I’ve finally received my information pack regarding the company pension that I was enrolled onto with New Co in December.
The plan is run by Fidelity, I was able to easily register and log onto their website to have a peek at the new pension.
It looks like I’m on a Drawdown Lifestyle Strategy Plan, which currently has my investments split between a global equity fund and a diversified growth fund in a 70/30 mix. This mix will automatically adjust over time, ie more in the growth fund as the years go by and then in 10 years time, some of the equity fund starts getting switched into a ‘safer’ bond/gilt funds. On their risk scale (1 being ‘least risky’ and 5 being the ‘highest risk’), the global equity fund scored 4 and the growth fund scored 3. The bond funds I think scored 1 or 2.
I’m ok with this and have resisted the temptation to tinker with things, although the very intuitive (and quite impressive) website allows me to easily swap and change my investments, and there are quite a few to choose from.
Unlike my colleagues, I actually checked out the funds fact-sheets, had a look at what other funds were available for investment and also compared the admin fees/management charges but in the end, I was satisfied with the default selections and default strategy. I already spend too much time tinkering with my SIPPs and ISAs so this is one less thing to distract me!
I toyed with the idea of whether I should include the value of this pension within my Future Fund and I’ve decided not to, since I don’t include my other company pension. So my Future Fund will continue to be exclusive of any work pensions. I will however include this pension as part of my overall Net Worth calculation (since I can see how much it is actually worth).
As mentioned before, my contribution to this pension is 7.7%, New Co’s contribution is 14%, so if I can pay into this for a while, I should build up an extra tidy little pot.
When there’s a reasonable sum within this DC pension, I’ll incorporate it into my overall FI/early retirement plan but for now, I’ll leave it out.
Things at work are still quite ‘muddy’ and a little uncertain while New Co continues to try to figure out what they want to do with us. There are integration projects all over the place and our carefully drafted SOPs are being reviewed for the umpteenth time, having previously been reviewed by 4 (different) sets of auditors no less! Whilst no redundancies or plans for ‘restructure’ have been announced (yet), we’re starting to see a few people leave the business voluntarily – not everyone is willing to hang about waiting to see what happens (unlike me).
I’m still hoping they go for the ‘Northern Powerhouse‘ idea, since their other office is down south but we’ll see!
Oh, and I finally got my long service award for 20 years (which was in November 2015). New Co is still a little behind the times in that I received the usual award of gift vouchers but they weren’t e-vouchers, they’re old fashioned shop vouchers that I can only spend in-store! Still appreciate them anyway!
Speaking of shopping, I’d been getting various internal ‘spam’ emails offering ‘shopping benefits’ throughout January. After overhearing colleagues talking about getting cashback and discounts off their shopping, I didn’t even open the emails and just deleted without reading properly.
Until someone mentioned that ‘shopping’ also included grocery shopping.
It looks like for certain supermarkets (Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury and Morrisons are the ones I can think of), you can purchase ‘shopping cards’ and get 4% cashback (it varies from shop to shop).
Since I’m still keeping to a grocery budget of <£25 per week, I thought I’d give the shopping card a go and bought a Tesco one for £100, getting £4 cashback. If I keep to my budget, this card will be enough for one month’s shopping.
Currently, most of my grocery shopping is covered by a credit card which is paid off in full every month. I don’t get any cashback with the credit card, just Avios Airmiles.
The shopping card is reloadable so I’m going to use the cashback I earn for future top ups.
Ok, in the scheme of things, if I only spend £100 a month on food shopping, the cashback I earn will total just £48 in one year. Some might say hardly worth the effort but this is no real effort at all! Topping the card up and checking the balance can all be done online, although your balance is also printed on the shop receipt. You then just hand over the card to pay for your groceries as normal.
Saving £48 by itself isn’t going to grow my Future Fund. However, I did also cancel my Netflix subscription a few months back saving £60 a year so all these little expenses I cut back on will continue to add up.
Anyway, I’m not really interested in any shopping cards for other shops, although am due to do a big toiletries shop for my family, so I’ll have a look at the Boots shopping card, which is offering a whopping 8% cashback!
1 – standard operating procedures