House – Winter Prepping

Photo by Dan Hamill on Pexels.com

Well, with all this talk of winter and the energy crisis, I thought I would have a quick assessment of my house and how it would survive a power cut (or NOT! as the case my be).

I turned off anything on standby some years ago so I only have the following slowly draining electricity away during a 24 hour period; broadband router, digital ansaphone [ although I am thinking of getting rid of the land line and just use my mobile], immersion heater timer [and heater when on during E7 rate], fridge, freezer and gas boiler. The gas boiler needs electricity to ignite and run, including the water pump. Everything else is switched off and only switched on/plugged in when I need it. I don’t think I can reduce my electricity base level any further.

My house was built in the 1990s, it has double glazing, good insulation and was originally going to have storage heaters fitted, which is why there is E7 installed, but for some reason the builders put gas heating in. So I have a gas boiler for the central heating and an electric immersion heater for the hot water. When I first moved in I was going to get the hot water tank ripped out and get the gas boiler to heat the water but I am now glad I did not as I can now look to use solar to heat the water as an option in the future.

Anyhow back to how it stands today, what happens if I have a power cut?

  1. No central heating as the gas boiler will not run.
  2. No house lighting.
  3. Maybe no hot water – depending upon when the power cut happens, I could have hot water stored in the tank, if the electricity comes on in the evening then I can reset the timer and get water heated again
  4. No broadband – so no entertainment or connection to the outside world – backup would be mobile until that ran out of power.

What do I have?

  1. Gas hob – which I can light with a match.
  2. Gas stove – I have a camping stove so can also use this to also cook food/ heat water for drinks.
  3. Candles and camping torches for alternative lighting.
  4. Mobile phone – until it runs out of charge.
  5. Power bank for recharging mobile – until that runs out too.

So the main problem will be a lack of heating. I guess this will be when the hot water bottles and ski gear/thermals will come in very handy to keep me warm and follow the advice to heat the person not the house. In some ways it is good I live on my own as I just have to focus on keeping myself warm.

I am not sure I can do much more other than stocking up on gas canisters for the stove, matches and batteries for the torches, keep the power bank fully charged…

I just hope that this winter is not a cold one and with power cuts. I know the government say that we will not have power cuts but how can we be sure? During my working life I came across situations where management said it would never happen only for the situation to happen – so in my eyes it is “never say never”.

I will start prepping and see if there are any things I can do to prepare. I could do what others in Northumberland did and sit in the car and use the heaters in there to warm up and recharge things.

Is anyone else prepping for the winter? If so, what are you doing?

Monthly Update – Aug 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Another month over too soon as winter approaches. I have been busy getting out and about. A few more music festivals with good weather, great for camping.

I even did a motorbike refresher, I have a full motorbike licence and used to own a bike and use it to travel around for college and my first job. I wanted to get an instructor to give me a few pointers and get the memory muscles working again. It’s a different thought process to driving a car. By the end of the session I was doing my figure of 8s and slaloms easily. It was great to be back on a bike and with the way the economy is going and the transportation issues. I may get a bike to cut my costs and have a different form of fun and adventure.

Income

I received my largest dividends pay out for months and so I have a nice wad of money to keep me ticking over for the next few months. I have continued to earn a bit of online income from surveys. It all adds up plus £75 on premium bonds. I am waiting for my SA tax form to come back from the accountant to see if I have any tax to pay for last year, I am very close to the threshold. Fingers crossed I have nothing to pay so I can focus on how to survive this winter as energy bills go up again.

Expenses

Just my normal living costs and some costs for days out. I am trying to keep costs down and find free things to do and just spend on food and drink where necessary. My motorbike refresher was a birthday gift so just had to get there and get on the bike – nice!

Month End Summary

My net worth is down, yet another month where my net worth has dropped in value and although dividends are being paid I am -6% down from last year. I am not sure I will end the year breaking even. Pretty much every month has been in the red this year, worse that 2020!

I have a dog/house sitting job next month so that will help my income. I just need to see what else I can do to increase my cash flow and keep costs and expenses in check and hope the markets start to settle and generate some growth.

Hey! Over 50s, get back to work !

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Ha Ha Ha ! I would love to work but getting a job is the problem!

