End of an Era

I hadn’t really given much thought to my redundancy lately – that is, until I received my P45 in amongst my Christmas cards in the post last week! Yep, it’s really happening!

My severance pay hit my bank account on Friday and I immediately shifted funds around various high interest current accounts and also put some in Premium Bonds.

As this money is ear-marked to be spent on normal living costs, it’s all staying in cash, not in investments and none of it has been added to my Future Fund – not until I get another job.

I’m also not planning to ‘treat myself’ with any of it – there’s nothing really that I want, although I will use some of it to buy some new work clothes which I will need for my next job.

I’ve been pretty good on the clothes/shoes shopping front – I bought a grand total of 3 tops and one pair of trainers – all year! So yes, I do think it’s time I bought some new decent work gear.

End of an Era

So today was my last day at work. It was kind of surreal saying goodbye to people I’ve worked with for the past 21 years – some of whom I will keep in touch with, others I’ll probably never see again.

There had been lots of tears when a large number of people had departed on Black Friday, but I’ve never been one to cry at work so I held it all in (I noticed I was shaking a little as I handed in my laptop and security pass) until as I was driving out of the work car park for the last time and I shed a few little tears.

What Now?

I’m shortly off on my extended holiday (about a month) to Hong Kong, so there won’t be any new blog posts for a while.

I’ll do a belated December update/round up and something on my goals for 2017 upon my return late in January.

So, there’s nothing else for me to say really, except:

Millionaire Next Door

I purchased the book ‘The Millionaire Next Door‘ by Thomas J Stanley  & William Danko second-hand, from Amazon.

Inside was a handwritten inscription:

“Cindy,
Merry Christmas 1999.
Here’s to the First Million!
Love [unreadable name]”

At first glance, it looked like ‘Cindy’ hadn’t even bothered to open the book as it was in pristine condition, with no creasing in the spine or cover and it had all the appearance of having been left on a shelf with other unread books.

However, throughout the book, there were a few handwritten notes and certain paragraphs were underlined, so she did at least have a read of it.

Millionaire Folk

In a nutshell, from the results of an extensive survey, the book depicts how folk on above average salaries (mostly but not exclusively entrepreneurs/self-employed) become millionaires and maintain their millionaire status by living below their means, budgeting, not succumbing to consumerism, investing their money and making the most of opportunities to make money.

Sound familiar?

Those who regularly read the various FI/PF blogs will feel like they’ve read all this before and bought the t-shirt – I found that the book did seem to be covering some ‘old ground’ but  there were interesting examples and stats.

I guess it was worth reading first hand the book which many people have cited as being inspiring and changing their way of thinking how they live their lives and how they view ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’ folk.  None of  the millionaires in question achieved their wealth via inheritance or lottery wins.

It had me checking out my own neighbours and wondering which ones were possibly millionaires.

Becoming a Millionaire

It sounds like the person who bought this book for Cindy thought that it would be a guide on how to become a millionaire.

Perhaps it is, but in order to become a millionaire, it helps if:

  • you earn a decent income ($70,000 per year is cited, although the book was written in 1998, so a much higher salary might be needed today);
  • you marry someone who is good at budgeting and is frugal;
  • your grown up children (if you have any) are also frugal;
  • you buy your cars second-hand instead of new;
  • you invest your money and spend time planning your investments

What If?

I’ve never had any real aspirations to become a millionaire – it has only ever been a dream for me and sadly, a dream which involved winning the lottery!

I did wonder what would have happened if, like Cindy, someone had gifted this book to me in 1999, a time when I was probably at my most ‘spendy’ and deep in credit card debt.

If I had read it back then, it would certainly have been a complete revelation and could have changed my financial outlook – I could have been well on my way to achieving FI much earlier in life.

The reality however is that I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to read it and it would have been on a bookshelf gathering dust. The person I was in 1999 would not have been mentally prepared for a lifestyle change, nor I’d say, be willing to change.

The good news is that I don’t need to be millionaire to retire early. Or even a half-millionaire (Semi-millionaire? I’m making up words here!).

