2020… reflections so far….

Its been a strange year and everything I had planned has blown up. I was feeling happy when I quit my job at the end of last year. It was killing me, the constant nagging and nit-picking of the managers was getting to both me and my work colleague. I was having panic attacks and unable to sleep due to the stress of it all. We had both had enough of the sh*t, we both had sleep issues and had been working very hard late into evenings and overnights to get things completed yet nothing was every good enough for the management team. Even if we met deadlines, we needed to have achieved more than planned. We were incompetent. As soon as the project was delivered, we both quit. We had done our bit, we had finished the project – we had reached our personal target – over to the business to run it now!

I left the building on my last day in Dec 2019 with a sense of relief. The weight on my shoulders had lifted and I felt free. I started the year with optimism that a break and a fresh start at a new place would brighten my view of work.

How a virus can put paid to all that. The beginning of the year started well with the ability to detox, decompress and get a few jobs sorted on my house. I had tickets booked for gigs and festivals and was looking forward to the summer, with a holiday booked too. The ability to go and do some ‘life’ things rather than being locked to a work schedule. I met up with my ex-work colleague and we both looked much better from leaving, we could sleep, we both felt more relaxed and felt we have made the right decision.

Workman were booked in and things were happening on my house which were long over due. As the work neared completion talk of the virus began to appear and the views of it being a ‘flu’ were rife.

Then as I started to look for a new job, the March lockdown kicked in. The job market stopped overnight. As I wasn’t working I was not affected by the immediate stay at home request. I enjoyed being able to go out walking and cycling with no traffic! I couldn’t meet my partner as we don’t live together so the isolation was the hardest bit for me. Living on your own in these times are the hardest, I was a prisoner. We could only call and skype each other, we both felt the isolation. We started to see cancellations for gigs and festivals, depressing. Everything started to be, ‘next year then, roll on 2021’.

I gave up looking for work during April and found voluntary work sewing scrubs with a local group. This gave me a sense of purpose and enabled me to have a daily routine. I had tasks and deadlines. It was something completely different and refreshed my skills that had laid dormant for years. I enjoyed it and was a complete break from the office grind. I started seeing dividends being cut and my passive income streams started to dry up. Not an immediate problem but would cause an issue in the long-term if this continues into next year.

In May as things started to ease, I could go and visit my partner and form a support bubble so that has been encouraging. Our summer holiday was cancelled, we have moved it to next year. I applied for jobs and had a few interviews – but they came to nothing – I am not the 30-something male that they want. I started looking for side hustles, I found a virtual platform recommended by a freelancer and I joined. It wasn’t too bad, I had to completed some tests to gain access to restricted work areas but I found it different from what I had done before and things started to look up.

I continued to sew and have a purpose. I walked and cycled and felt like I was starting to relax a bit. The decompression phase was beginning to kick in after all the anxiety of lockdown. The workplace world still causes me to panic. I look and get put off by the job descriptions as they want either full time office attendance or the ‘world of experience & qualifications’; it is definitely a buyer’s market as people ask for huge amounts of experience for lower salaries. I think I am not ready to return to the workplace as I was so traumatised by my last employer. They killed my spirit and my mojo. I question my ability to do anything now, I lost my self-esteem by the end. I felt I couldn’t even write my name without getting it wrong!

I continue to seek out virtual platform jobs and as the sewing declined I sought out more tasks to earn money. I read the user forum and found that veteran users are moaning about the poor pay rates and the lack of work. You could earn a reasonable amount of income on the site but now it has fallen off a cliff. The number of users has grown considerably due to the pandemic and the user base has expanded globally by over 300k users in the past 3 months. It was mainly a US/European based but now it is global. It has affected pay and access to work. I read posts about people earning good amounts per month on the platform with ease last year, I am lucky if I can earn a tenth of that now! There are also comments about the quality of the work going down too as more people join who either try to scam the site to gain cash for doing nothing or just write gibberish. The restricted area was supposed to offer higher pay rates due to the time required to complete them and demanded that you pass tests before you can access the actual tasks – to control user standards – the rates had been dropping and users had been boycotting tasks where rates were really low – so the platform reacted by opening it up to the global user base. Their boycott backfired and the pay rates will remain low as other countries see these rates as good. Everything is paid in US dollars so the exchange rate determines the best earning potential so globalisation shows it hand again!

