Posts in category “Blog”

Update

Hi,

It's been... a while. A lot has happened but also not a lot has happened. Firstly Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays for those of you not Christmas leaning. Last time I posted we were going into stage 4 lockdowns for the 'Rona, there was a lot of concerns about mental states and tethers. To be honest it is actually really hard to put into words exactly what the last five months have been like. What the experience of being in lockdown, working from home and generally trying to avoid catching the bloody virus was really like. So I don't think I'm going to wrangle trying to put anything into words.

My perspectives on things have shifted though and I'm partly contributing this to a few books read in the lead up to the events of this year. The three books in question, The Courage To Be Disliked, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F, and Man's Search For Meaning all played a part in the change to how I'll be approaching 2021 in the wake of the 'Rona.

  • You can't change the past
  • You can't please everyone
  • You can't support everything at once
  • Some people aren't worth the investment
  • Everyone has something

Running through each a bit more thoroughly looks like this:

Firstly that I can't change the mistakes or decisions of the past. Any errors only serve now to better inform the decisions I make moving forward since I can only change the outcome in my head not in reality where I actually live. Taking the time to play out potential outcomes in my head first based on this experience may provide an idea of whether a decision is worth making but ultimately as the financial saying goes past performance is no reflection of the future. Living in the past means you run the risk of living your life on the outcomes you can't change driving the decision making for things you can change. You might not go for that new job because you've missed out on so many. Apply for the course you were thinking of doing because you failed the last one. Go for that house you were eyeing off because your last loan approval was rejected (hah yeah right!). Or that special someone you're just not sure about asking out because the last one turned you down.

If I can't please everyone, because it's basically impossible, why try? Work at pleasing the ones most important to you and let the rest be as they are. Their opinions of you only change you if you let them change you and that may lead to those you care about not being very pleased. So don't try and please everyone because someone will always find fault or criticize.

There are a lot of causes and movements in the world and people close to us have their own issues they're dealing with. Mentally we can all only take on so much before we are spread too thin and can't dedicate enough support to all these different causes and movements. There comes a point where one has to pick their causes based on their beliefs and while supporting a lot of causes may not necessarily fight for all of them. Picking up other people's baggage can also lead to issues if you take on so much that you start feeling like a pack horse weighed down by everyone else's problems. It's not that you shouldn't care, you just need to be careful of what and how much you care about so you don't overload yourself and become of no help to anyone, especially yourself.

Some people really just aren't worth the investment you try and put in. Since being back on Facebook I've added only 37 people. My intention is to keep that number at or below 50. These 50 people are family and friends that I'm genuinely interested in seeing and hearing what they are up to and how they are going. People I've known for a long time or people I've met only recently but have had a significant impact on my life in some way. The beauty of social media (ignoring all the shit about who runs the system and what they do with your data) is that you control who you let into your life.

And when it all boils down to it, everyone has something. Maybe they're going through a particularly busy period, a bad break up, a new relationship, busy with work, a nice holiday, moving house, lost a job, no phone credit, found a new job, no internet, or they have been sick. There's any number of reasons the person you're trying to contact can't come to the phone or is taking their time responding to your message. Don't set unrealistic expectations on people responding immediately and you won't be disappointed when they don't (or you'll be pleasantly surprised when they do).

That's going to be the 2021 onward attitude, you'll see my post early next week or maybe over the weekend on 2021 objectives. I'm looking forward to Friday's "Here's how I went with 2020's objectives" post to see just how much 2020 was rooted by ol' mate 'Rona.

Until then, Scott.

Tethers

Has it really been four months since my last post? I guess it makes sense I was never good at keeping these things up to date anyway.

Anyway, we're entering stage 4 lockdown and I'm just about done with this whole situation. I've just reached a point this week where I'm just over it. I hate talking about it, I hate hearing about it, it's everywhere and it's fucking draining now. Not just the virus itself but all the shit circling around the eye of the storm. However...

Like I said in my previous post, this too shall pass. Sure it's gone on a lot longer than any of us thought (and now probably hoped) it would. We've missed events both locally and interstate and the longer this drags the fear grows that we are going to miss more and more of them. The unfortunate thing is we are now likely living in a time of two pandemics, both of which you cannot see.

The pandemic of the body and the pandemic of the mind.

Here we are facing another round of harsher lockdowns, potentially a lot of time to overthink little things and spiral into a funnel of thoughts. Everyone is facing this circumstance of thinking about their personal lives in a way they may not have had to think about it before and it's daunting. People finding themselves thinking about society as a whole in relation to how we have communally handled this global situation has them down. And I don't blame them looking at some of the comments and headlines (such as that doctor who had publicly comment that "wires in masks are not 5G antennas", seriously?!) there's a lot to be drawn down about which is the part of the reason I now kind of avoid it all.