Like the successful millionaires interviewed in the book, I think I know what my “enough” is and I’ve shown over these last couple of years that I won’t succumb to life-style inflation.

I just need to keep plugging away at the savings and investing to keep my wealth ticking up.

I wonder if Cindy ever became a millionaire?

Anyway, the completion of this book means that I have achieved one of my reading goals – yay!

November 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

Have finally recovered from work’s Christmas party/leaving do! Hangovers get so much worse as you get older!

Anyway, it was probably one of the best parties I’ve been to – lots of mixed emotions but what I do recall was a lot of fun and laughter.

Work for me is winding down a little as I begin to hand over the rest of my responsibilities. Not long to go now.

Anyway, how do things look on the numbers front?

nov16saved

So I managed a savings rate of 38.1% – gift-buying has taken its toll a little here but still not too bad. I’ve only a few more items to get now so for me to be able to have a decent savings rate is still a big achievement for this time of year.

My average savings rate however continues its downward trend  –  it’s now at 45.2%. If I can get it to be at least 45% by the end of the year, I’ll be well happy.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £10.36 from TopCashback*.

Future Fund 

Markets went a little wobbly this month, so my overall portfolio dropped a little and now stands at £86,188.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

Departing Parties and Black Friday

Next Wednesday sees the second (and largest) group of people leaving the company through redundancy – nearly 40 of them in total.

There haven’t been too many changes in the office these past few months, just some rearrangement of desks and equipment but this mass exodus will make a big difference to the atmosphere, certainly to noise levels.

All those leaving have got invitations to the Christmas party/Leaving bash – it’s predicted that it’s going to be a rather messy affair – well, messier than usual!

What about me?

I have had my final consultation meeting and my official day of leaving confirmed as 31st December 2016.

My severance package, as mentioned before, is close to a year’s salary, plus I will get paid 3 months in lieu of notice.

Also, through my ex-boss’ efforts, the package will include an annual bonus which the company was not obligated to pay as it’s not in my employment contract, so that’s an unexpected and welcome windfall.

Job Seeking

So how has my job hunting gone so far?

Err…it’s not even out of the starting blocks.

My CV is complete and ready to go, my LinkedIn profile all up to date but my head and heart are not committed to the cause.

I don’t see any point in applying for jobs and going for interviews in a half-arsed manner – when I do it, I’d like to give it 100% and right now, I just don’t have the energy or desire.

All I’m thinking about is making the most of my last days working with my friends and colleagues (funnily enough, we’ve started going to the pub every Friday lunchtime!) and then spending some quality time with my family over Christmas in Hong Kong.

Since I no longer need to rush back for work, I’ll be extending my holiday beyond the new year for a few weeks (just need to rearrange my return flight) – I think after 21 years working for the same company, I’m due a decent break!

Black Friday

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on some far off asteroid, you’ll probably be aware that it’s Black Friday today.

blackfriday

I don’t think I’ve ever really been excited about it, even when the concept was first introduced in the UK. I’ve mentioned in the past that shopping has never really been something I enjoy doing – during my ‘spendy days’, it was more something that I did out of habit and fortunately, I got out of the habit.

Anyway, contra to the norm, I did make a purchase today, one which amounted to several hundred pounds – I bought a new mobile phone handset. I had been planning to replace my current phone when my contract ended in December as (being a Blackberry) it will no longer be supported by certain apps next year, apps which I regularly use.

Yes, I could have gotten a cheaper phone but what the hell, I used matched betting winnings to buy it (took a leaf out of Jim’s book, as he bought a handset with his MB winnings) so I’m not out of pocket. I certainly wouldn’t have bought it using my own money!

I’ve also switched from contract to SIM only, pitched BT Mobile against EE to negotiate a great deal (even though they are now technically the same company) so my monthly phone costs have dropped from £15 a month to £9 a month and I get a far superior data plan to boot.

I hope to do much of my gift shopping soon but I will avoid the shops this weekend, opting instead to go on Monday during my day off as I think it’ll be a little quieter.

For those who love Black Friday, I hope you bag some bargains. For those who don’t, hope you enjoy this “normal” Friday and have a great weekend!