 4 to 5 months to make a plan or go back to work. If it did happen we would immediately need to rachet down our current burn ( eg putting Frank on notice, cutting travel costs, really shopping carefully, selling the cars, changing the medical aid options, etc. There’s not much space to cut but there are definitely possibilities). As an ultra extreme measure we could pause the PPS RA’S again but that would be last resort.

Bottom line is there is no way we can carry on at our current burn rate. We would have to make some hard decisions if we wished to do that – either more corporate slavery (if indeed that is even possible in sunny SA at present) or lifestyle killers (bye bye Glencairn).

It wouldn’t be pleasant but we could survive it…..I think (at least way better than our tenants).

We’re not quite comfortable with the stash but at least there is a workable plan. Need to keep the expenses low as possible and keep building the stash and the rental options.

We have no choice because I have this gut feel that the scenarios discussed above are way closer than we may like to think!

Do we give it all up for this life? I think so!

Do we give it all up for this life? I think so!

Dec 212015
 

Many people, should they extensively read this ‘blog (….I guess they won’t because I don’t advertise or share that it exists yet) will probably notice some level of indecision and conflict expressed in my thoughts over time.

One big theme of late is obviously the focus on the FIIRE plan. Allied to that is the whole financial thing → earning more, spending less, improving the size of the stash.

On the other side of the coin are some seemingly lavish and counter productive lifestyle choices → sailboat, Glencairn, travel costs etc.

To set the record straight, it’s not about FIRE as soon as possible at any cost. The sailing lifestyle is a hugely important part of who I am, of who I still wish to be. Same with Glencairn → it’s where we want to live !

There are many examples of extreme focus and success on the FIRE road, many of whom I regularly read and learn from. But they aren’t me! [One of my favorites that more sort of matches the kind of life I hope to live in my old age is Lloyd Kahn]

Putting the boat on hold this last 2 years has been a little extremely hard. I still have the thought that maybe it’s best to try and sell her rather than the cost of moving her down? But I won’t get R200k for her at present, not in the current economy with layoffs, stagnant wages and uncertainty. Maybe R140k, and I’m not sure I want to give her away at any price just to save the transport cost and hassle.

So what really drives the desire to stop working, especially when I admit that I’ll work again, but on my terms?

  • Time freedom – This is the big one. RE with FI means my time is all mine.
    • What about unpaid leave?
    • What about more working from home?
    • How far can I push the boundaries an still maintain my morals?
  • Location freedom
    • This is difficult in the South African engineering market. Difficult but not impossible!?
  • Income
    • Must build the stash to reach FI so that this doesn’t matter
    • Right now though it (the income) actually matters!
  • Making a difference
    • This doesn’t happen in the corporate
    • All for family but sometimes it seems they really don’t care until it’s taken away.

I could focus every cent and every moment in working and building the stash. Cruisers do this all the time. 6 to 12 months of slog in the salt mines for a few years of freedom on the ocean swell.

Isn’t that what I’m doing? No. The time frame for RE is too long to commit all of life over that period. Better to live a little more today and delay the FIRE date a further few years. Balance is king!

I could / should sell up the Isuzu [perhaps]. Why?

