Our Hopes And Expectations

“Be careful what you wish for” goes the saying.

For the last few years, I’ve been wishing that the stock markets would crash so that I could take advantage and invest in lower priced stocks during my accumulation phase.

What’s happened isn’t quite what I had in mind.

In fact, I can’t really say what it was that I had in mind – just not this!

I wasn’t an investor during the financial crisis of 2008, I’m no grizzled investor who’s been round the block, so this is all new to me.

So the time is now. Or is it? As mentioned in my last post, I’ve made the decision to just stick with my plan, which is to not sell and to continue investing on a monthly basis, in accordance with my asset allocations.

Tempting though it is, I’m not going to dip into my emergency cash reserves to invest, especially as I have big dental costs this year, never mind the other (as yet) unknown expenses likely to occur.

Whatever I invest in now is effectively on sale, whether the price is rock bottom (it probably isn’t) or not.

Black Holes and Revelations

I was going to avoid looking at my portfolio until when I did my usual month end update but curiosity got the better of me. I ended up having a bit of a peek and now I wish I hadn’t!

It was a couple of days ago and I’ve lost at least a year of gains, around 22% or £34k. The markets have dropped more since, so I fully expect to be reporting a further decrease in my Future Fund at the end of the month – YIKES! 🙁

This could massively set me back in my FIRE plans, although there’s the hope that if the markets recover back to their dizzy heights in a rapid fashion, I might get back on track. Not really going to hold my breath though.

We could be in a depressed state of recession for a while. The global economy will probably get worse before it gets better and who knows how long it will take to recover, if at all.

There could well be an impact on my job – will the company need to lay off people?

I could end up getting ill, or rather, I probably will get ill (as part of the herd immunity strategy our government has adopted) – let’s hope I don’t suffer too much and can recover.

I need to brace myself in case there are shocks around the corner but until I know what is actually going to happen, I will carry on as normal.

Starlight

For something less gloomy, how’s about a bit of FIRE dating?

This beta dating website for single FIRE folks was brought to my attention via Money for the Modern Girl .

I have a feeling that there are going to be mostly young folks on here and not many in my age group, but if past relationships are anything to go by, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue! 😉

Beyond filling in bits of my profile, I’ve not really spent any time on this, so not had a good look around yet properly or connected with anyone.

However, with no sport, no or limited matched betting and no real social outings,  I have no excuse for lack of time, haha!

Hope everyone is keeping themselves and their loved ones safe, keeping calm and washing their hands.

Next post will be my month end figures – it’ll be a bloodbath!

February 2020 Savings, plus other updates

After a month of doing nothing in particular, February was a month where I was busy with something pretty much every weekend. I did have an post I wanted to put up last week but will publish next week instead.

Firstly, I’ve only gone and joined the W.I, that is, the Women’s Institute in Manchester. Like you, I too thought it was for ‘older women’, into their baking, knitting, making jam etc (I’m not interested in any of these) but when I turned up to the first meeting, I was surprised to see that I was actually one of those ‘older women’! The average age must have been around late 20s or early 30s.

Why did I join? It was one of those things which I thought I would do once I’d retired and I realised that there was nothing to stop me from joining now. Good for networking, good for establishing new interests and I got to meet and chat with some nice young women. Not sure how much time I can throw into this right now but I will make some time for it.

Anyway, before I continue with what else I got up to, some of you must be itching to see what my numbers are so here goes…

I saved 33.3% – my spending on social activities took its toll this month.

The above savings includes top ups from £20 matched betting profits (from last month), another £25 premium bond win and £77.31 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund (** Coronavirus ALERT **)

With the stock markets going into chaos caused by Covid-19, my Future Fund stands at £180,751, which is more or less back to what it was in September last year. That’s down 4% since last month.

To say that I’m not feeling a little fearful would be a lie – of course I’m a little scared, both of the virus and what it’s doing to my investments.

However, I’m going to stick with my plan. I got paid today, so my usual investment was made into my ISA. I’ve heard some people are keeping aside cash to invest at the bottom – who knows when stocks will be at rock-bottom, I will just invest when I have the cash and hope that I will scoop up some bargains along the way.

Dividends and Other Income

The bottom has fallen out of the stock markets but like clockwork, my dividends continue to roll in: Continue reading

January 2020 Savings, other updates + next FIRE meet

A bit late but I couldn’t get myself organised over the weekend to post.

A quiet month social-wise, not a lot happened – aside from recovering from having my tooth extracted following a recent visit to the dentist (it’s only just healing up now 🙁 ), much of it was spent reading, making the most of my £1.60 Now TV 3-month subscription (binge-watching Billions), working out in the gym and generally relaxing at home.

Work is nicely busy – some good news is that firstly, it looks like I should get my annual bonus and secondly, they’ve announced that they will be increasing their pension contribution to 5%! Woohoo!!

Anyway, another great start to the year for my Premium Bonds with a win of £50 – the first of many I hope!

So, how did I get on with my savings in the first month of the year?

I saved 40.8%, which isn’t too bad a start.

The above savings includes top ups from £90 matched betting profits (from last month), the £50 premium bond win, £33.81 from TopCashback* and £77.60 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

A small investment in BlackRock World Mining Trust for some further diversification,  with the rest going on existing investments. Keep calm, carry on investing.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Jittery markets as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus saw my Future Fund not moving much at £188,361, despite new cash invested.

Dividends and Other Income

A low month for dividends: 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