How Much Will I Need?

I’ve mentioned a few times that for my Future Fund and future retirement income, I had been loosely aiming for a ‘Moderate’ standard of living as cited by Retirement Living Standards (RLS), requiring an income of £23.3k.

For ease in my spreadsheets, that was a nice round income of £24k or £2k a month (net). Note that I currently do not need this much to live on and had already adjusted my numbers to account for the double-digit inflation we all had to swallow last year.

So you can imagine my dismay (and shock) to see that RLS had updated their numbers for 2023 and that such Moderate standard of living in retirement had apparently ballooned in just one year by 34.3% to £31,300. Erm, what!?

Source: retirementlivingstandards.org.uk

This predicament has been written about recently by Monevator, and from some of the comments against that post, it seems many believe the numbers are a little ‘frothy’.

Still, I’m sure there will be yet others looking at the higher end/Comfortable numbers and thinking that £43k (£59k for a couple) is nowhere near enough for their lifestyles but each to their own. For me, I mean, I’m not sure what I would spend £31k on, if I had it? I’d have to be frivolous and wasteful.

The numbers come from this report, where 135 people participated in discussion groups, people who were retired but also non-retired individuals over the age of 50.

Although the report makes an interesting read, I’m not sure about the views of this latter group, who I reckon will have somewhat over-estimated their costs.

Which is Which?

Which? have also done their own report on retirement spending, and I’m inclined to believe their numbers are a tad more accurate, given that their research was based on surveying over 5000 retirees on their actual spending.

Which?’s ‘middle’ standard of retirement living requires £20k, so my continued aim for an income of £24k falls within this catergory – phew!

Bills, Bills, Bills

Cost of living aint getting cheaper so all I can do is try to keep the costs within my control from spiralling upwards.

I mentioned that I recently switched my broadband for a saving of £20 a month – I could have gone cheaper but as I work mostly from home, I couldn’t really take the risk of not having fast full fibre (reliable) internet.

My mobile phone monthly was swapped recently from £11 a month to £8 – nothing huge but it all adds up.

Groceries I aim to average £40 a week – doing alternate normal and small weekly supermarket shops seems to be working. A shopping list is a must however, as it’s easy to blow this budget if I just drop things randomly in my shopping trolley, without first checking what I already have in my cupboards/freezer.

I have a credit balance on my electricity/gas account and have been notified that my direct debit will be reducing by £20 a month soon. I’ll leave whatever credit balance is left for next winter.

Water, Water, Everywhere

When I moved into my house, I got a water meter fitted as soon as I could, knowing for a fact that I would make a saving (as with my previous home).

I’ve got a water butt in the garden for my plants (also use that water for my indoor plants) and think I’m doing a decent job of not wasting or using excessive water.

Since I’ve switched to a water meter, I’ve apparently saved £753.98 (over 2 years) compared to if I’d stayed on rateable value bills.

What surprised me was my average daily usage compared to other singleton households…

So it looks like my daily average is around 40 litres, the outlier being 97 litres a day during summer 2022, which would have been due to the heatwave we had and me using the garden tap (plus watering can, to avoid using the hose) to water my parched plants.

But according to United Utilities, other single households typically use 149 litres a day – what are these people doing to use so much water?

Several baths every day/really long power showers, leaving the water running while they brush their teeth/wash the dishes, flushing the toilet needlessly/endlessly? Using the hosepipe daily to water their garden/wash their car?

I’ve never been one to stay in my PJs while working from home (except the time when I had Covid), I’m dressed every day so I shower every day. However, my showers are usually 5 minute max, (I tend to just go over the much vaunted 4 minutes)  longer if I have to wash my hair!  It’s not just about cost-cutting, it’s about not wasting resources.

I let the washing up pile up in the sink during the day and do it all in one go in the evening, water in a washing up bowl, the old fashioned way.

I do 1-2 clothes washes a week, don’t always have enough dirty clothes for a full load so have to wait sometimes!

I understand that larger households will use a lot more water but seriously can’t see how my norm is so low compared to other singletons? Not that I’m worried about it but it just seems bizarre.

