torsdag 29 december 2016

2016 in hindsight and outlook for 2017

woman holding a sparkler in front of her

Another year passes by. What will I remember of 2016? What was good and what was bad? And what is to come?

The House

From the top of my mind, I think that the biggest personal project that we undertook this year was to renovate our kitchen. We basically ripped out the old one, opened up for a new door, re-walled another and installed the most amazing kitchen from IKEA!
2 months without a proper kitchen, doing pretty much everything ourselves (not counting water, electricity and carpet layers) with the help of our families. Hopefully we don't need to do that again for a decade or two.

before picture of kitchen renovation

work in progress picture of kitchen renoovation, black tiles on the wall and upper cabinets in place

after picture of kitchen renovation, oven, microwave, freezer and fridge in stainless steel

We finished the kitchen just in time for summer vacation and the arrival of our third cat: Prime

picture of our new kitten Prime
Now we have 3, Tiger, Pixel and Prime.

Smaller projects: 

relocation of living room. We moved our TV room to the upper floor and remodeled the living room into a dining room. Turned out great, the old yellow wallpaper was really ugly.
See before and after images:
before picture of living room renovation, yellow wallpaper
The before picture is cluttered, but so was the rest of the house as well during the kitchen project.

after picture of living room renovation, light gray wallpaper, black dinner table, white chairs and ikea lamp
New dining/living-room was completed just in time for Christmas. Much IKEA here as well, but for the fireplace area we actually ordered a 1.5 seat love-couch with really high arm rests from another store. It is to arrive in the beginning of 2017, something that I am looking forward to a lot.

Training

Was a great start this year in preparation for Billingeracet MTB, the only race I participated in this year and plan to do the same next year.
After that, our house projects took all of my time and training was a second priority.
There was also a real low-period that lasted for most part of the autumn where my resting pulse was 15-20 over normal, more on that in another post that I am planning.
From mid December, I think I am back on track again in preparation for 2017.

Brewing

First time brewing, cider. Turned out great, tastes good and hopefully next year we'll be able to make a batch of beer as well

Investing

Investing has been a good year, my favorite bank was on sale for most of the year so I was able to collect more shares than planned. And also putting away more cash into investing at the end of the year than at the start of it. A good sign that perhaps the investment plan will fulfill itself a little faster. But it is still too early to predict. :)

Outlook for 2017

Lots of plans, we would like to redo the facade on the house and add an extra layer of insulation. We fell in love with the Swedish Falu Rödfärg in the lovely color of black. But we shall see if it will happen in 2017 or 18.

For investing, I'll be keeping close track on both the UK and US, not much happened in the global economy during the vote for Brexit nor the presidential election in the US. But 2017 will be the year when both are implemented, so hopefully some stormy months in the market. For me, I don't mind. Red numbers would be good for me, meaning that I could buy up cheap shares in great businesses.


A long post, but I think I've covered it all. At least the most important parts.


Until next time: Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

Disclaimer. I am in no way an expert on capital management or investing. On this blog I only wish to share my findings, ideas and comments on current events and fields that interest me. I hope that my thoughts can entertain you. I expect that everyone reading take their time and do their own research before acting on anything read on this blog. Investing is not for everyone. E&OE.

tisdag 27 december 2016

Reasons to avoid Debt

woman drinking coffee from a take-away mug

We live in a world where you can consume even when you can't afford the things that you crave for, especially during the month of January that generally speaking is the poorest month of the year. But you still crave for things..

So lets list all the reasons why we should avoid debt.
  • Either you can afford something or you cannot.
    Instead of taking the easy way out and buying on credit try to figure out why you can't afford it at the moment. 
  • It's cheaper to buy with your own money then with the banks.
    You do not need to pay interest rate, billing fees etc. Imagine that you buy a new TV, smart-phone, playstation, laptop, tablet etc one year. The interest that you pay over the coming years would have allowed you to upgrade the thing in a couple of years. Instead, you are probably going to continue to pay the interest when the smart-phone breaks. Not a nice feeling if you have been there.
  • Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work
    Without debt, you don't have to work. If you can get food on your table in any other way, you can do it. But with debt, you still have to earn even if you could survive in other ways. 
  • Respect your money.
    You are less likely to buy things that you do not actually need if you need to buy it with your own money that you put an effort into saving.
  • Peace of mind.You do not have to worry down the line
    You bought it, its yours. You don't need to worry each month if you can afford to pay the fees.
  • You can work on your long term plan
    Put away money into your own money machine, instead of feeding a machine that is owned by someone else. You do not get rich by giving away your money.
There are a lot more reasons but these are from the top of my head.
If you already are in debt, make sure that you have a plan on how to pay it off. We have 3 items (not counting our educations). 
  • The house we live in,
    Where we put in money each month. It seems popular to only pay interest these days but I really want to get rid of this debt. So each month, we put in a payment and I have calculated it into my retirement plan
  • Our 2 cars.
    One could argue that we do not need 2 cars, but we live on the country side.
    One could argue that we could have bought used ones, but been there done that and in the end this is cheaper for us as neither of us is a mechanic.