We keep hearing about how "we're all this together" and how "we all have a role to play" yada yada. Realistically all these sound bites are just the easy way of trying to achieve something that you can't achieve with simple sound bites. Imagine the scene in The Return of the King when the Rohirrim cavalry show up with Theodin and instead of giving the rousing speech he just says "We're all in this together" nonchalantly and charges the Orcs. I wouldn't be that convinced to ride to my potential death. Given the speech he made though fucking count me in like that sword wielding madman charging the Orcs with unmatched ferocity.

In the end some of us a more in it together than others, and the fact they're all deciding to be Saruman and look after themselves before everyone else is disappointing but not all surprising. I just hope that we have learned something for next time there is a global pandemic threatening the stability of the country. Because it will happen again and like improvements to infrastructure and transport we should improve practices and responses when it comes to future outbreaks based on the outcomes of this one. Time will tell. But fuck everyone who's put us in this situation if I can't get over to England next year for one my longest standing friend's wedding.

As in my previous post, if you're needing an ear to vent to I'm here to listen.

Outing some Inner Discourse

This has been, and will continue to be, one of the toughest periods we as a generation have been through. "Social distancing", "physical isolation" or whatever the hell you want to call it is going to rain hell on everyone. We're two weeks in to a potential six month (or even longer) stint of this shit and I've already had it. I continue to grit my teeth and bear it because it's the right thing to do. It gets to a point though where even someone who prefers nights in or quiet nights with a few friends over clubbing or gigs gets antsy at the amount of time spent in one's own company.

The only thing I cling to is the thought that "this too shall pass", and all the things that have been put on the backburner as a result of this crisis will come to the forefront again. All I can say is that I'm here if you need to talk, I said a couple of years ago The door is always open, the kettle only takes a few minutes to boil and in the event I’m not here I’m just a phone call or a message away to at least get the ball rolling on talking. Because sometimes you just need someone to vent to, talk to, or get feedback from. I may not be the best at any or all of those things for your situation, but if you want to at least try, I’m here for you. While the door isn't really open at the moment, the rest still applies.

I read somewhere that this whole situation will be a prime opportunity for some people to stop and actually see what's right in front of them. Realisations that should have been made long ago but there was neither the time nor the solitude for one's mind to stop and think about these things. Or worse still the realisations that had been made but not acted on, and now can't be acted on due to restrictions. The ability to cast the mind back to events that could have played out differently had these realisations been made or acted on then rather than thought about now. That was actually one of my takeaways from Man's Search for Meaning that has kind of helped here. You can't change the past so it's not worth spending too much time thinking about it, really reinforced the line Chris said to me once "don't give too much gravity to your history".

This definitely came at a bad time for me personally, though I freely and wholeheartedly admit I'm not anywhere close to as bad as some have coped it. I still have a job and it is, at this stage, secure through all of this but it was bad from the perspective that I'd just started a new job. Two days in and the order comes down to start working from home makes the whole thing of learning a new role and the responsibilities very difficult. The entire team is adjusting to working from home so I'm not alone overall, but being new to the role makes it an extra level of work and is without doubt going to be the hardest part of the job. I know for a fact that, at least right now, I am not a work from home person.

On other levels the timing has sucked as well. There were places to go and people to see, dad's birthday was today and mum's is next week; we were due to travel to Queensland to see my sister and her family as celebration for mum but that is called off now with no idea when we'll be able to reschedule that trip. I had plans with a couple of friends to go and see MSO's Fantasia Live Concert, that's postponed. Plans to visit friends in Woodend the weekend just gone were called off a few weeks ago, lunches and dinners with friends that can't legally happen, celebrations, and even a call out to help friends move into their new house.

This too shall pass.

Goal #9: A bit of a setback

I'm going to be honest. I've not dedicated any time to getting myself more organised.

I know exactly what I want to do, I just haven't committed the time to do it. And I've actually added even more stuff to my collection that needs a home somewhere. My birthday present (contribution of birthday money as well as my own) has ended up being a range of woodworking power tools for getting back into furniture making and woodworking. So I've had a bit of a setback there.

But I have a plan. It starts with beginning to sort through the containers of stuff I've already boxed up and starting to get rid of some things I no longer need or want. Then using those boxes to crate up the things I do want to keep long-term and storing them away. It ends with using aforementioned power tools to build a boat load of new storage options for all of my stuff (shelves, cabinets, drawers, boxes). It's all planned, I just need to do it now.

Time to draw up some furniture plans!

