3 Years!

This month marks THREE years since I started blogging about my journey to financial independence/Retiring Early!

Happy 3rd birthday to Quietly Saving! 🙂

Back Then

Although my first post on this blog was in April 2014, I had made a note of my finances in March – my starting or pre-FI plan numbers!

Here’s the comparison between my starting numbers and my most recent update:

  • March 2014 – Future Fund: £30,075
    March 2017 – Future Fund: £100,442
  • March 2014 – Net Worth: £74,595
    March 2017 – Net Worth: £171,208

The increases are largely due to new capital being chucked in every month, although I have also been lucky with investment gains from the favourable stock markets these past three years. My property has also seen a surprising 26% increase in value (I know…outside London!), which has helped bump up my net worth.

I’ve aimed to save/invest as much of my net salary as possible (averaging around 40-45%), and also put away income generated from extra curricular activities, such as cashback, gambling winnings, matched betting and other online activities.

As I’m currently unemployed, the income from these extra curricular activities or side hustles will play a vital part in keeping the investment ‘snowball‘ rolling as it were. I’ll also continue to reinvest any dividends/interest I receive.

Courtesy of http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes

Thank You

A big thanks to all who take the time to read this humble little blog – it’s a great incentive to me to know that people have a passing interest in what I have to say about my little journey and I love to read your comments and private emails. Thank you very much for helping me remain accountable, giving me encouragement and ideas, and helping me stick to my plan and aim for my goals!

Next Chapter

The last three years documented what I was able to achieve on an average salary, working for a company I’d been with for over 20 years. Anything I write now will be part of the next chapter of my life, including how I’ll get on whilst not employed and what happens with my next job.

I can say that my plan for FIRE is still very much on, just suffering from a slight hiccup but certainly not dead and buried!  🙂

And on that note, I hope you all have a great Easter!

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! 🙂

Procrastination

As mentioned in my February update, I can’t say that I’ve been doing my utmost with my job hunting and I guess that as well as enjoying my free time too much, I’ve been suffering badly from procrastination.

I even borrowed a book from the library to help me focus but I haven’t gotten round to reading it yet…ahem!

What have I been doing instead of job hunting?

  • Sleep – Upon my return from my hols, the last two weeks of January were spent sleeping a lot as I was initially jet-lagged and then poorly with a virus.
  • Binge watching TV – I’ve been watching stuff like ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Blacklist’ and ‘Homeland’. No daytime TV – I’d not stoop that low!
  • Reading blogs/tweets – I didn’t read any blogs while I was away so caught up on my reading. I also culled my Twitter feed to a more manageable level – following too many is just distracting and tweets that I may actually want to read end up getting lost in the noise/spam.
  • Practising my ukulele – Still getting used to the simple chords but I can ‘play’ a couple of tunes now. A great way to relax, though I need to learn how to ‘sing’ AND play at the same time – note sing in inverted commas as I can’t hold a proper tune!
  • Painting and decorating – I’ve been glossing the doors in the house, but got bored after a few so still have more to do at some point.
  • Matched betting (MB) – I started to do a bit of horse racing MB during the day, to help boost my profits. I still very much prefer MB on football but thought I’d see if I could tap into the much-touted riches of the Cheltenham Festival which are taking place this week.
  • Bird watching – It’s not very often that I get to sit around and enjoy the wildlife/birds in my garden. The grey squirrels have been keeping me entertained with their antics and with winter over, a variety of birds have returned to the garden.  However, I never expected to see a hapless pigeon being caught and plucked alive by a sparrowhawk…I’d seen a mass of feathers on my lawn previously but had thought it was the work of the neighbours’ cats!
  • Hunter looks smaller than the prey and yes, those bits scattered about are feathers!

I’m glad that I haven’t resorted to playing games on my PC or tablet as I would end up losing hours/days. As a former gamer, I can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, however. The only game I have going is Pokemon Go, which really only means that I park a little further away from the supermarket so I can do an extra bit of walking (to ‘hatch’ eggs and ‘catch’ Pokemon!).

I’ve been maintaining a routine of sorts, so still attend my gym classes and work out, plus of course, I’m now playing netball too. I’ve continued to wake up to my alarm as if I’m going to work every day and going to bed at my usual time. This way, my weekends remain different and are something to look forward to, ie drinking and having lie ins! 😉

A Little Progress

Anyway, since I started drafting this post just over a week or so ago, I ramped up my job hunting efforts and I have had two job interviews – just goes to show what a little effort can achieve, I guess.  I hope I make it through to the next stages of interviews but realistically acknowledge that nothing is guaranteed (even though I thought the interviews went quite well) and that I could well be job hunting for a while yet.

Just need to make sure that I don’t fall back into a routine of procrastination!