October 2023 Savings, plus other updates

A blur of a month.

Work continues to be really busy. I’ve now met my new boss and getting used to working with her. I have a load of holidays to use up before the end of the year and sorely in need of a break (late nights starting to take a toll), but need to balance hitting deadlines with resting my brain. A few long weekends should hopefully help.

My niece and nephew were up for half-term, stayed mostly with my sis but I had them for a weekend. I did take a day off work to take them to Arcade Club,  four floors of arcade machines and games consoles. We were there for nearly 4 hours so it was well worth the money, and yes, I really enjoyed myself too, reliving my misspent youth!

My teenaged self’s idea of heaven!

Anyway, how did I get on this month?

I saved 14.1% of my net salary.  The above includes £62.35 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

OOF! The biggest drop of the year for me – I’d been oblivious to ‘market noise’ as been too busy to check my accounts, so was a little shocked to see this when I ran the numbers. Still, it’s already started to pick up in November but as at the end of October,  my Future Fund ended the month plummeting 4% down to £224,414. 

Just have to keep calm and carry on investing.

Dividends and Other Income

A fairly average month for dividends.

I received £476.89, of which £297.48 was from my ISAs, the rest from my SIPPs.

All dividends were reinvested.

Here’s what the graph looks like:

Goals Update

Still looking ok on a couple of these but will struggle to hit all of them.

Options Options 

[Firstly, let me caveat this by saying this is not any sort of recommendation or suggestion for anyone to try – DYOR!]

Anyway, it’s now been a whole year since I decided to dip my toe into the murky world of options trading. It was something new to learn, a mostly fun hobby of sorts; social too, with the monthly Beginners’ Options (online) meet ups I’ve been attending.

My options trading platform (IG) clearly warns that 68% of their retail investor accounts lose money trading on their platform, although the general consensus is that it’s closer to 95% of all options traders who lose all their money. And yet, still I went ahead, willing to risk a small sum of money (£1,000) because I guess I remain a gambler at heart.

So, did I lose my money?

Well at the end of the 12 months, I had £1,484.27 in my account! Gosh, I’m positively a trading pro, haha! 🙂

Hardly – in the early days/months, although I was making profitable trades, I can’t say that I knew 100% what was going on or why I was winning!

This whole year of trading has been a massive learning curve; firstly, learning a strategy to adopt that suited me, that I was comfortable with and which I (mostly) understood. Secondly, learning how to use the app/website and make the most of its resources. And finally, it was learning about me, how I react to triggers (in this case positive or negative notifications from the trading app), my attitude to risk, my propensity to gamble, to stick to my strategy no matter what.

Documenting my trades with notes on why I’ve bought/sold helped massively and enabled me to learn and move on from my mistakes and yes, of course I’ve made some.

I do think however, that I am probably the most boring options trader ever! I only trade the US 500 Index, use one strategy and I make no more than 2-3 trades a month, occasionally none. There is nothing exciting about what I’m doing; I am certainly no day trader, staring at candlestick charts on multiple screens all day, nor would I want to be!

I don’t look at these all day

Despite trading successfully for a year, I somehow feel like an imposter, that this has been just beginner’s luck. Luck was of course involved, but for all the profits? Maybe, I don’t know.

Year 2 of options trading will be the telling one; will I be able to repeat my success or even better it? Or was year 1 just a fluke and I end up crashing and burning like the other 68% of IG retail investors/95% of all options traders?

Watch this space!

Anyway, hope you all had a great, blustery October and weren’t too affected by storms/floods!

14 thoughts on “October 2023 Savings, plus other updates

  1. I’d forgotten that you had engaged in option tradings. Well, good that you’re in the black so far! Incidentally, is the gain subject to CGT or income tax?

    As for the submarine doing an emergency dive, you should blame TI @ Monevator for his comment the other week – tempting fate 🙂 Tangentially, seeing your Ruffer dividend reminded me that you bought that as a defensive ploy (in lieu of bonds) a couple of years ago. I noticed it’s down about 15% so far this year. Any regrets about Ruffer now, or has it done better than leaving it in bonds?

    • Hi Curlew

      There is no CGT or income tax with what I’m doing as I am trading options via IG’s spreadbetting account and HMRC (and possibly every other man and his dog!) views this kind of trading as ‘gambling’, which is of course tax-free in the UK.

      Haha, I did think about the submarine mention in Monevator as I was getting the graph sorted – definitely tempting fate there!

      I haven’t made a comparison of how I would have done if I had continued investing in bonds rather than in Ruffer and other defensive ITs. Doing so will either make me regret what I’ve done or make me feel vindicated so perhaps I’m better off not knowing and just be comfortable with my decision! I still do have some bonds, perhaps now might be a time to just add a little?

  2. I know that i never have an edge on any of my adventurous stock market punts, but that never seems to stop me trying! Being boring though, and sticking to a field that I have a little bit of knowledge about generally results in more positive outcomes. Thankfully i never really had the urge to get involved with the more exotic investment instruments (i think!) – fear of losing my shirt has tended to keep me away from options etc. Individual commodity ETF’s are pretty much my limit.
    A 48% annualised return on your pot sounds really good, but i do wonder how volatile your positions have been during the season, and how close you may have come to losing a large chunk. If you can get to the point where you’re punting solely with the profit that you’ve made then you can rightly bracket yourself in the elite 5% club. I know if i tried i’d be in the club on the other side!