  • For selling:
    • Tyres cost R1400 a piece, minimum – more than double the Fiat’s fancy low profiles.
    • Even with the fuel card [me paying 40% of the pump price] – I have this gut feel that it’s a cost on par with the Fiat.
    • It’s costing me R3k pm, apart from annual maintenance costs. And then, by Aug 2017 when I have no more payment, I’ll still owe R54k on a vehicle with over 350000km on the clock. – as of 2015.12.05 I still have to pay R107169 on finance in total. So in theory I could finance another vehicle where the total finance cost equals R100k -》 not much of a vehicle that will be!
    • Lots of niggles and hiccups lately => a precursor to heavy repair bills or just par for the course wanting to own a car, any car?
    • It will scratch an itch [however temporarily]
  • Against Selling:
    • I can ill afford to spend another R100k plus on the bond right now [Fiat, B tuition, Caz tuition] – so I’d feel the need to finance another vehicle rather than pay out the bond. And I’ve sworn of any further finance deals, yet I’m borrowing to meet tuition requirements!?
    • without a 4×4 I won’t be able to do all that back-road exploring that I always do ! never do !! Could get a Jimny or could actually wait until FIRE and then reassess if this is really something I’ll actually do rather than just dream about.
    • I can’t put up that rooftop tent to sleep over on the road – like we’ll ever do that !! Same argument as above. Get when you need not 10 years before!!
    • I need want a bakkie for the DIY / Refurb plan – this is possibly one of the few reasons that actually make sense => then buy a smaller Bantam or Corsa!
    • I’ve always wasted by not sticking with a car [eg BMW, Jeep etc]. Maybe this is the good-old-car worth battling on for? i.e. I’m very good at selling an unused <whatever> but not very good at then living without the <Whatever> [bike, car, boat, hifi etc etc]
    • A smaller bakkie cannot safely transport more than 2 people. we still have the odd need to do so. Again, could probably make do with a sedan and a tow hitch to replace the bakkie.
    • I could stop using the Isuzu -> Problem is work as well as the fuel perk. While I do life this way it doesn’t make sense not to utilise it to the full.
    • What does the Isuzu actually cost me per year to maintain and run? It’s still far from the cost needed to purchase another vehicle [or is it?]. Experience has taught me you always loose 3 to 4x more when you try and get rid off your old cars. It’s just not worth it….financially or emotionally.

What of the corruption and rot within South Africa? I could chuck it all in and emigrate but, with the sorry state of my small bucket of Rands, I’d pretty much be guaranteed of having to start from the bottom and work for the rest of my life. That may not be something I’m ready to do, no matter how bad things get here. However, I guess there’s a line somewhere – Zimbabwe, Syria, who knows? Trouble is, once that line is crossed it’s too late and has left behind zero [or very little] financial reserves. Is it worth have a part of the diversification plan target this “fear”?

Obviously, while many of these (and other) thoughts are buzzing my brain, they are brought to the fore when reading about a FIRE-individual selling off his car to save the costs. Makes you rethink and replan. One has to be careful though – this could also just be another form of keeping up with the Joneses, albeit a better FIRE-Jones than the average Consumer-Jones. While there are many similarities, no-one has our exact life, no-one has our exact challenges and no-one has our exact preferences. While some hats may fit better than others, none of them are a perfect, custom fit.

So, if I decide to keep the Isuzu or not, it’s a decision I need to make based on my particular life. Sure, I can take on board what others have done and why [that’s why I like ‘Blogs that actually reveal the detail, warts and all – because all those glossy “facebook-style” life-is-always-good blurbs are actually useless! ]

At this stage, I don’t know. My gut tells me sell but I also know I have a very poor track record wrt cars so on the other hand it may be best to stick it out – at least until it’s paid and I can re-evaluate knowing actual costs for UCT by that stage.

Pay down bond or invest?

  • I’m sure I’ve read and logged this article before but it’s time for a reread – http://financialmentor.com/financial-advice/pay-off-mortgage-early-or-invest/7478
  • Bottom line … theres no right or wrong. For us its a balancing act between having no debt and between financing additional rentals. A balancing act to fund kids educations and cars, not because we must but because we choose to. For me its a sliding scale. R1M is too much so more must go to killing debt rather than investing. As it comes down the relative amounts should change.

We do however need to very carefully consider additional borrowing for a Glencairn garage or an Ocean Blue relocation. A very careful consideration indeed for this is evil consumer lifestyle debt!

Why would I even be having this thought?

  • Lots of recent debt spending on consumer items [cars boat and education]
  • The belief I need to diversify FIRE income streams -> thus more rental income.
  • The need to fast-track FIRE as best possible.
  • Also remember….we wouldn’t be sitting up at R1M without the detour down the Z3 road ….. !

So, back to the Isuzu Sell/Keep debate – I think it’s a keep for now because:

  • The debt level at over R1M [and more UCT to come] is unbearably high. The next 2 years are almost certain to see it rise to around R1.3M or even R1.4M.
  • So another car would entail another hire purchase deal – which I promised myself I never want to do again.
  • So may as well stick out the current one at least until 2017 and the decision to fund R54k residual or terminate. [Yet another reminder that a moment’s weakness will haunt you for many years down the line still]
  • We also need to work at reducing the bond because the overdraft facility is our buffer, our 3-6 month cash stash in case the worst happens. Right now that stash is sufficient but wit UCT fees looming it’s going to dwindle fast.

