A great weekend

I had had a poor week at work so needed a great weekend. Back to the normal work format – a boss that treats you like a 2yr old telling you what you should have done (even though I had followed all that they quoted originally) and it still didn’t pan out. Oh, and I need to create a project plan which is a work of fiction ready for a meeting when everyone else is expecting some real quantified values. Ha Ha Ha!!!  I guess my boss will standby me when it all hits the fan???? Or will I be hung out to dry? Only time will tell….

So an early start on Saturday to avoid the rain and get some work done on the garden. I had lots of shrubs and trees to cut back – not due to Doris fortunately – I need to get all the garden waste removed ASAP as my local council is removing the free garden waste collection service.

From the next tax year I need to pay £40 a year to have a garden collection service. I am not paying that. So need to clear everything by the end of March to make the most of the garden collection service. Then buy a discounted composter to manage my garden waste long term.

So trees and shrubs cut back, a full garden bin waiting to be collected this week.

A discounted composter ordered and free bulbs planted, freebies from my sister. The garden is looking much better and it has helped me de-stress.

Today, Sunday, I awoke to sunshine so out early for the first bike ride of the year. I have been suffering with a winter virus that has dragged on for months and I have only just been able to shake it off. A 16 mile test ride, I took it easy and realised how when I was on my ‘FI break’ in 2015 I enjoyed cycling twice a week and felt fit and health. It made me want to stop working and get back to my daytime cycling, an incentive to keep working on my FI release.

Now I am working again, I miss my cycling trips during the day and have put on weight due to the office job. I am stuck at a desk all day, I do try to take a walk around the office but that is not very far at all. I could go for a walk around the block at lunch time, it would only take me 5 mins, I have already tried it. It just isn’t enough.

I so need to become FI and escape the rat-race…..focus needed and nothing like this weekend to make me feel motivated to get on and get there.

 

 

 

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SIPP Transfer

I have taken the plunge and opened a SIPP after procrastinating for a while.

I have now filled in the online forms to get two old company  DC pensions transferred into it so these can form the basis of my new plan. One has already transferred and is about to be invested so only out of the market for a very short time, a matter of a few days in fact, pretty impressive.

A monthly regular payment has also been setup so that I can pump money into these as other tax efficient paths are now full. The SIPP can be accessed from age 55 so this means that I can access the old DC funds at an earlier age than originally permitted.

I have picked some funds and will use these as a basic selection for my DCs with another set of funds used for my regular monthly contributions. My intention is to add occasional additional payments (I don’t get bonuses like I use to – in fact what is a bonus?) and either buy shares or funds to balance the portfolio.

I have also been focused by listening to Tim Ferriss podcasts as he interviewed Mr MM and it was great to be reminded of what I am aiming to achieve, choices!

I now need to re-organise my spreadsheets and get focused on FI savings as my HP fund is unbalanced and hit hard by the market fluctuations. I am running at a -4% drop as I hold too many old employer shares which have dropped since Jan due to market sector downgrades. I should have sold some last year and moved this cash into other shares. My bad!

 

 

Back Online

Its been a bit of a nightmare as my 5 year old laptop died. The final stroke happened last week and I have been offline for what seems like eternity.

I recovered anything I needed and then tried to rebuilt it – but the rebuild proved that the hard disc has died. Bye-bye old friend, so a new laptop required – an expense I really didn’t want but emergency fund comes into play to get a new one while the sales are still on. Managed to get a good deal and if I can maybe get something for my old one then I will not feel so hard done by.

Now I am back online I can update and review my FI position, check my monthly spending, pay some bills and post some updates here. Get online and open a SIPP.

 

January 2017

I begin the new year in a better position that in previous years. I have a job which is now celebrating its 1 year anniversary. I know that’s not a long time for some but for me its a milestone.

My last job only lasted 6 months. I pulled the plug because it wasn’t working and I rue the advice from my old boss who said I shouldn’t have taken the job as they are ‘as mad as a box of frogs’ and also – don’t jump into the first job offered just because its there.

Well, I felt it was the only job available – it was the only offer I had –  and I needed some income. Everyone else was finding work and I just wasn’t finding anything at all,… so had to just take it… and see how it panned out.

I realise now what a mistake it was but it made me learn a lesson; also made me think about what FI means to me. It means I can have choices and not be in the position of ‘having to’ rather than ‘wanting to’.

My new job is OK, its not a great place but its a job, it does not tick all the boxes but it ticks the ones that my ‘6 months one’ didn’t! I don’t see this as a long term position and I am not sure where this job will go but I will stick it out and take the cash. Its another company pension scheme accruing money for me for the long-term.

What does seem to be changing is that the role I perform is becoming more of a ‘gig’ job now. The alternative jobs out there are all being offered on short or 1 yr fixed term contracts. It appears that employers just want my role as a short term gig. You get hired to do a specific project because of your experience, then leave and let the ‘support’ bods manage the day 2 day tick  over.

At the place I left, they haven’t recruited a full-timer to replace me, they have advertised the role as a 6 month to 1 year max fixed term contract to cover the task in hand.

I can see that when I leave this job, my next role is likely to be under a fixed term contract. The ‘gig’ economy model strikes.

It also means that I will be recruited based on my past experience and ‘skills’ which will be applied to that job then be asked to move on. The only variety in this for me is doing the same activity for different companies. That’s not a great variety gig for me, I like to do different things and being ‘SME’ed into doing the same role on the same subject but for a different company really doesn’t feel like a challenge or varied enough for me.

Instead of the ‘do X today, do Y next week, do Z next month’ it becomes ‘do X today for A, do X next month for B, do X next year for C’….. no, that does not float my boat.

A change of direction is needed and that’s where FI needs to kick in. So this year, I need to get some real focus on my FI funds. There is a requirement to diversify my funds as they are too limited and I am not making the progress that other FI seekers are with regard to fund growth.

I need to read investing books and blogs and really get my act together. I have been considering transferring two old company DC pensions into a SIPP and topping up with regular payments from my monthly pay; I have pushed all I can into ISAs and buying shares outside any tax shelters is only increasing the amount of taxed dividends I receive.

My FI fund is down compared to last month but up compared to this month last year. Although I started working again last Jan so getting a salary was a great improvement, I need to set myself some goals and I think the first is consolidating my old pension DC schemes into a SIPP and pushing any spare cash in there.

I am not into betting sites so apart from my rental property which is becoming less attractive due to the landlord rule changes my only other diversification options are P2P lending schemes.

And finding better homes for my cash savings as they earn hardly any interest now.

December 2016

I am very late posting but I have had a nice relaxing Christmas away from work. A whole week + a few days off work has been fabulous!

For some this is the normal, for me it is a luxury as my past employment meant that Christmas was peak trade so expected and have worked Boxing days and Christmas Eves quiet regularly.

Now I work in a sector that isn’t affected by that peak and it is so great to be able to have a whole week and a bit of time off and say – “have a great holiday, see you in the new year.”

I have neglected by FI updates too as the time has been spend doing other things and avoiding looking at the poor state of my FI funds. The Brixit rumbling continue and my funds just rise and fall with each and every day of debate and counter-debate.

I update my FI figures the other day and I ended the year up by 3%. not bad considering that ‘free time’ I had last year and that dent that made on my funds which i have slowly replaced this year. In comparison to the previous year I am up as I only made a 2% uplift for 2015. At least it is an overall rise, it could have been a negative figure compared to my previous year.

My dividends are down as my shareholdings reduce their pay outs and start to wonder what Brexit really means to them.

Only time will tell.