Goal #1: Launchpad

Hey all,

I want to expand a bit on goal #1 and make it a bit of a series to keep a history of my progress. Going to be a little hard without going into specific numbers but lets see how we go, I might change my mind later.

To give a bit of an understanding of my starting point for this journey I currently have the following conditions:

  • Low four-figure income per fortnight, like, just into the four-figure range
  • Salary sacrifice super contribution because I'm behind where I should be at my age
  • Zero interest car loan (bank of mum and dad) should be paid off by 2021 at current rate, though I may move some money around
  • Spaceship Voyager account chipping in a bit of income each fortnight (currently 36% up! Crazy!)
  • Lastly, and kind of controversial to some, I've got just under 1,000 invested in cryptocurrency. No bitcoin, it's all in other coins like Etherium, Litecoin and Ripple (more like R.I.Pple at the moment)

The crypto has given me a bit of a taste for following movements in a speculative market (despite what some would have people believe, they are still a speculative investment) which is where I'm now at the stage of looking at the actual stock market for long term (talking 5-10 years) investment. Given these crypto investments have been in the market for a year I can cash them in at any time and move it to the stock market without incurring 100% Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any profits as it reduces to 50% after 12 months. Though I have also toyed with the idea of writing a day trading bot as an experiment to see if a Raspberry Pi running a small python script can take a few hundred dollars and day trade it to a profit by tracking price movements and selling high and buying in the dips. Doing the tax return on that one could be fun...

Anyway Spaceship Voyager was my first "toe-in-the-water" exposure to the stock market. Spaceship is, essentially, a Listed Investment Company (LIC). An LIC is a company that other people invest in who take the invested money and make really smart investment decisions using a lot of complicated algorithms and market history. As it stands the 50 or so companies they've invested the dosh into have had all but 6 or 7 run in positive territory this year. With no fees under 5k is makes it a good foundation for putting some savings aside and getting some market growth to generate the interest for you without needing to research the companies yourself. Could be a decent set-and-forget arrangement too as their fees after 5k are currently only 0.10% or something (at the time of writing).

After this gets to 5k I'll probably aim to transfer that into an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). An ETF is similar to an LIC in that it's an investment into a group of companies rather than a single company. The main difference I can see with the bit of research I've done is that ETF investment groupings are more focused than an LIC's. They might be broken into sectors (tech, medical, minerals, and so on) or into status groupings such as the top 200 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) which is a relatively safe investment, or the companies most likely to return high growth which is a high risk investment as they may tank as fast as they grow. The running theory is that it's best to invest at minimum chunks of 5,000 at a time. So it makes it perfect for Spaceship to not have any fees (at the time of writing) up to that value. Take it out of there, put it in an ETF and start the Spaceship balance over again.

The last option is investing in individual companies. This is really a strategy for people who want to target specific companies, perhaps for their dividend payouts (a form of income) or long term holding a company that is more likely to continue growing its stock price and selling those stocks later for mad gains. The thing I've found here is that for dividend paying companies you may get consistent payouts or they'll fluctuate based on the performance of the company and their method of paying out. It seems ETF's that invest across multiple companies tend to have a more stable dividend payout amount. As the saying goes though, mileage may vary so do your research. I'm probably not going to be doing any individual investments for a while as I'm not looking for anything like dividend income at this time. I'd be after stock growth.

The car is easy, paying out a specific amount each fortnight back to mum and dad for helping me secure a slightly newer car than I was looking at to last me (ideally) a bit longer. I've just hit 100k on the odometer so it's probably still got plenty of legs in it considering it's mostly to get to and from work (like, 15 kilometers each way). Repayments fluctuate a bit based on my income as I'm trying to pay it down consistently but also quickly so that money can then get funneled elsewhere.

Salary sacrificing into super was a decision I debated with myself over a couple of months. I was, on the one hand, considering using the amount for other investment options (Spaceship or the ETFs) to have limited availability (a bit of work compared to parking it in a high interest savings account but not locked away like it would be in super). On the other hand though, as mentioned above, I'm quite a way behind on where I apparently should be on super for a male approaching 30 years of age. According to the general advice of my super liaison I should have close to 30k and be starting to see compound interest having a growth effect. I'm not anywhere near that. So I've put the extra in and switched the account to a high growth option to try and catch up a bit. High growth is okay in the super account for now because I've got at least 30 years of working life to bounce back from any major downturns in the next 10-15 years and use the high growth to bounce back better (provided, you know, I still have a job with a major downturn).

So that's where I'm at as of the start of 2020. I've got figures stored in a draft post that I may in future come back and add them to this post if I decide to start sharing numbers. For now though, that's pre-launch testing done, we're on the pad ready for takeoff!

See you soon,

  • Scott