Manchester FIRE Meet Up in Sept

Just a quick update.

I can’t claim any credit for organising this (thanks, Cath!) but the next Manchester Meet  Up has been sorted.

It’s at the Rain Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater Street, M1 5JG

Friday, 27th Sept 2019, 6pm – late

For those who use Facebook, there’s a Financial Independence UK group and an event has been set up, so you can state that you are going. Those not on FB can just post a comment here if they prefer.

Or you can just turn up, much like at the first Manchester meet up.

I shall be attending so hope to see some of you there for a few beers! 🙂

Serious Investing

I mentioned in a recent post that I attended an ‘investment meet up‘.

I had been contacted out of the blue by someone who had read my blog and who had wondered if I’d be interested in attending a meet up for investors in Manchester, which was run by SIGnet, the Serious Investors Group Network.

My immediate reaction to the ‘serious’ bit was that it wasn’t for me. Yes, I do invest on a regular basis but I don’t see myself or put myself in the ‘serious investor’ category – that to me would be someone who’s been investing a lot longer than I have, someone who lives and breathes investing, and who actually knows what they’re talking about! You know…people like the guys from Monevator or John from UK Value Investor.

However, I thought about it some more and I realised that in my own way, I am ‘serious’ about investing (Dogs of the FTSE and Monkey Stock portfolios aside!) as I am committed to investing long-term to grow my wealth and to ultimately fund my early retirement. My net worth is currently made up of around 60% in equities.

I was assured that it was just a group of like-minded private individuals who liked to meet up and chat about their investments, what they’d bought, sold and are interested in. SIGnet has a heavy presence in London and has apparently been around for 20-30 years.  I first heard of them when Mike @ 7 Circles blogged about them (though not in a very good light) but they were looking to secure a stronger base in Manchester.

So I agreed to attend. The fact that I had to book the day off work to attend gave me an idea of the types of people who would arrange a meet up on a Monday morning/ afternoon, when folk like me would normally be working in the office…

Meet Up

Anyway, the meet up took place in the boardroom of the Rain Bar pub in Manchester city centre. There weren’t that many in attendance, just the ten of us in total, and they all seemed to be regulars as they knew each other.

I fully expected to be the only woman there but was pleasantly surprised to find another.

As predicted, they were a mix of retirees, semi-retirees and freelancers/self-employed. And from the sounds of it, all experienced investors, including the chap who looked young enough to be a millennial.

I was hoping to just lurk in the background and listen, hoping that I wouldn’t be out of my depth, but within minutes of kick-off, as the newbie present, I was asked to introduce myself to all and talk about my investing background – yikes!

So, I just talked about my buy and hold strategy, investing in broadly diversified index tracker ETFs and investment trusts and building dividend income.

When prompted, I talked a little about my aim to FIRE, although none of them had heard of it before – my guess is that most of them had actually achieved FIRE already, but just weren’t aware there was a cool acronym for it!

We broke up for a pub lunch and when the event was all over, I stuck around for a drink with a few of them for a pleasant chat.

Did I Learn Anything?

It was fascinating to hear about other people’s investment strategies. Being in the bubble that is the FIRE community, it can be easy to forget that there are strategies other than just buying and holding index trackers, not that there is, of course, anything wrong with this strategy!

There was a lot of talk about AIM stocks, ‘ten-baggers’, which I assumed to be the likes of Fevertree (if you had bought at the start). As one said, he wasn’t interested in bits of dividends from FTSE stocks – that wouldn’t be enough for him to live on so he looked for stocks with potential for big capital growth. Good, if you can spot those kinds of stocks.

A couple had investments in properties (buy to let), there was mention of one dabbling briefly in bitcoin but in the main, everyone was investing in the stock markets.

Another mentioned that one of his strategies was to sell half of a stock, pocketing the profit and to hold onto the rest, a strategy which I adopted myself recently when I sold some of my AJBell shares to take advantage of the >170% gain since its IPO – I intend to hold onto the rest.

There were two presentations, with the millennial guy talking about how he personally went about choosing his investments, his analysis and research etc.

Another couple of the guys did an interesting presentation of a company (they were investors themselves, not owners of the company) but it prompted me to read more about it when I went home.

There was no hard-sell, nobody was asked to part with any money or to invest in anything – it was all quite casual though professional, all very informative.

Ultimate Lesson

The people in attendance made me feel very welcome and by the end of it all, I didn’t feel like an ‘impostor’.

However, I did realise that I wasn’t quite ready to be part of their club of ‘serious investors’. By that, I mean that I’m not where they are right now but I’m on my way there.

