Wow, I have been offline for the past 2 weeks enjoying the Christmas season. I will be joining the working masses next week so need to enjoy the last few days of freedom before work hours rule my day.
I had an enjoyable time with my boyfriend and between the rain (gaps in the constant rain were few!) we managed to get out of the house for cycle rides and walks. A nice 21 mile bike ride over the festive season was great. I will miss my weekday bike rides and will now be restricted to the weekends until summer arrives and longer day light hours.
One thing I have learnt from my freedom break is that I don’t get out and exercise enough and that I can get great pleasure from cooking and getting out into the countryside more. I realised I was being too much of a lazy cook and have cut down my food spending considerably and now have a routine which means I can continue to follow this new way while back at work. Healthy food, home cooked/prepared and filling!
Dropping out of the prison camp for a while has really done me good, I have recharged my batteries and had a chance to enjoy the countryside while others have been working. I have relaxed and managed to switch-off and step away from the consumer rat-race and the other work related consumer streams that exist. Sometimes you are so encased in the operation, you cannot see the wood for the trees. Stepping away from workplace has allowed me to see it for what it is and that removing myself from the office politics and the back stabbing has really given me a chance to recover from the oppression.
As I begin a new year, my financial situation isn’t too bad considering my non-working status for 7 months of this year, my net worth is 5% up on last year (exc. property & pensions). As others have commented, you don’t realise how much of your net worth increase is down to your savings until you don’t have the income to save. When I was earning my annual net worth increase was around 12%.
I have enjoyed cutting down on my expenses and I have identified things that I really didn’t need and have reduced my spending considerably.
The past month has seen my investments decline in value as the markets ripple downwards. That’s not good and the honey pot value has dropped below the ‘enough’ threshold again. I know I have enough to survive for a number of years (whether it is ‘enough’ to carry me to my NRA, I’m not so sure) but joining the prison camp again will enable me to replenish the pot and try to gain some additional investments that should provide for my future.
I will be joining yet another pension scheme, so I will have yet another pension pot to content with. I will need to look at consolidation as I have a number of small pots that really need to be merged to gain any decent benefit, its just the terrible costs that are incurred that disappoint. Bringing them together results in charges which demolish their value considerably and is one aspect of the pension system that really annoys me. You can easily transfer a bank account between providers FOC but a pension?!? Everyone has to take a dip into the pot and take their ‘share’ before, during or after the transfer, leaving you feeling pillaged as you look at the remainder.
Now to get myself ready for the world of work and also make sure I retain certain aspects of my activities that I have built into my day during my freedom break. Time to make my plans and set my goals…..