I read the recent articles on over 50s and working….

John Lewis CEO – over 50s get back to work

Well, OK we are having problems with getting vacancies filled but hey! Maybe its because there is something wrong with the jobs!? Ok, some of it is because we have a shortage of workers due to Brexit and with the baby boomers retiring, vacancies are appearing just when some companies don’t need it so are refactoring (consolidating/combining) the job role and dropping the salary to keep costs down (“more for less”). The impact of the baby boomers leaving the workforce is only just starting to bite. The UK population gets older and less working age people are available to fill the gaps due to lower birth rates.

I read another article about how the western developed world populations are contracting due to birth-rates dropping and how there will be less people of working age and how western countries are now having their populations tip towards more retired/older people than working/young.

Get a JOB!

Well, I have applied for a few jobs but get knocked back at the CV stage due to my age. Ageism isn’t supposed to be allowed but there are plenty of cases where it is pretty obvious that age is the problem. I watched the Marriage TV program on the BBC the other day – I laughed when I saw the bit where Sean Bean went for a job interview and the interviewer just sat looking at their phone, complete disinterest and with younger candidates waiting outside – it seemed pretty clear that it was a lost cause.

To be fair there are a few warehouse picking jobs going nearby – but I am just not fit enough to do them, I know my limits. An ex-work colleague ended up working nights at a well know “smiley” company warehouse, he walked over 10 miles per shift and spend most of his non working time sleeping to recover and he was in in late 20s. There is also the problem that some over 50s have had enough of working full time and would like a part time role – but where have all those gone? I scour the local job ads and there are none to be found, all are full time. Part time is something I would like to do, enough to give me some focus for a few hours during the working week and enable me to top up my income and have a bit of social contact.

I also read the following article in the guardian – “The best thing I have done” about people retiring. A common thread is the pandemic making people reassess their lives. How having spent the pandemic working or furloughed they have realised there is more to life than working. Quite a few of the people I know around me who have retired recently are teachers and they have had enough and quitting while they can.

I too was feeling the disillusionment of work and the mounting pressure, stress, toxic workplace and ridiculous management practices. I had lost my work mojo and was on the verge of a breakdown due to the constant stream of negative (“challenging”) management speak. Whatever I did was never good enough. Having watched someone in my department collapse in the office with a brain aneurysm and the way they were treated by the management, I just could not work there any more.

The fear of the cost of living crisis and how much my energy bills may become – before I even use any energy! – it’s terrifying. How will I manage to pay?

I fear that the more time I am out of work the less likely I am to find a job and the less likely someone will recruit me. I just don’t have a work network, I did try posting messages on Linkedin to my contacts but nothing happened. If anything I just saw more and more people leaving work. What’s the point in trying any more, I have no worth. There is only so much I can do and when it does not work, you eventually give in. I am a woman of a certain age so get brain fog and days where I just cannot function. It is a shame, as on a good day I can easily hold down a job but on a bad day – I am lucky if I can remember my name and function as a human being. I am not one for being sick so being like this is embarrassing and just makes me unemployable. I wouldn’t employ me if I walked through the door!

I couldn’t work out if it was my age, the pandemic and lockdowns, burnout from my last job. Whatever it is, over the past 2.5 years I have had the luxury of not having to work and just tried to do different things, get my health back and try to enjoy life while I can and, when there has been the opportunity, go out and have some fun. I am 55 next year so can access my SIPP if I need to so am looking at how to keep myself buoyant as inflation causes prices to rise and my fixed income has to stretch to buy essentials. Juggling numbers each month is not fun any more.

Can I survive until SPA? I am not sure but I will try and keep going.

Monthly Update – Jul 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

This year seems to be flying by and the economy is just getting worse, the doom grows. I have managed to avoid most of the news and have just been going out and doing things I have wanted to do while the sun shines.

I bumped into someone I have not seen for ages, pre COVID when I last saw them, and he has told me what has happened since I have last seen him. Both he and his wife are a few months older than me and both have had terrible health issues which is why I have not seen them. His wife had a brain aneurysm while at work and had to be air lifted to hospital, she then had two strokes and is now in a care home while she receives treatment. She has lost use of her right arm and leg and is trying to get physio to gain mobility. They are not sure if she will recover movement or not. This is a fear I have, this is the third person I know who has had a brain aneurysm. It seems to haunt me.

