First Impressions

So I’ve survived my first week at work!

My friends asked if I enjoyed it and I have to say that although I was glad to be working again, ‘enjoyable’ is not a word I would use to describe my first week!

After many months where the only thing to tax my brain was calculating my matched betting profits and losses, my brain has been hurting from all the new stuff it’s had to absorb. I’ve certainly slept well at night!

Work

The company I’m working for is a global business with offices around the world. The two main HQs are UK (Manchester) and the US (Houston). My immediate boss is based in London.

It’s in a different industry from the one I’ve worked in previously (ie not Finance) but the business culture appears to be very similar from what I’ve seen so far.

My job is VERY different from my old one and I have an extremely steep learning curve ahead of me which I need to climb quickly.

The person I am replacing leaves next week so handover and training is going to be minimal. To up my game, I’m going to do some reading/studying at home to gain some background knowledge.

During my interview, it was established that formal training was not planned as such so it’s me, with my trainers on, trying to hit the ground running! I hope I don’t stumble!

Anyway, here are some initial pros and cons I’ve come up with from my first week:

Pros v Cons

Pro – I’m back on track with my FI plan! I got a bit of a pay rise, so I’ll be able to save/invest a bit more.

Con – The overall benefits package is nowhere near as generous as my old one, particularly the pension.

Pro – I’m learning lots of new stuff that will enhance my career.

Con – I’ve gone from knowing everything about the business I work for, to knowing nothing about the business I work for. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this way!

Pro – The office is only 4 miles away from where I live, compared to my previous office which was 14 miles away.

Con – It’s in city centre so major traffic jams all the way.

Pro – I like Manchester City Centre.

Nice surroundings, 10 mins from the office

Con – I am travelling by public transport.

Pro – Public transport means I can read during my commute.

Con – There are often delayed trams or full trams not stopping, so I need to take this into account for my journey.

Neither Pro nor Con – Public transport costs will be about the same as my old petrol costs.

Pro – My tram stop is a 15 minute walk to the office so I am getting 30 mins of general exercise every day.

Con – I’m not looking forward to this walk during the cold/snowy and dark winter mornings/nights or shivering on a freezing platform.

Con – I have to leave the house half an hour earlier than I used to, to ensure that I get a parking space outside the tram station.

Con – I no longer have time to make my own lunches in the morning and I don’t like to make salad pots the night before.

Pro – Work provides free breakfast (toast, cereals and fruit) every morning so the extra money I’m spending on lunches is cancelled out by no longer having to spend any money buying stuff for breakfast.

Pro – I can still get to the gym in the evenings and make it in time for my aerobics classes.

Con – As I only make it just in time for the aerobics classes, there isn’t any time for my gym/punchbag workout beforehand.

The people are generally friendly and tea and coffee (proper bean!) is free. They have two dress-down/casual days so I only need to wear business attire for 3 days – yay!

It’s back to the grindstone, working for ‘The Woman’ and yep, as far as things go, I guess I’m happy! 🙂

Have a great weekend all!

Full Speed Ahead

So, as luck would have it, after describing what I did on a ‘typical day‘ during my unemployment ‘unplanned practice retirement’, it looks like I won’t be having any more such typical days.

Following that interview I mentioned at the end of the post, I received a job offer late on Friday and…

…I started work at my New Job TODAY!

I know!

Oh

Em

Gee…

…as the kids would say!

I can’t say I’ve ever gone through such a quick recruitment process – interview Thursday, job offer Friday, start Monday – tap tap BOOM!

At least I had a chance to celebrate with friends on Friday and Saturday.

I’m still rather stunned by it all but I’ve had a good four and a half months off work, they wanted someone to start ASAP and I was able to and more than ready to rejoin the paper-shuffling horde!

And yes, it is a very challenging role and job which I want to do with a company I like the look and sound of.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho and all that, but there goes the free time I was half looking forward to over the summer!

I will do a proper update when I get the chance to catch my breath!

Thanks for everyone’s best wishes – it obviously helped! 🙂

Go me, yay!

 

Typical Day

In a recent comment, @Playing with Fire mentioned that it might be interesting to know what a typical day looks like during my ‘unplanned practice retirement’.

I’m not sure it would make a very interesting post but here goes!

Also, I would love to treat it as ‘retirement’ but feel a little uneasy about enjoying myself too much!

Anyway, three of my days in the week are pretty much the same so I guess they’re ‘typical’:

My alarm wakes me up at 7.30am. I know this isn’t actually that early but considering I don’t really need to wake up at that time, it’s still quite early (for me, especially as I’m not a morning person!). I need to set the alarm as I don’t want to end up treating every day like the weekend. Also, when I get a job, the transition won’t be so painful!

I’m up and about, have a simple breakfast, read the news online, check my emails and by 9am, I will sit down to do my matched betting.

This can take between 1-1.5 hours, depending on the number of offers on and if I can get any decent matches.

Matched betting done, I do my job hunting – this can take between 1 – 3 hours depending on whether there are any vacancies worth investigating, what job matches I have in my inbox, if I make any applications etc.

