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Congratulations! you are free from the rat race!! How did you do it if you don't mind me asking?
From my own experience I wouldn't bother with a degree, it only helps tick a box when going for an interview and with mine and a few friends experience we have not used our degrees one bit. We all studied aerospace engineering but ended up in automotive engineering companies and soon realised that if you want to progress in your career you need to head over to management. Even in the early stages of our careers we didn't really need anything from our university degree as they teach you different things on the job.
If I was in your position I would go travel the world. Just take your laptop with you and you can study trading. I really enjoy reading up about the stock market and simply switched the time wasted on facebook, snapchat etc into reading articles about the market. I have been trading for around a year now and from my own experience its not a quick way to make money unless you have a lot of money to buy a good quantity of shares so when prices do go up you do make some money. As an example from 10k I have invested, my shares have gone up by 1k.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
I got lucky in a way - I invested a lot in HMO's BEFORE article 4 came into place. Then when it did many of my HMOs almost doubled in value which I used to remortgage to get more. I wouldn't bu yany more HMO's now as they cost a premium but if I could go back in time before article 4 came in id have bought even more.
I would bother with a degree if there is a subject that interests you. Yes it can help you get interviews (yuk) and my first one (natural sciences/computer science) did have bits that helped me with work. So to a lesser extent did the one I did with the OU purely for pleasure (maths).. I find learning fun.
What are you interested in? Do you want a higher income? What is your next goal in life?
If you are interested in property then I would start a company. Loan the company the money for the deposits - the company can repay such loans at effectively 19% tax. You could reinvest the profits in more property., repaying the loans when you want a boit more cash. Maybe pay yourself a salary at only 40% tax (it would be 52% if you also paid NI). 40% is not "being taxed to hell".
If you want to play around with shares or other investments - do the same but pay into a pension and manage the pension.
First I would say you are a great position to be in..many people I meet in my freelance job don't have a pot to pxxs in at that age.
38k is good for a single man, however, if you decided to get married and have a family in the future you will need to increase this income, I would use this time to learn other skills, and do a degree part time etc
Can I ask where are your properties based, how many properties generate this income for you?
I have 3 in SE London which generate 25-30k pa, I also work part time and do freelance work as and when. 50k+ is needed in London just to be comfortable....
Are you making the £38k because interest rates are low?
What happens to those profits if IRs were at 5%?