I know that TEA is always writing about health but he is right. We need to keep things in our favour and trying to keep fit and healthy is as important as saving money and trying to get away from The Man. As we age our health begins to fail and I seem to be surrounded by people who are succumbing to health issues, quite a few of them due to the stress of work. I used to hear of people having heart attacks but now it seems to be brain aneurysms or strokes. It makes me wonder what this modern lifestyle is doing to us. I am glad I left my last place when I did as I would be on my way to some kind of long term health issue.

I have tried to keep a positive mindset, I fear the health issues and I worry that I am going to have to go back to work due to the economy and this inflation crisis. The only large debt I have is my BTL mortgage. I just need to focus on my expenses. I am lucky I have no kids and can just focus on myself. It will be a struggle but I am used to being frugal. I listen to people saying how they cannot go on holiday or go out for trips. That was my life as a child. My family was poor, I never had holidays and never went out on day trips – unless they were ones arranged by school and free.

On the finance front, I am still planning to sell my BTL in the next year, this will now be within a recession, and I keep looking at the market and there are no houses for sale in the area. The agents say there are just no houses coming up for sale. I was advised to sell the house without a tenant. I don’t want to continue to be a landlord and rather sell. The income has been OK and has helped me over the past 2 years. I am really not sure if I will make any money out of the sale. I am intending to pay off some of the mortgage to bring the increased interest payments down to a manageable amount while the house is waiting to sell. I also have the problem of getting the tenant out. I cannot serve notice yet and will have to wait and see how they react. I have had a look at rentals in the area and there are some but they are considerably higher rents than currently charged. If they refuse to move I then have the cost of eviction to get them out and then waiting for the property to sell. If the market dies off then I could be waiting a long time for a sale.

Income

I received my NS&I saving cert payment, that’s the biggest payment I have ever received, due to the inflation rate. I have also received ISA and share dividends to boost my income and well as rent. I have some small income from online surveys and some other online work. It is covering my expenses and the dividend boost will help to tide me over the next few months.

Expenses

Just my normal living costs and some costs for days out. I am trying to keep costs down and find free things to do and just spend on food and drink where necessary. I had house insurance for both my own and my rental to renew and have managed to keep the costs similar to last year. I have also conserving fuel by being careful when I use my car. It is giving me a 65 to 70 mpg average as I just use it for long distance travel. I am looking at how to cut costs and try to keep things balanced but energy costs are hard to control when standing charges are going up so having to pay just for the connection, you cannot reduce use if it is the fixed charge. I have noticed that Octopus are looking to buy Bulb – as a Bulb customer I am waiting to see where I am going to be moved to.

Month End Summary

My net worth is still down and although dividends are now starting to be paid I am -6% down from last year so I have a bit to go to get back to where I started the year. I am trying to stay within my budgets but with costs rising it is getting harder.

I want to spend time doing some fun things over this summer and trying to do so while I can. Meeting up with people who have had health problems has struck hard and I just don’t want to be one of those people who just works all their life and ends up dying at work. I want a life, I feel I have spend so much of my time married to my job and no time having a social life I need to get some life in before it is too late.

I fell into that trap of living to work and just worked and worked, doing silly hours and constantly worried I was not good enough, fearing the loss of my job and then realising that I had lost time enjoying life.

“Keep calm and enjoy the sunshine and the summer” is my current mantra.

Monthly Update – Jun 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Wow, another month over and we are now half way through the year. Its been yet another terrible time with the economy and the markets all over the place. My net worth just keep dropping and I just wonder where this will all end up.

I have my nice new windows and they are so much better. I didn’t realise how bad the cloudiness of the old glass was until the new windows were in and the clarity was so obvious. The glass is low-e which also means that there is a coating which reflects some of the solar heat back so the rooms are not getting so hot where this glass is now fitted. This is good in the summer but in the winter I will miss out on the solar heating effect of the winter sun. I just hope that any central heating I have use instead is retained within the house.

I have tried to keep a positive mindset but have struggled a bit this month with all the doom and gloom doing the rounds on the media and the hype being stirred and generated.

