Peering over the hill...


I’ve been wanting to start a diary for a while now, but it’s never as easy as it seems is it?

I suppose I’d better start in the usual place – a bit about me, a why and take it from there.
I’m in my early fifties married to a lovely wife, own just over half the house and am starting to peer over the hill to retirement in 15 years… :eek:

We are MSE focused but had a setback in our lives over 10 years ago when we tried for a family, spent the savings on fertility treatment and are now on the other side able to see it as a past event.

On the mortgage front we have managed to overpay, mainly through maintaining payments as interest rates have dropped, plus the odd top-ups as and when. All a bit unscientific, but we have managed to shave over 10% off.

With 12 years to go, we’ve decided that we’d like to be mortgage free in as short as time as possible, whilst still being able to save for retirement, a rainy day and a little bit of fun along the way.

With that in mind we fixed our mortgage for 5 years in December (Brexit planning?) and I’ve also restructured our main overpayments to allow us to reduce the term as well. If we overpay £500 or more at a time, we have the option to either reduce the monthly payments or the term.

On the pension front the plan is to move some old pensions into a SIPP. The largest pot (around £100K) managed to increase in value by less than £50… For a well-known pensions provider this was a big wake-up call. :(

That about sums up the two financial goals for this year, I’ll know more after I’ve reconciled our budget tomorrow…

The other reason for wanting to keep a diary is see how far we’ve come (assuming this gets past page 1!). It’s easy to forget how much progress has been made and for me it’s doubly so.

I find it very helpful to keep notes on everything as I have Aphantasia, coupled with a terrible memory (what’s now trendily called SDAM). I like to think of myself as a high functioning idiot, which probably explains why I’m such a good manager at work. :rotfl:

Oh – and I don’t take myself too seriously. :p

If you got this far, thanks. If not you obviously lost track of time googling Aphantasia, which then led on to Disney’s fantasia and probably lots of other asia’s as well...
If it's not adding up, compound it!


  • Happy new diary!

    Seeing how far we've come with our mortgage is exactly why I started a diary too!
    Mortgage start: £121,500 Dec 19
  • Grogged
    Grogged Posts: 865
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary

    I see you also have a new diary.

    I wish you well with your refurbishment, those days are very much behind me now...

    Like you I too don't want to be paying a mortgage at 61, I think I may get closer to then than you though! :)
    If it's not adding up, compound it!
  • Grogged
    Grogged Posts: 865
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited 30 January 2020 at 5:43PM
    I've been on holiday this week.

    I was just going to have Monday off to get a hive thermostat installed. As I had some holiday left, decided to take the week.

    We're struggling to work out the best place for it to live.

    Our old one was at the back of the hall, directly under the stairs. As our kitchen and living room is on the middle floor the house was either too warm or too cold.

    We did think of having it in the living room, but then found out whilst it was toasty, an arctic tundra had invaded the rest of the house...

    It's temporary home is now on the staircase outside the living room. This has worked out much better, so we'll probably nail it to the wall now we're getting to grips with it! :)
    If it's not adding up, compound it!
  • Yes, I did google both Aphantasia and SDAM. Am now feeling very informed. Really interesting, I hadn't thought much about different ways of memory processing before.

    Happy new diary, and thank you for teaching me something new :D.
  • Tahlullah.H
    Tahlullah.H Posts: 1,227
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Hello. I agree, having read up on both, it makes you wonder about everything you take for granted. I can see positives and negatives. Thanks for sharing and I will subscribe to your diary.
    What I do not give, you must never take by force.
    Mortgage outstanding - 30/12/22 - £25,900. 31/01/23 - £22,300. 28/02/23 - £20,500. 31/03/23 - £17,500. 30/04/23 - £15,800. 30/05/23 - £13,800. 31/06/23 - £11,300. 31/07/23 - £9,800. 31/08/23 - £8,300. 30/09/23 - £6,000. 31/10/23 - £3,000. 30/11/23 - £1,200. 06/12/23 - £00.00
    God save us everyone, As we burn inside the fire of a thousand suns, For the sins of our hands, The sins of our tongues, The sins of our fathers, The sins of our young.
    Linkin Park
  • Grogged
    Grogged Posts: 865
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited 31 January 2020 at 5:01PM
    Hello Glenda and Tahlullah, thanks for taking the time to read the (short) story so far.

