February 2023 Savings, plus other updates

This month saw me and my sister attending an uncle’s funeral – he’d died at the grand old age of 91.

Although a sad affair, it was an opportunity to catch up with extended members of the family (first cousins).

There was one cousin I last saw while we were both still at uni and it was interesting to hear that he and his missus had done the whole geo arbitrage FIRE thing.

What I mean is that they jacked in their jobs in 2019 when they both turned 49 (he an IT consultant, she a dentist with a share in private practice), sold their house in Croydon and relocated to Thailand, where they’ve been renting an apartment in Bangkok, enjoying the benefits of far lower cost of living. They’ve no kids so unlikely they would have made this move if they had.

He dabbles in a bit of trading for pocket money, she spends her time helping out in the local community and it sounds like they are living their dream. Both are modest and happy to live a simple life, and they have been taking the opportunity to visit other countries in eastern Asia.

I wonder if they had heard of FIRE? I didn’t get the chance to ask them.

Anyway, attended another enjoyable pub meet up in Manchester this month (next face to face is in April) and I forgot to mention that at the end of last month, I had a a good catch up (online) with TheFIREStarter (yes, I did ask when his next update would be!) and SavingNinja, who was dialling in from the US.

No update on the Twitter issue but a big thanks to the 138 new subscribers to my blog – thanks for reading! 🙂

So, let’s take a look at how I did in February:

I saved 16.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £67.17 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I can’t remember buying anything new so I guess I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

A bit of a wobble in the stock markets but nothing to be concerned about.

At the end of the month, my Future Fund was down a little at £231,522.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends continue to roll in as usual:

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December 2022 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

I was in the gym before 9am this morning – starting as I (hopefully) mean to go on, but I’m still a little jetlagged so am waking up at ridiculous hours.

Hope you all had an enjoyable festive period and NY celebrations.

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2022 – I’m sure many will say good riddance to that year!

I saved 13.5% of my net salary, more than I thought I would save, given my travels and the time of year.

The above includes £48.75 from TopCashback* and £29.16 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

It was inevitable that I would end the year with my porfolio down in the dumps.  As at 31st December, my Future Fund finished up at £225,325.60.

Here’s how it all looks at the end of another year:

Much as I’d like to forget about 2022, it’s my worst investment year so far (using unitization, I’m down 8%), but I think I need it to remind me that investing is not all upward trends and bull markets. Or fun.

Dividends and Other Income

A decent final month for dividends:

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July 2022 Savings, plus other updates

I’ve been a sun-worshipper since my teens and like nothing better than to relax and bask in the sun for hours (with sun lotion on), listening to my favourite tunes or reading a book, but that heatwave we had this month was a little too much, even for me! Phew!

It was so tempting to WFH in my bikini and just not put my camera on but I didn’t want to risk me forgetting and joining a video call! It was times like these that I missed the office air con, which I usually complain about being too cold! And no, I’m not one of those who ‘works in the garden’ as in any case, 1) the wifi signal isn’t strong enough and 2) I can’t work with just the laptop screen and need a second (bigger) screen to do my job properly.

Was madly trying to keep my plants alive in the heat – many are in pots so suffered a lot more than the ones in the beds/borders. I’m always reluctant to use the hosepipe so was doing some extra ‘weight training’ by lugging the watering can around!

Also, trust my sister to go away during this particular hot period as I’ve been tasked to water her plants (indoor and garden). As her house alarm is linked to her phone, she knows how many times I’ve been over, so I can’t skimp on my duties, haha!

This month, it wasn’t only the temperatures which were soaring but also my expenses.

I had a couple of social outings but the big expenses were car repairs – a few items marked as ‘Amber’ on my MOT in previous years turned to ‘Red’ so had to be fixed in order for my car to pass.  The ensuing £648 was mostly paid for by emergency fund, so that’s me not reaching that goal I set this year.

Reasons to be Cheerful

The news continues to be filled with doom and gloom, so I look on the bright side:

  • My sister who lives in Singapore came over to visit – it was so good to see her and my niece in the flesh after over 3 years and my little niece has grown so much!
  • Summer sports – first the tennis, then the Women’s Football Euros – this is the first time I’ve watched most of the matches of the women’s tournament and I’ve really enjoyed it – what a win for the Lionesses! Have also been catching lots of the events from the Commonwealth Games – after spending a couple of hours watching women’s T20 cricket, I think I can say this is another sport I will happily go to spectate.
  • After numerous IVF treatments, my friend had a baby girl! ‘Geriatric’ Mum (as new mothers over 35 are referred to) and daughter are doing well and I can’t wait to see them both.
  • Meeting another blogger – more on this later!

So, how did I get on with my numbers in the heat of July?

I saved 15.2% of my net salary. The above includes £96.57 from doing Prolific surveys. As my social life continues to make up for lost-Pandemic time, my savings rate will suffer but hey ho, it’s important to enjoy my life and maintain friendships.

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

Well, I wasn’t expecting this upon checking my portfolios!

My Future Fund climbed to £232,406 by month end. I’m now back to where I was at the beginning of the year. That is, if you don’t include new capital added so far this year.

On the graph, it looks like another ‘V’ shaped recovery. However, I’m not getting too hopeful, as this is likely just a false dawn and this bear market probably hasn’t quite finished with us yet by a long stretch.

Dividends and Other Income

A fairly average month for dividend income:

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June 2022 Savings, plus other updates

Being busy on the social front this month made it easy for me to ignore all the negative doom and gloom stuff that dominates the national news.

Reasons to be Cheerful

  • We had a bit of a heatwave and it finally felt like summer!
  • Me celebrating my birthday – another year older, am I any wiser? What do I know now that I didn’t know a year ago? Only that I look and feel the same, although I will likely have squarer-eyes this time next year as my sis got me 12 month’s Netflix subscription as a present!
  • Attended our twice-postponed works’ Christmas/Summer Party, which was a real blast, hugely enjoyable. A great turn out and I finally got to meet some ‘new’ colleagues who had already celebrated their two-year anniversaries at work but whom I’d never met as they joined during the pandemic and they’re not in the office on the same days as I am!
  • Made use of our twice-postponed Centre Court tickets at Wimbledon and watched Rafa Nadal progress through to the next round – this might be his last Wimbledon so it was great to catch him in action. It was a glorious day out, rain started just as we were ready for the train home so the timing was perfect!
  • Attended another Manchester FIRE Pub Meet – as usual, a decent turn out and a good mix of new and old faces. These meet ups are always fun and interesting. One guy turned up with his boss – yup, both on their separate FIRE journeys and wanting to leave the rat race, it was fascinating!

So, how did I get on with my numbers in June?

I saved 17% of my net salary. The above includes a £50 premium bond win, £10 charity lotto win, £30 from winning football predictions at work and £78.94 from doing Prolific surveys.

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

The markets went into bear territory.

Keep calm, keep your hair on!

Monevator did an excellent post recently on bear markets.

Since I have no idea what’s going to happen, there’s been no change to my strategy. I have just continued investing as normal, flinging my money at this bear market, topping up my holdings as the prices go down, just as I was topping up when the prices were going up.

My Future Fund plummeted to £219,428 by month end. I’m now down -5.6% YTD.

I’d be lying if I said I was completely unmoved and unconcerned at the continued downturn and lack of progress.

Whilst I’m not stressing or having sleepless nights over this, I am experiencing little pangs of worry as I look at my numbers, which I try not to do too often but needs must, to do my updates! All I can do right now is to keep calm and carry on investing.

Dividends and Other Income

Hallelujah for dividends, shining a bit of light during these dark days of investing!

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