Only Sixty Left

The other day, standing in a packed tram and having just finished reading my book, rather than dig out my phone to aimlessly scroll through Twitter, I started to idly think about my goal to FIRE.

My stretch goal (now my actual goal) is to FIRE at the end of 2024. This is in about 5 years’ time, which really isn’t that far away. I’m over half-way there.

And then it suddenly hit me.

Assuming that I will be continuously employed, this means that I only have 60 more pay days from my employer!

If not gainfully employed all that time, then less than 60!

Rather than think ‘Hurray, only 60 more pay days til I can stop working!’, I felt a flutter of doubt and fear about my numbers. Numbers which I have checked and rechecked numerous times over the years.

What if it’s not enough!?

I did the maths and the resulting number (ie 60 x my monthly salary) on its own added to my current pot is not enough for me to FIRE.

But I don’t save the full amount, do I? My savings rate is around 40-odd percent which means that based on my current savings rate, I’ll not be in sniffing distance of what I need.

Of course, there’s a chance that I might get a pay rise or two in that time and the occasional bonus, but such increases/bonuses will have a minimal effect.  I’m not looking to move to another job if I can help it, so no big hike in salary from switching companies.

I will therefore be relying heavily on growth and income from my investments to get me past the finish line. Oh and a lot of LUCK, in regards to sequence of returns risk.

What Will I Do?

Over the next 60 months, I will need to continue to remain focused, to be mindful of my spending whilst still continuing to lead and enjoy what I consider to be a normal life.

Over the next 60 months, I need to continue making extra cash via matched betting and ensuring that I continue to bank/invest any affiliate income I receive from the blog, plus any lotto or premium bond winnings.

While my sis and nephew are living with me, I need to make the most of the extra contribution to bills.

Proverbial Spanner

There will of course be obstacles for me to overcome, expenses which will try to wreck my plans.

Barely 3 weeks into the year and a spanner has already been tossed into the works.

Over the weekend, one of the crowns on my back teeth loosened and fell out, causing pain and discomfort. I went to the dentist and he told me what I was half expecting but not wanting to hear: my tooth is broken and needs to be extracted.

After extraction, the two teeth on either side of the resulting gap will be checked to see  if they are strong enough to support a bridge, cost will be around £600.

If not, then it’s highly likely that I will need to have an implant which will cost an eye-watering £2k! 🙁  It’s not on the NHS as it’s classed as cosmetic work and I’ve already used up my dental cover provision this claim period (which would only cover £100 in any case!)

Leaving a gap is not an alternative –  I won’t be able to chew properly on that side of my mouth, plus there could be a risk that my teeth could move or twist into the gap.

I can’t go through the rest of my life not being able to eat properly, so it’s a needs must.

Fortunately, I won’t have to pay the £2k in one go but my trusty emergency fund will take its biggest hammering so far and will need to be replenished. This in turn will affect my savings rate.

£2k pretty much wipes out one of my pay days, so it’s now just 59 more to go! YIKES!

How?

How has this suddenly turned into a situation where I feel like I am running out of time (to save for FIRE), instead of joyfully counting down the time until I no longer need to work?

This is the goal I have set for myself, what I have been aiming for all these years.

I think this big dental cost is giving me negative vibes – I’m normally a glass half-full kind of person.

Time to go over those numbers once more…

2020 Goals

Many of my friends and colleagues have jumped onboard the whole ‘January thing, eg ‘Dry January’, ‘Vegan January’, though I don’t know if any are daring to do ‘Januhairy‘…. Anyway, some have fallen off the wagon already.

Me, I will continue to drink, eat meat/dairy and de-fuzz as usual – this month isn’t any different from any other month.

New year, same old me, really.

10 days into the new year (as I write this) and I’ve been to the gym 4 times already (an achievement for me!) so I’m hopefully starting as I mean to go on!

 

Before I go into my actual goals, I will mention that I intend to continue to throw my spare cash into investments regardless of what may or may not happen around the world which might cause share prices to go down (or up).

I’m not planning to hoard cash because I don’t know how to time the markets and wouldn’t want the anxiety or stress of trying to decide when it’s the best time to invest so I’m just going to continue investing as soon as the cash is available (stops me from spending it anyway!).

Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!