The money I make is just pin-money but it would be good if I could find a hustle that would give me an increased income so I can continue to live without the need for a job and flex my hours and days. I am now starting to see more jobs advertised as remote working or flex working – which is what I would prefer. Maybe something will appear for which I am qualified. What is clear is that companies have frozen their investment in new projects while they survive this pandemic. – Which is fair enough ! I would if I was a business owner – It has had a devastating affect on their incomes and ability to trade. I have ex work colleagues who are losing their jobs as the furlough scheme winds down and they find that their employer cannot keep them on. Many are because the business just doesn’t have any projects so has no income to pay them. They are prioritising those workers who are vital to the running of the company. They are looking at the bare minimum cover and making do with the staff they have. The only local jobs near me are warehouse work. They are turning over staff on a daily basis as people try it out find it too physical and quit as they cannot keep up with the pace required to meet pick targets. I am too old to try it, I know my limitations.

Financially, I have watched my net worth crash with the markets and also start to rise slowly. I have watched my dividends dry up and passive income fall. It really began to hit hard in June when the withdrawal of dividends really started to impact my bottom line figures. I have been bombarded with emails and letters notifying me of dropping interest rates on savings and none keep pace with inflation! I am seeing my cash eroded as I survive on it.

I am moving money to chase the best interest rates but it feels like fool’s gold as the interest rates will drop in a few months as the government try to push people to spend their money. I will put some into my ISA to use my allowance and accept the perils of the market roller coaster. Its OK for the politicians in their ivory towers with guaranteed pensions and work-for-home flexibility. They can quit and not have to claim or live off benefits. They end up with non-exec roles and quango placements.

I can feel grateful that I can pay my bills and I am surviving. I panic over not having a job as it gives me a sense of purpose – if i could fight that demon by finding purpose in other areas then I may conquer and contain it. Work is my only social connection too as I have no social circle or friends and have limited ability to gain any due to social distancing and restrictions on gathering. I have been such a work nomad I have never made any proper social circles or friendships that last.

I do need to find some work long term as I am not FI. I have enough to live a frugal life and cover my costs but nothing for luxuries or big plans. I need to fight my inner demons and break this self-esteem issue that clouds my mind with negative thoughts. Then I will feel more confident in my job applications and maybe even get some work. It’s not the status I seek but a sense of belonging and contribution.

I need to spend more time working on my personal development and kick this demon into touch!

Monthly Update – Aug 2020

As this year sails by, I will not be in a hurry to think about it much in future years. It is a year I will want to forget. It should have been a year to have some fun, ease up on work a bit and address some of those work/life balance issues. Instead all my plans have been blown to pieces.

So as August comes to a close and the Autumn weather starts to hit. Here’s a review of the month.

On the health front : I have continued the yoga sessions alongside my cycling to raise my fitness and improve my health. I am starting to feel the difference and have managed to get some long cycle rides in and the yoga means my muscles seem to be less tight as a result. I am looking at doing some 2 day weekend rides if I cna find the right locations and hotels to stay in.  I think I am decompressing now, it has taken some months to get there. My fitbit seems to be showing good results and a positive change to my fitness. My mental health is taking a bit of a hit as I find it harder to motivate myself.

On the work front : this month I have managed to earn approx 80 Euros on the virtual workplace. It is much lower than I expected but it is something, there have been a few more tasks to do. My sewing activities have now come to a halt as the voluntary team have now been stood down. If there becomes any demand and volunteers are required again a call out on social media will be made.  So I have cleaned and oiled my sewing machine and started to look at hustles I could possibly take up instead. It looks like a thanks letter is being sent out but I haven’t received mine yet. It contains a certificate of appreciation and a small gift to say thanks for all our efforts.

