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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Diet week 2

My macronutrient averages for week 2 were:

fibre            16.1 g
carbohydrates    67.7 %
fat              14.7 %
protein          57.7 g
sodium         2170.5 mg
energy         1318.8 kcals

My average weight for week 2 was 107.8 kg, a decrease of 2.1 kg from the week before. I expect my rate of weight loss will now decrease to about 1.25-1.5 kg/wk due to caloric deficit. The first few weeks of a diet always have a bit of extra weight loss due to the decrease in total food volume being ingested (and hence fluid retention in the digestive system).

I did a little bit more walking last week, (averaging 1,653 steps/day) but still not nearly as active as I should be. I'll try to do at least 5,000 steps most days this week and some 5BX exercise each evening. I doesn't look like the Sydney lock-down will end soon, so I probably won't be able to go back to Kendo training until November or December. Haven't started doing any weight training at home yet, so that is still on my 'to do' list.

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Covid-19 has increased retirement age

An article in today's SMH summarized a report by KPMG which found that during 2020-21 the average expected retirement age for males in Sydney rose by six months (to 65.3) compared to the previous year (the expected retirement age for women remained unchanged). That appears to be partly due to restrictions on migration and associated tightening of the labor market (contrary to initial expectations at the start of the pandemic), coupled with a reduction in the attraction of retirement (what's the point when you can't travel overseas, interstate, or even outside of greater Sydney at the moment?)

Personally I hadn't intended to 'retire' from my full-time employment for another ten years or so (and to then continue working part-time as a financial advisor), but the pandemic (and associated work-from-home and occasional "lock downs") has meant that I haven't bothered to take much annual leave since the start of 2020 (fortunately in Australia unused annual and long service leave accumulates - although your employer can require that you take some). There's no much point taking a day (or week) off work if you end up just sitting at home anyhow.

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Thursday, 26 August 2021

Back into 'diet' mode

My weight had crept back up over the past 18 months of 'work from home' (and 'ad libitum' eating), so on Sunday 15th I decided to go back on a 'diet' - basically just cutting out all the junk food (lollies and chocolate) that I shouldn't be eating anyhow, and not having any 'dessert' after dinner or snacks during the day (and recording what I eat). I haven't started doing any intermittent fasting (yet), but I decided to delay having breakfast as soon as I get up in the morning, and instead have it as 'brunch' around 11am. I then have my dinner early (for me) before 7pm so there is a 16+ hour period of not eating and my morning. Having a 'mini fast' each day is supposed to be good for your health, although it isn't long enough to result in ketosis or autophagy. I find that I don't get hungry before bed after having an early dinner (even though I usually don't go to bed until 2-3am) and I don't even feel particularly hungry in the morning (although I am looking forward to 'breakfast' by 11am). I didn't find intermittent fasting particularly difficult last time I was trying to lose weight, so I might start having a weekly fasting day once the weather warms up (having no/few calories on cold winter days is just plain miserable).

So far my diet has been going 'according to plan' with my weight dropping from 110.8 kg to 109.2 over the first week. My macronutrient averages for the first week were:

fibre            17.2 g
carbohydrates    64.7 %
fat              19.7 %
protein          66.8 g
sodium         2435.8 mg
energy         1759.6 kcals

This pretty close to my target daily dietary averages, which are 5-15% calories from fat, 60-120 g protein, 900-2,300 mg sodium, and 1,800-2,400 kcals/day (preferably towards the bottom of that range).

At my starting weight (111 kg) my basal metabolic calorie requirement was 2,068 kcals/day, and while sedentary my required daily maintenance calories (for no weight gain or loss) was around 2,813 kcals/day. If I start doing a bit of daily activity such as brisk walking and 5BX and some pushups in the evenings (which would put me in the 'low active' region), my daily calorie requirement would be around 3,112 kcals/day. So sticking to an average of 1,800 kcals/day I should lose around 1.3 kg per week (1.0 kg per week even if I remained sedentary).

