Hey all, I hope everyone is doing well. It’s time for an update and what a time it is right now in the world for one… Just when it looked like we were beginning to break free from Covid into a new normal especially here in the UK with all restrictions being removed, we now are all witnessing what most would of thought was a thing of the past, a European war – yes a war from a Russian invasion! Not a special military operation Mr Putin. I will touch on that as part of my financial review update, I will also talk how Covid finally got me followed by talking about how Gangster Monk as mentioned in my last post has been in action delivering on my goal to almost have my cake and eat it when it comes to my journey towards Financial Independence. I will finish on a more personal update with a goal to be held accountable to in front of you all!
Finance Review during a European War
Financial Update – Mid March 2022
The below figures are taken from the 14th of March.
- Monthly investment (Aug 21 to Feb 22) – £1500 each month
- Savings rate (Aug 21 – Feb 22)– 55% average each month
- Investment portfolio – £225,836.18
- Cash is king fund – £1500
- Crypto Punt – £1002
- Emergency fund – £144
- Big expenses / holiday fund – £4160
Total Liquid Funds = £232,642.18
As you can see from the graph above, my portfolio has taken the biggest hit since the Covid pandemic started in early 2020. This however is of course trivial compared to the horrific ordeal so many people are going through now in this war, and that goes for both sides when it comes to the human tragedy and sufferings that come along with war. I may have lost a lot of money and this might even stop me hitting my £250,000 Project 2235 target by the end of the year but the circumstances make the psychological hit of that easy to take if so.
Some of you may notice that my Big expenses fund has grown and my Cash is king fund has reduced. This is due to me transferring £5000 for use during this calendar year to enable Gangster Monk to live his dream. Unfortunately this was needed as my matched betting profits have now been exhausted so I had to fund my Big expenses fund from my other cash funds as I still need to contribute and invest £1500 for the rest of the year so I can hopefully still achieve my Project 2235 target.
My unexpected outgoings fund has taken a battering and is now fairly low at £144. This was due to a huge bill to fix issues with my car, such a relief though having that fund as it shielded me from that cost. The £5000 cash injection to my Big expenses fund can and will be used for unexpected outgoings until I build this back up over the next few months – I will get an extra payment from my side hustle in a month or so which will put that back above £500 and will get some more top up from a no council tax bill month too. As for the Crypto fund – Well, I’d rather not talk about the crypto fund, that’s a source of occasional thought pain mixed with embarrassment but then I just end up laughing at myself and move on… I will not sell! I just keep telling myself this is like an extreme emerging markets part of my portfolio and to be fair it is a small percentage anyway so it’s no real issue. It doesn’t stop me from feeling stupid though! I tried to ride the wave of FOMO others would have but it came crashing down on me, but I certainly knew the risks!
Russian Invades Ukraine (A European War in 2022)
When Russia was building up its forces along the border with Ukraine and in the Crimea, I really did think that it was all a bluff personally, a show of force and nothing more to achieve whatever his aims were. I was incredibly wrong on that front. I did not expect an invasion to occur and have been mortified to see the last couple of weeks unfold. It really is just plain awful and it seems the scenes and devastation will get far far worse in the weeks to come.
I can’t pretend to know what Putins intentions truly are, how much of what he says is lies versus actually what he really does believe himself too. As some commentators have pointed out, he really seems to have personalised this conflict and is now almost in a corner. Even if he takes the country militarily which will be very difficult, he has no hopes of holding it. I think what terrifies me more is what he will do whilst in this metaphorical corner he is now in and if and how he we will bite, as this cornered angry animal so to speak has nukes for teeth. He will need to keep face and come away with a win and I am just not sure how he will end up doing that at the moment. It certainly does worry me. I can’t believe this has happened in modern times on the European continent. I thought such things were things of the past, this will create a new normal now internationally as a result and I feel like that’s such a tremendous shame – The fact we are in essence going backwards – it’s quite depressing.
I will finish by saying I feel sorry for all of the suffering in this war, and that includes young Russian soldiers who are losing their lives having to fight for this cause. I have seen countless videos of events and I take no pleasure seeing dead Russians being taunted or prisoners of war being humiliated as I have occasionally saw. It all saddens me if I am honest. I can only hope this all ends as quickly as possible – I just can’t see that happening anytime soon with current events.
Covid Positive – It finally got me…
So I finally succumb to getting Covid, it was almost inevitable of course. I did manage to miss it for 2 years and was very lucky to get it after having 3 Covid jabs and to also get the more mild omicron variant instead of the earlier ones. Part of that was no doubt just plain luck of course combined with some preventative efforts. The irony however is that after going away on many weekend trips, nights out, going to Dublin and basically partying a lot in essence when we of course legally could, I ended up catching it at work of all places. My boss had the pleasure of unknowingly being almost certainly the one who gave it me whilst I was on the rota to be in the office one day, he didn’t know he had it of course so no blame is possible but he tested positive when he got home that day I was with him. Our office room pretty much has zero ventilation and I was with him for several hours so it was bound to happen.
