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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Dogs of the FTSE + Random Shares (final update)

My final (probably) Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio was set up in June 2021.

I haven’t been paying attention to this so it’s high time for an update.

As usual, I always seem do these updates when the markets are incredibly rubbish, so I couldn’t have chosen a better time!

Here’s a reminder of the Dogs of the FTSE strategy (which is based on the US Dogs of the Dow strategy):

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Note that this is part of my ‘fun’ portfolio (although it’s been no fun at all lately!) and represents less than 1.5% of my Future Fund – it is not what I do as a main investing strategy. All dividends received are reinvested.

Dogs of Doom

The mutts are again drowning in a sea of red numbers, although unbelievably, the portfolio is actually doing slightly better than it was in my last update!

A few (BHP, British American Tobacco and National Grid) seem to be strong in the face of adversity but the others are not looking so clever (notably Polymetal International, Persimmon and M&G).

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was a lofty 8.42% so the Dogs have been a complete disaster at -2.35%.

Even with dividends received included, it’s only a gain of 2.38%, so a really poor show for this strategy.

I guess I might drum up the motivation to do another update in a couple of months’ time, to see if there is any change, for better or worse!

Random Shares

My Random Share Portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up to the Freetrade app via my affiliate link, bagging us both a random free share (worth between £3 and £200) in the process.

Freetrade has been ordered by the FCA to get rid of all paid-for social media influencer posts.

Apparently, some TikTok influencer alluded in a video that using Freetrade contributed towards them reducing their personal debt. Not very responsible, but who gets financial advice from TikTok influencers? Too many, it appears.

I personally don’t class my blog as social media and I don’t categorise myself as an influencer but I don’t want to fall foul over anything so this will be my last Random Shares portfolio update.  I will likely sell off all the shares in this portfolio (once they’re in the green). One less thing to keep tabs on.

My referral link still works for free shares, I just won’t brandish it about in any posts, unless people ask me via email/DM and of course, their capital is at risk if they choose to use the app.

Can I just say now that I’m not in any way saying that you will reach FIRE if you download the Freetrade app, although fee-free transactions might help you along the way!

Here’s the full portfolio before it’s all sold off.

Anyway, a big thanks to all who signed up via my link in the past – hope you all got a decent free share and perhaps continue to get some use out of managing your portfolio with the app.

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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