October 2016

I have been busy out and about and therefore not spending the time writing posts. This time last year I wasn’t working, I was on a break and although I was looking for work I was also taking the time out to relax and get my mind back into some kind of balanced sense. I was posting regularly and doing some reading to relax the mind.

I have just returned from a short break in Birmingham, going to a concert and just chilling out – almost literally with the chilly winds blowing around the city centre streets. Its nice to get the train and have a drink or two in some real ale pubs and watch the world of consumerism whirl by. The christmas retail spin is beginning. Not sure I like the new New Street rail station. The big open plaza is good but the dark rat run platforms and limited exit points only make me feel hemmed in and if there was ever an emergency down there – I just don’t know how people would get out? I was in a big queue trying to get off a platform because only one escalator was working and the signage is rubbish – one guy said he was on his third attempt to get off the platform.

The previous weekend was also a short break, this time to Anglesey. Somewhere I have only visited once to see LanfairPG. That must have been more than 10 years ago when I was on holiday with an old friend and their children. To go and actually circuit the island and see the sites was great. All on the back of a motorbike, my first tour out on a motorbike, one of hopefully many in the future.

Ok, these trips sound like I am spending my money and not focusing on FI but I am doing these trips on a budget and its been great. All the places visited on Anglesey were free entry and some took some finding as they are off the beaten-track and not well sign posted. A good research session before hand and a well marked map made the trip enjoyable.

I also visited Caernarfon Castle to see the ‘weeping window’ – entry was free too! So a great visit and seeing the spectacular installation and walk the walls was a real treat. The weather was on form too – so a wonderful bike trip through the Lanberis pass, with a good view of blue skies,mirror like lakes and Snowdon.

Beats being in an office with no windows!

On the finance front for October, I am recovering from my jury service – I have claimed back all the expenses and allowances permitted and was down by about £400 for the month. So last month’s FI savings took a bit of a dent. This month I have done well on the savings front but my overall net worth is taking a pounding. The turbulent market has knocked the stuffing out of my investments and I am now running at 2% down on last year but up on last month. Even though I am investing monthly in index trackers and ETFs I am down on the value last year. So as I plough money in, it seems to just trickle away. I am hoping the indexes will rise at some point and my individual shares holdings roll around but are still under their levels from last year. Ok, I am buying more units for my money but they rollercoster around each week.

I just need to remember that the investments are long-term and just keep saving, my pension pots seem to be growing quite nicely so I just need to keep my head down, keep saving while I am working and wait for the markets to pick up after the political rumblings have died down – Brexit and US elections. Brexit will have an effect on my employer and could result in big changes if the UK does not have an EU trade deal.

With two redundancies under my belt, I really cannot rule out another just because that now seems to be the way of my working life. I have reached that stage when redundancy is likely and job security is low. I want a buffer to make sure I can feel financially secure if I lose my job again.