No more major changes or financial hiccups!! UCT first and then let’s see.

Jul 142014
 

It’s hard sometimes to not fall for the “compare yourself to the world” yardstick. It’s hard to ride through the kind of sustained universal wobbly that we’ve had the last 2 weeks.

When I look at a peer, someone who basically started out same time as myself, who has amassed a rental portfolio of 10 properties already, its hard to think that I haven’t but one and even that is on the verge of closure.

I mean, how can he be so “successful” in that arena while I struggle so much?

I’m reminded of the need to not compare oneself to another, especially when there is no real understanding of all the factors that make up the person’s life. The rental portfolio is but one aspect of life, an isolated feature that doesn’t make any sense out of context with the rest of that person’s stuff. In addition, how much freedom has this person given up? How much debt is there lurking in the background?

The expensive life-style, private schools etc. The bigger the burn, the more income is necessary. The corporate politicking, the daily grind, travel away from home etc etc. Do I want that in my life?

Right here, right now – A well lit, cosy home. Food in my belly. Enough financial buffer to know I’m OK even if we should choose not to chase more.

That’s key. How much is enough? Time to branch out and live life differently. Time to live, rather than work. Time to throw caution to the wind and take a calculated step toward a future we both keenly desire.

You can never tell anything from the man’s car, his outward visible-to-the-world lifestyle. The only thing you can tell from these is how much he spends. And even then you cannot tell whether he’s spending his own money or is up to his eyeballs in life-sucking debt.

No matter what our status in life, no matter what our financial worth, we all have been allocated a finite amount of time on this planet. Time that once gone we never get back, no matter how much cash we have in the bank. So when he’s at the office every day until 7pm, in Europe on business for 2 weeks at a time, I’ll still prefer being home to watch the sun set, spending my weekends on the yacht, working toward the plan, even if my plan is much more modest than his.

Is he happier than I? Don’t know. Don’t actually care.

What has he achieved? Nothing that grabs my heartstrings. What does he do and experience in the world that doesn’t take wealth and spending? Nothing that I can see.

So besides that, maybe his rental investment strategy bears study. Not because he is the best, but certainly because he seems to be functioning better in this specific arena than I am (and because I feel the need to diversify our income streams for ER)

I’ll be keeping the current cars, even if they require time and money. Until the spreadsheet proves otherwise it’s cheaper to repair and maintain than buy again (and it’s really greener as well)

Jun 242014
 


mx5 rear

Damn it ! Will it never end? 2007 MX-5, 114000km, R122500. That sounds like a deal too good to miss?

My day-to-day life in the corporate is ultimately restrictive. I’m tired. Tired of 20d leave a year. Tired of the corporate drive at profit to the expense of all else. Tired of the ‘protecting-my-turf’ politics that need to be navigated each day. Tired of the people who cannot be open and honest because of their concern for the reprisals or limiting their ‘careers’.

I look at the sea-view desktop photo that is Glencairn. It calls to me, beckons me to a life that is simpler and less complicated. A life with less [different] responsibilities and challenges. I yearn for that different now.

The Ford wouldn’t start and run properly this evening. Belging black smoke – and this after we’ve just spent R9k on a water system repair. It’s not what I want anymore. Cars. Euuuugh !!

Yet, I’m continually tempted by cars. While I live this life, I struggle with that temptation.. My life needs to be redesigned and different so that I am free of that temptation.

I’ve been thinking what I might do once we relocate down to Glencairn?
– Sailing and mile-building voyages – but that means accommodation to the peculiarities that are people. At least the interested parties have a closer commonalilty with me.
– House renovations – flipping. Seems a good plan since that’s what S really enjoys. BUT we have budget inconsistencies !! This risks our freedom from debt in a big way!
– But, the big question is really “What are we to do with the proceeds of 253 sale?”
– Rentals are hard because they involve people. Flipping is easier because we buy, renovate and sell.
But there is always risk!!

What if the tenants trash 16 de Villiers? No matter. As long as we have the land we’re ok is my thought.

