November 2019 Savings, plus other updates

So it was Black Friday the other day – anyone pick up any bargains?

I should have probably done some Christmas shopping but the only thing I purchased  that day were more investments! My FIRE focus didn’t waiver!

Were the investments ‘on sale’? No idea – I’m sure I’m not alone in not checking the price of a Vanguard ETF before investing, except to make sure I’ve enough cash to invest.

I feel like I’ve caught up a bit on things this month, got myself a bit more organised, including sorted out my tax stuff. I even got round to having my tattoo to commemorate my half-century – it’s only visible when I remove my clothing so I’m not growing old too disgracefully!

In terms of blog reading/commenting, I’ve found that many of the usual blogs I follow haven’t been updating as much as before – have we reached Peak FIRE?

Still discovering and enjoying new UK blogs, but some of the older ones have been pretty quiet lately – hopefully they’re just too busy just getting on with the business of aiming for FIRE.

So, how are my numbers looking?

I saved 44% of my net salary! A larger than usual credit card bill due to social activities meant that I didn’t hit 50% but I’m happy with this.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £133.15 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £10 lotto winnings and £50 Premium Bond winnings!

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 

Either the markets were buoyant or it’s just a result of pound sterling taking a bashing  (probably the latter) but my Future Fund jumped quite a bit this month, up to £182,861.46.   And there was me hoping that I would end the year at £180k but we’ll see what happens after the General Election…

Dividends and Other Income

A better month for dividends: Continue reading

State Pension + Change of FIRE Meet Up Venue

A lot of people aiming for FIRE, in particular the younger folk, don’t include the State Pension in the plans

I understand why that is – they won’t be able to touch their pension when they FIRE by 40, the pension-age goal posts keep getting moved by various governments, it might be means tested, there might well be nothing left in the government pot, etc. So quite a few unknowns there.

However, for me, the State Pension has always been part of my plans right from the start. Perhaps I’m just being over-optmistic that the government ‘will come good’ for me, but it’s probably because I’ve gotten into FIRE later in life so I can consider pensions as part of my plan.

What State Pension Might I Get?

When I first started thinking about FIRE, doing my ‘back of the fag packet’ calculations, I used a nominal £5k as my state pension number – I reckoned that I was going to get at least this amount from the age of 67.

Recently however, I’ve been able to obtain a more accurate estimate (can an estimate be ‘accurate’?) via HMRC’s website:

At the last count, I had paid 30 years of full National Insurance. The requirement to receive full state pension pay out is 35 years.

The five years remaining ties in nicely with my stretch target of becoming FIRE by the end of year 2024…

However, as my work pension was contracted out for most of my career (meaning that I paid less NI during that period), it looks like I have to pay an extra two years to receive the max, so 7 more years in total of NI to pay, with my current forecast based on NI paid to date being £139.18 per week:

How Does It All Fit In?

So how does the state pension feature in my FIRE plans when I won’t be able to get my mitts on it until I’m 67?

Well, it’s income which I do not have to accumulate as part of my Future Fund (my FIRE pot).

If (and I actually hope not) I live to 100, that’s 33 x £8,797 = £290,301 (based on current forecast) which I don’t have to save up for (or generate) as part of my Future Fund.

I think this was one of the reasons I never really got into the whole 25 x expenses calculation for FIRE – I couldn’t see where the state pension fit into the calculation. Nor in my case, my DB pension. My DB pension and state pension combined will should provide me with a guaranteed minimum income floor, enough to cover all my basics expenses. It’s down to me to make up the extra for a more comfortable retirement.

As I’ve mentioned on previous occasions, my Future Fund is just a bridge from when I FIRE until when I am able to draw on my DB pension (at 65) and then the state pension.

Sometimes my plan seems too simplistic and I get the odd panicky feeling that I’m making a big mistake with my calculations.

Most other times however, it makes complete sense to me.

I’m sure there won’t be many (if any) but anyone else include the state pension in their plans?

Change of Manchester FIRE Meet Up Venue

I’ve been advised that the Manchester FIRE meet up on Friday 29th November will now be at The Salutation Pub, 12 Higher Chatham St, Manchester M15 6ED (just off Oxford Road), not at The Bank.

It’s looking unlikely that I will be able to make it but if there’s a chance I can show my face there (even briefly), I will try!

 

October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Hope you all had a happy Brexit Day Halloween!

My ‘confused’ effort on the right!

October felt like a month where I had a lot going on but hardly anything was achieved.

I’m behind on loads of things – my reading, my paperwork, my tax return (meant to submit this month), my TV watching, my blog reading/commenting, my blogging.

That said, I bought a new mobile phone as my old one has been freezing and rebooting for months (used matched betting profits again for the purchase) and I’ve been out on a few social outings, completed a 13-mile walk in the rain (again!) for charity with work and been to the cinema a couple of times (to see Ad Astra and Terminator: Dark Fate).

My social calendar is pretty much filled up for November already so I hope I don’t continue to fall behind on stuff.

Am I also behind on my numbers? Let’s see how I did….

I saved 51.3% of my net salary! With my sis contributing towards household bills, I’m able to put away more of my money but as mentioned before, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up so my savings rate will revert closer to the norm.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £67.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £30 from Siteground* affiliate income (thanks Tom!) and £57.01 from TopCashback*.

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 

The markets were all over the place this month and despite adding new capital, my portfolio value went backwards down to £178,832.19. As usual, I’m keeping calm and carrying on investing!

Dividends and Other Income

A slightly disappointing month for dividends: Continue reading

Dogs Nightmare and Random Shares update

I didn’t get round to doing my quarterly update for my experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio so thought I’d do a first ‘trimester’ update instead.

Suffice to say that the poor mutts really don’t look too healthy, mostly milling about negatively in turmoil.

Evraz plc in particular is looking extremely woeful, showing a massive loss since this portfolio start, despite showing huge gains in the previous year.

ITV leads the pack with a semi-decent gain but for how long!?

That said, the FTSE 100 Total Return was minus 1.3% over the same period so the Dogs aren’t too far behind with a loss of 1.83%, when you include dividends received (loss of 4.7% without dividends).

But it’s still early days yet, anything can happen in 8 months – yes, I know it could get worse but I’m being opimistic so see the future as being bright(ish)! In the meantime, I shall continue to collect their dividends.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is not a strategy I would recommend to anyone, this is my own fun experiment, although I can’t say it’s a lot of fun looking at all the red numbers right now.

Cheerful Randomness

To cheer myself up, I will take a look at my Random Share Portfolio, which I first mentioned here.

This portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up via my Freetrade affiliate link, bagging themselves a free share in the process. Link is here* if you are interested.

Here are a couple of the recent free random shares I’ve been awarded.

And here’s what the full portfolio currently looks like:

Still waiting for that Tesla or Netflix share to drop haha, but the fact is, I’m well happy with all my free shares. Most of them are ones I would never have considered buying, only because I wasn’t even aware of them.

I was particularly happy to receive shares for IShares S&P Global Clean Energy ETF (INRG) as I didn’t know there was such an ETF, never mind that it was available on Freetrade.

INRG tracks the performance of an index composed of 30 of the largest global companies involved in the clean energy sector. I think I will add to this as I’d like to increase my holding of more environmentally-friendly investments bit by bit.

Am still undecided as to what I want to do with this portfolio, ie sell or keep the shares.

For now, I think I’ll just leave them (mostly) and maybe decide on what to do in the new year. Although I missed out on the Aston Martin £10/per share payout because I didn’t reach the minimum criteria (only 1 share!) so I may get rid of that one soon.

Anyone with any thoughts on which ones I should get rid of and why?

*referral/affiliate link