The extra downside to getting Covid was the timing as I was going to Liverpool for the weekend. I even joked with my boss after he messaged me saying he was positive that if you ruin my Liverpool weekend that was coming up in a few days that I will kill you! Low and behold, on the Saturday whilst in Liverpool I woke up on the morning feeling incredibly hot, fatigued with a persistent cough. I pretty much stayed in the hotel that day and tested negative but I was confident it probably was Covid. On the Sunday I tested positive as expected and I ended up driving us back home early, it was also unfortunately the day where we had the bad storms with very heavy winds so the drive back was pretty awful and of course was made even worse by feeling so poorly.
I spent the next couple of days pretty much in bed taking regular top ups of paracetamol and ibuprofen which helped keep me going. I had awful headaches and my cough was incredibly annoying. It was like a flu to me but a flu is bad enough, it was certainly not at the cold level. My immune system it seemed had in effect carpet bombed my body to try and deal with the Covid virus and I certainly felt the full impact of that as a result.
I ended up being positive for a full 12 days although I was much better after around 4 days but the more gutting thing was that I passed it on to my partner and my dad who was in Liverpool with me on the Friday (which was a good night by the way 😂). They have both got through it now though so that’s all that matters. I still don’t feel quite 100% and I have a lingering infrequent cough and also find I need need to clear my throat at times. It also affected my right ear by blocking it for a full 3 days which was one of the worse symptoms for me, apparently the omicron variant can cause that which was news to me. Even though it ruined our Liverpool trip and we lost the next 2 weeks to self imposed quarantine, I am just grateful that we all got though it, many others were not so fortunate.
Gangster Monk in action
As a reminder, in my last post I talked about how my ideal strategy going forward Post 2235 would be to act more like a gangster monk than a monk or gangster, I wanted the best compromise between living life well now even if it would move out financial independence by a few years in the process. It was all about a hedge in effect as to the risks of moving towards it at full speed when that might have resulted in depriving myself a little too much and also the greater risk of it all being for nothing due to unforeseen future circumstances.
Despite this being a future decision, this was in effect the life I had already been living at least for the last couple of years anyway. I was certainly more ascetic monk like in the years previous to that which I now think was a slight mistake but it’s got me to where I am now though, so no regrets. This lifestyle of the past 2 years had been possible due to the presence of past matched betting cash funds but these as mentioned earlier have now run out. I made the decision to create the money that I would have post Project 2235 as a result of investing less now by liquidating some of my Cash is King reserves. I could therefore be a Gangster Monk in advance right now.
For fun, I just wanted to show some real world examples of what this has looked like in the past couple of months when it comes to purchases and activities.
*So there is a funny end to Air Max 95 story so to speak. I tried them on and they fit nicely and looked great. I went to pay for them and had to queue for around 10 minutes. The man started to bag them up but when I showed him my blue light card, he said that discount was only available online, he checked and they had none in stock online. It seems that I was over powered by the inner monk and could not bring myself to pay full price. I said no thanks and walked away…Part of me is glad but I must admit I really did like them trainers and I can’t find them anywhere online now 😅.
Personal Goal – Fatness be gone!
So it’s time to get personal! I am not sure if I mentioned on here before but when I was younger I used to be quiet large. I ended up losing all that weight around university time (around a 4 stone loss) and have since pretty much been a stable weight – not thin by any means but not fat either. I have gone up and down by around 5 pounds on average I’d say at different times but otherwise it’s been remarkably stable to be fair.
I have though over the past 6 months started to put more weight on and I am now around a stone heavier than my normal weight. I therefore hereby commit to losing that stone prior to my trip to Amsterdam in May. I will still keep Friday as a cheat day where I get to drink and indulge a little bit as if I get too strict, it will end up back firing on me as I need to have some room for treats too, life’s for living too!
My goal and aim is to lose 2 pounds a week on average over the next 8 weeks. I will be doing this by mainly lowering my main meal portions, cutting out some snacks that have started to sneak in and to do some minimum level of fitness in between (this is more for all the other benefits that come with doing this than for the weight loss alone). I will likely no doubt end up coming back from Amsterdam 1 stone heavier, but that’s an issue for another blog post to worry about 🤣. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading my post if you got this far, I appreciate it as always. Would love to hear your thoughts and how you’ve all been getting on.