A Bite Out of Emergency Funds

It’s not been a good year for my ‘gnashers’ – having had to resort to using my newly established emergency fund to pay for the repair of a broken tooth (I was eating fish fingers!), I’ve suffered another mishap which will take another big ‘bite’ out of my emergency funds.teeth

This time, the offending food items that caused the damage were crisps! Not that the flavour had anything to do with it but in case you’re interested, prawn cocktail flavour!

Munching on said crisps broke of the corner of one of my back teeth, which in turn damaged the filling in the tooth next to it too! Ouch!

The ‘ouch’ is for my emergency fund, rather than for my teeth, as the total cost for the work will be £320! I was fortunate that I was not in any pain or discomfort (except when actually undergoing the treatment…) though of course that I’m pained that I need to fork out so much for the treatment!

I am however really glad (again) for deciding to start up my emergency fund.

I’ll be able to claim about a third of this back under my dental plan (the most I can claim in any one subscription year) but this still puts a serious dent in my emergency fund plans.

I should still be able to achieve the goal, just need to make sure I divert enough into it for the rest of the year.

I guess I really need to be careful with crunchy food!


Work Update

At the recent all employees meeting, the good news was that the European CEO of New Co assured us that they intended to maintain a presence (office) in Manchester for the long term. Hurray!

But what did he mean by ‘long term’?

In investing terms, it’s probably a minimum of 10 years, more likely 20 or 30 years.

Speak to some people and they think 5 years is long term. If you talk about relationships, one year is long term for certain types!

Anyway, I’m hoping it’s closer to 10 years but we’ll see what happens.

The bad news is that whilst he didn’t actually mention the dreaded ‘r’ words (redundancy and restructuring), he did talk about the introduction of a new way of working, that of ‘work teams’ which would mean people being reshuffled (uh oh, another ‘r’ word!) into these teams. Ultimately, people would have to apply to be a part of these teams so this will more likely affect commercial and operations people in the business, but may also have an impact on my immediate friends and colleagues.

The job I do doesn’t slot into any work team; rather, my role would be to support these teams…I think. One good thing is that in the past month or so, work has filtered through to me from New Co that is not integration-related. Not that I’ve been sitting around twiddling my thumbs – I’ve been kept busy with existing Old Co work.

Meeting “Them”

Anyway, I was invited to HQ to finally meet my New Co colleagues face-to-face.

face to face

I was quite relieved to find that they were pleasant, helpful and friendly.

I hope they found me just as pleasant, helpful and friendly. I made a point of remembering people’s names and was introduced to the UK CEO – the little chat we had was worth the 6-hour round trip itself!

The good news was that when I got back to the office the following day, the feedback my boss got was very encouraging and discreet enquiries had been made about my background, experience and work capacity.

So, I’m still optimistic about work, still just keeping my head down and getting on with stuff.

‘Armageddon’ is likely to happen around September or October, when all the IT software, systems etc get migrated over to New Co’s servers.

Whilst the prospect is not worrying me or keeping me awake at nights, it’s kind of curled up at the back of my mind to keep me in touch with reality – I accept that things will not end well for everyone.

That said, it’s still a good place to work at, most people are upbeat, although motivation could be better in some areas. The work I’m doing is still interesting and challenging and there’s still a lot of it so it’s home-time before I know it!

Anyway, it’s been a blur of a week, ending on Friday 13th (lucky for some!) – wishing you all a great weekend!


Monkey Stocks League Updates #7

With the stock markets surging this past month, who is flying high in the Monkey Stocks League Challenge?

Below is a snapshot as at the close of trading on 29th April 2016 and still leading the pack was M’s Underdogs Fund!

2904league

This fund has what appears to be a runaway lead, showing a gain of nearly 30%!

For the Live table (during trading hours, Rank and Value will be updated automatically) and full portfolio listings, have a look here and also via the right sidebar.

All April dividends have been added to the respective portfolios. However, please let me know if I’ve missed any (or if there are any errors) as there are so many to keep track of.

Real Portfolios

Riding high in the real portfolios behind the Underdogs Fund is Mr Z’s Undead Monkey Fund, with my own Funky Monkey Fund just outside the top 5. FireVLondon’s B Team Fund and Cerridwen’s Eye of Toad Fund still toiling in the bottom half of the table.

Expertly Picked Funds

John Kingham’s Pigmamig Fund props up the top 5, with Huw’s Kunniga Apa Fund moving up the table in 10th place. Will either/both finish above the monkey funds by the end of the competition?

Best vs Worst

The best 5 performing shares since the start of the league are Evraz plc, Centamin plc, Glencore plc, NMC Health plc and Zoopla Property Group plc.

bestfive0416

If someone had happened to pick all these shares for their portfolio, they would have seen a nice 57% gain on their initial investment of £500:

The worst 5 performing shares were BBA Aviation plc, Barclays plc, Nostrum Oil & Gas plc, Poundland Group plc and Restaurant Group.

worstfive0416

If you’d had the misfortune to pick this lot, you would have seen your portfolio value drop  by 42% – ouch!

Five more months to go with Brexit and whatever else the market has to throw at us – what will they do to the Monkey Funds?

April 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

It was always going to be tough to follow last month’s excellent savings rate but how did I do in April?

april16saved

Three birthdays this month meant that my savings rate dropped down to 43.6%!

A rather significant fall from last month but in line with my usual and it means my average savings rate now stands at 51.9%, so still on target.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received, £100 gambling winnings (my horse won in the Grand National!) and £41.92 from TopCashback*.

Future Fund 

Rising markets plus new capital means that this now stands at £66,386.77.

Dividends and Other Income

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