May 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

Firstly, heartfelt thoughts to the families and friends of the 22 whose lives were mindlessly cut short at the Manchester Arena.

The arena is only 5 miles from where I live, the streets where alleged accomplices of the bomber have since been arrested are ones which I have often driven down. This is scary stuff pretty much on my doorstep but talking to my friends and people at work, there is a sense of strength and solidarity, we will not let terrorism beat us. I would have loved to have gone to the ‘One Love‘ gig that’s on Sunday but there was no chance I was going to get any tickets.

Work and Pay

Well, I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants at work these past couple of weeks. It’s been both scary and a bit of a rush but I did ok! Anyway, it was fortunate that I started my new job just before payroll cut off so I received a bit of a wage in May which I thoroughly deserved, if I say so myself! Woo hoo! 🙂

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

I saved 40%! My average for the year is now 46% so not too far off my goal of 50%. I’ll need to put in some good months to haul it back up.

The above savings includes boosts of £400 from matched betting profits, £28.31 from TopCashback*, £43.50 from football predictions, £69.35 from Google Adsense (my second payment ever!) and £51.36 affiliate income from OddsMonkey.

Redundancy Cash

I still have just under 80% of my severance pay left. I’m going to invest some of it next month but think I will err on the side of caution and leave most of it sitting in cash (premium bonds) for now and review my options when I feel the urge to do so.

I’m not bothered about the crap returns from premium bonds – when I started planning for FI/retiring early, I never thought I’d be including any redundancy money so it’s a bonus already on its own. I think this will bring the cash element of my portfolio to around 14-15%.

I’ve topped up my emergency fund so that it now covers around 4 months’ expenses which seems to be an amount I’m comfortable with.

Future Fund 

With the markets buoyant this month, my portfolio has continued to grow. At the end of May, my Future Fund ended up at £104,753.

Dividends and Other Income

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

April 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed my amended logo to show the new £1 coin – thanks to The Investor from Monevator for reminding me to change it!

Anyway, I have to confess that I have really felt like not publishing this update.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been saving a large part of my salary towards my goal for FI/retiring early and happily documenting my progress on this blog.

This is the first month I have had no salary in over 20 years and I wasn’t sure what I could say, without coming over all miserable with doom and gloom – there’s still nothing on the work front yet although I continue to actively job-seek.

But hey ho, spare me the pity, I’m a mostly glass half-full kind of person and as I said in my last update, my goal to FIRE is still on, just suffering a bit of a ‘blip’, so without further ado…

Bad News Alert!

My savings rate this month is ZERO! 

This is because I have always worked out my savings rate to be what I save from my normal working wage. I know others work out their savings rates differently but I’m just being consistent with my own calculations.   I’m now living off my severance pay – ouch!

All Is Not Lost

That’s not to say I haven’t added to my Future Fund at all this month – I made investments using the following income: £400 from matched betting profits, £92.49 from TopCashback*, £138.47 affiliate income from Odds Monkey, £50 rent received and £40 from a lottery win!

This income is by no means guaranteed on a monthly basis so in the short-term, I’m going to try to continue to invest as much as I can for as long as I can, to keep the investing momentum going. I did toy with the idea of investing nothing while I wasn’t working but that didn’t seem to make sense to me, not when I had the means to make some cash which I did not require to live on.

Future Fund 

After hitting my big milestone of reaching £100k in savings/investments last month, my Future Fund continues to grow, buoyed by the announcement of our own snap election and the elections in France. At the end of April, my Future Fund ended up at £102,023.

Dividends and Other Income

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

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

100k Milestone

 

I’ve just returned from an impromptu short trip to Hong Kong (a close member of the family was seriously ill but is now recovering) to find that as of today, my Future Fund has reached the £100,000 mark!  The actual figure is £100,436.

My Future Fund is made up of the combined savings/investments I have in ISAs, SIPPS, P2P, Premium Bonds and cash. It does not include my company pension.

How long did it take?

“The First 100k is a Bitch!”, as supposedly famously quoted by Charlie Munger.

In total, it has taken me 8 years to get to this milestone.

Wow, sounds like a very long time?

Well, the first £30,000 took me FIVE years to accumulate – I only started saving in 2009/2010 after I had finally paid off all of my credit card debts. I thought I was doing pretty well, saving and not getting into further debt, but the thing was, I had no plan and didn’t really know what I was saving for, except that it was a ‘good idea to save’ something.

In 2014, I discovered the FIRE movement, worked out a plan to aim for early retirement, read up on DIY investing, automated much of my savings, cut back on unnecessary/unimportant expenses and have managed to boost my savings/portfolio by £70,000 over 3 years.

A combination of saving hard and luck with favourable markets has helped me achieve this goal. All dividend income/interest has been reinvested to add to the growth of the portfolio.

Note that no money from my recent severance package has been added to my Future Fund – until I secure a permanent job, I’ll be using up those funds gradually so they form no part in my future plans.

No Regrets

I don’t have any regrets that I didn’t start saving harder earlier – what I did (or didn’t do) in the past (spending or otherwise) shaped the person I am today.

No sense in dwelling on ‘what if’, ‘if only’, ‘should have, would have, could have’ – I can’t change the past. All that matters is what I’m doing now and what I do in the future as I continue to chase after my goals.

Of course, when the stock market crashes (and it will), my portfolio could well drop back below £100k as I have most of my money in equities but hopefully, it’s diversified enough to withstand the brunt of such a crash and will be able to recover sufficiently.

Liquidity

How much of this £100k could I get my hands on now (or within the next few days) if I really needed to?

£41,975, so just under 42%.  I’m not sure if the liquidity ratio should be higher or lower? I’ve no need for this money right now but I guess it’s good to know what I could get at immediately that’s not tied up in pensions or long term investments/savings.

Righto – onto the next £100k! 🙂