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

State Pension + Change of FIRE Meet Up Venue

A lot of people aiming for FIRE, in particular the younger folk, don’t include the State Pension in the plans

I understand why that is – they won’t be able to touch their pension when they FIRE by 40, the pension-age goal posts keep getting moved by various governments, it might be means tested, there might well be nothing left in the government pot, etc. So quite a few unknowns there.

However, for me, the State Pension has always been part of my plans right from the start. Perhaps I’m just being over-optmistic that the government ‘will come good’ for me, but it’s probably because I’ve gotten into FIRE later in life so I can consider pensions as part of my plan.

What State Pension Might I Get?

When I first started thinking about FIRE, doing my ‘back of the fag packet’ calculations, I used a nominal £5k as my state pension number – I reckoned that I was going to get at least this amount from the age of 67.

Recently however, I’ve been able to obtain a more accurate estimate (can an estimate be ‘accurate’?) via HMRC’s website:

At the last count, I had paid 30 years of full National Insurance. The requirement to receive full state pension pay out is 35 years.

The five years remaining ties in nicely with my stretch target of becoming FIRE by the end of year 2024…

However, as my work pension was contracted out for most of my career (meaning that I paid less NI during that period), it looks like I have to pay an extra two years to receive the max, so 7 more years in total of NI to pay, with my current forecast based on NI paid to date being £139.18 per week:

How Does It All Fit In?

So how does the state pension feature in my FIRE plans when I won’t be able to get my mitts on it until I’m 67?

Well, it’s income which I do not have to accumulate as part of my Future Fund (my FIRE pot).

If (and I actually hope not) I live to 100, that’s 33 x £8,797 = £290,301 (based on current forecast) which I don’t have to save up for (or generate) as part of my Future Fund.

I think this was one of the reasons I never really got into the whole 25 x expenses calculation for FIRE – I couldn’t see where the state pension fit into the calculation. Nor in my case, my DB pension. My DB pension and state pension combined will should provide me with a guaranteed minimum income floor, enough to cover all my basics expenses. It’s down to me to make up the extra for a more comfortable retirement.

As I’ve mentioned on previous occasions, my Future Fund is just a bridge from when I FIRE until when I am able to draw on my DB pension (at 65) and then the state pension.

Sometimes my plan seems too simplistic and I get the odd panicky feeling that I’m making a big mistake with my calculations.

Most other times however, it makes complete sense to me.

I’m sure there won’t be many (if any) but anyone else include the state pension in their plans?

Change of Manchester FIRE Meet Up Venue

I’ve been advised that the Manchester FIRE meet up on Friday 29th November will now be at The Salutation Pub, 12 Higher Chatham St, Manchester M15 6ED (just off Oxford Road), not at The Bank.

It’s looking unlikely that I will be able to make it but if there’s a chance I can show my face there (even briefly), I will try!

 

October 2019 Savings, plus other updates

Hope you all had a happy Brexit Day Halloween!

My ‘confused’ effort on the right!

October felt like a month where I had a lot going on but hardly anything was achieved.

I’m behind on loads of things – my reading, my paperwork, my tax return (meant to submit this month), my TV watching, my blog reading/commenting, my blogging.

That said, I bought a new mobile phone as my old one has been freezing and rebooting for months (used matched betting profits again for the purchase) and I’ve been out on a few social outings, completed a 13-mile walk in the rain (again!) for charity with work and been to the cinema a couple of times (to see Ad Astra and Terminator: Dark Fate).

My social calendar is pretty much filled up for November already so I hope I don’t continue to fall behind on stuff.

Am I also behind on my numbers? Let’s see how I did….

I saved 51.3% of my net salary! With my sis contributing towards household bills, I’m able to put away more of my money but as mentioned before, at some point, all my utilities direct debits will go up so my savings rate will revert closer to the norm.

The above savings includes top ups of £40 matched betting profit (from last month), £67.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!), £30 from Siteground* affiliate income (thanks Tom!) and £57.01 from TopCashback*.

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 

The markets were all over the place this month and despite adding new capital, my portfolio value went backwards down to £178,832.19. As usual, I’m keeping calm and carrying on investing!

Dividends and Other Income

A slightly disappointing month for dividends: Continue reading