Happy New Year!
Ok, let’s just get the numbers out of the way first, eh?
I saved 47.3% of my net salary. Gift spending was balanced out slightly by a small but welcome bonus in our December pay. Another ‘bonus’ I received this month was a cheque for £84.94 which apparently was for a short-payment on an endowment plan I cashed in back in 2015.
The above savings also includes top ups from £20 Matched Betting profits (from last month), another £25 Premium Bond win, £55.34 affiliate income from OddsMonkey* (thank you to all who signed up via my link!), £60 from Adsense and £25.53 from TopCashBack*.
Shares and Investment Trusts
No new investments, I just topped up existing investments. This will however likely change, as I will be making some tweaks to my portfolio in the new year.
Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.
(Entire portfolio here)
This time last year, my Future Fund stood at £188,605. As at 31st December 2020, it was £219,553. Not even a pandemic could stop the Santa Claus Rally?!
No holidays, no commuting costs and no social life meant I was able to invest more this year.
The total capital I invested in 2020 was £17,935, (the most I’ve ever invested in a year, barring the time I invested my redundancy payout) so given what happened to the markets in March, I will happily and gratefully take an investment gain of £13,013 (YTD around +6%).
I remained fully invested throughout 2020, selling only some high-flying bond ETFs in March to rebalance into equities which were looking particularly dire.
So, a final month of dividends:
I received £317.68, of which £151.35 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs. All dividends were reinvested.
This takes my total income received from dividends for the year to £3,873.06, of which £1,883.05 was from my ISAs. I didn’t quite hit my target but I’m not too disappointed – I was expecting far worse, with all the cut or cancelled dividends.
So here’s how things look at the end of the year for dividend income:
As mentioned earlier, I’ll be tweaking my investments in the new year and will be looking to increase my dividend income so hopefully the graph will start looking more interesting in 2021.
Matched Betting (MB)
There seemed to be more important things to think about than making a few extra quid from hustling so I didn’t spend a lot of time on MB this month.
In the end, I made just £107 profit. Total profits this year came to just £1,795 but I have now made a lifetime total of over £18,000 profits from MB (in nearly 5 years), all tax free.
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.
Here’s how it all ended:
Well I would have smashed the Savings Rate goal had I not changed it to 60% but I’m happy with what I achieved, never actually thought I would ever be able to maintain >50% on average.
Dividend income was affected by cuts and cancellations throughout the year so not a lot I could do about that.
After setting such an ambitious MB goal, I’m resigned to the fact that for me, after so long doing MB, big profits might now be beyond my reach.
This is the first time MB profits made was less than dividend income received but I think this will be the way of things now.
I will claim the charity goal as a win as I donated more than 10% of my MB profits in total, even though I didn’t manage to organise the toilet twinning thing – instead, I split the donation money across a few charities:
The Year that Nobody Predicted
Well, what a year that was.
Although all have been impacted by repercussions of the pandemic, depending on individual circumstances, what was experienced likely differed dramatically for everyone.
I lost my aunt this year (maybe or maybe not due to COVID) but consider myself to be one of the fortunate ones who was able to get through the year relatively unscathed, financially, physically and mentally.
Remaining in employment and continuing to aim for my FIRE goals gave me something to think about and focus on, other than the doom and gloom that was spouted out on a daily basis. I was also glad that I wasn’t on my own during this time.
Video calls on Christmas Day are nothing new to me – I’ve been doing them for years as there are always members of the family in a different country at this time of year. Sadly this time, the family was split even more to shield the more elderly members.
Back in the UK, it was just a small low-key affair, which I shall remember as being enjoyable for the huge amount of food and drink consumed, and a lot of time on the sofa watching ‘comfort tv’ – shouting answers at quiz shows, singing along to musicals and laughing/groaning at Carry On films.
For something different and as a result of getting to know her better during lockdown, we went for a Boxing Day walk with a neighbour, with mugs of hot mulled wine.
Time pencilled in to sort out my goals for 2021 was instead spent reading and playing video games – my brain was getting a proper rest!
We did manage to get out of the house for a bit of ‘entertainment’ and went to an outdoor Light Festival, meeting up with a couple of my friends – it was good to get out and about and socialise.
What has 2020 taught me?
- That I’ve been lucky – things could have been a lot worse
- That too much news is bad for me
- That I can function quite well by setting my expectations really low
- That I don’t panic when the stock markets plummet
- That investing during a downturn is scary but that I should do it anyway
- That I’m quite happy to work long-term from home
- That despite the above, I really miss my commute, the office and my colleagues
- That I missed going to pubs but not that much
I’m sure there are many more things but that’s all I can think of, off the top of my head.
Tiers the Season to be Jolly
As we commence the new year under tighter restrictions, I reflect on the fact that the various vaccines won’t miraculously make the world all better again, but it will be a start.
I can’t really see things really heading back to anything resembling ‘normal’ before the summer but I hope by that time, I might be able to travel safely to see my family.
As if the virus were not enough, we’ll have all the Brexit shenanigans to contend with so 2021 promises to be another ‘interesting and challenging’ year, but one which will hopefully be filled with more happiness, less fear and fewer lockdowns.
Anyway, I’d better pull my finger out and get my 2021 goals sorted.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and wealthy 2021 to all of us!