As with previous years, I find that I am more focused if I only set myself a few goals, with little room for distraction.

Last year’s goals were challenging (I only met two out of six) so I may as well aim for them/similar again.

Sorry that’s not very exciting but I don’t feel the urge to go for outrageous goals just for something to write about. Gone are the days when one of my goals was to learn how to complete the Rubik’s Cube (I can still do it!)! I do want to learn how to do a 4×4 Rubik’s Cube so perhaps a future goal, when I run out of things to write about!

So without further ado, here they are:

Continue reading

December 2019 Savings, plus Round Up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the celebrations last night to see in the new year.

It’s 3.30pm as I type this and I’ve only just gotten out of my pjs so it was a late one for me! 🙂

Anyway, I had a great Christmas – no travels abroad this time but there was a 400-mile round trip over the festive period – some good times eating too much but surprisingly drinking little (apart from last night!)

So, how did I do in the last month of the year and against the targets I set?

Not flying abroad for Christmas this year meant that I more or less maintained my savings rate, ending up at 41.7%.

My average for the year stands at 46.3%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m more than happy with this average, which is my highest to date. It’s a personal best! 🙂

The above savings include top ups from £120 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £70.67 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I continued to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

This time last year, my Future Fund stood at £142,831. As at 31st December, it stood at £188,605.

The total capital I invested in 2019 was £15,838 yet there’s been an extra increase in my portfolio of £29,935 over the year!  Wow – I’m astounded!

I didn’t do anything special to achieve this – all I did was ignore the noise about political uncertainty and continue to top up/buy and hold my investments, reinvesting all dividends received. I also received a good dose of LUCK with the buoyant markets.  Although I did switch some of my equity ETFs into bond ETFs (for a bit more balance and stability), this seems to have affected income rather than growth.

My investments effectively made a loss last year, so realistically, this could well happen again in 2020.  I can’t expect it to be this good every year!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Are We Nearly There Yet?

This year has flown by.

However, I don’t know about you, but I actually can’t wait for it to be over.

No, I’m not doing a ‘Bah Humbug’ but it’s just all too ‘busy’ right now for my liking.

This is despite the fact that I’ve participated in enjoyable things such as:

  • taking my nephew to the panto (Craig Revel Horward was fabulous as the Wicked Queen in Snow White)
  • having more than a few free drinks at the works’ Christmas party
  • attending my first sci-fi con in years, catching the larger than life Brian Blessed and the small but wonderful Warwick Davis, among lots of people in cool gear!
  • a couple of social outings with friends

Dare you walk on the Dark Side?

  • I even had another Premium Bond win (£25).

Work is really busy and my head is just full of ‘stuff’. I’m also glad the election business is all over – it was all doing my head in and my only real consolation was checking my investments the day after and seeing a big jump in the value of my portfolio – the ‘Boris Bounce’ but perhaps it’s the Santa Rally come early! Let’s see if the boom lasts til the end of the year.

I’m behind on my gift shopping so it’s all a mad rush these next few days. I’m looking forward to a nice break. I’m not travelling abroad this Christmas but I will be away from home – a change of scenery will do me some good.

The bits of presents I have purchased have been done online (Amazon) as I haven’t yet braved the shops.

Vouchers

Remember in my July update where I mentioned that I took part in an investment webinar and was paid £100?

Well, I was invited by the same research company to take part in a online investment panel for two weeks, whereby I had to review numerous articles, websites, listen to podcasts and watch video adverts.

Time-wise, I probably spent 4 hours max in total doing the various bits, for which I was paid £175 in Amazon vouchers! Handy for any time of year really but particularly now!

Anyone interested in taking part in such investment surveys, drop me note. I’m not sure I can share their details on my blog, so would rather share privately and no, it’s not a referral or affiliate link.

Toilet Twinning

I’m still planning on twinning my second toilet for the year. However, am unlikely to complete the task before the end of this month as I don’t want the framed pic to get lost among the festive packages.

Like before, I’ll offer the twinning for free to a lucky reader – just drop me a comment below and I’ll include you in the draw to win the twinned toilet (ensure you include a valid email address so I can contact you should you win).

The winner will be picked randomly on 30th December.

And on that note, wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

See you for my December update and round-up of 2019 (of sorts…).