December 2021 Savings, plus round up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had an enjoyable festive period and a good start to another new year.

I’ve had a nice mostly quiet time getting used to being in my new home. Still not fully unpacked properly but I’m still moving some last few things from the old house (not sorted the garage or the shed yet – eek!). I can see that I’m going to have to do the whole KonMari thing again at some point!

Anyway, let’s just get the numbers out of the way for 2021!

I saved 13.2% of my net salary.

The above includes £150 from taking part in an investment community exercise, another £25 Premium Bond win and £42.80 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 

Was there a Santa’s Rally? I wasn’t paying attention but perhaps there was as my Future Fund finished up at £232,272.61.

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

Considering the unexpected house purchase, I’m just relieved to finish with a bit more in the pot than I began with at the beginning of the year.

Dividends and Other Income

An average final month for dividends:

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November 2021 Savings, plus other updates

November was a blur, here are a few highlights:

  • My house purchase was completed! I nearly cried with relief!
  • My niece was up for half-term and was with me when I went to the estate agents’ to pick up my house keys. She helped me choose new carpets!
  • My sister came over for a quick visit from Hong Kong – it was so good to see her after nearly 2.5 years. She helped me choose some new lights for the living room! I was able to hand over some family Christmas gifts for her to take back. Unfortunately, she’s still not quite home yet, as she’s currently 5 days into a 21-day quarantine in a hotel…
  • Not everyone’s cup of tea and certainly no ‘Game of Thrones’ but am loving  Amazon Prime’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s high fantasy series, ‘Wheel of Time‘. I’ve read all 14 books and one of the the most fascinating things is hearing how the names are pronounced (yes, in my head, I’ve been pronouncing them wrong!).
  • I was awarded Employee of the Month at work, which was a real surprise (though of course, very much appreciated) as I’ve just had my head down, doing my job, nothing which I thought was exceptional.

So, how did I get on with my savings this month?

I saved 13.5% of my net salary.

The above includes £39.20 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 

A wobbly final week of the month for the stock markets due to concerns caused by the Omicron variant of the virus – indeed so big is the concern, that our works’ Christmas party has been cancelled – but I ran my numbers the evening of 30th November so avoided the plunging ‘Black Friday’ values.

Not that there was anything to celebrate, my Future Fund stayed pretty much the same at £227,349.

WIth one month left, here’s how the graph is looking (I’m continuing with the original graph, rather than the house-purchase adjusted one):

Well, it was too much to hope for a V-shaped recovery but steady as she goes. Perhaps there will be a Santa’s Rally!

Dividends and Other Income

A decent month for dividends:

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October 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Highlights this month:

  • At last, I had a mini break away from home! As mentioned in my last update, I went to London – I had tickets to watch the NFL game, Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a great weekend – an enjoyable match with a sellout crowd in Tottenham Hotspurs’ beautiful stadium. The following day, we spent some time wandering around Camden, sampling some expensive beer and food and then happened across probably one of the coolest and most fascinating shops I’ve visited in a long time – I didn’t buy anything, just enjoyed the sights and the music!

It was a great atmosphere and yes, I did know what was going on (mostly!)

Walking into this shop was like walking into another world

  • I went to the cinema to watch the latest James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’ – have always loved Daniel Craig as Bond.
  • Enjoyed another great Manchester FIRE meetup in the pub – great to interact with faces old and new. There were around 20 of us who turned up. Anyone who’s interested in these meetups, sign up to Financial Independence FIRE – Manchester.  Events are alternately online and face-to-face, so the next one will be online on Friday 26th Nov.
  • And finally, I am sooooo relieved to say that I have finally exchanged contracts on my house, with completion due to happen early November! More details soon – so much (more) to do!

So, how did I get on with my savings in October?

I saved 14.4% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win, and £42.24 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I started switching out some of my bond ETFs into a defensive investment trust, Ruffer Investment Co.  Monevator recently did a two-parter on the 60/40 strategy but I was already getting a bit antsy about the portion of bonds I held in my portfolio and wondering what I could do. Despite not holding anywhere near 40%, I was feeling it was still on the high side.