I have completed a free coding course (Python) so popped that on LI to get some interest. Some people liked and posted comments and it sparked some interest from recruitment agents so I have passed my CV on to them to try and get in the pot for any new vacancies. I have read the recent guardian article on office jobs and that IT as well as finance and legal have been affected and jobs are 9% down on last year. If no one is in the office there is no need for staff so an ex-colleague who does PMO admin is struggling to find anything. Again, an ex-colleague who works as an accountant is also struggling to find any work.

Companies are not starting new projects, so no new staff required, they are trying to make do with what they have. All I keep seeing is posts from people losing their job rather than gaining work. My counterpart PM from my last job has been laid off (the supplier has no work) so they are going to try for the same job I interviewed for. ( The company are still looking, it must be at least a month ago now that I interviewed). They are either being very picky or don’t really know what they want and are still seeking it. I told them what to expect, a test and a minimum of 2 interviews before an offer is even on the table.

On the passive income front; I received two dividend payments this month. My main dividend was cancelled so that is a big hit to my passive income this month and for the year in general. My monthly passive income is down 75% on last year, that’s a big hit for me.

I have been moving my cash to get better interest rates after opening accounts and getting transfers setup.

Overall my Net Worth is down 6% on the start of the year so things have improved again this month as I slowly get back to start of year totals.

nw-aug2020

My ISA and pension funds are tracking the same ‘V’ shape recovery profile at the moment and are almost back to Jan values. My shares are showing an ‘L’ shape recovery profile and are still well down on their value in January when I started my non-working phase. This is affecting the overall net worth profile and flattening the ‘L’ shape.

isa-aug2020

So although I am eating into my cash to live, my overall net worth is recovering as my ISA and shares continue to rise. I should get some more dividends next month but again, down on last year’s totals, at least they have been declared so they will be paid.

Stay safe everyone.

 

Working on myself

I am struggling with my inner voice at the moment. It is something that lingers from my childhood – to summarise what happened, this link shows how my parents treated me. Their comments created my inner voice which haunts me, in times like these where I have little to focus on, it makes this voice grow louder and stronger. Not a good time, it creates a cloud over me.

My sewing tasks come to an end this week and I am increasing my time looking for work, agents are saying that the market has gone quiet.  In a normal year this month is ‘holiday month’ so jobs are not abundant in my work sector, so agents are currently saying that they hope this is the same case now and that the market will pickup once companies start opening their offices and schools go back in September. An old work colleague has just found a job after being out of work for 9 months. He says it has been really hard and he has great skills and experience and never struggled to find work before.

I am currently doing a free Python coding course ( I get a certificate if I pass, I can use it on my CV and profile). I am also looking at what would be best to do next to apply for data analyst jobs. I would like a part time job but again, that is looking slim as its a buyer’s market out there and I am going to struggle whatever I apply for whether I have the experience or not.

To rid myself of the inner voice which is not helping me at this time, I have started doing yoga and meditation. I am upping my exercise and trying to find ways of quieting the voice and get a positive viewpoint. It does seem to be helping as I am sleeping better and feel more relaxed and less anxious.

I am trying to do as much work as I can on the virtual worker site and I keep scanning the forums as others discuss the poor pay rates and exploitation that is happening. As more people sign up on these platforms the clients are dropping the rates as they know that people are desperate and will do anything to get some cash. When you calculate the rates they are below the minimum wage as the tasks have criteria which prevent you getting to a productivity rate that makes it comparable. I even noticed users boycotting some tasks the other day as the pay rates were so low. When currency exchange rates kick in it knocks the value received down even further, jobs are quoted in US$.

I have signed up to another virtual work platform and have to wait 3-5 days for approval before I can gain access to the tasks.

In the meantime, I will continue to work on stopping my inner voice and focus on positive activities that will enable me to move forward and not worry about things I cannot control or influence. I will finish the last of my sewing tasks and look to plan my activities for next week. Get some reading time in there too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Update – Jul 2020

And the passing of yet another month of this strange year.

I have continued to keep busy and have started doing some yoga alongside my cycling to raise my fitness and improve my health. I didn’t realise how tight and stiff my shoulders and back were until I started doing the yoga. I feel so much better from it already as the tension in my body releases. I do need to look after myself more than I have done in the past. I have been a work monkey and not really looked after myself, now is the time to do this and de-stress and finally stop the anxiety beast which has hounded me for the past few years. I have been reading up on symptoms and the weird episodes I had at work when I was stressed fit the bill of anxiety attacks. I have only had two since I gave up work so maybe I have started to cure myself of them too.

