Thought Experiment #2

This isn’t SavingNinja’s 2nd thought experiment but it is the 2nd one I’ve taken part in and neatly follows on from the first one I did.

Here’s the scenario:

You wake up one rainy morning and after checking on your accounts, you find out that you have been wiped out by a cyber-criminal! You’ve lost all of the money and assets that you’ve ever owned and can’t get them back. What will you do?

Not actual depiction of a cyber-criminal

The assumption here is that a hacker will overnight siphon off everything in my accounts, by which I mean all the cash sitting in my current accounts, savings accounts, cash ISA and premium bonds account. Also, the investments in my S&S ISA and my SIPPs will have mysteriously disappeared (unlikely for the SIPPs, seeing as they can’t be accessed til I’m 55 but humour me!). Shockingly, my DB pension is also gone and there’s a mini-meltdown in the US as it was part of a global pension pot and not only my pension was targeted!

Even the cash I have in my betting and exchange accounts has been hoovered up! Contacting said providers prove futile, the money has disappeared into the ether. I don’t have any cash around the house (around £20 change in moneyboxes and at the time of writing, £12.58 in my purse).

I will assume however that the hacker hasn’t managed to persuade HR to fire me overnight, so I’m still employed, that I will still have my rental property and I will still have a roof over my head.

So not quite starting from absolutely zero, but still a bloody nightmare scenario.

What to Do?

The first thing I would do would be (in no particular order) to panic, swear a lot, beat myself up about how I should have changed my online passwords more often and then drown my sorrows in vast quantities of alcohol.

I would probably spend hours trying to find out if anything could be done about recovering my DB pension since there will be over half a million other people in the same situation.

Once I’ve calmed down a little, I would tell my family (though not my parents or my grandmother – don’t want them worrying needlessly) and probably a couple of my close friends. My message however will be that despite what’s happened, I’m alright, because I know they will want to help me. I would probably get a short term cash loan from the family, to cover expenses until I get paid.

What Next?

It won’t just be the fact that I’ve lost all that I’ve saved up, but I’ve lost the ticket to achieving financial independence, retiring early and retiring comfortably.

With my FIRE plan down the pan (heh!), I would need to draw up my new plan, which would be probably be to ensure that I end up retiring comfortably at normal retirement age.

What would I do differently ?

I would set up an emergency fund first and foremost. I would then see about building up my pension/SIPP investments again, more so than in my ISAs. Seeing as I won’t need the money until later in life,  I may as well take advantage of tax relief.

I have a feeling that I would be a lot more frugal, verging on the extreme side as I try to claw my way back to a comfortable financial situation. In desperation, I might even cross the line and become stingy and penny-pinching, although I hope not!

One thing I would probably do would be to go back to my strict budgeting, which I haven’t done since I was eyeballs deep in credit card debt. It’s no fun logging every penny spent.

Perhaps I would consider looking for a better paid job but more likely, I would certainly spend my spare time just hustling and looking for more money. And yes, I’ll be scouting out for coupons!

More time spent matched betting (even consider multi-accounting which I don’t do now) and I would dial down on my social life but not completely as my friends are important to me.

I’ll still put money aside to travel to see my family once a year – that’s one thing I wouldn’t ever change.

And finally, I will just get my head down and be a worker bee to earn a steady salary.

Miserable yet…?

This all seems to point to me leading an extremely focused but not very happy life, being obsessed with trying to build up what I lost.

Yet if I think about it, there are a lot of people who are in this situation, where they do not have savings for their future and yet they are happily going about their lives.

I think due to the fact that I had saved up and then lost it all, it’s possible probable that I would become quite obsessed about it all, which doesn’t sound good at all.

Plus I would need to get my head around working until my mid-60s, something which I was quite happy to do before I discovered and planned for FIRE. I really shouldn’t have taken that FIRE Red Pill, which made me see the light!

I would hope that I would still be able to enjoy my life and my work but knowing me, I think it would take a while before I could get over something like this.

Gosh, that’s gone a bit dreary and bleak, hasn’t it?

Anyway, below is SavingNinja’s take on the thought experiment and as and when I see other bloggers taking part, I’ll add below:

What would you do if this happened to you?

Dogs of the FTSE 2018 – final update

Just a quick update to say that I’ve reached the twelve-month mark for my 2nd experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

So how did the mutts perform with the markets going all pear-shaped towards the back-end of last year?

As a reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Here’s how the 2018 portfolio looked after a year (as at 11th Feb 2019):

 

A very decent 8.77% gain, but if you include dividends, this becomes a mighty 16% gain for the entire portfolio! Nice!

Over this same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was minus 2.02% so woo hoo, the Dogs romped home this year! 🙂

Ok, so most of the gains were from just one stock (Evraz) but with some other gains (eg National Grid and United Utilities), the small losses made little impact on the portfolio.

What’s Next?

I do intend to run a 2019 portfolio, or rather a 2019/20 portfolio but there will be a slight delay, because I’m going to wait til next tax year as I plan to use a different ISA account for this experiment.

So for now, I will just hang onto all the Dogs for a while longer and sell/buy when I am able to.

The Dogs will return in April!

January 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Unlike last January, where I tried to lead a frugal nun-like existence, I did no such thing this time round – it was just a really quiet month social-wise, with only one cheeky ‘beer and Nando’s’ session after work on pay day.

All other weekends, I went to the gym or stayed at home, slowly making my way through the alcohol in the house, reading a little and re-watching (and enjoying) old episodes of Doctor Who (I started from the Christopher Eccleston series).

Oh, I did go on my first walk of the year – a 6-mile flat trek along the Bridgewater Canal in Warrington, which was very pleasant. I wore my new waterproof jacket and walking trousers (hand-me-down and a late Christmas present from a family member) so my walking gear is getting a bit more suitable for the good ole British weather!

I also got my first Premium Bond win of the year – hopefully, the first of many!

NS&I’s app informing me of my win!

So, how did I get on with my savings in the first month of the year?

I saved 41.5%, which is a pretty good start.

The above savings includes top ups from £116 matched betting profits (from last month), the £25 premium bond win, £10 lotto winnings, £15 from TopCashback* and £69.02 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I was vaguely aware that the markets had begun to recover a bit but was surprised to see the extent of that recovery when I ran my numbers – my Future Fund is heading in the right direction again, sitting at £151,358. Whilst not all the losses have been recouped, I’m just glad to have crossed the £150k milestone again!

Dividends and Other Income

An average month of dividends: Continue reading

Changes Afoot

So I mentioned in my goals post that one reason why I wanted to keep my goals simple and familiar was because my life (as I know it) was going to be turned ‘upside down’.

Not in a bad way, I was being a little melodramatic there but certainly, there will be a big change happening later in the year.

So what’s the big change? Continue reading