Income

Just the usual income from rent, some ISA and share dividends and some online work. Not a a great amount but now that interests rates are rising I am noticing that my cash savings interest is now starting to pick up. My expenses have been more than my income this month due to paying for my new windows but overall I am still within budgets for the year. I will just need to watch my expenses, especially as the cost of living continues to increase my spending on food, fuel and utilities.

Expenses

The windows are paid for and alongside some other expenses as a hang over from my recent holiday I have tried to keep a check on them. The cost of living means I can see my food bills going up and I am looking at how to cut back on things to enable me to remain within budget.

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping and cost of living rising, I am worried how this will affect my long term plans. I will continue to monitor and find ways of making some cash and cut my costs. I want to spend time doing some fun things over the summer. I will just see how it goes. I have overspent a little this month and will have to compensate in future months. I have a few more ex work colleagues looking at giving up work. They are fed up of the grind. All the sh*t that has happened over the past 2 years has really got to them and there is also a rumbling of job cuts so some are looking to jump before they are pushed. The economy is in a mess and I just wonder where this is all going. I am tired of the sh*t myself and feel worn down and tired of all this. I am trying to find things to do which get me out and about at low cost and make the most of the summer weather before the season changes and the cold weather is upon us again.

I sound a bit gloomy and that is down to the constant media grind. I am trying to avoid it and just keep a light check on my investments and try not to get disappointed at the loss of worth and the lack of growth. At least I have some passive income from dividends and interest from cash. I have another NS&I savings certificate interest payment in July and that is going to be at 7.2% which is the best interest rate I can expect to see on any of my investments this year when my overall worth is tracking -8%.

I just need to sit tight and try not to get too down from all this. Keep calm and carry on.

Wait or Sell?

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Dilemmas – when owning a BTL.

So the government announce yet more changes for landlords making it harder unless you are a professional. Probably not that good for a professional either really.

I have been pondering selling my BTL for a while. I wanted to sell in 2020 but could not due to the pandemic and the ban on evictions during that period and found the rent useful for my own living costs. The tenancy renewal date does not fall well which has hinder my options. I have therefore held on but now looking to sell which looks like the wrong timing as the recession news builds and buyers potentially start to disappear. The new rules being proposed recently is making me want to sell, I am not a professional landlord and do not want the hassle any more. I don’t have multiple properties.

I browsed the properties up for sale in the surrounding area and there isn’t much up at the moment. If I look at sold properties I can see that a few have sold since the start of the year so it looks like there is a lack of properties in the area at the moment. I did see an investment property for sale nearby with tenant in situ but it has now disappeared off the listings and I cannot see it marked as sold so not sure if it has been sold or withdrawn from the market.

I called my letting agent and discussed selling up, “The market is active”. They said I would get the best price by selling as a vacant, no chain property. They gave me a quick valuation over the phone which aligned with my guess – which is less than the prices being quoted on property sites (approx. 10% less). The agent did a quick drive by to have a look at the property and said that an actual valuation would confirm the price. The current tenancy is not up for renewal until November and I would have to serve a Section 21 in September to try and obtain the property back to sell. ( I say ‘try’ as the new rules being discussed by the UK government may hinder this too).

I asked about selling the property with tenant in situ and they said there were a few landlords looking and had a few on their books, mainly ones based in the SE of England but the yield is only 5% based on estimated selling price. It may not be attractive to them. They would want to buy at a lower price point than a first time buyer so “expect to get less” when selling to investors only. They said that by doing the valuation and telling the tenant, it might strike fear in the tenant. I am not sure what they were driving at there? Would the tenant kick up a stink/cause trouble or move out at the end of the tenancy leaving an empty property?

Is it actually a bad time to sell?

I was not sure if the agent’s views are valid or not? I had a look and they have one nearby property up for sale on their site and its a similar size, empty, no chain and up for a slightly lower price than mine. It needs some work doing and does not seem as appealing as mine (I am biased). I am pondering testing the water as its a ‘no sale, no fee‘ process with a free valuation so I can test the market and see what will happen. I can see how the tenant reacts too.

