November 2020 Savings, plus other updates

Recently, I came across another definition for FIRE – Forced Into Retirement Early (article might be paywalled).

With the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK, sadly, this is probably happening to many people of a certain age (not just women, as per the article).  I also need to be mindful that it could affect me if I were to lose my job before I’m ready to FIRE, seeing as I’m one of those people of a certain age, except that my saving and investing will have me in a less-dire position than some others.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but Lockdown #2 seemed to pass quite quickly – as I mentioned in my last update, this second national lockdown wasn’t going to pose any real change to how I’d been living my life over the last few months.

With Greater Manchester moving into Tier 3 from tomorrow, it’s just the same old, same old.

I’ve just been focusing on the things I can do, such as continue working from home, go for walks, exercise at home (with my newly purchased weights), enjoy Zoom calls with friends and family (yes, I’m still doing those), enjoy home cooking, watch some decent stuff on tv, read and play video games (my new gaming obsession is Rimworld, thanks to Monevator).

I haven’t been dwelling on the things I’ve not been able to do or people and things I miss – it’ll only make me miserable.

‘Highlights’ this month for me included:

    • Being chatted up in the gym – a first! It was a couple of days before Lockdown #2 and with no one going to pubs or nightclubs, I guess a lad’s gotta try when the opportunity arises! It was good for my ego, if nothing else, that I’m still approachable whilst sweatily huffing and puffing through my weight training exercises 🙂
    • Earning £200 for participating in an investment trust investor community – not bad for 10-20 mins a day for two weeks! If you’re interested in doing investment surveys (to earn Amazon vouchers and possible selection for future investor communities), register here (this is not a referral link).
    • Buying my first Christmas present and a new pair of trainers. Still not in the Christmas spirit yet though.
    • Transferring an old work DC pension to one of my SIPPs – the whole process (from request to actual transfer) took a while, my money was out of the market for several weeks but it looks like I’ve inadvertently/luckily timed the market correctly.
    • Catching up with my uni pals on Zoom, six years after we last saw each other.
    • Working 4 days a week – no overseas trip this year meant I’ve got holidays to use up as I’m only able to carry a few over. It was nice having long weekends, even when I didn’t go anywhere or do anything special. However, this has shown me that cutting my hours down in the future probably wouldn’t be a viable solution to ‘glide’ into early retirement (if I stayed in this job) – long term, it would place too much pressure on my boss and the rest of the team.

Anyway, how did I get on money-wise in November?

I saved 58.8% of my net salary – December is going to be a bit more spendy so I thought I’d try to stick in as much as possible this month. Not enough to hike my average up by much but good enough.

The above savings includes top ups from £20 Matched Betting profits (from last month) and the abovementioned £200 from taking part in that investor community.

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 

Just when I thought it was going to take me a while to get to that milestone again, the stock markets bounced up (on the back of US election results and vaccination news) and my Future Fund jumped by over 6% to £212,100! Whoosh!

Although this is a fantastic increase from last month, I need to bear in mind how quickly it can drop back down again! I would love to finish on a high but this is 2020 so I have no expectations…

Dividends and Other Income

Not a bad month for dividends:

I received £324.65, of which £196.83 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.

Here’s how my graph is looking now…

As December dividends can sometimes pay out in January, it’s going to be very hard to bag my ISA dividend target but I’ve gotten more dividends than I thought I would in the scheme of things.

Matched Betting (MB)

You’d think that working 4-day weeks, I would have spent a bit more time on MB but no, I just did other stuff which I enjoyed doing but which didn’t make me any money – that’s the good thing about this side hustle, pick it up when I feel like doing it, drop it when I don’t.

In the end, I made just under £98 profit, which reflects the amount of time I spent on it. I’m now coming up to a lifetime total of £18,000 profits made from MB (over nearly 5 years) but have to admit that after so long, I don’t spend as much time on it as I used to.

As mentioned previously, the MB guide I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*, which is great for beginners and experienced matched bettors alike. There are step by step guides and also a friendly forum for you to ask questions and get help on any of the offers.

Goals Update

With just 1 month of this annus horribilis left, here’s how the goals look:

I achieved my non-fiction book goal!

The book I read was Money Mavericks: Confessions of a Hedge-Fund Manager by Lars Kroijer. It was an engaging read, quite enjoyable – thanks to Dr FIRE who sent me the book.

No way to get that savings rate goal now but will see how I get on.

Rubik’s Cube Update

No update on doing the 4×4 Rubik’s Revenge (Master Cube) – still slowly trying to master the final stages. It’s really tricky (for my brain) so just taking it slowly!

Well that’s all from me – how was your November and are you in the Christmas/festive spirit yet?