    I must admit it was very surreal to find out that you can all see that beach in your heads and relax on it... I'd assumed it was just figurative, not literal! It's one of those things that you take for granted and never really think about.

    It took a good few days to sink in for both myself and Mrs Grogged and plenty of discussions on how each of us sees and thinks about the world.
    If it's not adding up, compound it!
  • Grogged
    Grogged Posts: 865
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Standard payment, feels odd not making a traditional OP...
    Standard OP put into OP pot, ready for £500 OP in March.
    Setting aside £170 per month for this.

    Christmas was withing budget, even managed to save a little, which was unexpected.
    I think this was down to some good black Friday deals, as DW computer was terminal so needed new innards - now all shiny and fast again. :)

    Savings Planing
    So after seeing the nearly zero returns on the main pension pot, have decided that affirmative action is needed.
    Given that the pot is invested in a global markets fund, I don't see how it should return nowt, so have decided to SIPP it and see. :)
    Looking at fees, etc, it also makes sense to merge the smaller pot as well.

    I've also decided to fund a shares S&S ISA from some P2P funds to balance out the risks.

    If it pans out I think I'll use Vanguard for both, as that will minimise my costs (as they cap at £395), and keeps everything under one roof.

    Whilst the purpose of both Vanguard accounts will be pension related, the ISA side will also allow for a second EF should the need arise. (I can see myself not being popular on the pensions board, as the general advice is overpay into the SIPP).

    I have a 5% account maturing at the end of Feb, so I'll need to find a home for that and some better interest accounts in general, as I'm current getting 1.1%, so need to look at the best buys and investments board.

    The only big spend on the horizon is March for the cars MOT & Insurance.
    Have already budgeted £700 for them, of which £350 will be donated by the council who don't collect their tax in February and March!

    I've also decided to tilly tidy on Thursdays and Mondays. I go down to the next £5, with one going to savings and one to the mortgage. Just don't feel comfortable without making some monthly OP's!
    If it's not adding up, compound it!
  • Happy New Diary and good luck with your plans!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £335k 
  • Grogged
    Grogged Posts: 865
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Thanks for reading glass_half_full.

    So, we got a hive thermostat last Monday.

    We live in a modern three story house, that's just turned teenage.

    The original wired thermostat sat at the back of the ground floor hall, with the radiator being at the front.

    We decided we needed to move it, which then turned into buying the hive in the black Friday sales...

    At 18c the middle floor where we live varied between warm and tropical and upstairs from tropical to volcanic. So we constantly had to fiddle to get a comfortable temperature.

    This week inspector G has been on the case, investigating the best place for hive s new home.

    Perched on top of the original thermostat showed that middle floor gets to around 24c and upstairs 25c+. It was nice to know how hot it could get.

    In the living room was nice, but the arctic took over the rest of the house.

    So we're putting it on the middle landing.

    But it was still cold at 18c, so we gradually increased the temp to 20c.

    I was initially disappointed as the whole idea was to save money... :o

    But thanks to Mr Ovo and his nice smart meter... The news is good!
    Our gas usage has dropped by over half. :T

    It seems that it only needs to be on for few hours, so I feel I can still stay MSE.

    On that basis it should pay for itself in under 2 years.

    Off to be smug now and nail it to the wall (er, scientifically position it...)
    If it's not adding up, compound it!
  • Good luck with your quest to be MF! And congrats on the new smart thermostat too!
    MFW - #133 - 2020 Challenge - £1230.67 / £1159
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    MFW #56 - 2022 Challenge - £325.35 / £1296
    Mortgage began Jan 2019 - £115,900
    Mortgage Currently            - £105,160
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