Got a lot of good news recently. Girlfriend’s contract was extended another year. I start the system administration job next week. Renewed my driving license, so I can finally try qualify. Plan is going to be work and study until June/July, get my driving licence, and move up to Belfast in the North of Ireland. We finally get to live together permanently after almost 8 years.
I’ve figured it’s not worth scrimping and saving every penny “for the future”, when interest rates on savings are so low here. Even my €10k is making just 0.5% or 0.25% per anum. It was worth spending money on my business to get a better return. It was worth forgoing work to study to increase my future earnings. It was worth paying for health insurance. So my happiness is less tied to “having €10k” now, and is more considered about adequate cash flow. That feels like a positive step.
Some of the money is going on driving lessons. That will work out about €300. I don’t have a car, either. I may get one up North. It’s supposed to be cheaper. We’ve managed without a car so far, as we’ve always lived in the city. But Belfast has less public transport, and is even less bike friendly. Plus my insurance will be a lot less when I am 25 in June. It would be great to see the West of Ireland too, which you can only really do by car, bike or horse/foot. So all that is good.
This has forwarded our financial plans a fair bit, and made both of us a lot more optimistic about the future. Belfast is starting its own tech, finance and property boom. The solicitors and accountants have said that many companies are setting up to take advantage of the low wages of the underdeveloped North of Ireland, and of the more favorable UK tax schemes. Ireland got a slap on the wrist for its role in tax avoidance for Apple and the like (the old double Irish), so attention is shifting to the Occupied Counties in the North.
We can see the growth when I go up to Belfast – lots of construction going on. Lots of fancy restaurants opening up to cater for office workers with disposable income. Less visible sectarianism. The old tenements are being demolished, and the terraced houses with graffiti and flags flying over them are being redeveloped.
We are both getting to a stage where our debts are getting paid off, and we have a little money to invest. I am strongly thinking about buying an apartment in Belfast – there are a lot that were foreclosed and are still for sale. It would save us money on rent, especially when the interest rates on mortgages are so low. Then we can rent or sell the apartment if we decide to leave the country. Getting a mortgage might be difficult, but if financial policy gets loosened with ECB, loans may be easier to get. Besides, it is not worth saving money to accrue interest at the moment. I think it would be better invested in assets and cash. I even think we are late to it: the best time to move was last year. So that’s all happening, god willing.
Career-wise, we both got what we were looking for in college: mobility, and white-collar work that is hard to outsource. Big 4 was too much suffering, so network/software engineering seems better. I’m sure there will be more setbacks, and I’m sure it won’t be easy. But it seems the trend is upwards.
Have not read Black Swan yet: I’m sure it will change my mind.
The bike I have is pretty wrecked after winter. Needs some tenderness this week. The roads were heavily salted, and the bike was already a bit rough going into Winter. Got a new chain and rear cassette for it. Need to get the front derailleur cable replaced too. Going to try do those things myself and save €50. Just a matter of getting a chain wrench and a cassette removal tool in a workshop that hires out space for €5.
I’m very tempted to get a new bike, as I will be cycling 15-30km daily, and the hybrid I have is too heavy for any distance. Wheels are too wide. Does great utility cycling with bags and crates, and is good on the slush and rain. But it was a hybrid I got second-hand for €150. It’s coming up to the end of its lifespan, and without more investment, it will be trash. I don’t think it’s worth putting much money into.
Thinner wheels and slick tyres would make a difference – but combined, these would be more than I bought it for. The disc brakes were great in Ireland, and the aluminum frame was OK on our bad roads. I stuck a riser on the stem because the flat handlebars were too low to be comfortable for my neck. It’s an OK frame, it’s too small for me. It was left outdoors while I was work or out and about, and it’s still servicable. I may put it onto utility/beater duty.
I have my eye on this:http://www.wiggle.co.uk/eastway-fb40-2014/. I have never owned a new bike before. And this covers most of what I want, at a good price.
So I may get n+1 bikes. It would let me have a better commuting bike, and another in reserve if it is out of action. Don’t know if I should pull the trigger on it yet. But given that I cycle about 6-7 hours a week, I get good value out of bikes. Might make commuting less of a pain.
Also have an idea for a mobile application to develop for college: it’s a Rosary that uploads your prayers to a world map. It will have a heatmap function, so you can see which countries are praying the Rosary. It’s a little inspired by Celiaxx’s post: sometimes this shit gets lonely. It would be great to see who else is out there, keeping the fire burning. Should be reasonably simple to develop for Android.