April 2022 Savings, plus other updates

Well, April came and went in the blink of an eye!

Work on my driveway was completed and I’m very happy with it – looks so much better and is a lot safer (for me and my car!).

Before and after

I used most of my work bonus to pay for it and also pretty much cleared out my ‘House Fund’, so need to save up for the next bits which need doing.

Work was extra busy, with me covering for colleagues on annual leave (I can’t wait til I no longer have to do this any more!), so it was a big relief to have that nice relaxing long Easter weekend.

There was also a week where I had a really bad cold, which was so bad that I tested myself in case I’d caught COVID again (I was negative). I’m sure I used to catch colds all the time and they were only ever mild, just the ‘sniffles’, but perhaps my immune system still isn’t quite right yet.

Anyway, some good news at work was that I received the maximum performance-related pay rise offered by my company.

The bad news was that at 5%, it doesn’t beat inflation but hey ho, I’m not going to cry about that – increases are not guaranteed and there have been years when no pay rise was given (performance-related or not). Average wage increase in the UK this year is apparently just 3%.

Some people would complain and even consider leaving due to the size of this pay rise but for me, it’s not such an issue. I know the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, even if the pound signs might appear to be bigger. I don’t love my job but I mostly like what I do, I get on with my boss and my colleagues and enjoy a fair amount of flexibility and autonomy in my job – those things I value far more than ££££.

Also, as promised by the government, I duly received my £150 Council Tax rebate.

I chucked this into my ISA.  I know, this rebate wasn’t really meant for people like me, who didn’t need help with bills, but my house meets the criteria (Council Tax band A – D) and I’ll not say no to free money from the government.

My direct debits (utilities, broadband and council tax) have all gone up, as has the cost of my weekly shop but not significantly so. My car is only used for trips to the gym and supermarket so increased petrol costs haven’t really affected me. I’ve yet to feel the need to cut back on anything.

So, how do my numbers look in April?

I saved 13% of my net salary.  Having received my pay rise, I was planning to save a bit more but social activities (paid for by credit card) caught up with me! The above includes £65.18 from doing Prolific surveys and the aforementioned £150 rebate. I also invested £374.20, a partial repayment I received from my disastrous foray into property crowdfunding, which was a pleasant surprise since I’d pretty much written all of that off four years ago.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I opened a new investment in European Assets Trust, to add to the income-paying part of my portfolio.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets waivered somewhat after last month’s apparent recovery, but I really can’t let myself stress about it – just gotta keep at it.

My Future Fund wobbled down a little to £230,752 by month end.

Dividends and Other Income

As always, when the markets are down, dividends always bring a smile to my face. Actually, scratch that, they make me smile regardless of what the markets are doing 🙂

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Faith in Eighth

Yet, another year rolls on by and my blog has just unbelievably turned eight years old!

Happy 8th birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

So am I still as FIRE’d up about all this after 8 years of writing and sharing my mutterings and my journey?

Yes, I guess I am.

But I’m not half as excited as I was back then.

Eight Year Slog

It does feel like a slog at times, as it continues to be an effort to stay focused.

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t be arsed updating the blog, because I feel like there’s nothing really for me to write about, just the same old, same old.

I’m just getting on with my life and the dogged path of perseverance to get to my FIRE goal is not exciting at all!

Life before I discovered FIRE did seem so much more carefree, when I was just merrily drifting aimlessly with no set goals. Life, that is, AFTER I had paid off my credit card debts – it wasn’t so merry during my dark days of being neck-deep in debt.

But if I want to get to where I’m going, I need to keep at it, need to stay focused, and carry on saving and investing as much as I am able to towards my future.

This blog has undoubtedly kept me from straying and I thank all the readers who take the time to stop by with their words of support, who make me accountable for my actions with their comments and emails.

What have I been doing these past 8 years? Continue reading

March 2022 Savings, plus other updates

In my world, March was another good month – funny how just a bit of sunshine really lifts the spirit.

Courgettes and leek sprouting, with the help of recycled toilet roll tubes and food cartons!

I tentatively planted a few seeds and these are doing well already.  Hoping to do more over the coming weeks.

There was good news work-wise – firstly, I got paid my (discretionary) annual bonus.

Secondly, I was among several employees who picked up an award for ‘exceptional services’ in 2021 – our reward will be a trip somewhere in Europe (once Covid restrictions have died down), so that’s something to look forward to. It would be great if it’s a country I’ve never visited before.

Anyway, with one quarter of the year over already, let’s take a look at my numbers:

I saved 34.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £92.99 from doing Prolific surveys.

Previous years have seen me achieve a savings rate of over 60% or 70% during bonus time, but although I would have loved to have been investing more while the markets are still down, the large majority of the bonus will have to go towards some critical work which I’m getting done in a couple of weeks (sorting out my unsafe driveway).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No changes here, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Did the stock markets hit rock bottom last month?

Who knows but signs of a recovery propelled my Future Fund back up a little, finishing at £232,209 by month end, pretty much back to where I was at the end of 2021. Check out that ‘W’!

Dividends and Other Income

I love seeing my dividends roll in and it was another decent month for income:

Continue reading

Name That Fund Manager

For the past few years, Morningstar have been marking International Women’s Day by looking at how many fund managers in the UK are female and how that compares with funds run by men named ‘Dave’.

Why Dave?

It was a sad fact that some years ago, it was noticed that the number of male FTSE 100 CEOs named Dave/David outnumbered the total number of female FTSE 100 CEOs, which at the time was just six. I think that number has increased to 8 now, so Daves still outnumber the women CEOs.

Anyway, the good news is that there are now more women fund managers than fund managers called Dave:

  • 184 female fund managers are running 329 funds between them (some run more than one mandate) – 17.8% of all UK funds.
  • 59 fund managers with the name Dave or David ran 133 funds – 7.2% of all UK funds.

So great news that some progress has been made, but there’s still much more work to be done, to increase that 17.8%.

Anyway, what also interested me about the article was the most common names of fund managers:

Apart from James and Richard, that list of most common male fund manager names could have been taken from my school register!

Not that I’m saying that any of the boys I went to school with went on to become fund managers (fact – none of them) but the first names shared with the boys who were in my class is uncanny!

What this tells me is that these guys are probably of similar age group to me, Gen X, all with probably what you would now call ‘old-fashioned’ names.

Do you get babies getting called these names any more? I think I know of a recent baby James but that’s about it.

It’s a different story however when I look at the names of the women fund managers.

Only 2 of those share names with girls I went to school with (Amanda and Helen), with many having names I would have considered belonging only to the ‘posh girls’ who went to the all girls school.

So, posh girls who had better education/opportunities going on to run funds? Perhaps not implausible (I’m clutching at straws here of course!).

Most common girls’ names when I was at school were Lisa, Michelle, Sharon, Tracey/Tracy, Amanda and Helen (there were at least 2 or 3 of each in my school year).

Current Bunch

The company I work for has a young workforce (I’m one of the few oldies), the majority in between their early 20s and early 30s.

But even without knowing their ages, their names show that they are of a different generation.

Most common male names in the office? Jordan (3 of them), Jack (2) and Liam (2).

Most common female names? Lauren (3), Chloe (2) and Holly (2)

It will be interesting to see how the names on that fund managers list will change over the next 10-20 years, to see if more modern names creep in (in large numbers) and what name finally pushes Dave from the top spot!