March 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

An ‘action-packed’ month, filled with interviews, lots of matched betting, plus a short trip to Hong Kong to see my poorly Grandma (getting better but not fully recovered).

My ‘income’ this month has been derived from the last of my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

So, how have I done in March?

After last month’s record-breaking savings rate, it’s back to a good solid savings rate of 58.6%.

This pushes my average savings rate so far to 64%.

As I’m still only at interview stage with regards to my job hunting, it’s highly unlikely that I will have a salaried wage in April.

As I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage, this means that my savings rate is going to be a big fat ZERO! I know others calculate their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.

I think I’m likely to continue to invest using matched betting and other income – I guess others might not save/invest whist unemployed but I feel that I need to keep the saving/momentum going, even at a reduced rate. At least in the short term, anyway.

March’s savings was boosted by the £50 I won in Premium Bonds, £50 from rent received, £292.40 Jobseekers Allowance (ahem, continuing to make the most of ALL my income while I can), £14.62 from TopCashback*, £250 matched betting profits and I was lucky on the lotto again so another £10 win has been chucked into the pot too.

Future Fund 

As mentioned in my last post, I hit my biggest milestone so far, that of reaching £100k in savings/investments. With Brexit triggered and more Trump shenanigans in the news, the markets wobbled a little but my Future Fund ended up at £100,442.

Dividends and Other Income

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

February 2017 Savings, plus other Updates

Time for another update!

Again, my ‘income’ this month has been derived from my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

So, how have I done in February?

Well, I achieved my highest ever savings rate –  79.8%! Woo hoo! 🙂

Rather incredible but most certainly a one-off, largely due to the work bonus which I used to purchase my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio earlier in the month.

This pushes my average savings rate so far to 66.7% but as mentioned before, if I’m still jobless in April, my savings rate is going to be at or around 0%….

February’s savings was boosted by £50 from rent received, £229.75 Jobseekers Allowance (ahem, gotta make the most of ALL my income while I can), £63.10 affiliate income from OddsMonkey* and I had a £10 lotto win which I’ve chucked into the pot too.

Future Fund 

The big extra capital injection and the stock markets still being favourable to my portfolios despite political shenanigans means that my Future Fund is now up to £98,642, which is getting rather close to that big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

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

Who Let the Dogs Out?

I was so impressed by the performance of M’s ‘Underdogs’ portfolio (using the Dogs of the FTSE strategy), the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge, that I was determined to set up a similar portfolio of my own.

Dogs of the FTSE?

The Dogs of the FTSE strategy is the UK equivalent of the US ‘Dogs of the Dow‘ strategy and setting up this portfolio is relatively simple:

  • Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield.
  • Invest equal amounts in all ten and hold for a year.
  • At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield.
  • Pocket profit / reinvest / cry at losses* (*delete as applicable)

The rationale is that “a high yield indicates that a company is out of favour with investors. When that happens, its shares will be undervalued relative to its prospects and intrinsic worth. When the market realises this, the firm’s share are likely to rebound and give investors a decent profit.”

Allegedly.

Still, according to Money Observer, over the past 15 years, the Dogs strategy has performed impressively, though of course, past performance is not a guarantee of future results, etc, etc. (*update 01/03/17- here’s Money Observer’s article about the success of the 2016 Dogs).

The strategy was considered back in 2010 by the ermine, although I can’t find an updated post on whether he followed through on it or not.

My Doghouse

I could have just set up a ‘notional’ Dogs of the FTSE portfolio like other sound-minded folk, but risking some real money makes it more interesting for me and worth the effort of tracking the progress of the portfolio. Risking real money also satisfies my gambling gremlin!

I received a bonus from work as part of my severance package so decided to invest the entire lot (as close to) in this ‘experiment’. Note that this will lead to a massive boost to my savings rate for this month!

So, who are the mutts in my Doghouse?

  1. AstraZeneca plc (AZN)
  2. Capita plc (CPI)
  3. HSBC Holdings plc (HSBA)
  4. Intu Properties plc (INTU)
  5. Marks & Spencer Group plc (MKS)
  6. Persimmon plc (PSN)
  7. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSB)
  8. Royal Mail PLC (RMG)
  9. SSE plc (SSE)
  10. Standard Life plc (SL)

Some of these were actually just outside the top 10 but I didn’t want to include any shares which I already held in my portfolio, or any where a dividend cut had been announced (hope I haven’t missed any announcements…).

The shares were purchased on 10th February 2017 (via regular investment to reduce costs). Here’s the live link, which I’ll stick on my header menu at some point. I’ll probably do quarterly or half-yearly updates.

As at close of trading, 10th Feb 2017

Risky

Yes, I’m aware that this strategy is on the risky side, though not as risky as randomly and blindly selecting shares out of the hat like I’ve done before… However, these stocks represent only a small part of my portfolio, it’s a bit of fun (gosh, should investing actually be FUN?), plus I may make some profits along the way. Or not. This will also expose me to the pleasures/perils of buying and selling as opposed to my usual buying and holding strategy.

I was a little concerned at first about the timing of my purchases – stock market is currently high and likely to dip in the year with Brexit/Article 50 triggering, the end of the Trump rally or more shenanigans and other stuff happening in the UK and around the world which may affect the financial markets.  Should I have waited to buy low?

I went ahead anyway because stuff happens all the time and I don’t know how to time the unpredictable market. Plus the money would be doing nothing if left to sit in my bank account, except to tempt me to spend it!

Anyone else tried this strategy before?

I’d be interested in any success/sob stories!

Anyway, have a great weekend all!

January 2017 Savings, plus other Updates

Ok, the first savings/investment update of the year and things don’t look too different from much of last year.

My ‘income’ this month has been derived from my pay-in-lieu-of-notice (PILON) from my last job.

Previously, my savings rate calculation was based on my net income from my main salaried job, ie net of tax, NI and company pension contribution.  The PILON is net of tax and NI.

So, how have I done in January?

My savings rate was 53.6%, a great start to the year!

That said, if I’m still jobless in April, my savings rate is going to be at or around 0%….

However, next month’s number should get a very big boost as it’ll include my bonus. My highest ever savings rate so far is 70.4%, achieved in March 2015. It’s possible I could better this…watch this space!

January’s savings was boosted by £70.84 from TopCashback* and £50 from rent received.

Future Fund 

With the crippled £ sterling doing a creditable impression of a bottom-feeder, my Future Fund continues to ignore other political shenanigans and is now up to £92.321.

Dividends and Other Income

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