The Only Way is Up

It’s likely that I will probably at some point be left with no alternative but to revise my income numbers – there’s only so much I can do to keep costs down, other costs will creep up which I will have no control over and I don’t want to change my current lifestyle too drastically.

I still think it’s unlikely that I would need £31k though.

I’ll track my spending this year to see if I’m proved wrong.

How does your intended retirement income compare to RLS/Which?

January 2024 Savings, plus other updates

I kind of ‘lost’ two weeks in January while I recovered from my surgery.

The procedure went well; painkillers sent my head into woo-woo land and antihistamines I had to take to counter an allergy to antibiotics caused such drowsiness that I was just shuffling around the house like the Walking Dead for the best part of a week – am so grateful that my sister looked after me.

When I returned home, I just spent most of the time sleeping. My freezer was full of food I’d prepared weeks before which only required heating up in the microwave and visiting friends topped up my milk, eggs and fruit.

As I came off the painkillers and antihistamines and my head became clearer, I spent my days reading, sketching/drawing and playing video games.  A prelude to how I will spend my days in retirement? Evenings were spent watching TV, nothing with intricate plotlines though, my head was still a bit slow!

I’m still on the mend, not quite 100%, can now drive short distances without too much discomfort and am now back at work (I took nearly 3 weeks off and eased myself back by just doing a few hours a day last week). However, I’m already tired of the emails beginning with “Hi Weenie, how are you? I know you’ve been off but…<insert big piece of work which is apparently really urgent>”. Who says retirement isn’t a worthy goal, lol?

Anyway, the good news is that test results came back and I’m in the clear – what a huge relief.

And on that positive note, how did my numbers look for the first month of 2024?

I saved 17% of my net salary.  The above includes £44.35 from doing Prolific surveys and a £10 charity lotto win.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A small wobble at the start of the month and then a slight recovery had my Future Fund ending the month at £249,583.56.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent start to the year for dividends:

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2024 Goals

A week into 2024 and already, the boom we saw at the end of last year is beginning to fray a little around the edges. This is more or less how 2023 started so are we going to get more of the same?

The doomsters are still shouting the loudest and while I intend to try to avoid falling into the pit (of doom) they are digging, I’ll just roll with the challenges as they come and will as usual try to make the most of what is thrown at me.

So here goes with my Goals!

Please contain your excitement, there will be nothing radical or wildly different here.

I still prefer to keep to simple annual goals, ones which have some meaning to me, even if they might be meaningless to others. They provide me with some focus while I get on with the humdrum day-to-day stuff.

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December 2023 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

I was in the gym on New Year’s Eve and out litter-picking on New Year’s Day morning – starting as I mean to go on!

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2023!

I saved 12.1% of my net salary – not great, but a big credit card bill to cover gifts and social outings meant that I didn’t save as much as I would have liked.

The above includes £67.92 from doing Prolific surveys. I also received £103.83 from TopCashback* but ended up spending that on socialising.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Well, a mediocre year for investing ended up somewhat better than expected!

The Santa Rally did its thing and resulted in me achieving my £250k milestone for the first time since August 2021! Woohoo! 🙂

As at 31st December 2023, my Future Fund stood at £250,605.80.  After the painful sideways crawl of my investments over the past year or so, I am very happy and somewhat relieved that I’ve hit the milestone again.

Here’s how it all looks at the end of another year:

However, I had believed (hoped) that after raiding my Future Fund for my house deposit in 2021 (the big dip in Oct 21), the pot would have recouped/grown quicker but sadly, it was not to be.

Using unitization, I’m up just 5.8% this year across all my investments. This figure includes my dividend income portfolio, where stock prices continue to remain fairly depressed.

Nothing as spectacular as the growth that some other investors have reported, but after the nightmare of 2022, it was most comforting that things finally appear to be heading in the right direction.

Still, I daren’t be too hopeful for 2024 – it just feels like everything (at home and abroad) is teetering precariously on a knife edge and things liable to tip one way or another, causing tremors and disruption (or boom, if we’re lucky) in the stock markets.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent final month for dividends:

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