February 2022 Savings, plus other updates

Thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine.

I can do nothing except make a financial donation to charities helping the people in crisis over there.

Meanwhile…

In My Little World

In my little world, February was a good month, including several social nights out with friends and an actual works leaving do  – colleagues had been slinking off over the past year or so with no thanks or fanfare so it was nice to give someone a good send-off.

There was also the Manchester FIRE pubmeet, which was the usual eclectic mix of people at all different stages of their FIRE journeys, and was the usual engaging, enjoyable and interesting event.

Work ran a ‘Compliment a Colleague’ on Valentine’s Day, where you could submit an anonymous (or not) Valentine’s compliment or message to a colleague (all compliments and messages vetted by HR to ensure nothing inappropriate was sent, otherwise it could have been carnage, with an office full of young twenty-something lads…)

I received the following compliment:

Dear Weenie

You are awesome at your job and so patient with people!

I appreciate our chats and think you’re an amazing person – kind, smart and funny. You rock!

It was sent anonymously but I know who sent it and I was extremely touched to receive the compliment from them!

Anyway, enough of that warm fuzziness, let’s take a look at the numbers for this month:

 

I saved 22.6% of my net salary.  The above includes £37.96 from doing Prolific surveys and £61.63  from Google Adsense.

Shares and Investment Trusts

No changes here, I just topped up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

It’s obvious that war causes uncertainty and volatility so the markets continued to dip.

I have no insight (who does?) as to what will happen next but as I think my portfolio is mostly diversified, I just continued to invest as normal according to my plan.

My Future Fund continued to fall, settling at £223,780 by month end, down by 3.6% YTD.

 

I’m almost back to where I was a year ago!

Dividends and Other Income

Another hurrah for dividends, which are a welcome sight when stock prices are plummeting:

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January 2022 Savings, plus other updates

I was in the supermarket doing my weekly shop when my phone rang and I saw it was my sister.

“I’ve got COVID,” she mumbled, “You’d better get tested asap!”

Great – I’d been round at hers for dinner the night before!

I finished my shopping as quickly as I could (fortunately, I had continued to wear my mask), giving wide berth to other shoppers where I could.

The good news was that I was negative, so I’ve managed to escape it for another day!

However, I feel like I’m living on borrowed time and that it will get its grubby little viral mitts on me at some point.

Not today!

PS – sis is ok, just has mild flu-like symptoms.

So where has this month of January gone – it’s just whizzed by!

The bursting inbox I faced upon my return to work starkly reminded me of why I continue to pursue FIRE – at some point, I’ll be able to choose not to have to deal with crappy unimportant emails!

Boris said it was safe to go back into the office so I did and it was nice to catch up with colleagues and be in the city centre. I took the opportunity to visit the library and it was so nice to browse the bookshelves.

I think post-COVID (such as it will ever be), the company will continue to implement a hybrid working policy, which is fine by me.

House-wise, all immediate repairs/replacements have finally been done inside the house. This was such a relief finance-wise but also, I’ve had my fill (not literally) of tradesmen and their builder’s bums, haha!

It’s been quiet on the social front – my friends have kept within their immediate circles so I haven’t seen them, apart from a quick lunchtime coffee catch up, but we have a couple of dates pencilled in for February.

I’ve been quite happy having quiet weekends in, starting the day competing against family in the daily Wordle (we’re very competitive!).

Been pottering around the garden doing a bit weeding, clearing away leaves, digging up the beds and planting a small tree. I’ve found that gardening is a time when I can listen to (and enjoy) podcasts.

When not outside, I’ve been wallowing in some ‘comfort tv’, namely ‘Downton Abbey‘ – I know, I never watched it when it was on over 10 years ago, just enjoying it now in my own time!

The gym is currently unbearably busy with new year enthusiasts – it probably isn’t really that full but I’ve been used to it being quieter, so am looking forward to things calming down when people start breaking their NY resolutions!

Anyway, let’s take a look at the first numbers for 2022:

I saved 18% of my net salary.  The above includes £69.62 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I offloaded my holding in Hipgnosis Songs (SONG) for a small loss (a couple of quid) – the recent Spotify/Neil Young incident has shown that the whims/control of song artists represent an added unforeseen risk/variable in this investment that I’m not comfortable with (Hipgnosis owns 50% of Young’s worldwide rights).

I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to take a stance in accordance to their values, I’d just rather not lose any money over it!

Funds from the sale were used to top up existing investments.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Ouch – is this finally the end of the longest bull market? It’s all looking pretty disastrous on the stock markets front.

Energy prices, inflation, interest rates, tax hikes, Russia v Ukraine, any (or all) of these might be the reason for the tanking stocks.

