The end of January already, where has this month gone? It has flown by and I have been buzzing around trying to get things in order.
I have paid my tax bill for the previous tax year, so I should be OK until the next request for tax information. This tax year has been a bit of an odd one as I have not been working for 6 months of it so I will have a strange set of details to submit for this year.
I have received my new employer pension welcome pack this weekend and I have made my first payment into this new pension account. Now that means yet another employer pension account is open, I now have two paid up money purchase accounts from two previous employers that have fund values below £1000. Once the charges have eaten into them over the next few years, they will be worth nothing and will be closed. One has done well since it was frozen over a year ago (up 3%), but the other has lost 8% over the past year based on the statement I received in the post last Friday. My only choice is to find a way of consolidating them and then use that as a basis to invest more money, so I am looking into the options available for me to transfer into a SIPP. This should also gain me access to a draw down plan if I want one in later years.
I have other personal pensions and a deferred final-salary pension which I will leave untouched. So I have a minefield of pension pots spread around. I dread to think what it will be like for future generations were job security is low, therefore job moves are frequent and the auto-enrollment merrily places them into pension schemes which will have short contribution windows as employees move on. Having lots of small pots of money will make it harder to grow and manage.
Until a few years ago, I had only worked for 2 employers in my whole working life, in the past few years due to redundancies and company implosions, I have totted up another 4 employers within 3 years, so I have now worked for 6 employers during my working life. 4 employers in 3 years sounds bad to me. That makes me sound like a right job hopper but the fortunes of an employer are not that grand at the moment. (I used to know a guy who moved jobs every 3 years to gain a pay rise).
I meanwhile, have been battling with finding a local job that will pay me anything remotely near my previous salary, never mind get a salary increase. It just goes to show how the market for work is challenging and getting harder by the day. With more people looking for work, salaries are reducing as its an employers market.
I didn’t expect to work for the same employer for the whole of my working life but I did expect some job security but that seems to be pretty thin on the ground. I thought it maybe just the sector I work in but overheard a conversation in a queue the other day between two guys discussing the consultations currently going on; their company has just been bought up by a multinational and they are now looking to ‘consolidate’ the global workforce. These guys seem to think that means their orders and workbook will go abroad and their site closed and the land sold off for redevelopment – probably residential – as land next to their site is already being developed and new residential housing built. The outcome for them does sound bleak and if it happens then it will place another set of highly skilled people out of work. There are no local jobs for their skill set once this site closes so they will likely have to move or commute large distances to find any comparable work. The one guy said he had moved up to this site when the last company merger took place so has no idea where to go next, as this time the work will go abroad.
I will continue to save and be as frugal as I can so that I can work on make a permanent jump away from the worker cell. The job openings for me locally are drying up too so it will not be long before I will be in their shoes.
This month I have received a pay cheque (Whoop, whoop!!) and I have also received some dividends and had some outgoings in the form of my tax bill. My investments this month have continued to drop and I am down 2% from the start of the month and I am glad that I have moved back into a saving role rather than a withdrawing role. I intent hanging on to my current job for as long as I can and save as much as I can.
My freedom session gave me time to work on my budgets and really work at getting better at saving money. I have also broken some poor habits, I very rarely buy processed and ready meals now. When I was working I would, laziness I guess, rather than cook. Now, I actually enjoy making my meals and the last thing I want to do is buy a take-out or ready meal. I have not bought a lunch at work yet, I’ve been taking in my own! It has worked out cheaper than buying (having free tea and coffee help!) and I just need to work on the exercise part of my plan. I need to get some walks in during my lunch break and be more chilled in my attitude to work.