Am I stupid to give up the current perceived ‘salary security’ ?? I suppose the question is deeper than this. It’s more a question of why? Why are we working? Why are we saving? What is the point of ‘enough’? Am I really giving anything up? What if I can’t find happiness even once we’ve done the move? Am I not happy now? At least happier? I think I am. it’s not that I don’t still think of things, but overall I do think I’m coping better with all the grief of life. Am I happy? Yes, I think so, but I still want the change.

Right now I’d like to get in the car and take the pups for a quick walk outside, on the beach. At Glencairn I feel OK doing that. Here in Jhb I’m wary of the setting sun, the approaching darkness, the danger of Rhodes Park. So here, I don’t act on that impulse. In Glencairn I would actually act and load them up and head for the sand. That’s the big difference in my mind !! A big reason for what we’re contemplating and planning.

I feel my life sliding into inaction and indecisiveness because of the Chinese trip thing at the moment. If I don’t go and things turn pear then it’s going to reflect badly. But ES is apparently going (but doesn’t seem too speedy at applying for visa etc). As a result I’m delaying planning for Cape Town and feeling all the worse for it. I think today is d-day for a decision. Take a stand and roll with the punches.

I think I need to forge ahead with my plans to close over the trailer area and build a workshop there. While this was a relaxed weekend I do, to a certain degree, feel it wasted by inaction. Sure I spent the time reading rather than TV but still would have liked to potter on projects for the boat a bit more.

So here I derail the plan again by driving the MX-5 and negotiating R122500, on-the-road purchase price. I haven’t signed anything and paid no cash, but it’s as close as it ever can get without being done. I hear the hesitance in Sandy’s voice and understand fully where it comes from. I feel it myself. What do I really want? R122500 is an estimated 6mths of total freedom. It pushes the bond back over the million mark, setting us seriously back on that front.

To re-read something I recently read over at AffordAnything.com:People have a funny view of money. They spend lavishly on socially-acceptable priorities like homes, cars and education, but they rob their real dreams to pay for that. Seeing the way that people reacted to my 2-year round-the-world trip drove this point home, so I decided to dedicate my life to teaching one very simple but powerful message: Cut ruthlessly on the things you don’t care about. Spend lavishly on the things you love. Ignore conventional wisdom.”

I repeat: “HOW SERIOUS AM I ABOUT THE DREAM?”

I don’t visit strip clubs and whore-houses hoping to resist the temptation. I stay out totally because I am totally committed to the marriage and the person. But yet, with the Glencairn dream, here I am, visiting the automotive version of the “whore-house strip joint” and somehow hoping that I’m strong enough to resist. Can you not see the patently obvious, the ludicrous in this? This has nothing to with “we’ll have to buy a car for Caz anyway and at least I can enjoy the Maxda for a year until then and then trade it” but has everything to do with me caving to emotional whims that will have a very real impact on the date our dream comes to fruition. It may even derail the dream totally or it might not kill the dream at all. But it certainly won’t do the dream any positive good – and that’s the indisputable fact !

I’ve battled enough with this car thing my whole working life to know that the buzz of the ‘new’ MX-5 will fast fade and we’ll be back to square ‘1’. Well, not all the way back to square one, let’s be honest, but certainly not as close to the goal as we could be. As soon as I need to replace that 17″ run-flat at R8k, the novelty is going to wear off pretty quickly.

Sure, one can argue the “save some, live some philosophy” but ultimately the dream is not to have a cool car. The dream is to only have a cool car if the DREAM is realised. and that means getting our butt’s settled down in Glencairn before anything stupid happens.

S is a sweetie. She’s supportive and understanding. Gently doesn’t agree and refocuses me on the common goal, but will accept my wobbly if it turns into action. I haven’t met many men with that level of support and trust fro their better half. She’s right. The 1-bar mark has been breached and that is huge. We don’t want to rise above that again, not for consumer purchases. We can always buy the MX-5 when we’re settled in our beach life. Yip. True. But the chances of it happening then are slim, because the salary is not going to be there. Slim to none. Can I live with that? It’s all about choices.

You can have anything you want! You just can’t have everything you want!

