Reasons to be grateful during these difficult times:
- I have a roof over my head
- I have running water, electricity and gas
- I have money to buy food, alcohol and other essentials
- I have books, tv and internet to keep me distracted/entertained/informed
- I do not work on the front-line and thank all those key workers doing a valiant job
- I am still employed (for now)
I have adapted to lock down fairly well, which I put down to my lifestyle. The main ‘disruptions’ for me have been having to work from home (I prefer to work in the office), not being able to go to the gym or catch up with friends in the flesh in a pub/restaurant.
That’s pretty much it. I’m quite happy being at home and I consider myself extremely fortunate that I am not suffering any real inconvenience or any hardship. Good relations have been maintained with sis and nephew (who recovered from his recent fever – I don’t think he had the virus) so all’s well with them too.
After the fastest ever stock market crash in history, I’ve decided to stick to my plan until it makes more sense for me not to.
Ever since I’ve been investing, the great bull run has meant that I’ve been buying stocks as they’ve been going up so, in the same vein, I’m buying as they go down. If some are purchased at rock-bottom, then that’s a bonus.
My main strategy is buy and hold, although I confess that I did make one sale… my holding in VUCP (Vanguard Corporate Bond ETF) was a beacon of green in a sea of red so I sold half and used the cash to top up a couple of the more ravaged investments. Only time will tell whether I was foolish but in any case, I didn’t sell anything else.
Oh wait, I did! In anticipation of transferring my SIPP with HL to Vanguard, I sold my iShares Emerging Markets tracker at the beginning of Feb. As the markets started to drop, I decided that I didn’t want my funds in transfer limbo so I lumped all the cash into Vanguard Lifestrategy 80 – not at its cheapest but very much cheaper than it was at the beginning of the year.
The goal posts to FIRE will likely end up moving but they were never really set in stone. One more year however might end up being 2 or 3 more years perhaps – I hope not, but who knows?
So, onto the numbers…
I saved a whopping 76.8%! That’s because I got my bonus and I decided to invest most of it. Risky? Perhaps. This might be the last bonus I get in a while so I’m making the most of cheaper investments.
The above savings includes top ups from £20 matched betting profits (from last month), yet another £25 premium bond win, £64.36 from Google ads and £128.57 affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).
Shares and Investment Trusts
No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.
Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.
(Entire portfolio here)
I was prepared for a horrific nightmare but it turned out to be just a bit of a scary movie.
My Future Fund stands at £163,789, which is prety much back to what it was in April last year. That’s down 13% since the beginning of the year. Double figures yes, but not the 25-30% devastation I was expecting. The recent uptick in the markets did help of course.
Dividends and Other Income
Only one of my dividends got cancelled this month (Persimmon) but the others rolled in nicely:
I received £258.27 in total, of which £214.82 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.
Here’s what the main graph looks like:
More dividends are being cut or postponed on a daily basis so this graph isn’t going to look so pretty in the coming months!
Matched Betting (MB)
With football and horseracing being cancelled, I was lucky to not make a loss this month, managing to scrape in £19! That’s pretty much it for my MB until sport restarts although there are still plenty of casino offers which I have not attempted. Some matched bettors make decent profits from these offers, so I think I may check them out. Or I may just take a break.
Nice to see that I’ve hit my average savings rate goal but maintaining it will be the challenge!
I think I can safely say already that my matched betting goal is already out of reach but once sport starts up again, I’ll be giving it a good go to try to reap those profits!
That’s it from me – hope everyone is well and staying safe.