Foreword to ‘Fortune Both Good and Bad’

I have always been ambitious – wanted to be somebody, to amount to something by way of reputation and in financial terms, too. Which twin characteristics would normally accompany each other in any case. Not that there is anything wrong in being impecunious, of course, provided you’ve opted to be impecunious as, say, a religious might do; and there is nothing wrong in failing to seek promotion either, provided you are the sort of person who never hankered after promotion in the first place.

Possibly one of the worst instances of workplace bullying I have ever witnessed, was seeing a young teacher effectively driven out of her post by her head teacher on account of her personal reluctance to become the all-singing-and-dancing school music teacher he had it in mind for her to be, as opposed to remaining, as she would have very much preferred to continue to be, a good class teacher who just happened to have a particular talent for music.

Another thing I was to learn about teaching is that it is a decidedly vicious game, with favouritism rife when it comes to promotion. To be perfectly frank, teaching is a game in which the proud claim to be “an equal opportunity employer” invariably means the exact opposite.

Certainly, this is the way I found it to be in the city of – well, let’s call it Bonkshire where I wasted 24 years of my life. Well, no, that’s something of an exaggeration, to be fair. It was 15 years of my life I wasted: the 15 years of a prison sentence – a life sentence, be it said – that remained to me subsequent to the retirement of the head teacher who appointed me to the deputy headship of one of the largest primary schools in the city.

Because according to the caveman in a suit (as I still think of him) who was duly appointed to succeed my former head teacher I would never do anything right again. Almost overnight, too, as if to compound my misfortune, I was simultaneously lumbered with a new Chairman of Governors (“Monsignor Lush”, as I remember him), and an LEA inspector, reputedly Malaysian, (‘She being the one who put the malaise in it,’ as a snide colleague of mine was once heard to opine – the very same guy according to whom ‘the Chinee’, as he alternatively referred to the woman, was ‘a misandrist by nature’).

A man-hater, forsooth!.

As proof of which, my colleague would further reminisce that it was a rare breed of man (‘double-gaited,’ in his own view) who ever saw promotion in Madame’s time either before or after her husband topped himself – a sad eventuality which afforded this same snide colleague the opportunity of trotting out the quasi-Churchillian reflection: ‘If I’d been her husband I’d have topped myself long ago.’

The point I would emphasise, though, is that, since none of the aforementioned luminaries had been responsible for appointing me to my post within the school, it is perhaps understandable, albeit reprehensible in the extreme, that no reference of worth ever was forthcoming from any one of them. Accordingly, my tariff was set at 15 years. That is to say, I did 15 years porridge before my shed went on 9 November, 1989 – the day the Berlin Wall came down. There was obviously something in the air.

‘Luckily for you,’ as my doctor subsequently observed. ‘Because it could have been your heart that gave out.’

Which it was in a way, though not in the sense the doctor meant it.

Throughout all such tribulations, though, I remained steadfastly ambitious. Not least because I now found myself in need of additional income with which to boost my partial pension – plus (if it be at all possible) an improved pension fund, too. Both of which items (an additional income and pension fund) I have contrived to build up over the past 24 years.

How did I go about that?

I drove taxis to begin with (black cabs and private hire), worked the markets at weekends (selling oil paintings and prints), advertised items for sale in the press – ex-juke box singles, portable typewriters, car radio cassette players, repossessed VHS recorders and TVs; traded stocks and shares, too.

Stagging the various privatisation issues was a marvellous bonus for us, since I had my own shares to sell on together with those of my wife and five children. I may be mistaken but, looking back, I seem to recall stagging a tranche of 2,000 shares in British Gas; and possibly 6,000 shares in the various water and electricity companies.

Because, though I say so myself, there is no way in the world I was ever prepared to allow that self-serving trio – the three aforementioned luminaries (turkeys, rather) to do this good man down.

Do I bear them a grudge?

May Fiery Jack ever come to hand when Anusol they reach for!

At this point in the proceedings, though, I beg leave to sound a word of caution to the effect that there was something not quite right about the jobs I turned my hand to subsequent to careering to a halt at the chalk face – indeed, if I’m honest about it, there were two.

I don’t mean I made no money: I made shed loads of it!

I don’t mean the money I made didn’t stick: I hoarded the stuff!

I don’t mean the money I made was illegal: good God, forbid!

But certainly, my wife had a knack of dropping a heavy hint as we’d stand a Sunday market on the A59 Preston to Harrogate road, say, huddled against the elements and miles from home subsequent to a 5.00am start in midwinter.

‘Is this retirement?’ she’d ask me as we’d tuck into bacon barms for breakfast and roast beef for dinner, with steaming mugs of tea to hand with which to wash these down.

Hardly retirement, I had to admit, remunerative though the activity itself happened to be.

Similarly, my two teenage sons loved to draw attention to the other downside to anything I’d set my cap at 1989 on. ‘Every time technology moves on,’ they’d scoff, ‘Dad moves in!’

Which adolescent indictment was demonstrably true, given the ex-juke box singles, portable typewriters, car radio cassette players, VHS video recorders and brown box televisions that were my stock in trade at the time. That is to say, my stock in trade had a short shelf life: six years max, I used to reckon – and I tell you quite plainly my life expectation was (indeed, remains) a tad longer than that.

So, come the new Millennium, it had already become clear to me that some other form of commercial activity was necessary, though what that might be I had not the glimmer of an idea at the time – and I had already spent three years of my life actively looking for it.

Even the stocks and shares began to pall after a while, there being too many pigs with their snouts in the trough before ever Joe Public could reach it.

Still, if you are seriously intent upon looking for something I am confident you will find it in the end. Because the law of averages dictates that there are bound to be other people out there, looking for that self-same thing – and when they stumble across that thing (whatever it may be) they will invariably broadcast the good news to all and sundry.

Which is how I came to learn about stagging stocks and shares in the first place – how I learned to write fiction and non-fiction, too. By reading about such disciplines before practising them. As, indeed, I hereby broadcast to you, dear Reader, news of my eventual good fortune. Because around the turn of the new Millennium I happened to chance upon

BUY-TO-LET INVESTMENT

and I simply can’t believe my good fortune in doing so. Because . . .

  • BTL investment is certainly retirement. That is to say, BTL investment is retirement if you want it to be. Speaking personally, however, I can tell you, too, that I have never before been so happy at work.
  • BTL investment does not have “a short shelf life”. Quite the opposite is true. Due to certain social and monetary conditions at present obtaining in the UK BTL investment is bound to go from strength to strength in the future.
  •  BTL investment is not only legal, when properly handled (as I intend to show you how to do it), it is nothing short of being a very necessary public service.

So, I invite you, dear Reader, to sit back in comfort in order to acquaint yourself with the way in which I have personally succeeded in building up a sizeable portfolio of BTL properties, boosting my pocket money and pension in accordance with my wildest dreams. Better still, I think you will find BTL investment when properly handled to be very far from being the vicious game I was once upon a time obliged to tolerate elsewhere.

So saying, dear Reader, I hereby invite you to prepare to become a property millionaire – well, personally solvent, certainly, if it’s a more peaceful life you’d prefer.

(12 June 2013)


Bill Keeth’s books, Every Street in Manchester ISBN 1859880649 & Write It Self-Publish It Sell It ISBN 97809558863 are available from Amazon and all good book shops. Bill can also be contacted via his website, http://www.novelnovella.com.

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