They are where I would like to be upon achieving FIRE, a position where I envisage I will have more time to dedicate to my investments, due to not having to work full-time.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t attend future meet ups – I fully intend to (and to pay SIGnet’s annual £25 membership fee) because not only did I enjoy their company but I think there is still so much I can learn about investing, despite having invested for over 6 years. These people will have been invested during the big stock-market crashes, something I’ve never experienced before and many likely to be living off their investments already.

I’m not sure I would book the day off to attend another meet up (unless I had surplus holidays to use up) but I believe there’s the occasional evening meet up so will definitely be looking to attend a few of those.

Has anyone else ever been to one of these kinds of meet ups specifically for investing?

March 2019 Savings + other updates

So I celebrated 5 years of blogging and I’ve been blown away by all the wonderful comments  – thank you very much for all your support! 🙂

Anyway, it’s been a blur of a month, one which saw me working some late nights, binge-watching seasons 2 & 3 of ‘The Expanse’ and also enjoying a few social outings, including meeting up with fellow FIRE wannabees in Manchester.

One piece of good news at work was that I received a partial bonus, so how did that affect my savings this month?

I decided to chuck the whole bonus into my ISA so I ended up saving 64%.

There’s no way I can max my ISA (I’ve only ever done this once before) and with a few days to go in the tax year, I’m trying to work out how much of my emergency and matched betting funds I can safely shift over, without leaving me short.

The above savings includes top ups from my £25 premium bond win, £14.35 from TopCashback*, £100 matched betting profit (from last month) and £87.59 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, just added to existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I guess the markets are still going up as my Future Fund has grown by more than the capital I’ve invested, now sitting at £158,763.

Dividends and Other Income

A good month for dividends: Continue reading

Meeting Up in Manchester

“Anonymous bloggers meeting up in a pub, how will we know each other?”

This was the question I posed to MsZiYou a couple of days before we were scheduled to meet up in Manchester.

We solved it by sending each other selfies.

However, as the hours ticked down yesterday afternoon, I wondered how others would know who we were.

Problem solved, no messing about…

Meaningless to the casual observer, meaningful to those in the know!

And yes, the sign mostly worked! 🙂

Considering that I only made a belated mention of the meetup at the end of my latest update a week ago, forgot to tweet about it and no Facebook advertising the event, I thought it was great that 7 of us turned up on a rainy Manchester evening!

A few others contacted me to say that they couldn’t attend but would love to know of future meetups – I really thought I was pretty much doing this FIRE thing on my own up here, so it was great to know there are others like me up norf!

So who was in attendance? Yours truly, MsZiYou, Emily from thesavingjourney, Alice (who travelled up from Cambridge), Mr & Mrs Fu of FI UK Money and Doug. Yes, more women than blokes which was a pleasant surprise!

It was all very casual, all very friendly, lovely meeting everyone.

Bloody Brilliant

With only a few of us, it was easy to get to chat to everyone – it was fascinating to hear firsthand how everyone got onto the path to FIRE – it’s one thing to read about it in blogs, quite another when you actually hear someone speak about how they came across Mr Money Mustache or Early Retire Extreme!

This is the thing about these meetups – you can talk about savings, investments, pensions etc and not be seen to be a) weird or b) bragging. Oh and matched betting was discussed too.

And of course, it’s all about networking, connecting, making new friends/acquaintances, talking with like-minded people; just normal folk – I just loved to hear how people are just getting on with their lives whilst having this grand plan in the background. How people tried to ‘nudge’ their friends and loved ones towards cutting their spending and costs!

Thanks to Ms ZiYou for suggesting this meetup in the first place, or it would never have happened!

A bit Weird at First

This was the 5th FIRE meetup I’ve attended over the years – previous ones were organised by Huw of FFB40 and took place in Stratford, York, Sheffield and North Wales.

Attending this meetup for me however was a little weird because as an anonymous blogger, I was rather anxious of someone I knew wandering in and saying ‘OMG, Weenie, I didn’t realise it was YOU!’. Quelle horreur! (Although I think I spotted my ex there last night but thankfully he wasn’t there for the meetup, which would have been rather awkward!)

  • I told colleagues I was meeting friends last night
  • I told friends I was meeting colleagues last night

Does it bother me to keep up this deception? Not really, I’m just not ready to ‘come out’ as it were in respect of pursuing FIRE – I see no benefit in it.

However, what I do want to say is that although it was weird at first meeting up in Manchester, I did enjoy it very much, so I would absolutely organise another one here in the future.

Maybe when there’s not so much rain, which probably narrows it down to like one day in the summer, haha!

Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend.