December 2018 Savings, plus Round Up

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and enjoyed the celebrations last night to see in the new year, whether you were out in a noisy pub/bar or at home watching ‘Jools’ Annual Hootenanny’ – I was doing neither, as I was already tucked up in bed suffering from jet lag well before Big Ben’s chimes rang! I could have dragged myself out to meet up with friends but FOMO can’t compete with sleep these days!

Anyway, I had a great break in Hong Kong, spent a lot of quality time with family, ate too much, though surprisingly drank very little.

So, how did I do in the last month of the year?

I saved 38.4% – surprisingly higher than expected but I put some of my Christmas shopping on my credit card so that will appear on next month’s bill.

My average for the year ended up at 43.2%. Although I didn’t achieve my goal (again) to hit that elusive 50%, I’m quite satisfied with this average.

The above savings include top ups from £155 matched betting profits (from last month), £42.61 from TopCashback* and £66.32 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!). I also withdrew £1k from my Smarkets exchange account which was chucked into my SIPP.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I made an investment in JPMorgan Asian Investment Trust – don’t have a lot in this region so thought I’d diversify a bit.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I think this is the rockiest year of investing that I’ve encountered so far – no Santa Rally this time.

My Future Fund ends the year at £142,831, which was around what it was back in April 2018 – one step forwards, three steps back it seems! Hitting my £150k milestone back in September seems like a dream now but I look forward to hitting it again in 2019!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Very Muscular and other Things

Just thought I’d take this opportunity to share a few brief updates before I sign off for the year.

I’ve finally shifted my excess poundage and have reached my notional ‘desired’ weight. It’s taken a couple of months and whilst I can’t say that Huel was the sole reason for the success, incorporating the ‘liquid food’ into my diet has certainly helped.

Not just in terms of calories but focusing on portion control of my meals and upping my weight training. I’ve also incorporated strength exercises which have really helped with my on-off shoulder problems.

At the gym, I decided to try out the newly reinstalled Boditrax machine, a machine which measures your weight but also (via a small electric signal through your body) measures your body composition.

Physique

So according to my body measurements, I’ve got a very muscular physique! Haha, I nearly fell off the machine with laughter because the description just conjures up an image of a bodybuilder, which I most definitely am not!

The category has been calculated using data for my age and gender and based on my muscle score (which is apparently higher than normal) and fat percentage (lower than normal).

My metabolic age is 15 years younger than my actual age, which I’m really happy with – oh if only that were my actual age! 🙂

At least this gives me an indication that I’m doing alright in terms of my training and diet, although I still feel that there’s always room for improvement.

Toilet Twinned

Here’s the framed certificate confirming the twinning of my toilet, to a school block toilet in Afghanistan.

I want to continue to support the Toilet Twinning charity but have now run out of toilets in my house to twin!

I’ve not decided what I want to do yet with my charity giving next year but I think I’ll do something whereby some lucky reader(s) of my blog will get their toilet twinned (for free).

Award

The works Christmas party was the usual drunken affair for many though not for me, as I had been feeling a little under the weather leading up to the night.  Anyone else would have not bothered to attend but I’ve pretty much always turned up at such events and enjoyed them. Plus it’s the only time of year I get to put on a party frock and have a bit of a dance! I had a couple of free glasses of bubbly before moving onto soft drinks for the rest of the night.

So it was without the glow and courage of inebriation, that I stumbled on stage to collect one of the Employee of the Year awards at the annual ceremony!

Wow, I am so very chuffed to have won, it’s great to be recognised for my efforts. I’ve learned a hell of a lot this year, which has enabled me to put in a more than decent shift.  That said, I still feel like I’ve not quite hit my top gear yet with this company.

Out of Office

And to my final point, which is that I’m off to Hong Kong shortly to spend the festive period with my family. I’ve blown my budget buying gifts for them  – will check the damage upon my return but I reckon I’ll probably have to dip into my emergency fund (will be paying back in, of course).

I don’t have any scheduled posts for the blog and haven’t even thought about what goals I need to set for next year. I’ll get round to them (and reading people’s blogs) once I’m back online.

Zippy’s back!

So, I’ll sign off by wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas/holiday; eat, drink and be merry, and I look forward to joining you all for an eventful and prosperous 2019!

For a Dentist, Mine wasn’t too Bad…

I made an appointment the other day for a dental check-up and was shocked to find that my dentist had had the audacity to retire early!

There’s me planning my own early retirement and yet for some reason, I’m half expecting everyone else around me to continue doing their jobs forever!

This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise – over the years, my dentist has talked about his kids going to uni, then graduating and then all getting jobs in locations around the world.

I’ll Miss Him

If it’s at all possible to miss your dentist, then I will miss him. Always jolly, with a pleasant manner, the kind who liked to chat/crack jokes while your mouth was wide open! But not cheap – I’ve mentioned here and there where I’ve had to fork out for expensive treatment but that’s the price I’m paying now for avoiding appointments when I was too lazy younger. Still, my dental fees paid over the years probably helped with his kids’ education haha!

