Pension Transfer Complete

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At last, it felt like ages, my personal pension has been successfully transferred and I now have everything in one place under a SIPP.

I was getting annoyed with the old company, they had sold on the business to someone else to manage and it would be run under the management style of the new company, which worried me.

I had seen new T&Cs appearing altering the way the account would be run and the funds were being transferred and altered to fit the new company style. The costs were going up for one thing and I didn’t like it so time to move.

So I completed all the paperwork and transferred it to the SIPP I have placed my old employer pension into. The fees are much lower and since I transferred by old employer pension it has been increasing nicely – even during this turmoil.

So I received my closing statement from my old company and I have been able to check the balance right up to closing and an email from my SIPP provider to say they had received the money and had invested it based on my instructions. So things are looking better. I have now setup a regular payment into this SIPP and will let this tick over. (Although I am not working, I can pay into a pension but it is capped under UK rules).

The closing statement was great and much better than my old employer pension company – they sent me NOTHING and I never got to see how much my funds actually sold for (other than working it out by looking at the transfer value) . I think they took money out of the final payment – thieves! As soon as they received my transfer request they locked me out of my online account and I was unable to see what my pension was worth or what its final transfer value was. disgusting customer service and behaviour!

Anyhow, I now have everything in one place and can now trace its growth and hopefully have a better idea of its potential total and annuity value in years to come.

Monthly Update – Oct 2020

Yet another month over and this year seems to be flying by, which is good in some ways. This was not the year I was planning or imagining.

This month I have managed to go out a few times to some pubs and enjoy some social time with strangers ( we can meet strangers in a pub but not meet our family – madness) and cycle quite a bit. I have also been reading OurTour as they have decided to head off to Spain for the winter. With the darker nights and colder weather I don’t blame them. They have headed off to somewhere with semi-normal behaviour and blue sky and a warmer climate. They made the break before the lockdown came in so they are now nicely setup in their final location for the winter, with blue skies and warmer temperatures.

Financially, my net worth has increased a little and has ended the month 4% down on the beginning of the year. I am very slowly creeping back to where I began the year but as I am also drawing down my savings I am trying to keep my net worth at a level total where possible. With that in mind I have been trying to do as much work on the virtual ‘gig’ site as I can and have earned the highest monthly total so far. The work does seem to have picked up a bit with more work on offer but I have found that due to the increase in workers from other countries I now need to look at working US hours to pickup and work the best jobs that come up. I have also been active on the user forum and I have found that to reduce my currency conversion costs I can open a virtual account which has no exchange fees, it is not covered by any financial protection (FSCS) so I shouldn’t keep money in there for very long but it will mean I can extract more sterling from my earnings which are paid in Euros and US dollars.

I have had some high expenses this month. I have had to pay my car tax and insurance. I have saved £100 on my insurance as I have dropped my annual mileage and the costs have come down a bit anyway as my renewal quote was lower than last year. I am assuming that I will get a job that is local to me, If I do get a job. I was listening to someone on the radio who does a similar role as me and he was saying he does not expect to get a job until 2021. My role, like his, is dependent upon companies investing in new projects and changes. Under the current climate, companies are focusing on surviving so they are not investing in new projects. So the work just isn’t there, and because of this they are not recruiting and if anything laying people off who perform that role.

My last boss, has just contacted me to say he has managed to get a new job. He was ‘asked to leave’ not long after I left and has been out of work for 6 months and has managed to secure a senior role at a new company. He said he would look out for work for me. I am not holding up much hope though.

I am looking at ways of earning money and any side hustles I could do. Still researching them and now that lockdown is starting again I will spend some time doing some deeper research.

I have started match betting and following the tutorials and I have managed to make 37% profit based on my initial investment this month. It is tax free too so I will continue to work on this as a back burner hustle and increase my money that way. Making 37% is much better than I could make in a bank account so as long as I continue to follow the steps I should hopefully increase my income from this stream, especially as elite sports are still operating during lockdown. There will be more people online betting so there could be more opportunities available.