Or none of the above, just people being people. The question is, how long will these depressed markets go on for?

I’m just going to (try to) keep calm and carry on investing, despite my Future Fund plunging to £225,515, down 3% YTD.

Well if anything, I guess it makes the graph look interesting!

Dividends and Other Income

Hurrah for dividends when stock prices are plummeting:

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2022 Goals

Three weeks into the year already and I’m still dragging my heels with my 2022 goals!

Perhaps this was because my head was still dwelling on the fact that several of my 2021 goals were derailed by my unexpected house purchase, although had I set a goal to ‘buy a house’ at the start of the year, I would have passed with flying colours!

Who knows what 2022 will bring, to mess up best laid plans?

Anyway, I’ve come to my senses – this is just ‘life’ happening, nobody knows what it’s going to throw at us.

Make goals and plans, things will happen as they always do (to a greater or lesser extent), obstacles will materialise and I must just adapt and move on, whenever ‘whatever’ happens.

So here goes with my Goals!

As usual, they’re just simple ones, not too different from previous ones, which make it easier for me to focus on them while just getting on with living my life…

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Thought Experiment #11 – Spend It All

I’m still procrastinating on my 2022 goals so may as well use the time in a somewhat constructive way and support SavingNinja with one of his famous thought experiments!

Here’s his latest one:

“You’ve decided that you no longer want to save any of your income toward FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) each month. Instead, you’re going to spend it. How would you use your new disposable income?” 

Here goes off the top of my head:

1 – My House

This could be one of my shortest posts ever as the answer would easily be that I would spend my all new disposable income on my house and my garden!

However, I wouldn’t just be ‘spending it all’, the money would instead be put aside to fund big projects such as:

  • (in the garden) blockpaving my driveway, resetting paving in back garden, new shed/storage, garden decking in the patio, raised beds;
  • and (in the house) new bathroom and new kitchen.

These are things I hope to sort out in any event at some point, but no longer aiming for FIRE means I might get these things done in the near(er) future, as opposed to the far future.

2 – Travel

At some point, the world will learn to live with COVID and travel will be more straight forward again.  Although I plan to put money aside for future travel in any case, I would be able to have more trips if I wasn’t investing all my spare money.

When I’m allowed to, I’d like to travel to see my family in Hong Kong so that’s funding for at least two trips every year, including a trip to Singapore to see other family there.

Maybe a couple of cheeky jaunts or weekends to somewhere in Europe with friends –  I do love a cheerful beach holiday!

3 – New PC

I’d probably finally buy a new PC – the one I have is my original gaming machine which I bought back in 2009!

I don’t have a lot of time for gaming these days, so it’s been ok for the few games that I do play on the odd occasion, but it’s slow, often struggles and I’ve not really been getting the benefits of my swanky curved monitor!

Will I have time for gaming?

Why yes, I’m sure I will as I won’t be busy monitoring my investments, updating FIRE spreadsheets, thinking about/doing side hustles or how I can eke out an extra quid here and there to add to my FIRE pot!

Another reason for more time for gaming? Not aiming for FIRE means I’d probably not be maintaining this blog or really be part of the FIRE community any more.

I mean, what would I write about?

4 – ‘Things’

Not aiming for FIRE, I could lapse into carefree ignorance and not worry about where my money was going.

Ignorance is bliss and I would be in the same boat as everyone else (outside of the FIRE community), except that I would be in a better position as I would still have the Future Fund I have already accumulated.

My money would just merrily disappear from my bank account each month without me even trying, being spent on ‘things’ and as long as I didn’t spend more than I earned, that would be fine, right?

5 – Erm and that’s it really!

I struggled to think of anything else I would want to do if I was no longer focused on FIRE and racked my brains to think of what it was that I didn’t do or spend money on now, that I had sacrificed or scrimped on. I couldn’t come up with anything else.

I was going to add ‘eat out more’ to the list but it’s not as if I’m turning down social events with my friends – I go to every one and don’t scrimp on food or drink (the hangovers testify to that!) – aiming for FIRE isn’t impeding my social life.

I don’t yearn for a new car (mine’s now 10 years old, bought from new) or more clothes/shoes (having just ditched 50% of my wardrobe, I don’t need to fill it up again!).

I think I’ve changed my life (and mindset) so much over the years that I don’t believe there is anything that I’m missing out on due to my pursuit of FIRE.

It’s not more disposable income I want, to enjoy and do more in my life, although of course, I wouldn’t say no to a pay rise or a work bonus.

It’s more time that I want, and FIRE is more likely to give me that.

Other bloggers with their personal takes on this Thought Experiment include:

SavingNinja

One Million Journey

Indeedably

Total Balance

Anyone else got any thoughts to share?