As my weight drops my caloric requirement will also decrease, so at my target weight (around 75 kg) my calorie requirement at a 'light active' level of activity would decrease to only 2,487 kcals/day, which would mean my rate of weight loss would slow to around 0.7 kg/week (even if my body metabolism doesn't adapt and slow in response to the caloric restriction over time).

Once I get to my 'ideal' weight I'll either increase my caloric intake slightly (to around 2,100 kcals/day) which would provide about 15% caloric restriction (which theoretically might be good for longevity), or if I've increased my activity level to 'active' (by doing regular kendo training and going to the gym for weight training three times a week) it would boost my maintenance caloric requirement to 2,788 kcals/day. In which case I'd eat a bit more protein to have around 2,370 kcals/day (still around 15% CRON) and focus on lowering my body fat while retaining/increasing muscle mass.

This is basically the same plan I had in the middle of 2019, when I was able to reduce my weight from 11.8 kg to 84.2 kg by March 2020 (when I stopped going to the office, or the gym, due to Covid). Hopefully if I can get back into my diet and exercise routine while in 'lock down' I won't have any reason/excuse for 'falling off the wagon' this time around.

I'll try to remember to post my weekly diet and exercise summary each week - hopefully that will help me to stick to my plans (public embarrassment can be a great motivator).

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Sunday, 15 August 2021

Another D'Oh! moment

I've been parking my 'new' (second-hand 2002 model) S-type Jaguar under our carport since I took delivery of it last week, as our lock-up garage was full of things being 'stored' in our garage (for example a kayak and a wind-surfer I'd bought years ago and hardly ever used, that are supposed to be shipped up to the lake house 'sometime' - definitely not yet as we're currently in lock-down). I didn't want to leave the 'new' car permanently parked under the car port awning as the rear end wasn't under cover and gets pretty hot during the day (even though we are currently in Australia winter), which won't do the leather upholstery any good. So I spent some hours last weekend and this weekend throwing out some of the junk stored in the garage and tidying the rest so it is all neatly stacked away on the side shelving.

I finally got everything tidied up in the garage this evening and got DW to watch as I drove the S-type into the garage to make sure I had enough clearance on the sides. I had checked the garage should be wide enough for the car, but I had to keep fairly close to one side in order to have enough clearance to open the driver's side door. Unfortunately when DW indicated I had driven as far into the garage as possible (there is an old wood workbench fixed to to the end wall of the garage) the rear of the Jag wasn't far enough in to allow the roller door to be closed! I should have also checked the length of the car! D'Oh!

Oh well, the Jag will have to remain parked outside under the car port awning until I can take the kayak and some other things up to the lake house, and then I'll probably demolish and remove the work bench (I'll first check that the car will sit into the garage once the bench is removed!). Hopefully I'll be able to park the car in the garage by Christmas.

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Trying to stick to a healthier diet (again)

Prior to the pandemic and work-from-home (WFH) regime that commenced in March 2020, I had been quite successful in losing a lot of my excess weight, and had been going regularly to the gym (conveniently located on the way home via train and bus). But since WFH commenced I had not been walking as much (about 1/3 of my daily 10,000 step target had been achieved simply walking to the bus stop from home and then from the train station to my office, and vice versa). Also, although I saved time not having to commute to work every day, the economic uncertainty of the pandemic, combined with an increase in the volume of work tasks needing to be completed on schedule meant that I didn't even spend time going for an evening walk or during lunch time. Overall, I became extremely sedentary for the past 18 months, and I also stopped sticking to my 'diet plan' and didn't bother tracking my daily calories or macro-nutrients.

The result was a slow but steady weight gain, to the extent that I'm back to the most overweight I've ever been (currently just over 110kg). So, today I stuck to my planned diet (no snacks or junk food) and also skipped lunch. From now on I'll try to have breakfast a bit later (around 11am) and then only have dinner (around 7pm) and avoid any after-dinner dessert or late night snacks, so I get a decent 16 'fast' period between dinner and 'break fast'. I might also try to do intermittent fasting by not having any meals on Sundays.