 

Jun 032014
 

We’ve had some policies mature recently. R250k after a good 20yrs of stashing away.

Was it a good investment? I don’t know!?

At this stage, I actually don’t care. No matter what the returns, it’s R250k we wouldn’t have had, had we not stashed away the stash each month.

I find that’s the challenge of a lot of people I talk with. There seems to be the belief that the small amount saved each month is not worth it, that we’re all fighting a loosing battle. The standard belief is that, in the future, R250k is worth nothing, so why bother? Lets spend it all on braais, fishing and rum&coke today.

So I’ve signed up for some RA’s for both the kids some years back. It’s miniscule, R150 p.m. But, if they keep them going, that’s hopefully worth R3M each after 50 yrs of virtually no monthly stress [because let’s be serious, R150 pm in 2014 is doable even by my son who has no income other than pocket money]. So, sure, R3M in 50yrs may be worth not much, but at least it’s still R3M more than you would have had.

So, if you want to delude yourself that R150 p.m. is not worth the effort then be my guest !

Me? I prefer to cash my R250k into the bond today, no matter whether it was a sound investment [analytic’s wise]. At least the total debt is now under 1 Bar again and moving in the right direction. If I’d taken the mental stance that the money is worth nothing in the future I wouldn’t be in this position.

So, I suggest – keep saving away, no matter how small. Use the magic that is compound interest. Your future self will thank you!

May 162014
 

lanciabetavx

Owner not willing to negotiate on price. Adamant that the car is worth the R58k asking price. It’s beautifully kept for sure, pristine actually for an ’83 model, but a little more than I’m willing to spend on a 30+ year old car. Will have to move on.

Crisis averted, thanks to the strange way things are in the universe.

—-

True to form I can’t ever let things go. Took B and the alfa past for a closer look. Poking around under the bonnet and I find pools of oil on the inlet manifold. The seller is convinced it’s not serious, a ‘small’ problem easily resolved. I, on the other hand don’t know enough to agree with him. I’m cured. I don’t need another leaky car in the driveway. One is enough.

OK. Crisis is now averted!

—-

R58k – That’s enough to live off for 3-4 months on an ER budget of 15-20k pm. That’s 3 to 4 months of total freedom, not even considering the future investment growth on the money [R191k over 10yrs].

That begs the question “How serious are you about stepping off?” Where’s the balance between building the stash for the future and living life today? The answer to that question lies in a full understanding of what it means to you personally to ‘live life today’. Simple answer for us is – sailing and Glencairn. Anything that big a spend outside those two arenas is suspect and probably frivolous.

If I know this then why do I go window shopping and get that close to derailing the plan so often?

—-

Apr 172014
 
The unseen costs of your 9-5 job

The unseen costs of your 9-5 job

Sure, owning a car is expensive and if you want it to last it needs maintenance. But there are more cost effective ways of doing it than relying on the official agents. I think that will be the last visit to the dealer for routine maintenance. In future it will be either my own labour or that of a trusted independent workshop.Isuzu 195000km

One of the keys to validating the ER-Plan is a proper understanding of which expenses are a necessity for your chosen lifestyle and which are really just there because of the way life is at present.

That brings me to a niggling thought that  just won’t leave me lately. The Isuzu, while filling a future ER dream of 4×4 touring off the beaten path, is currently not put to that use and is expensive overkill for the present home-to-office commute. Expensive to maintain, expensive to fuel up. In a sense this is tantamount to ‘pre-purchasing the RV or the golf club membership’ prior to retirement. Maybe not the way to go, especially with a machine that has a very good chance of wearing out / failing before there’s ever the time to realise that travel goal ? Yet, now that it’s done, does it make sense to sell it and get something else? I’m not so sure.

Gut-feel tells me it’s always cheaper to keep and maintain the vehicle you currently own rather than giving in to the temptation to get something different. Besides, I still hold to the belief that an old 70’s gas guzzler is greener than a new hybrid because the hole for the former has already bee dug in the earth. I’ll need to follow this up with a detailed xls calc [such an engineer I’m told], but I think I know what the outcome will be. Deep down it’s just this irrational emotional urge to buy a ‘new’ car and it’s the tricky bits looking for rationalisations to justify this.