At the moment if it sells at my target price then I would have made more interest on the investment than I would if I had left the money in a bank account. The property would make a little bit of capital growth and that would cover the selling costs/taxes and leave a little left as a small profit.

Am I missing something? Could I do something better? Any tips?

Will the recession hit and buyers disappear in coming months?

Will this become a bad investment? Could I end up making a loss by having to cover a void property during a stagnant UK property market?

UPDATE: I had a dig around and in the area most other houses are renting out at about 5% yield so mine seems to fit the norm for the area. Flats seems to be providing a 6% or 7% gross yield, after ground rents and/or service charges to cover their net yields would also end up being around 5-6%. I found a few flats with tenants in situ up for sale in the area for investors. House-wise most seem to be vacant or with tenants about to leave. There is one rental house up for auction with a min price which equates to a 5% rental yield.

What’s wrong with work?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read some media articles about the UK employment market and how there are plenty of jobs out there but no takers. They say how there are shortages in some sectors and plenty of inactive over 50s who could be filling these roles. Really?

I cannot remember the name of the person who was on the radio who was saying that over 50s have a lot of experience & knowledge to offer and how they should be considered for these roles. Now – who was this person aiming this comment at?

Was it the ‘inactive over 50s’? You should be applying for these jobs, your experience is wanted by a prospective employer. Maybe they were but as an ‘inactive over 50s’ – my response is that for me, I am tired of the workplace grind. The last few jobs I have had were full-on with plenty of office bullies and impossible deadlines that meant I spend too much time stressed out trying to pull rabbits out of hats for the senior management. I did not feel my experience was actually wanted or needed – other than the bit that showed I could do the activities required for the job. If I had any experience/ knowledge, comments or ideas to improve the business processes and help the company, I was told that it was not required and ‘just get on with the task at hand’. What was the point? Your ideas due to knowledge or past experiences was not required, it was immaterial and unwanted.

I want to slow down now, I would like a slow lane job where I can just go in work my hours without the stresses carried over into the next day and having to work my evenings to match deadlines. One without the threat of losing my job due to ‘perceived incompetence’ at every milestone review.

Sadly I have not found a job that matches that criteria yet, so I continue to sit on the outside trying to exist and watching from the edge. The jobs I have seen have an endless list of task and responsibilities as employers try to get one person to do multiple roles for single pay. Ok, I am being picky, I have also become very cynical. I am also trying to find a change in my work life and pace. I am noticing that I am slowing down and unable to work at the same rate I did before. I get brain fog and struggle to function at the fast pace of my younger years. For me, I need a less stressful job and one without all the pressure. When working I was looking sad, pale and had high blood pressure. Now I am not working, I am actually smiling more, feel happier and don’t have high blood pressure. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

I spoke to my sister who is very stressed out at the moment. She has no financial buffer (she used it up when made redundant a few years ago and has been unable to replenish it) so has to stick it out at her current job, she is looking to move but cannot find anything better, she works in one of these sectors which has a vacancy crisis. She is having to do more and more work as more people leave due to the stress & increased workload. It is snowballing and it will break her if she is not careful. She is waiting to see if her employer’s current contract is renewed, she should find out in the next few weeks. If it is renewed then she keeps her job but the workload will be increased to fulfil the new terms. If it is not renewed then she will have to wait and see if she, with others, gets offered TUPE to the new supplier or made redundant. Its a precarious situation and why the employer is struggling to fill vacancies. Who wants to join a company which could be losing their contract in the next few months and end up out of work.

She is working unpaid additional hours to get the tasks completed as she is pressured by the management to achieve the deadlines and juggle too many plates and told she cannot drop anything and made to feel that doing so will have a detrimental affect on her employment future.

This fear which is gripping the workplace and used as a big stick is making work unattractive to those who can choose. For some it is too much and they are crashing out of the workplace with illness and health conditions which become hard to shake off. I am so glad I don’t have to work at the moment. I hope things change and the workplace stops being such an aggressive, pressured place. It seems to be invading every sector of the work environment, at one time it was only some sectors that had the reputation for being aggressive and pressured. Every time I said ‘no’ to something I was told to rethink it and that ‘no’ was not an option and if I did not like it I should leave. One manager actually said to me ‘ If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen’ – so I did, I resigned.