On the financial front this month I have managed to earn 72 Euros on the virtual workplace. Last month I managed to earn 68 Euros. The number of tasks available is low and well down on last year and the longer term users have said that the volume of work is well down on last year and with the increase in users means it is harder to earn as tasks get snapped up and consumed really quickly. They say that COVID has not helped but volumes were already dropping. They are also saying that the rates of pay have dropped too.

On the passive income front, it has dropped 45% this month based on LY as dividends have been cancelled and savings rates have plummeted. Some of my ISA dividends that are normally paid this month were paid last month so that skews my figures. I have an NSI saving cert which hit its annual anniversary this month. It now pays interest based on CPI not RPI so I only received 50% of what I did last year. It is better than nothing though as my bank account interest rate changes kicked in this month and from £7 p/m on one account, it has now dropped to 35p!

I need to move my cash around to get the best interest I can while using it to fund my living costs. I have had a few large expenditures this month which has taken me over budget for July. I have had to get my car repaired which cost me £360.  I have had to pay for two sets of house insurance, one for my BTL and one for my own home. I have shopped around and saved £80 on these, which means an annual increase of about £20 compared to last year’s cost. My own home insurance is normally renewed next month but I got the renewal early so shopped around at the same time as I was doing my BTL and tried to get the best saving I could so the cost has been incurred a month earlier than usual.

It is also time for my BTL mortgage to be reviewed, the current mortgage deal ends in October so they have notified me now so I can look for alternatives. After a call with my mortgage advisor, he has found me another deal which has a lower interest rate to the one I am already on and still gives me ‘some’ flex if I need to sell the house before the mortgage deal is up.  I would have to pay a redemption fee but this works out cheaper than paying an arrangement fee to remove the redemption fee clause. It also depends on what other onerous charges the Government may proposed to rake back landlord ‘investment growth’ in the form of additional selling taxes. They have already added new conditions which increase landlord’s costs so the investment benefits from BTL are eroding every year.

Overall my Net Worth is down 9% on the start of the year and things are very slowly improving.

NW-jul20

My ISA and pension funds are tracking the same ‘V’ shape recovery profile at the moment while my shares are showing an ‘L’ shape recovery profile but all are well down on their value in January when I started my non-working phase. This is affecting the overall net worth profile which is showing a flattened ‘L’ shape.

I have been looking for jobs but no joy. The job ads are getting worse as they don’t give any details on who the employer is (I am looking for a company that has a long term future) or what the subject area of the work is. They just list a job title, a set of skills and qualifications required. I would like to know what experience is required so I can tune my CV to call out my experience matching the job role rather than just apply with a generic CV and get demotivated by the lack of a response. None of the job ads say how the workplace will operate, ie remote working/ office based or mix. I can work remotely but they currently don’t seem to see that as a skill either. At the last interview I had, they said they couldn’t wait to get everyone back in the office and that WFH was not an option for the long term. Not a place I want to work at then! I could WFH at my last place.

If I had remained in my last job I would still be on furlough, only the support team are in the office and that is on a shift basis to keep hours down. Most employees are working part time as they try to find ways of complying with COVID secure workplace rules and keep costs down as income is low. As it is now August, I would have expected to be told that I was laid off as they would not want to pay my NI and pension costs while I sit at home doing nothing for them. I can be grateful that I can do what I am doing and sit this out on the sidelines. I don’t have the stress of potentially losing my job – because I don’t have one to lose.

I have heard that another family member has lost their job. They had been working from home at the start of lockdown and had been asked(told) to take a pay cut, they were then put on furlough (at 80% of their reduced rate) just before the deadline for furloughing staff expired, then they were put under consultation a few weeks ago, last week they were told they have lost their job. They don’t qualify for redundancy so they are now having to look for another job. That’s two jobs they have lost within a year due to the downturn of the aerospace sector and COVID.