    • Hey KC

      Yes, a 48% annualised return is really good, hence the reason why I can’t quite shake off the feeling that this success might just be a one off, seems too good to be true! As for how close I was to losing a large chunk (if not all) of my capital, at one point, I was in danger of a margin call being made so had to top up my account to ensure I had the funds to cover the trades! Fortunately, it all went well in the end – lesson learned there was not to be too greedy! But yes, ultimately, my aim will be to solely trade with profit I have made. Let’s see if I can get into that elite 5% club lol!

  3. Ruffer’s performance is really disappointing as for years it sold itself as a defensive fund against high inflation coming back.Ruffer did very well for years until inflation actually appeared.I myself made the same mistakes as their fund manager but i am just a retail investor.The lesson from it to anyone is before buying inflation linked gilts or bonds is to understand how to operate first which i did not do.

  4. Hi Weenie,

    I’m sorry that your Future Fund took a dive, but hey, you’re a pro Options Trader 🙂 You’re far more sophisticated than me, and as I near the end game, I’m very safe and boring with my finances.

    Your 2023 Goals: You’ve done well with your books target. I suddenly hit a wall with constant “phone scrolling” and bad news from the media hitting me from all angles, so 2 weeks ago, I ditched the smart phone (apart from using it as an actual phone), stopped watching the news, started to re-learn the art of concentration, and have read 2 books in that time. Only 7 Fiction this year, but I’m on a roll now. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Charities: It’s the one thing I haven’t cut back on, and give £35pm as standard (Donkeys and Romanian Dogs) and gave another one off donation to another animal rescue this month. You can tell where my loyalties lie! It breaks my heart so many charities will suffer soon.

    Solitary Bee Hive: I remember you installed one in the Summer and had tenants move in, and I did the same (10 holes occupied). You may be on this already, but if not, I hope this is useful info, it was news to me! I read that unless maintained properly they can be death traps for bees as unless cleaned out and cocoons removed they can become infested with parasites or bees at the back can become stuck if the ones at the front entrance don’t hatch. I’ve stored the Hive in the shed which you’re supposed to do over winter to prevent it getting damp (it still needs to be cold). I’m going to remove all the cocoons at the weekend (mine is the type where the wooden layers lift up separately to reveal the holes, not bamboo stick type), dust off any parasites, then place the cocoons in a nesting box, with a hole big enough for them to fly out of, put them back in the shed, until Spring when I’ll put the box outdoors for when they hatch (I’ll use a Bumblebee hive I ordered for hatching). You can put them in the fridge until Spring, but this could go badly wrong! This is more complicated than I thought, quite a responsibility! 😉

    • Hey Starla

      The options is only a bit of fun, I’d be too scared to risk any more!

      Struggling a bit with the books as I’ve been watching too much tv so this month and next, I will focus on the reading. I don’t phone scroll so much these days but the few games I have on my phone can sometimes be too much of a distraction. Good luck with your reading – what kind of fiction do you like?

      Well done on your charity giving, it’s one thing I’m reluctant to give up even though I could be putting every penny into my own savings, this keeps me grounded I think. I have a new charity to give to, which I will mention in my next update.

      Thanks for the info on the solitary bee hives and great to hear you have had tenants (10!) moved in too. I’m a little too squeamish with insects to do anything with the cocoons unfortunately, so the best thing I’ve done is move it into my greenhouse to keep dry, even though it’s been sitting in the wind and rain all this time! I hope the tenants are all ok!

      • I’m back (tardily!) answering the books question. My other half is a published Author with Harper Collins, so I should really be reading shouldn’t I! His first book is Horror/Magical Realism short stories which obviously I’ve read as he dedicated it to me (overwhelming!). I’ve read another 5 books since my last post, mainly horror/supernatural, Shirley Jackson, Clive Barker etc. A fabulous book I recently read is “The House Next Door” – Anne Rivers Siddons. I’m going to try and read classics in between, so Catch 22 is next. You? Feel free to use my email for offline book chat.

        Great that you’ve moved the bee hive into the dry over winter, it will really help your Spring bees 🙂

        • Hi Starla

          I think I too would be rather overwhelmed if someone wrote a book and dedicated it to me, haha! How lovely though!

          I read mostly a mix of fantasy, sci-fi and crime/thrillers (including various YA). I don’t mind my books with a touch of horror but blame my over-active imagination for not enjoying horror, although I read Clive Barker (Weaveworld) and a couple of Stephen King books when I was younger. I’ve been meaning to read (re-read) at least one classic too but not managed it, so next year – might make that a reading goal! Thanks, I will drop you a note for some offline book chat 🙂

          Oh, wind damaged my mini greenhouse this week so I will have to see if I can repair this weekend or move the beehouse to my shed!

  5. Hi Weenie

    I’ve been following your blog for some time, great to see how you’re getting on.

    What is your driver behind paying into SIPPs over a company pension using salary sacrifice?


    • Hey Martin
      Thanks for reading!
      I guess I’ve only really looked at it from the point of view that I contribute the max amount which my employer will match and haven’t really thought about the salary sacrifice aspect of me paying over and above this for the benefits. In hindsight of course, it would have been prudent to have asked to increase my contribution, just never thought of it.

  6. Well done Weenie of your trading prowess hehe. I hope you don’t start to get too burnt out with work and that the long weekends help as you say. It will soon be Christmas . I think the markets have recovered since you wrote this so I hope to see your chart rising in the next update!


    • Hey TFJ

      Cheers and I for one am looking forward to the Christmas break as looking forward to just emptying my brain of all things work-related!

      The markets have indeed recovered, so the rocket makes a rare appearance (this year!). Hope all’s going well for you.

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