I won’t ditch them completely but will likely switch some more into other defensive investment trusts.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

After removing the funds needed to buy my house, my Future Fund has dropped to £227,413. It’s not half as bad as I originally envisaged – as suggested by regular commenter Jane In London, I asked my Mum for the max amount she would loan me (that I could still cover with the eventual sale of my BTL) so this meant that I didn’t have to dip so far into my own funds.

I had to sell some equities (from my S&S ISAs) to release some cash and fortunately, I sold little bits of my portfolio over July and August when numbers were green.

I’ve been dreading doing this graph update.

Regular commenter Kid Cocoa suggested rebasing the graph, as if the house money was never part of my Future Fund, so that its removal didn’t cause me any distress. I did that and this is what it looks like:

 

[edit – original post had the wrong graph]

Looking good, with the markets bouncing back after the drop in September.

However, for consistency and because I feel like I need to see the consequences (and feel the pain) of my actions, this is what the graph actually looks like:

Oof! Looks almost like the crash back in March 2020, although there’s very little hope for another V-shaped recovery, haha!

My Future Fund’s value is now what it was in March 2021 so I’ve only really lost 7 months. My FIRE plan is still intact and unchanged – this is fine, I don’t feel so stressed about it any more.

Anyway, as horrid as the graph looks, I am already looking forward seeing it go back up again.

Dividends and Other Income

A more average month for dividends:

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September 2021 Savings, plus other updates

A quieter month at work, which was just as well as there were occasions when I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything, leading to a couple of (rare for me) sleepless nights.

I also seem to have lost some weight without trying, despite eating, drinking and going to the gym as normal – this has happened to me in the past before, where I think I’ve lost weight due to stress. Not sure how I feel about this, I don’t need to lose any more pounds.

I realised that some things in my life were being neglected, delayed and put off, and it was like my life was beginning to spiral out of control.

For the first time in years, I renewed my house and car insurances with the same companies, instead of shopping around. I’m normally prepared well before the policies run out but I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to find cheaper deals. As it was, the new policies weren’t too far off (though both more expensive) from what I’d paid previously but my head needs to be more organised next time.

Towards the end of September, I finally got all my personal health stuff sorted, which had been preying on my mind and feel much better after attending delayed appointments for eye test, smear test and breast screening test – all out of the way now for another 2-3 years.

I should be picking up new glasses later in the month and have gone for budget rather than designer – am past caring right now and no one notices what I’m wearing anyway (apart from family).

I knew I wasn’t quite myself this month when I found myself wanting to cancel on social events, but I went in the end and of course, I was glad that I did.

The above all might sound a bit glum but I’m actually ok, I’m not unhappy or anything, just got a lot going on in my head.

Things continue to progress at a slow pace on the house front but I’m getting there.

So, how did I get on with my savings in September?

I saved 14.4% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win, a £10 charity lotto win, £20.21 from doing Prolific surveys and £48.89 affiliate income from OddsMonkey.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold out of Greencoat UK Wind for a small profit – although I’ve enjoyed receiving dividends from this investment, I’ve recently felt that I was a bit too exposed to thematic energy, plus not being comfortable about the uncertain future of green energy prices. Reinvested the cash in new holding Middlefield Canadian Income Trust, a region I didn’t have any real exposure to.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I’m glad I did get to celebrate hitting my £250k milestone last month because there was a rather large wobble in the markets this month and I saw my first real drop this year. Future Fund is down to £243,768, plummeting depths like that submarine in the daft (though enjoyable) TV mini series ‘Vigil‘.

When I come to withdraw the funds for the house purchase, there will be an even bigger drop but the good news is that I won’t be selling in a depressed market to get my funds – I’ve been selling bit by bit over the summer while the markets were relatively high(er) so equities sold have been at a profit.

Dividends and Other Income

Yet another record-breaking month for dividends:

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