Other than that, I continue to be frugal and keep exercising and trying to enjoy what opportunities present themselves for getting out and about. As the new lockdown approaches I need to hunker down again and find ways of keeping myself sane and motivated. The markets seem to be getting freaked again as they drop. My shares are dropping again after just recovering so I expect next month’s figures to be poor. I will check them at some point. I am also waiting for my pension transfer to complete. The old company is dragging their feet and trying to slow the process down. If this is how they want to behave then I am glad I am leaving. I guess I will lose out due to this but I am looking at this as a long term thing, I have 5 years before I plan to even attempt to draw anything from a pension. I will continue to push money into the pension to gain some growth over those years.

Let’s hope this new lockdown makes a difference. Stay safe in November….

Monthly Update – Sep 2020

So the end of another month in 2020 and I continue to watch the turmoil and confusion affecting the UK. The second wave is here and things are currently not looking great as we enter the winter season.

This month I have been doing virtual work and I managed to earn over £100 which given the precarious nature of the work is the best I have managed to achieve so far. There has been one week this month where there was NO work to do. This really isn’t very good and I really need a more consistent income source in the long term. I keep looking for work but the job ads are terrible. They are either asking for the world or just are in a sector that I don’t have experience in and they are putting ‘previous experience’ as a MUST HAVE. My last job really hasn’t helped increase my experience, if anything it is working against me.

I looked at doing some sewing work as a company which was part of the volunteer sewing group were advertising for local sewers but I need to have an industrial machine (which i don’t have) so I can’t apply. Getting one and having somewhere to house it isn’t viable either.

A recruitment agent tapped up one of my old employers but they are not recruiting (well, externally anyway!). I contacted someone working there and they said that they are actually laying people off and that they are being asked to fill any vacancies with internal candidates that are on notice, some departments are using a ‘last in, first out’ policy to trim staff costs. All departments have been asked to trim staff numbers and so people are trying to find positions by shuffling around if possible. They are using the normal way of cutting staff: they announce a ‘re-organisation’ and then cut the number of heads in a team then ask all the current team to re-apply for their jobs. So if there are 6 in the current team, they say the new team requires only 4, so all have to re-apply and two will sadly depart the company. Unless they can find another position within another team/department.

So the market is looking bleak again for the foreseeable future. I am therefore working on the assumption that I am going to be without work for the rest of the year and looking at ways to earn money via other routes.

I have received a dividend this month from my shares and ISA fund dividends, which auto invest. I have also received my rental income so I am seeing some cash input but the bad news this month is that after moving cash into NS&I accounts they have now announced that they will slash the interest rates right down to match the banks – so from a 1.16% to 0.01%. That’s a disaster as my interest income has been trashed to pretty much nothing since the year began and I am now struggling to find places to deposit cash and make it earn some income.

Considering I am living off my cash, my net worth (inc. cash) is managing to stay reasonably stable – given the stock market rollercoaster. I am keeping to my budget and trying not to spend any money, which is easy when you have nowhere to go and want to stay away from crowds and busy places where social distancing isn’t being maintained. Overall, my net worth is 6% down on the start of the year. My pension and ISA funds have bounced around again this month.

Net Worth – 2020 Trend

My ISA and Pension funds have dropped a bit and ended down on last month but they should pickup over the long term. My shares just keep bouncing around on a daily basis, determined by the current news and UK economic forecast stories. I start October slightly down as shown on the graph above.

Looking towards next month, I will continue to try and increase my virtual working earnings and now the football season is starting, I have started to look at matched betting as another income stream, especially as any profit is tax free. I am hoping I can do as well as other FI bloggers who earn some good profit from the MB scene. If I can earn some cash from this route then I can continue to survive without a job and ‘tick over’ for the remainder of the year knowing that I am replenishing my cash reserves.

I am not FI but if I can continue to exist without the need for a job then I can relax a bit and just look at doing some fun things that are possible without feeling like I am burning through my cash reserves towards an empty account.