Looking forward, I should get some dividends paid next month as they have been declared. In previous years next month would have been a big dividend month, but not this year. I need to look at moving cash around to chase the highest interest rate, earn some more virtual worker cash and also line up my BTL mortgage deal so I know what my future BTL costs are.

Stay safe everyone.

 

 

 

July Activities

I have been reading a few blogs and can see that some are now venturing out and camping or visiting places and trying to enjoy what there is of the summer before the winter season is upon us.

i have no sympathy for those who fly to Spain and now are angry with the quarantine requirements, it was a risk stated right from the beginning. It was an outcome that people had to plan for. They have to be responsible for their own actions. What I do find noticeable is that the UK is not testing, we have the worst testing in Europe, possibly the world as we don’t seem to be testing enough people or testing people as they enter the country,  if you look at the global stats we have a lower reported cases figure and a huge death rate, the ratio far outstrips any other country making us the worst death ratio in the world so far. The UK strategy is to quarantine and not combine with testing, it looks like a money saving decision.

I have been focusing on self improvement, reading to try and improve my mind and listening to audio books. I am trying to detox from my last job as it was causing anxiety and got to me, I had to leave before I ended up in a breakdown situation. I heard from the only person who could be a reference at that place, he is moving on to a new job so that leaves no one at my last employer who could Provide me a reference  based on actually working with them. They don’t have an HR department anyway so it would be hard to get a reference from them now. It would be very limited.

My activities  month have  included:  sewing scrubs (yes, after a lull they are now receiving requests for scrubs again) and face masks. Cycling, walking and looking for suitable places to visit on day trips to walk or cycle and get away from the normal four walls and environment have also been on my to-do list. Focused on staying in the UK. I have moved my Scotland holiday that was due to happen during lockdown to next year. Looking at the area around where I would be staying still has many businesses closed or with limited services. I read another post from a local business up there that has called time and reluctantly closed their business for good as they cannot continue under the current conditions.

I have been looking at the job market but nothing of interest, again companies I am interested in (looking for locally based jobs) are either not recruiting or laying people off. I get a few weekly job vacancy emails but they all seem to be London based – even though I have set a location filter! The job descriptions are very bland and asking for the world of experience, its a ‘buyers market’ and with so many people applying they can now set the benchmarks high and get it. I have seen comments about huge volumes of applications for roles and the candidates being exceptionally over qualified. Maybe I have reached the point where I downshift and find something else to do, join those over qualified people looking for something else. My last employer made me feel that I was incompetent at my role, their toxic environment and bullying just wore me down. I wasn’t far off sitting in a corner with pencils up my nose saying ‘Wibble!’.

I have been continuing to scratch some income via a virtual worker site. I have been browsing the user forum and other users are saying that work has been dropping off for months and now that COVID is here, it has got a whole lot worse. Chatting via the forum, my original target earnings should have been possible this time last year, but now the lack of work and the increase in users has just reduce the earnings potential to almost nothing. Here are lots of new users, like myself who are trying to find ways of earning some extra cash as they lose income and seek out ways of earning money while staying safe.

i have also received an email to say my info has been affected by the UK university data breach by a hosting  platform. It is annoying, it is alumni listing info.

I will just battle on and continue to try to find some free detox activities to do to better my overall health and get away from thinking about the job situation and look to something else to provide some positive focus.

It is nearly the end of the month, so my next post will be my monthly update. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

 

 

 

 

The Virus

I have not really delved too deeply into the cause of the virus, although its spread within the UK is shocking with over 44,000 deaths. I have spent most of my time trying to avoid it and isolate. I am in no hurry to go out to the pub..

Now that lockdown is easing off I thought I would have a look around at historic global pandemics. I watched an interesting YouTube article by Dan Snow (Which hopefully is more a history than a fake news/spin – sadly it has horrid ads embedded in it).

Dan Snow – Timeline – What can pandemics from the past teach us about COVID

The above on past pandemics introduces the fact that we in the western world and the UK specifically are now so dependent on vaccines and what it reveals about our current society structure.

We have become complacent about disease as we have become lazy with our hygiene and infection control practices, we are not used to having to deal with rapid disease spreads and their impact on populations. Our health system is not structured to support pandemic management. Bill Gates has been warning about the possible impact of a global virus for a while and became the subject of trolling as a consequence.