He was the only dentist I’d seen as an adult – I must have just graduated when I first saw him (as a young dentist) as I remember receiving free treatment! I have now met the new replacement dentist and it’s going to take a while for me to feel at ease in the dentist’s chair again.

I wonder if my old dentist spared a thought for his patients as he swanned off into retirement?

What if this last year was his ‘one more year’?

If I ever saw him in the pub, I would like to ask him!

So where am I going with this post?

Well, until my dentist had retired, I hadn’t previously considered the impact of someone’s surprise early retirement on the people around them.

So I wonder…

People at Work

When I hit FI, RE will follow pretty swiftly, I am quite sure of that.

So when I retire early, I don’t think my boss would be too surprised when I hand in my notice, as she will suddenly recall that I did mention to her about retiring early (when I first met her, before she became my boss, haha!). I do occasionally mention investing to her but of course, no details. I guess it’ll be a shock to everyone else.

My boss and immediate colleagues would miss the work that I do and I’d like to think that they would miss me too!  I’m not trying to make out that my work is so critical or so important but it’s a job which I perform reasonably well and I’m now viewed as someone who ‘knows things’ (I also drink….that was for GOT/Tyrion Lannister fans 🙂 )

Of course, I’m not irreplaceable, someone else will just come along and do my job. Maybe my ex-colleagues could reminisce – “That Weenie, she wasn’t too bad...”

My Close Friends (My Inner Circle)

These friends have some inkling that I plan to retire early. When I pull the plug, I think all will be surprised I did it after all, a few (though not all) will likely ask me how I did it and would be genuinely interested. I’d like to think that all would be happy for me. I suspect, however, the others will just think I’ve been lucky in some way. I hope I’m wrong here and that most/all of them will like to know, so they too can speed up their own retirements (all my friends are younger than me).

I will be making all efforts to maintain my close relationships with these friends and part of that will include trying to not rub it in too much in their faces that I no longer need to work!

My Family

My family will probably wonder how I could retire early having only ever earned a relatively low income but are unlikely to be too surprised – they know I’ve been ‘careful with my money’, that I’ve been investing though not that I’ve been aiming for FIRE. It’s likely that one or two of my siblings could be retiring about the same age (if not before) but their FIRE would definitely be Fat FIRE!

They will be glad that I will be able to spend more time with them, although probably not too much time – you know how it can get with families!

My Other Friends

For friends who are not in my inner circle, I’m not even sure I would tell them I’d retired. Maybe I’d say I was just taking some time out, looking for opportunities. For my old uni friends, I’d tell them I was a ‘lady of leisure’ (being one seemed to be something we talked about a lot as 19 year olds for some reason!) but that too would be taken to mean just taking some time out before getting back into work.

I guess I think not everyone needs to know of what I’ve achieved as not everyone will understand (or be positive about it) and I’m not sure that I can be bothered to explain, unless I really thought they might be interested themselves and might be open to the FIRE ethos.

The Community/Charities

I’ll include this because right now, I think when I retire early, I’d probably do some volunteering to hopefully do some good in the community so that will be a beneficial impact resulting from my early retirement.

Anyway, for a post which started with dentists, this has ended with me feeling quite positive about FIRE, especially during a time when I know that my Future Fund has no doubt been plummeting relentlessly with the markets!

No, I haven’t been checking, I don’t need to and don’t want to know the gory details!

So, how do you think those around you will react when you hit FIRE?

I Just Got Paid

When I first heard the song, ‘Just Got Paid’, I felt a sudden wave of emotion – so much so that I had to stop what I was doing.

When the song ended, I played it again.

The gleeful chorus/riff brings about feelings of sheer absolute joy and describe exactly how I used to feel when I got paid, during the time when I was buried in credit card debt, back in the mid-2000s.

Some of the lyrics describe my irresponsibility with money back then and yup, if I could dance like that, I would have been dancing like those girls in the video!

I no longer experience this joyful feeling when my wage hits my bank account these days. It’s not that I’m not happy when I get paid because of course I am.

But perhaps it’s because back in those debt ridden days, being paid meant huge relief and happiness that I had money in the bank to spend, to pay off my debts, to plug my overdraft (if only temporarily) and that for a short while, I was financially ok…until I became skint and the cycle would being again as I waited for the next pay day.

Nowadays, I get paid, I check my bank a few days later to see automatic amounts going out for my investments, my bills being paid automatically, all tickety-boo, all quite clinical really. No sheer joy here but also, no fear or grief or stress that it’s all going to run out soon.

And this got me thinking – the next time I’m likely to get these happy feelings of getting paid will be when I stop working and am living off my investments/dividends/pensions etc. Yes, because I will have gotten ‘paid’ for doing nothing!

Just a short post, it’s been a long week and the post I was going to put up didn’t get finished so let me just end on that thought, dance to this top tune and hope you all have a great weekend!