Next month, the positives so far, I have a declared dividend due from shares, not a huge amount but every little helps, and I should get some quarterly ISA fund dividends paid which will help to bolster by ISA & Pension accounts as they are set to automatically re-invest.

So overall, not too bad a month considering my circumstances.

Let’s see what October brings……

September Activities

Well, its nearly the end of another month of limitations.

I have tried to remain positive and been taking the opportunity to enjoy the good weather before winter kicks in. I have been cycling and walking trying to improve my health and fitness. I have even been able to go to see a live gig! YES – a live gig, it was heavily controlled with limited numbers, allocated tables, temp check on arrival. Table service for drinks and food. It was an enjoyable evening and I think that is the one and only live band/gig I will get to see this year. I have also had my haircut – temp checks on arrival, masks and screens everywhere. I look less of a hobo and more like a normal person, helpful for any job interviews.

I have been doing virtual working (earning about $3 per hour – nowhere near the UK minimum wage – but it is income). Although the last few days have been poor as the platforms have had outages which means no work. I have also found that the tasks have been problematic or unable to complete so have wasted time on activities I cannot complete and claim any reward for sadly. It gives me a bit of pocket money while I try to find a more profitable income source. I have, at last, been approved by the other virtual platform and I have been able to start working this. Until I have completed tasks to a certain threshold I cannot access some of the better paying jobs. I have at least managed to start earning some cash but I have noticed that the approval process is very slow compared to the other platform and it takes days (maybe weeks) to get things approved so that payments can be confirmed. Once it gets going it ‘should’ provide a trickle of payments on a weekly basis. You cannot earn a living on these sites just supplement with a light dusting of cash.

Jobs are not looking good. I keep reading about more job losses and the jobs I am seeing are not inviting or local. I am feeling more despondent about ever getting back into a role. I was burnt out, stressed and having panic attacks at my last job so I need an easier role. All the roles I see require a ‘hard-nosed’ person who can operate and succeed in a challenging workplace. Office attendance mandatory. Sorry, I cannot fulfil that criteria at the moment, my mind is not there. I don’t want to have to deal with unwilling and unco-operative work ‘colleagues’. I was hoping to have a few months off and be back in work by now and earning but with lockdown and associated restrictions and the job market being so poor I really don’t see me getting anything until next year now.

I had moved cash into NS&I accounts only to hear that they are now slashing the interest rates down to 0.01% to match the banks. There aren’t many places I can put my cash now, it will just sit losing value due to inflation. I need to find a stable place to hold my cash so I can have it accessible but also get it to earn some interest and not lose out to inflation while it is sitting in an account.

I have pushed some into my ISA and that is already showing some growth – (at last!). I will put some more in once I have paid out some annual expenses and reviewed any surplus. But I see my ISA account as a non-drawable account at the moment, I want it to grow and not have to draw from it.

I have initiated the transfer of a personal pension account as it has been sold to another management company and I can already see the changes taking effect as funds get moved to the new company ‘shell’ funds and new T&Cs documents issued to indicate that the final ownership transfer will be completed in December. The funds have different growth prospects and higher charges so I want to move before the ownership completes. I can then just top up with my minimum non-taxpayer pension contribution.

My shares have fluctuated and I just watch from the sidelines. I am not selling yet, although I do need to trickle some of the value into my ISA and diversify.

My ISA and pension funds have reached their January levels so they are back into a growth zone, YAY !!! . A positive step and gives me some positivity. It is OK seeing my net worth grow but it needs to translates to passive income which is accessible. I cannot draw from my pension for years yet. Although looking at my current pension forecasts they really don’t seem to be worth anything. Given the current climate the forecasts are indicating a negative growth so they will be worth less in the future and annual pension values have dropped – again. Every time I get a statement they drop as they change their forecasting calculations and I just see the final annual pension value go down.

I will wait until the end of the month to see where it all lands.

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?