Some interesting comments on how medieval we view plagues and how our past living conditions aided the spread of the virus. We cannot dismiss this any more, it is a here and now and it is not something we can continue to dismiss as medieval.

How do we create counter measures to prevent the virus spreading and causing a second wave adding to the already excessive death figures. What is it about our current society and living conditions which is aiding the virus in its transmission and can we change that?

What seems interesting is that in the past it was down to each location to manage its own local policies and it seems we are doing the same now. We don’t seem to be joined up and not co-operating globally to help find solutions, we humans seem to just want to blame each other. This is going to be permanently present so how do we fight it?

Thoughts any one?

 

 

Monthly Update – Jun 2020

Another month completed and now half way through the year and I was expecting to be working or at least on the way to having a new job by now but the virus has put paid to that. I did go for a round of interviews for a job, including having to sit an aptitude test! but I didn’t get the job. To be fair I wouldn’t have liked it. Their office culture is so last century with business suits as the dress code,  set work hours and no working from home so the current situation is frustrating them from a management perspective. I am used to having the freedom to work the hours required from any location, take lunch whenever I want rather than at a fixed time and flex my hours to suit the international teams I worked with.

Income has remained pretty much the same this month, I received the full rent on my BTL and my investments are starting to slowly rise, so my income streams has remained level with last month. I have received some dividends this month which is a positive sign.

My net worth is still down 10% from the beginning of the year but it is staring to slowly rise as the economy starts to open up. Depending upon which day I take a snapshot its value fluctuates between 5% and 10% down on the start of the year. The roller coaster continues and is mainly due to my shares as they fluctuate wildly while my pension value slowly grows.

I have managed to keep ticking over and keeping within my monthly budget so that I can continue to survive without a job. The lockdown is helping me to reduce my spending although prices have gone up due to demand and also some profiteering from supermarkets. I replenished an item from the same supermarket and before lockdown it cost £1.50 now they are charging £2.35! I have also received a rebate on my car insurance due to the lack of car usage over lockdown. That has been a welcome bonus as I have some car repairs that need doing soon so will go towards keeping the car on the road.

I have been keeping myself busy sewing face masks, I have made over 50 masks for the sewing group during June, they have a big order from a hospital to complete. I have sewn 21 sets of scrubs over the lockdown, which I am pleased with. I have learnt a few new tricks and skills. The demand for scrubs has now ceased and the sewing group are now starting to wind down as the only demand now is for masks and other members of the group are now starting to go back to work.

On the job front, I am keeping an eye out but I am not very optimistic, as I read about more job losses and some of the companies I was interested in have now cut staff I doubt I am going to find a job soon. Companies are looking to secure their future and new projects or recruitment looks to be way off at the moment.

I have been looking for side hustles to gain a bit of extra cash. I signed up with clickworker last month and earned £70, I was hoping I could achieve about £200 a month through this and another piece work site – but this month I have only been able to earn £30. There just hasn’t been any jobs to do. Just the odd survey which doesn’t earn much credit. I guess if businesses were operating normally there would be more jobs available.

I will have to start looking at other options and try to up skill so I can widen my work options. Overall I have survived the month and move into July with a steady net worth.

 

And the job losses build…

I read the article on the bbc news site about job losses.

These are the ones that have made the headlines, this isn’t all. I had a looked at my LinkedIn newsfeed yesterday and it is full of people who are posting that they have been laid off or made redundant and are now looking for work. They quote Covid as the reason for the lay off.  They work for nationally known companies but these job losses haven’t made the headlines.

There are a few people who have managed to move job during the lockdown, some jumped ship before the company laid them off. They are not sure if the new company will be any better but trying to survive.

The cash flow crisis is now hitting; companies, large and small, are reviewing staffing levels resulting in job cuts. I know someone who is on furlough and have now been put under redundancy consultation. I know of another person who was on furlough and has now been laid off. They were on a fixed term contract, so the company just terminated the contract early.