I’m still on the ‘bah Humbug’ side at the moment, haha!

[*referral/affiliate link]

30 thoughts on “November 2020 Savings, plus other updates

  1. I like the rocket boost!
    The K-shaped recovery continues!

    My own view of saving money was to avoid being in a position where you have to be afraid of losing your job – which seems to be a massive contributor to stress and ill health in middle age. Something worth avoiding if you have the chance.

    • Agreed. Knowing you have a roof over your head and enough money to pay all your bills takes a huge weight away. Mr Pickwick had the right idea!

    • Cheers GFF

      Yes, I recall the stark difference between how I felt in 2008 when my job was at risk (due to the GFC) and in 2016 when I was actually made redundant – incredibly unhappy and stressed the first time, calm and unrushed when it actually happened and it was all due to my aiming for FIRE.

  2. Still a very impressive savings rate, Weenie and always flattering to get chatted up.

    This was my first month engaged in a new experiment, reduced working hours through furlough/paid leave and doubling my take home pay via reducing my pension contributions. It turned out to be surprisingly hard to make much of a dent in the additional spending money – a few food upgrades here and there, an additional donation or two and a couple of discounted courses on Black Friday. The reduced working hours I am enjoying though.

      • Thanks for the question, Tina. I reached frugal financial independence a few years back and am not quite ready to retire.
        so still earning. A few years on and the pension has plenty in for a comfortable retirement so it’s time to reduce the savings rate a bit (previously well over 70%) and live more comfortably in the here and now.

    • Cheers C – it seems so long I was anywhere where I could be chatted up so it was nice, haha!

      Interesting experiment that you are doing and interesting to note that you are finding it hard to make a dent on your spending. I guess that’s good news in that you won’t overspend but how to also spend to enjoy your money?

  3. Interesting article (it’s not behind the paywall, BTW). One thing I took from it is how important it is to have multiples strings to your bow – don’t assume you’ll have a job for life, assess your skills and don’t be afraid to change tack completely.
    I’ve felt a bit a sea during the pandemic, and even more aware (I’m self-employed) how quickly work can dry up. My NY res for next year is to learn how to code so I have another string to mine.

    • Hi Tina

      Ah, I thought it would be behind a paywall, so that’s good news!

      No, jobs are definitely not for life, although I deludedly did think I had one of those.

      Sorry to hear that you’ve been a bit at sea during this pandemic and hope things improve in the NY and learning code will certainly add a string to your bow – what code will you be learning, as a matter of interest?

      • I think a lot of my ‘at sea’ feeling was due to Xmas coming up and expecting a really dull one, but in the end, we stayed with family and it was really nice, so I feel a bit more positive!

        All the websites I’ve read recommend Python to start off, so I’m looking at that. Of course, now I’ve decided to do this, work has started coming in again!

  4. Looks like another good month Weenie. Glad that you enjoyed Money Mavericks (and I should thank Rhino once again for sending it my way in the first place). It was a good read. That life sounded far too stressful to me though!

    The area I live in is moving from lockdown to Tier 2 but, like you, I don’t really anticipate it making much difference to my day-to-day life. Ms FIRE can get a haircut now, after complaining about her split ends for the last few weeks. I guess that’s something!

    • Hi Dr FIRE

      Yes, being a hedge fund manager does sound far too stressful! My sis says she’s going to read it but after, I will forward it on.

      I think I’ll leave my haircut now til the new year – it’s not as if I’m going to any parties or events!

  5. Great news on the net worth increase! I feel like we are in for a bit of a bumpy ride, but I’ll stick to the plan.

    I think the matched betting scene is really is drying up now. There haven’t been many good sports offers for a while, so I’ve been mainly doing casino bonuses. I had a half-decent month all things considered.. just over £250. Not expecting it to be as high in December.

    We’re in tier 3, but we have been ever since the tier system came in. So like you, I’m used to it now, even enjoying it sometimes.

    • Cheers AO.

      Yes, it looks like it’s on the up but I do think it’ll continue to be a bumpy ride.

      After nearly 6 years of matched betting, I agree that offers are pretty limited for me but for now, it’s still worth doing and I hope I can keep it going for as long as possible.

  6. I’ve been quietly on the sidelines……… So perhaps a random and somewhat OCD-ish question but I’m curious to know when you take you financial snapshot each month? Are they closin balances on the last day, opening balances on the 1st? Paycheck to paycheck?

    I have been tracking my finances for a while but haven’t come to a good conclusion on this – others feel free to pitch in!

    • Hi Twostars

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I take my financial snapshot on the last day of the month (or if the last day is on a weekend, the last Friday). So, closing balances on the last working day of the month, opening balances on the 1st working day of the month and yes, paycheque to paycheque.