Am I the only one seeing this?

Is anyone else feeling the stress?

What can be done to cure this workplace culture?

Monthly Update – May 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

A late post for last months figures, depressing reading really as the stock market continues to spiral downwards. I have been away on holiday, an escape to Scotland for my annual jaunt. A way of getting away from all this and having some fun.

The weather was not too good this year, talking to locals they say its the worst weather they have had in recent years. It seems that the season is about 3 weeks later than normal as the trees and floral were behind their normal flowering and growing rates. It did not spoil my holiday and enabled me to get away from things and not worry about the economy or my net worth plummeting. A nice break from MSM and social media. Given that I am living off my FI pot it is worrying to see the value plummet when it is required to sustain me until I reach my SPA. I may have to find some part time work more quickly than expected but I am currently enjoying spending time with my partner who has retired and enjoy the summer while we can. We still have some festival tickets to use in July so not really wanting to be dictated to by an employer on my holiday dates. (I have had employers who have refused my holiday requests in the past). I would like some autonomy so have tried to keep getting a little bit of cash from surveys and my other online channels. My little side hustle is not gaining any sales so I think that will be a dead end and I will stop trying.

I am not sure where the utility prices will be when I reach winter but I will have to look at ways to keep costs down and stay warm and fed. At the end of May my net worth is down another 3%, so all of last years gain has been sadly lost.

I have ordered my replacement double glazing units for my own house and waiting for them to arrive and get a fitting date. I am hoping they will help to insulate the rooms where they are being fitted to replace glass which has misted up. All the windows are south facing and all blown at the same time.

The large repair expense on my rental has also been booked in and just waiting for that to be completed. I did an online valuation for my rental and it came back with a value which I do not believe, given latest comparative sales in the area. I am waiting for a call back from a agent to discuss options. If I can achieve the value stated then this after taxes and expenses should give me around 3 years of income. I intend investing it into my ISA and then slowly draw it down over a few years to cover my gap between now and my SPA.

Income

I have income from ISA dividends and some taxable shares. I have my rental income and some cash from my online work. I will not get the online payment until June but it will help to cover expenses. I need to start looking at my cash holdings and how to gain more interest now that rates are picking up and I am receiving interest rate notices. It is good to see my cash starting to earn some additional interest even if it is nowhere near the current inflation rate. I use my cash buffer to live and leave my ISA and SIPP ‘growing’ – well if the markets were better, they should be growing, at the moment they are dropping and losing value.

Expenses

Just a few holiday costs to cover before I left and spending while there. I managed to get a full tank of fuel before the costs rose and with careful driving I was getting about 68 mpg so trying to get my value from the fuel. I saw fuel priced at £1.92 a litre – OUCH!

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping and cost of living rising, I am worried how this will affect my long term plans. I will continue to monitor and find ways of making some cash and cut my costs. I want to spend time doing some fun things over the summer. I will just see how it goes.

Where are we heading?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is going on at the moment?

All I hear on the media is doom and gloom. Living costs rising fast and prices just shooting upwards each week. The talk of stagflation and the markets kicking all over the place. I am fearful of a recession, a long one at that, I want to sell my BTL in the next 12 months and I cannot start the process for a few months yet. Yet again my plans are being scuppered and ripped to shreds. I will have to serve a section 21 and it will hit at just the wrong point in the year (winter). Not the best time of year to sell or try to get a property vacated. I fear that it is going to cost me a lot to get the place sold too, i.e. carrying a void house for months. Putting the property onto the market when there is a recession is not helpful as I could end up losing money, which was not the idea. I just wanted somewhere safe to put my redundancy money, then later sell and make a little bit of profit to cover costs and provide the equivalent to a reasonable rate of interest (~ 6%) on the invested money as that was better than a savings account ( ~1%). I think that idea has burst.

If COVID has not hit I would have initiated the process in 2020 and I would have been out of the rental market by now. I worry about the selling process as I watch my neighbour moving. They sold their house in November 2021, by open house and sold same day, but they have only just moved out, that’s 6 months to complete. Ouch! I guess some of that was due to a long chain, although it has taken my aunt 4 months to complete and that involved an empty house on one end and a first-time buyer on the other.