Looking at a few of my network contacts, they are currently unemployed. They are looking but nothing found yet. I had interviews for a company that is going strong in this climate and has plenty of work but didn’t get the role. They can pick and choose and with plenty of candidates out there now, getting a job will be hard. I don’t fit their culture anyway so I would have only looked to move on and just used them as a stepping stone. At least I have now experienced a remote interview process using zoom/skype/teams as this will be the norm for a while.

I expect to see more job losses being reported and the job vacancies to favour the employers.

 

Net Worth Analysis

I thought I would have a look at how my net worth is being affected by the current situation and how some of the component parts of my investments are holding up (or not) during this virus situation.

My Net Worth:

Networth-graph

My net worth has blip’ed during March and has now started to recover which is pretty good. During March it had dropped by 18% but it is now tracking at around 9% down from the start of the year. If I have a look at some of the constituent parts that make up my net worth I can see how each was affected since the beginning of the year. I separately monitor my ISA, pension and shares. I ignore my property assets when looking at Net Worth.

My ISA:

Looking at my ISA holdings, this has been pretty resilient so far and my pension has tracked the same trend, mainly because these both use index trackers as their constituent building blocks. The ratio to UK and global index funds differs between my pension and ISA but I haven’t seen this as an issue so far as they both trend the same.

isa-graph

As you can see the impact in March was quite considerable and it is currently indicating a ‘V’ shape bounce although with the second wave expected and other countries still battling with the first wave I am expecting a drop to occur and some interesting graphical representations to appear over the coming months. As my pension is tracking a similar pattern I will not add a pension graph as this also shows a ‘V’ shape trend.

My Shares:

Now my shares are an interesting part of my overall Net Worth, I hold a number of individual shares which are taxable. These are a mix of old employer shares from share save and option schemes and selected dividend yield companies. When I first started saving and looking at FI, I looked at buying dividend shares to gain an income, as I received dividends I reinvested them in more shares and built a reasonable holding over the years. Over time I have moved from buying dividend shares to buying index funds within ISAs.

Shares-graph

Now these took quite a knock in March as the impact of the lockdown hit and businesses had to close. I haven’t bought any shares for ages as I push any surplus money into ISA or pension instead. In this graph an ‘L’ shaped trend is apparent. They are now starting to pickup as the lockdown eases and business can start trading again. Some of my shares are with companies which have continued to trade unhindered by the lockdown and these have also continued to pay dividends as they are key or infrastructure related businesses that continued to operate and even gained additional sales due to the lockdown. So the ‘L’ shape is not as pronounced as it could have been.

I am tracking the dividends that these companies will pay out over the next year and reviewing whether they are worth keeping over the long term (chasing dividends) or would I be better selling at a profit and putting the money into ISA accounts instead (chasing growth) and utilise my annual CGT and restructure my Net Worth components.

If companies continue to hold onto dividends then a growth chasing strategy would be more beneficial. I expect this area of my net worth to continue to roller coaster over the coming months as the fallout from this pandemic continues to affect business operations and sales.

 

 

Dividend Income Stream

I have just read the ThisIsMoney article on dividend forecasts and the cuts that are happening this year…

This is money – dividends

It makes bleak reading but the impact so far for me has not been as bad as first thought. I had a look down the list of companies and compare with my share holdings, 6 have been honoured and will be or have paid dividends and 3 have cancelled dividends for the rest of the year.

Whether those 6 will continue to pay in the future is unclear as the impact of the virus continues to affect the economy.   The worst part of this for me is that one of the 3 that will not be paying makes up 60% of the total annual value  so I will lose a considerable chunk of passive income this year.

i do have some income funds which are still paying out monthly but I need to see how long these will continue to be paid and what the long term effects could be. At the moment the fund payouts are automatically reinvested as they reside within an ISA whereas my share dividends are received as cash which I have to manually reinvest when dealing costs are favourable. Tax is also payable on these share dividends so my long term plan is to move away from taxable dividends and into tax free accounts. Although if I continue to not work this year then I will fall into a lower tax bracket and pay less or no tax based on the final amount received, it all depends on what I am doing when the tax year ends.

How are dividend yields holding up (or not) for you?

What are your strategies to try and make up the short fall?

Are any based on the options suggested in the ThisIsMoney article?