We currently have a 'lockdown' in Sydney due to the delta variant outbreak, and are limited to exercising within 5km of our homes, so I won't be going back to the gym any time soon. However, we do have some dumbell and barbell weights, so I'll try to do a bit of 'pumping iron' every lunchtime (at least three times a week) and also get back into the routine of doing regular walks.

If and when I get back down to my 'ideal weight' (around 75 kg) and body fat level (12% or less), I my continue a mild form of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition (CRON) diet plan, as caloric restriction is known to improve longevity in mice and other short-lived small animals, and recent evidence (such as reported recently in Nature) in closer human-analogues such as small lemurs supports the conjecture that it may also extend healthy lifespan in humans.

First step is to get down to a healthy BMI and exercise more. Then I'll worry about tweaking my ongoing diet regime to extend lifespan. For the past 18 months my diet has been reducing my lifespan!

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Thursday, 12 August 2021

Australians household wealth reaches all-time high

Despite the economic impacts of the pandemic in the 2020 - a "short sharp recession", on dip in house prices, and the share market bear market during the first half of the year, the growth in household wealth has actually boomed during past past decade. This has been largely due to a booming housing market and strong share market growth, as wage growth as been negligible.

Australian net household wealth (dwelling and financial assets minus liabilities) has increased from around 550% of annual household disposable income, to now be 825% of annual household disposable income. This increased level of household wealth should result in strong economic growth in coming years due to the psychological 'wealth effect' (people are more willing to spend a greater portion of their disposable income as their perceived wealth increases). This may also be boosted by a real increase in wages in Australia, due to the impact of the pandemic on our usual level of immigration flowing on to produce some labour shortages and hence competition for staff.

Of course this rise in wealth has not been uniform across all socio-economic segments - those who rent do benefit from rising house prices, and the bottom quartile of the population (with negative or low net worth) do not benefit from the rise in value of financial assets. Some of the increased household wealth nationwide will be redistributed via the progressive income tax scale (incomes over $180,000 have a marginal income tax rate of 47% plus 2% medicare levy, while low incomes (below$23,227) effectively have no income tax liability due to the LITO and LMITO tax offsets) but growth in average household incomes generally results in some increase wealth inequality. On the other hand, everyone benefits from stronger economic growth, as it reduces unemployment and supports real increases in minimum wage and provides governments with the budget capability to provide real increases in welfare support.

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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Delta variant of Covid-19 running rampant in parts of Sydney

After getting through 2021 relatively unscathed (compared to the US, Europe and many other countries) in terms of infections and deaths, most people had expected 2022 would continue to see Australia maintain close to zero community transmission while the two available vaccines (AZ and Pfizer) were slowly rolled out by the end of 2022. The spread of the delta variant in Sydney (starting from a single community case of an unvaccinated driver coming into contact with an infected international aircrew he was talking to hotel quarantine) has shown that our existing 'gold standard' lock-downs, contract tracing etc. isn't capable of getting the delta variant under control (especially when some people were breaching the public health orders - for example going to regional areas of NSW, or attending parties in nearby cities).

What is more worrying (to me) is that the daily case numbers are continuing to climb despite already 1/3 of all Australians (>40% of 'eligible' Australians i.e. adults) having had one dose of vaccine, and over 20% already being 'fully vaccinated'. I would have expected the lockdowns coupled with a sizeable fraction of the population being fully vaccinated would have seen lower rates of spread by this stage. Hopefully things do improve in September (when we should be getting close to 50% of all eligible adults fully vaccinated), but I'll be extra cautious until I get my first dose of Pfizer in late September...

So far Australia still has less than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, so I suppose we are still the 'lucky country' in terms of how Covid-19 has impacted us.