I was told by a friend that the area where my BTL property is is very competitive and that houses are selling fast (within days), they have a relative who has bought in an adjacent area and they were saying that they had to chase properties quickly as they were going as quick as they appeared on the market. I am not so sure this will be the case when I come to sell mine, this economic situation is not looking good. The property has low running costs so may appeal to a downsizer or a first timer trying to get on the housing ladder, its a 2-bed mid-terrace. It depends on what happens this winter with energy costs. I wonder if there will be any buyers at the start of 2023 when my property is likely to appear on the market? (If I can get the tenant out)

Any words of wisdom from BTL landlords out there?

Would local letting agents help me find a landlord who would be willing to buy the place with sitting tenant?

Am I better putting an empty property on the market and widen the potential buyers?

Dilemmas……

Try not to panic….

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

As it is Mental Health week I though I would post something related to mental health. So no, this is not a post about financial market panic … read on of you wish ….

I am focusing on my health in general at the moment both physical and mental and one thing that I read recently about agoraphobia made me think about my own experiences of panic/anxiety attacks. This is something that has creeped up on me slowly over the past few years. I think some of this is sadly linked to being female and of a certain age, that M* word again.

I started having the odd attack while at work. It normally happened when in our daily stand up meeting. There would be about 20 to 30 of us all crammed into a small meeting room. There was no air and if I had to stand, squashed up with others I would start to feel faint and struggle to breathe. The main trigger seemed to be the heat, if the heat in the room became too high I would start feeling really dizzy, I would feel that there was no air and I would almost collapse. I would try to leave the room or be by the door so I could make a quick exit.

I had episodes before when I had either felt faint or actually fainted. A previous occasion I was at a leaving party and we had gathered in a large pub and although there was plenty of space, I felt trapped and started feeling dizzy and turned white and nearly fainted. My work colleagues helped me out and after 5 minutes I was fine. They wanted me to see my GP and see what was up. The GP wired me to an ECG machine but couldn’t find anything wrong. The GP never mentioned this being any kind of anxiety or attack of any kind and I was just carried on. They just said they could not see anything wrong with me, so I just carried on.

At my last job, I would start having these attacks again while in the office. Again, when in meetings or just after meetings. I think they were linked to the stress of the environment. They involved feeling dizzy, faint and finding I couldn’t breathe (well, I could but it just felt like I couldn’t) a tight chest and feeling ‘enclosed’ or trapped.

Since stopping work the number of instances has dropped. I had one encounter in a pub which was just after lockdown eased and I walked in and the pub was relatively packed and the heat of the place hit my like a huge wave. I became so hot within seconds I had to sit down and felt like I was going to pass out. The place felt claustrophobic and I was struggling to breathe (or felt like it – I was breathing ok really). I sat with a cool drink and after 5 minutes I felt much better. My head stopped banging and my body temp dropped down to normal.

Another happened at a gig, again in an enclosed space. It was fine to start but as the place became packed and the heat in the place started to increase I started to feel strange. My head started to throb, my body temp started to climb and I found it hard to breathe. I felt claustrophobic and had to get out. I tried to make it to the exit and actually fainted as I reach the cooler air outside. The faint lasted seconds, just enough time for me to hit the floor (I just felt like I had stumbled) and people helped me to recover with a cool drink and a sit down. Again, within minutes I was fine. I have tried to not avoid such places as I don’t want this to restrict my life. So recently I returned to the same location to see a different band. This time the place was not so packed and although I felt apprehensive I succeeded in attending the whole gig with no incident.

It seems that there is a common trigger, a combination of enclosed space, lots of people, heat and a perceived lack of fresh air. Its a shame as I cannot control this and really don’t know if I ever will. I spoke to my sister and she has similar experiences and she thinks it is something genetic. I really don’t know, all I do know is that I have to accept it and try to stop it affecting my ability to get out and do things. I have checked my fitbit but it does not show anything unusual with my pulse or heart rate during these events.

I try to remain positive and enjoy my FI life. I will hopefully find a part time job in the future which will suit me and fit my lifestyle. I am learning to accept it and work with it.

If you enjoy my ramblings and want to buy me a coffee – click here.