November 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

I’m back from a fabulous holiday but am both jet-lagged and hungover – not a nice combination, but yes, Christmas parties have started early!

I’ll do a bit of an update on my hols at a later date but without further ado, how much of my net salary did I save in November?

I saved 25.2%. My worst number since I returned to work but I’m quite surprised I even saved this much to be honest. Hurrah for automated savings!

My average for the year has now dropped to 42.8%. Unless I have an utterly disastrous December (it’s not looking great but shouldn’t be that bad), I should be able to make a reasonably good 40% average savings rate.

The above savings includes £25 premium bonds winnings, £36.75 from TopCashback*, £50 rent received and £85.73 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my Ladbrokes Coral shares to take 15% profit (including dividends received over the two years I’ve held the stock).

I sold as part of portfolio simplifying exercise but my decision to sell was also partly based on my thoughts that the government’s pending restrictions on the fixed odds terminals which will likely to have a big impact on the company, plus the viability of high street bookies in general. As for the takeover by Foxy Bingo owners, GVC? Not really interested to be honest.

The funds from this sale have been added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets appeared to be up a little this month, boosting my Future Fund, which now stands at £130,765. Another step towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

October 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

Another blur of a month, not one of my favourites with the beginning of winter and the dark mornings/evenings.

A new member to the team at work has kept me extra busy but in a good way.  I can’t believe I’ve been at the company for 6 months already – time evidently flying while I’m having fun…

Still no progress on the kitchen – I’m facing a real possibility of it not being completed before the end of the year!

Anyway, how much of my net salary did I save this month?

I saved 37.8%. Surprisingly a slight improvement on last month but not by much. With Christmas shopping in my sights (at some point very soon), it’s not going to really get any higher than this.

My average for the year has now dropped to 44.6%. I’m not going to reach my target  but will be satisfied with it above 40%.

The above savings includes £575 matched betting profits (which includes the purchase of some shares in BrewDog* as mentioned in a recent post) and £98.05 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my De La Rue shares to take 53% profit (including dividends received over the three years I’ve held the stock).

I don’t usually sell any of my shares, mainly because my strategy is to buy and hold, but as I want to simplify my portfolio, I’m selling off stocks off bit by bit and reinvesting the profits.

The funds from this sale will be added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets were on the up this month, boosting my Future Fund, which now stands at £129,187. Another step towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Liar Liar

One of my goals for this year is to read three non-fiction books. I know that doesn’t sound like many but generally, I read books for enjoyment, not for education. Of course, the two are not really mutually exclusive but I’ve yet to find sci-fi investing books out there! 🙂

I usually read around 30-35 fiction books a year and I think 3 non-fiction is about all I want to attempt really.

Anyway, the second book I’ve read is ‘Liar’s Poker‘ by Michael Lewis.

Written and set in the 1980s, this semi-autobiographical book charts the rise and fall of investment bank Salomon Brothers (which ultimately became part of Citicorp in the late 1990s) and documents the greed, ambition and excesses of the people (including the author) who worked for the company and the bond trading industry.

Salomon Brothers made an absolute killing selling mortgage bonds to customers (including other banking institutions) who didn’t really understand what they were buying. In the days before the internet, the traders had all the info (and weren’t always truthful) and customers, fearful they would miss opportunities, would jump in with their money without doing their own research (yep, that old chestnut!).

The regulators were ineffective as they were always playing catch up on the new, inventive and complicated ways financial products were being structured to make profits. The bond traders and investment banks were unscrupulous and unrelenting in their greed, with no thought of consequences.

The amounts of money involved were jaw-dropping – it was scary to read about what the traders got away with, their audacity, the lies they told and how greed ultimately had businesses investing in things they didn’t have a clue in.

Big Swinging Dicks

All the traders aspired to be ‘Big Swinging Dicks’, the ones who made the most money and commanded the biggest bonuses. Yes, even the very few women who were able to fight their way past extreme gender inequality aimed to be a BSD!

Liar’s Poker

What was ‘Liar’s Poker’? It was a high stakes gambling game which the bond traders played, using bluffing and psychological tactics.

Anyway, I thought this was a good read (thanks for the recommendation, Jim), with a fair amount of humour and kept my interest throughout. I’d be tempted to read another of Lewis’ books. I know he wrote ‘The Big Short’ though having seen the movie adaptation, I may try one of his other ones.

What did I learn from this book?

Don’t invest in things you don’t understand and don’t be tempted by huge profits.

Have a great weekend all – it’s apparently going to be a sunny one! 🙂

September 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

No idea where this month went – I had one weekend away (cocktails are never a good idea!) and that’s pretty much it. No progress on the kitchen so it’s still only half done, but at least I can cook now so the poor diet from previous months has improved. Hopefully, all will be completed by the end of this month.

So, how much of my net salary did I save this month?

I saved 37.5%. An improvement on last month but not by much. I think this is going to be as good as it gets, especially with the more ‘expensive months’ coming up.

My average for the year has now dropped to 45.4%. I’m not going to reach my target  but I think I’ll be happy if I can keep it above 40%.

The above savings includes £200 matched betting profits, £7.50 from TopCashback*, £50 rent received and £93.57 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

Nothing new was purchased, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets were a little volatile, which caused my Future Fund to drop slightly in value, despite the extra capital added.  It now stands at £124,961. Just a small step backwards but I’m still slowly plodding on towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

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