Disclaimer. I am in no way an expert on capital management or investing. On this blog I only wish to share my findings, ideas and comments on current events and fields that interest me. I hope that my thoughts can entertain you. I expect that everyone reading take their time and do their own research before acting on anything read on this blog. Investing is not for everyone. E&OE.

tisdag 13 december 2016

Bottling homemade apple cider


bottled cider bottles in a paper bag
So last weekend we finally bottled our cider.
During the fermentation period we've learned a lot and we had to throw out the first batch (the one that was dry-hopped.). 
Also, forgot the time on a batch of mead and it went over time with 4 weeks. so out with it as well. Better luck next time.

Cider batch #2, 20 liters, was put on fermentation on September 27, 2016. A lot of it was covered in Homemade Apple Juice/Cider.

cider siphoned to a new fermentation bucket
Picture of siphoning from one fermentation barrel to an other

The timetable that worked. Even if it can be optimized a little. I think that the key was to add the extra sugar, the apple-sort that I used was kinda sour, and not adding sugar rendered the cider undrinkable. The key is tasting, a lot.

Date Action
September 27, 2016 fermentation start 20 liters
October 8, 2016 moved to second fermentation barrel,
added 2liters of freshly pressed juice.
21 liters
October 15, 2016 tasting,
added 1 cup of sugar
October 23, 2016 tasting,
added 1 cup of sugar
November 11, 2016 tasting,
added 1 cup of sugar
moved to other barrel. 19litres
November 20, 2016 had stopped, added more yeast to start it again
December 10, 2016 stopped again,
added 6grams sugar per liter to get bubbles in the bottles.
Bottled
December 24, 2016 drinkable, hopefully :)


bottle cleaning with power screwdriver
Picture of bottle cleaning, the quick way
Just a quick tip on the bottle parts. You basically have 2 options, either to buy new or re-use. We went with the re-use option, a friend was able to get a box of used ones from a local pub. Doesn't hurt to ask, right?
Before bottling into used, a real good cleanup is needed. All the sediments need to go, otherwise your freshly brewed cider will turn bad. So a bottle cleaner is a good investment, shouldn't cost more than a few bucks. If you are like me and think that it is boring work to clean 40 bottles, why not attach the bottle cleaner to your nice electric screwdriver and get the power boost. 

cider being siphoned into bottles from a fermentation bucket
Picture of the actual bottling process

Lastly, the actual bottling. We used a pump siphon and a bottle vent. (one that you press to the bottom of the bottle to open and when you pull it up, it closes automatically). Really easy to use. Be sure to not bottle the last liter as it is mostly yeast. Keep an eye on the quality when it pours down the pipe and just stop when its not clear anymore.

Hope this was informative enough for some of you out there.

måndag 5 december 2016

My current plan, 2016 December

woman putting on her jacket hood
Time for this months update.
I am still quite optimistic regarding the future of the stock market even though there seems to be a lot of noise going on these days.
But one thing that I've noted on the past few years is that there will always be noise, and always be people who think that being committed to the stock-market is a bad deal. But then again, you have to know in what light they are making their statements. Few seem to have the 'more than 10 years' view of current events.
Will the current events trigger a breakdown of global economy that cannot be repaired in 10 years? Maybe, but chances are that things go up and down in the short-term but in the long run, things go up. Or at least they pay some dividends :)

At least that is what I am hoping for.

So sticking to the plan and hoarding some more bank shares this month.

Hope this gives some motivation to other people starting out in building their own future :)

Disclaimer. I am in no way an expert on capital management or investing. On this blog I only wish to share my findings, ideas and comments on current events and fields that interest me. I hope that my thoughts can entertain you. I expect that everyone reading take their time and do their own research before acting on anything read on this blog. Investing is not for everyone. E&OE.