October – where am I?

Its been quite a dramatic month so far. I am still managing to work through my redundancy notice and I have just 1 week to go before I leave the business. I am effectively on garden leave, working from home, checking my email and basically doing odd jobs around the house while I have the time. More of the ‘benefits’ are being removed (which is breach of contract) but the company’s stock response is – “we are looking at alternatives to replace those that are stopping”. As someone who will not be remaining with the business, it seems that I will lose out.It’s been very stressful and I am worried about the new job being right for me but I need to work at the moment – so need to go with the flow.

I have been spending my time working on my house, I have painted and de-cluttered and have new carpets fitted. I have just finished getting my utilities changed to better deals so I should save money this winter. I am on direct debit payments – which isn’t always the best way to work in some ways – but it does give me the best discounts (DD and online bills, etc). The recalculations have been completed and my direct debit is being reduced by £20 per month (£240) saving. This will be good if I can achieve this – it is all based on projected use which all depends on how bad this winter will be?

I have renewed my car insurance and tax (using the new online system). I just have to cancel my breakdown cover as I have a better deal linking it to my car insurance as a package – another £60 saved – and an increase in breakdown cover too.

I bought some Unilever and Glaxo shares this month with my investment cash, I am trying not to look at the current prices as I have lost money on them due to the current economic conditions. Within days of buying them, they dropped like a stone. They are running at about 6 to 15% loss at the moment, bring on the dividends to try and get some value out of them and ignore the capital loss.

I don’t even want to look at my Tesco shares at all, they must be at about 65% loss at the moment – I have held shares for some years, so this isn’t good at the moment. Looking at the Motley Fool, they were recommending them until recently as one of their ‘shares to retire on’. They have now replaced Tesco with another. It is not worth me selling them at the moment, I will ride out the storm as I am in this for the long term, I am not in need of the money at the moment so will concentrate on other avenues to increase my FI finances.

My pension from my old employer should transfer this month – why you may say are you doing this?

Basically, I have no choice, I had only been in the scheme for 16 months and their rules state that if you ‘leave the business before 2yrs is up, you have to close the pension’ – which as I am employed by a company which has been sold by the parent, I had effectively left the business. My options were – take my contributions or transfer the pot value to another scheme – Oh! and you have 3 months in which to do this – or we will by default pay back your contributions.

Active pot value was : £9,900

Transfer Value : £7,700 (70% approx)

Contributions only : £3,200 (30%approx)

As you can see, this is a real rip-off, you don’t get the full pot value, you get what they calculate as the transfer value, how I can lose 20% as some kind of ‘admin fee’ is ridiculous and just goes to illustrate why people have so much fear and dread over pensions and that they are just rip-offs. Money just disappears out of them for no real justifiable reason except to line the pockets of the companies that run them.

At least I have something and a pension is part of my FI plan. As I am currently a high-rate tax payer I can utilise the tax advantages to increase the amount I am saving into them and gain some additional benefit from the value. It is something to call upon when I reach staged retirement ages such as 55, 60 & 67. With the changes being introduced next year, I can use them as cash pots to draw from over the years.

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