      My annual updates are in calendar years, whereas some bloggers do tax years (ie in UK, April to April) – just do whatever works for you and makes sense and which you can track consistently.

  7. I know on here it seems odd, but in Spain flirting on the gym is actually quite a normal thing to do haha. Well, in fact is quite a normal thing to do in most places. Glad to see your portfolio is doing well. I still got to sum up mine but it looks good.

    • Hey Tony

      Haha, well maybe it’s a normal thing here too, just that it’s never happened to me before!

      Unless I’m doing an exercise class, it’s very rare for me to speak to anyone, except to ask if a particular piece of equipment or weight was being used!

      Glad to hear your portfolio is doing well too – I’ll nip over to have a look!

  8. Oh dear, I hope that’s a good kind of addiction! 😉

    I know what you mean about this year. Obviously there’s real-life, which has been a rollercoaster (or maybe more just a big lurch down and then down again!) but even in the markets, I’m mindful the recovery many of us have seen could just go ‘pop’ in a fit of 2020 ‘magic’.

    • Hi TI

      It’s the good kind of addiction, although now onto my second colony already as the first bunch got mortally injured by vengeful donkeys… 🙂

      Previously, I would have guessed that Brexit talks would have burst the stock market bubble but given that the FTSE hasn’t shown such a big recovery since March, perhaps the pop will be less significant than anticipated and 2020 may end (investment-wise) not as bad as expected.

  9. £18,000 from MB is amazing! Surprised you are not gubbed on all accounts by now haha. I just ticked over £2,000 in 4.5 months! Thanks for entering my giveaway last month. Lovely to see your back over that 200k mark as well.

    • Cheers Sean and yes, pretty much gubbed on all accounts, just clinging onto a few, although there are still some accounts I’ve yet to open (even after all this time!).

      Yes, if I stay over £200k by the end of the year, I will be happy!

  10. Hi,
    Well done with the MB
    I recently started MB and cannot see myself doing it for long (I find it boring).

    What red bloodied male wouldn’t chat up a girl bench pressing 160lb ? 🙂

    Money wise I am on course for retiring next year (55) with my ISA back to highs of just under £300k.
    Been a strange year for us all. I have no idea what tier I am/was in it is all just a blur.
    End of February I flew back from the far east and found myself, despite a negative covid test, put into quarantine (it now appears I come from one of the safest countries in the world). Then some fool labelled my job ‘key worker’ and all I seem to have done is work or sleep since the end of March.
    I do think this was better than staying shielding at home but…..

    • Hi Gary

      MB isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, with boring and tedious cited as the main reasons but at least you gave it a go!

      “a girl bench pressing 160lb”

      Haha – I’m lifting just a tiny fraction of that!

      All the best with retiring next year at 55 – well done in getting yourself in that position.

      Thanks for being a key worker; I’m not one myself and although I see where my job’s value fits in within the company I work for, in terms of importance to the general public to keep the cogs of society going, it has very little significance…

      • aghh I find being classed as a key worker embarrassing.
        I work for the Underground (London train service not a secret mafia). I went shopping a couple of times and forgot I was wearing a high visibility jacket…. it was really bad when the staff ushered me to the front of the queue (of mainly pensioners).

        I started working with London Transport straight from school(1982) and in1984 joined the final salary pension scheme. That will make the bulk of my pension income.

  11. Hi Weenie,

    Glad to see you have had a good Nov – I am not in the Christmas spirit yet. I have bought a few presents though. Not many as my family have agreed to not buy for each other, saves going out to shops and exposing yourself to the virus unnecessarily.

    I think I am suffering from the ‘forced retirement’ as I am of a certain age – the job market for me isn’t good and I am worried that I will not get another one due to age. I need to widen my skill set and just hang on until things pick up which I can’t see happening until at least the middle of next year. I will have a read of the article, thanks for the link.

    I am impressed with the MB, I have only just started and reading comments saying that it is dying out is a shame, I am only light touch anyway and only making about £20 p/m after the initial £60 sweetener.

    I am in tier3 at the moment, was tier 1 before this current lockdown. Current local news says we ‘should’ move into tier 2 soon. I just go out to walk, cycle and food shop. I am enjoying my reading and need to get into the Xmas spirit.

    Have a good December and look forward to reading your end of year post !

    • Thanks Sparklebee.

      Sorry to hear that you are suffering from forced early retirement but just as well you have been aiming for FIRE so have been coping fine financially. Sadly, I don’t see things improving on any levels until at least the middle of next year, once more/most people have been vaccinated etc.

      Good to hear that you are continuing with MB and the good thing is that it’s up to you whatever effort you want to put into it – more effort = more profits but it’s always your choice.

      Thanks and hope you have a good December too!

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