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Extra car expenses (of course)

The S-type Jag was delivered yesterday, and it looks very stylish and is in pretty good condition. A little bit of wear and slight cracking in the driver's seat, but that is to be expected for leather seats that are almost 20 years old (especially in Australia). Some scuffing on the door handles, but no scratches or dings in the body paintwork, and as far as I can tell everything seems to be working OK. I drove DW to her part-time job at lunchtime and the car is great fun to drive. Upon delivery I was told that the $500 12-month 'extended warranty' I had purchased only covers the engine block, drive train and gearbox, and I could have purchased a 'comprehensive' extended warranty for $870 that also covers the electrical system, computers, brakes, aircon, cylinder heard etc. It was also cheaper (per year) to take out 3-year or 5-year warranty. In the end I opted for the $1,290 3-year comprehensive extended warranty, so if anything goes wrong (like the computer system that broke in the last S-type I bought three years ago) it *might* be covered by the warranty. Each item covered only provides $350 per claim, so if something expensive goes wrong it could still get expensive to repair. I decided to pay the $790 extra to get three years of 'comprehensive' warranty cover. I'll also have to pay $240 stamp duty when I go to the local car registry office (within 14 days) to record the transfer of ownership.

I got an online quote to get comprehensive car insurance from Budget Direct. With limited km cover (5,000 km pa), no drivers under 50, $750 excess (except for windscreen excess of $40), and private/business usage, the insurance quote was about $455 pa, which seems quite reasonable.

I checked through the vehicle's service log book and it really has only had one prior owner, who had done the proper annual services with an approved Jaguar service center for the first 6 years, and then done bi-annual services using a local mechanic in years 8 and 10. The car had only done about 10,000 km pa for the first 12 years (2002-2014) and the the driver (a country town solicitor) had retired in 2013 and had only driven a few thousand km over the next six years (and had spent some money getting a new battery and the electronic throttle replaced in 2014).  After a few more years he had then obviously decided he didn't need the Jag any longer and traded it in to the dealer I bought it from. Overall the car seems quite a good buy for about $8,000 (it cost around $120,000 when new). Hopefully this car will last me for the next ten years while I am still working full-time and running my financial planning business on the side.

As this car will be used for my home-based financial planning business as a sole trader I should be able to claim back the GST on the purchase price and also claim a per km amount for business use (or a percentage of actual expenses).

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Friday, 6 August 2021

Bought another S-type Jaguar

Having recently given away my Ford Escape to DS1 as his 21st birthday present, I decided to have another go at buying an S-type Jaguar as my 'new' (used) car. Last time I tried this was back in August 2018, and on that occasion I ended up buying a lemon from a private selling (hence no warranty) that had an electrical problem which ended up making the car a total write-off only a few months after I bought it.

This time I've bought a 2002 Jaguar S-type SE from a local used car dealer. Being in lock-down in Sydney I didn't go to inspect the vehicle in person, relying on the car dealers photos (the body work, paint and interior all appear to be in good condition) and I paid an extra $590 for a 12-month warranty. The car cost $8,000 and I was told that it had only one previous owner and it has reasonably low mileage (123,000 km) for its age. We'll see how reliable the car turns out to be in reality. The car dealer has a mixed bag of very good and very poor reviews regarding the quality of their used cars and after-sales service, so I suspect if the car is OK everything will be fine, but if it has any major issues I may have trouble getting the dealer to rectify it under warranty. Fingers crossed that this turns out to be a reliable vehicle, but I won't be surprised if it turns out to be another expensive mistake.

I've arranged for it to be delivered early next week, so this weekend I'll spend a few hours rearranging the boxes and junk stored in my garage so I can park the Jag inside rather than under the carport. The current  registration lasts until next February - if it is still driving well by the time I have to get it inspected to renew the registration, I'll think about getting a personalized licence plate with a nice rego number and in a colour to match the vehicle (which will cost about $125 pa). I'll probably continue to work from home several days a week even once the pandemic ends, and I normally take public transport to the office, so I will probably only use this car a few times a week, and for occasional visits to any of my financial planning clients/prospects that want a 'house call', as well as the occasional longer drive up to the lake house during school holidays.