Our present life and future vision is what it is, what we’ve chosen it to be. Take the yacht as a similar example, or even Glencairn. It’s also ‘pre-paying the future’ dream. Is it the wisest strategy? In terms of some of the ER-thought out there it’s ridiculous. Rather used the value in the boat to bring your ER-date closer. On the other hand, I am me if I’m making any sense here. I’m human and just like all humans everywhere, I have irrational personal quirks when viewed against the popular ‘science’ of ER’ing.

The yacht is a big part of me, my lifestyle, the way I want to live. For me, what purpose is served to spend the next 5 years without Ocean Blue in my life? It’s not a sacrifice I choose to make and I believe that where I am now is the best balance for me between my interests and my need to pump the stash to step off. When I do step off then I want no debt on Glencairn and so we’re compelled to get it behind us now, using the space in the current mortgage facility to access ‘cheap’ money.

Easily rationalised for the sweet little boat and the dream pad by the sea but requiring a bit more mental gymnastics to apply to the Isuzu me’thinks.

Anyhow, in terms of road transport, my current philosophy is “if it aint broke then don’t fix it”. While it’s reliable and not emotionally draining I’ll stick with and be happy with what I have – ‘Suzi and ZR7 – here’s to many more miles together.

Feb 162014
 

A new car. Doesn’t have to be a new ‘new’ car, a new ‘old’ car will do. Again and again I battle the urge. There’s an A4 cabriolet. I want it. There’s a Jimny. I want it. A drop-top mini. I want it.

Best thing to do is stay out of the kitchen because I can’t seem to handle the heat.

It’s too soon says Sands. She’s right. Another 2 years and we’ll find Caz something small, cool and reliable. But now, it’s too soon.

R120k. That can buy something cool. It can also bring the debt under the 1Bar level. It can also buy quite a few trips down to the beach, as well as a gazillion hamburgers. And when you don’t have the cash under the mattress and you have no absolute need other than ‘want it’,  it it is really stupid. I would rather live in my beach-house, walk, run, ride and sail and have the time to enjoy these all rather than have a new toy.

And yet the desire still burns strong!?? A constant battle. I hope I don’t WILL NOT give in.

The ultimate reason, the reason I will not cave is the non-negotiable need to finally break these golden handcuffs, this corporate crap. 2018 was a date penciled in, although that may be too optimistic. 55 [or 2024] is the dream date, the year to cash in the RA’s, provident funds and life-savings and finally make the move. It’s already a stretch and buying another expensive toy at this stage of the game is going to threaten that big time.

No, I’ll stick with the plan thank you. Kill the debt, pump the RA’s and savings, survive the next decade and live life well [be happy, exercise, eat healthily, minimise stress and conflict] while we do it!

Remember: Freedom, Integrity, Tranquility ! Never cave in to Wooly Masses thinking and pressure. Never.

Dec 292013
 

The average middle-class South African just doesn’t get it – at least not the one’s I know.

I have a work colleague, from a previous life, who reinforces this view.

A Facebook post I wrote: “Providing your own manual labour on a renovation sure saves you money but it’s a two edged sword. You end up with a greater emotional attachment which makes it that much harder to turn the place over to unknown tenants.

Solicited the following reply: “What I have learnt is only fix the things that will get u decent tenants and keep the property value. It is always tempting to fix it like u would want it if u were living there but thats the difference between an investment and a home

Firstly that’s missing the point. I didn’t say we poured ourselves into the building to make it a home. The labour I’m referring to has been purely painting, fixing holes, repairing what we can of what is falling off. None of it has been “to make it our home”.

Secondly, a house is not the most effective investment. There are better ways to make money. But as I’ve said before many times, you need to find some method of growing your money that works for you personally.

And thirdly, no matter what the world may think, we haven’t done to badly for ourselves doing things our way. I don’t see any of the “upwardly mobile” money grabbing MBA types and ‘business affectionados” living the way we want to live. And we literally are in a position to zero the debt and have a very nice lump sum to invest today if we so wish. I don’t see them being in a position to do that with their expensive new cars, nice comfortable and expensive houses in the most popular areas.

So, thanks for the advice but you’ll excuse us for doing things our way – like we always have and like we always will.

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