I probably get 1 or 2 agencies calling me each week, some just to go over my CV and experience; other times, I end up having a mini telephone interview.

I’ll have my lunch anytime between noon and 2pm, depending on the above activities. I used to take my own salad box for work but for some reason, I can’t face eating salad at home. It would be so easy to just nip out and buy lunch but keeping costs down in mind, I just make a light lunch at home.

If it’s sunny, I’ll then potter around the garden. If the weather’s crap, I’ll catch up on some blog reading, read my book, occasionally practise my ukulele or listen to some podcasts or the radio.

At around 4pm, to avoid traffic, I’ll set off for the gym. I catch up with my friends in the club area and then do my own training in the gym (weights and punchbag). After this session, I rejoin my friends for the aerobics class. Shower, change, drive home – by this time, it’s nearly 8.30 pm.

I never have much of an appetite after a workout so I’ll make a small evening meal, perhaps have a couple of snacks.

Anyway, it’s then back online to check how my matched bets have gone and I update my spreadsheets, cheering at the profits/free bets and grimacing at qualifying losses!

The TV is finally switched on and I’ll watch 2 or 3 episodes of some show I’m currently in the middle of watching or catch up on iPlayer.

Around midnight, time for bed but I’ll read for up to an hour before my head hits the pillow.

And that’s pretty much it – the days don’t seem to drag but I’ve noticed they certainly don’t go by as fast as they did when I was working.

I’ve still been keeping to my drinking-only-at-weekends rule – it’s feels important to me to distinguish the weekdays from the weekends so yes, I still look forward to the weekends. In this, I think I’d probably practice something similar when I am finally retired.

My social life hasn’t changed but I actually turned down a couple of recent ‘unplanned’ outings, (“Champagne afternoon tea? Sorry, count me out!”) which I would have probably accepted when I was working.

I’m spending a lot of time at home, which would drive some people mad but the other alternative is to go out and going out often means the opportunity to spend money. On the few days when it’s been sunny and I’ve decided to walk into the local village, I’ve deliberately not taken my purse.

I still do my one supermarket shop a week, keeping to my usual routine. My grocery bill hasn’t changed too much but I might start planning my meals better again, cook in batches etc.

Resistance was futile…

As mentioned in discussions with @FIREin’ London, I was trying to not buy any alcohol for home consumption this year – I lasted until April – ended up wandering down the ‘wrong’ aisle in the supermarket and left with a few bottles of Brewdog! I’ll see how long I can resist again – really need to get another homebrew on but struggling to find the motivation to do so.

Positive

I think I’ve retained a positive outlook by keeping to routines, maintaining my fitness and continuing to network. My friends and family seem more concerned that I’m not working, when in the back of my mind, I don’t think I’d be too upset if I was free to enjoy the summer! However, my preference of course would be to get back to working sooner rather than later.

My ex-boss has been calling me every other week to see how I’m getting on and to provide support and advice. I’m actually very grateful he does this as we had a great working relationship.  His calls help keep me focused on the job hunting, plus he has a lot of contacts in the industry.

Today

Today would have been one of the above ‘typical days’ only it wasn’t because I had an interview so spent the entire morning prepping for it (all of yesterday too). It was probably one of the toughest interviews I’ve had and I very much feel like breaking that no-alcohol-in-the-week rule, haha! Fingers crossed for this one!

April 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed my amended logo to show the new £1 coin – thanks to The Investor from Monevator for reminding me to change it!

Anyway, I have to confess that I have really felt like not publishing this update.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been saving a large part of my salary towards my goal for FI/retiring early and happily documenting my progress on this blog.

This is the first month I have had no salary in over 20 years and I wasn’t sure what I could say, without coming over all miserable with doom and gloom – there’s still nothing on the work front yet although I continue to actively job-seek.

But hey ho, spare me the pity, I’m a mostly glass half-full kind of person and as I said in my last update, my goal to FIRE is still on, just suffering a bit of a ‘blip’, so without further ado…

Bad News Alert!

My savings rate this month is ZERO! 

This is because I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage. I know others work out their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.   I’m now living off my severance pay – ouch!

All Is Not Lost

That’s not to say I haven’t added to my Future Fund at all this month – I made investments using the following income: £400 from matched betting profits, £92.49 from TopCashback*, £138.47 affiliate income from Odds Monkey, £50 rent received and £40 from a lottery win!

This income is by no means guaranteed on a monthly basis so in the short-term, I’m going to try to continue to invest as much as I can for as long as I can, to keep the investing momentum going. I did toy with the idea of investing nothing while I wasn’t working but that didn’t seem to make sense to me, not when I had the means to make some cash which I did not require to live on.

Future Fund 

After hitting my big milestone of reaching £100k in savings/investments last month, my Future Fund continues to grow, buoyed by the announcement of our own snap election and the elections in France. At the end of April, my Future Fund ended up at £102,023.

Dividends and Other Income

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