The total purchase cost (including 12-mo warranty, delivery charge, and a $100 'admin fee') was $8,709. And annual registration and CTP insurance will cost about $1,000. Being a 3.0L V6 engine it isn't very fuel efficient, allegedly needing 10.8 - 12.5 L per 100 km, and emitting around 314g CO2 per km. The 70L fuel tank will cost around $100 to fill at current fuel prices, and should provide a range of about 560 km. The running costs will largely depend on how much basic log book servicing costs, and if it develops any expensive faults.

I already have a 1960 Mk2 Jaguar that my parents gave me for my 18th birthday, but that car is stored up at my parent's farm and hardly ever gets used these days (I used it for daily commutes to university and then to my work back in the 1980s, but we did a respray and interior restoration and haven't used it much in the past twenty years). The styling of the S-type is based on the classic Mk1 and Mk2 models.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

DS1 seems to be on the path to financial success

DS1 finished his computer science degree (with Distinction) last year, and ended up with two good job offers, eventually taking a position at a local IT 'unicorn' company. He's recently passed his 6-month 'probation' period, and is working from home several days a week normally, or full-time WFH during 'lockdowns', so his income stream seems quite secure at the moment. Given his starting salary was similar to my current salary (!) plus he gets some stock options (which will probably be quite valuable when they 'vest' and if/when the company gets listed) and still lives at home rent free, he is able to save a large chunk of his income. His NW is already around $180K, which is pretty impressive for a 21 year old (it is partly due to the modest share portfolio and superannuation investments I made on his behalf during childhood).

He has a small amount of HELP debt (around $30K of accumulated university fees) which will slowly be repaid via an annual compulsory repayment. Repayments are required when your taxable income exceeds the threshold (currently $47,014), and the repayment rate depends on taxable income (for DS1 it will be around 7.5%). So, effectively DS1 will be paying off his $30K StudyAssist debt at the rate of around $7,500 pa for the next 4 years or so.

In the meantime he is saving as much as possible for a deposit on an investment property, which he'll probably purchase sometime this year (if he has enough deposit saved up and the current 'lockdown' ends). His living expenses are quite low, as he doesn't pay rent, makes use of the household groceries (although his does some of his own grocery shopping if he wants anything in particular), and I gave him my old car for his 21st birthday a few months ago (although it is still registered in my name and I have full insurance cover for when I want to 'borrow' his car). I'll probably buy myself a second hand S-type Jaguar soon, just so I don't have to 'borrow' DS1's car too much.

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Net Worth: JUL 2021

My monthly NW estimate has been updated in NetWorthShare for the end of July. Chart is in the side-bar.

Stocks and managed fund investments decreased slightly this month, down -$32,464 (-9.21%) to have $319,930 net equity in my geared share portfolios. But this figure includes a withdrawal of $30K from my home equity 'portfolio' loan that I used to make an non-concessional (un-deducted or 'after tax') contribution of $30K into my SMSF (we needed some extra money in the SMSF cash account to fund DW's annual pension withdrawal of $25K and the annual tax assessment liability for FY 2020, and I chose to make a NCC rather than sell off some of the Vanguard High Growth investment held by our SMSF).

Our estimated house price for July (my half) increased by $18,137 (1.91%) to $968,039. The Sydney housing market (especially houses) continues to trend up, although the rate of increase has somewhat slowed, and will probably reduce further with the whole of Sydney currently being in 'lock down' to fight an outbreak of the Delta strain of Covid-19.

The value of my retirement savings rose during July, to $1,484,832 (up $30,345 or 2.09%). But as stated above, most of this increase is due to the $30K non-concessional contribution.

The value of my precious metals increased slightly during July, to $24,511 (up $1,054 or +4.49%).

Overall, my estimated NW reached $3,096,549 by the end of July - up by a relatively modest $17,346 (0.56%).

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