Monthly Update – Mar 2020

Well, where do I start with this one?

I have lost 12% in net worth this month (month-on-month) due to the economic turmoil. This is in addition to the 5% I loss last month so not very good reading.  I have also done a little bit of trading. I have reinvested some dividends into some more shares while they are low. Hopefully the company I have bought will survive this event. These shares are within a tax-free account.  I have also sold down some of my taxable share holdings to use up my capital gains allowance for this year as I ponder doing the same next year to slowly get out of taxable holdings and move into tax-free accounts. I have made a good profit and managed to stay within my CGT threshold (just), I will feed this into my ISA in the next tax year so I can spread the risk across the market rather than have individual shares. I am not sure if all of my share holdings will survive this event so I need to have the option to sell out and use my new CGT allowance to take the profit if I need to and mitigate any tax where possible, I will then reallocate to other tax-free locations or use it to survive.

It’s been a hard month and sitting in lock down was not how I imagined or expected to be spending this month. I live on my own so this isolation is not the best way to spend my time. I was expecting to be out and about. The only good thing is that I can exercise so I can go out on my bike which helps my mind and clears the cobwebs. I don’t like being inside for too long, I start to get cabin fever and need to be outside for a period of time to prevent my head exploding. The benefit of cycling is that you have less chance of picking the virus up through contact with anything. Anything you touch when outside your home has the potential to carry the virus.

I have been monitoring sites for jobs and surprise, surprise they are drying up. Agents have gone quiet and I have been reading that even if I was to get a job now, if the employer decides to shutdown and put everyone into furlough I would not qualify as it is only employees on the books on 28 Feb 2020 who will be entitled. So I could end up being an unpaid employee with no ability to claim any help at all.

With the news comments that this could go on for 6 months, companies are rightly looking at their survival strategies. So I am going to continue to live off my savings and have the option to claim JSA (£280 per month) for 6 months at some point in the future.  When this lock down is over and the  job market picks up, there will be plenty of people seeking work and the numbers are growing each week, competition will be high. (Sigh) I have made this so hard for myself.

This wasn’t what I had planned for when I quit my stressful job at the end of last year. I was expecting to have some time off, get some work completed on my house, get out and have some ‘me-time’ and rejoin the workforce by the middle of the year…feeling more fit and buzzy… all hunky dory! I was starting to feel better and more positive about the future. Then the virus appeared on the scene.

Now, I need to re-budget to cope with an extended time out (This could last for 6 months!), so I need to plan for a year (plus?) out. I don’t want to end up back in another toxic/stressful workplace, it will not do my mental health any good. I want to find somewhere which can survive this crisis and has a long term future, working within a happy, collaborative team where I feel fulfilled and contributing to a greater good.

I continue pondering a change in role to find something that could fit that criteria. I don’t think I will be the only one doing that at the moment. This crisis will make plenty of people think about the why and how they live their lives.

It could get to the point where yet again, I have no choice and have to take something that is a bad fit just for the income and because my past skill profile fits. With the passive income drying up and possibly taken some time to flow again, my cash will only last so long.

On the passive income subject, the news just keeps getting gloomier as dividends are withdrawn and interest rates cut. I did receive some dividend & interest income this month but I expect this to reduce in value and appearance from April onwards. In fact, I have just received some emails notifying me of the drop in interest on some savings accounts, basically the interest is being cut to nothing.

I await to hear from my tenant about the rent situation too. They have applied for universal credit, with the nearly 1 million others, which will include housing but will have to wait and see what the rent contribution will be and what kind of payment plan can be created for the arrears. I can give them a rent holiday – all that is doing is deferring the payments to later when they are back on their feet and have other outstanding debts. They have been good tenants up to now but given my own situation, I cannot sustain ‘carrying’ them rent free forever. The rent was part of my passive income. I had diversified my income streams but for them all to stop at once was not an expected scenario!

I am fortunate in comparison to some so I am not whinging, this is an observation on what I am going through, which is easier than for some.  I have plenty to be grateful for. My back is not against the wall yet. I need to look at putting my oxygen mask on first.

On a positive note, I have registered to volunteer and await to be called to help where I can. Let’s hope this lock down works and freedoms begin to appear sooner rather than later and the deaths caused by the virus are kept to the minimum possible.

Stay safe and respect to all the key workers who are doing a valiant job is such difficult times, saving lives and keeping the country fed!


photography of rainbow during cloudy sky

Photo by Alex on

6 thoughts on “Monthly Update – Mar 2020

  1. Pingback: The Full English – The problem(s) with behavioural psychology/ economics – The FIRE Shrink

  2. Kudos for registering to volunteer!

    I am being selfish and just using this time to spend with my daughter (and wife). Bit of a lame excuse but my wife still works 2 days a week from home so I am needed for child caring duties 🙂

    It’s a real shame we both planned to have time off work around this time, the virus has really crashed our party!

    It doesn’t come across whinging, you are just telling it like it is.

    At the end of the day there are plenty of people that just coast through life and this is just another bump in the tracks for them. It is surely more galling for the planners like us who have put in lots of hard work into getting into the position we have built for ourselves only to have it (hopefully only slightly) ruined. It’s not like we are trust fund children is it.

    But yes I would rather be in my position now than the one the “non planners” find themselves in, that is for sure.

  3. Hi – it’s Jason from the ourtour blog here – the motorhome guys. I’ve just come across your blog looking at links into ours, so apologies for not knowing much about you.

    I just wanted to say hello and to try and offer you some encouragement. From quickly reading your site it sounds like you’re well on the path to FI, so have both (a) the FI mindset and (b) assets behind you. Once you’ve got those two you’re so far ahead of most folks they’re specks in the distance, it’s not even funny.

    I was very lucky when I stepped out of the corporate IT cynic-fest and had a great couple of years out wandering about (who knew what was coming huh – Brexit and then COVID-19 would both had shafted our plans had we waited a few years), so when I came back I was fired up to handle anything. You’ve been dealt another hand, but if you’re willing grit your teeth, to do what the next person won’t, then you’ll get (and keep) the job as soon as opportunities start to arise again, that’s my experience anyhow.

    I was quite amazed at how COVID’s managed to batter income streams across the board too. Ju and I were afraid of **something** coming along to bite us so had an emergency fund covering at least 3 years expenses if all streams dried up. It felt over-the-top and we clearly missed out on growth while we held so much cash and premium bonds, but we’re able to sleep at night now. We’ve been lucky so far and our four rental incomes have continued, delaying any need to start eating into the EF, but we’ll sit out the storm, hope our loved ones stay healthy, and then regroup on the other side.

    Keep going, and the absolute best of luck to you. Cheers, Jay

    • Thanks Jay and Hello! I enjoy reading your posts (Ju’s too) and check in regularly, keep posting! Travelling is going to be a strange activity over the next year as countries control movements both internally and across borders.

      Yes, I will be gritting my teeth, keeping safe, protecting family and focusing on getting to the other side. I am on the FI path and trying hard to grasp it, it seems to be a bit of a slippery fish at the moment. Just could do with my income streams being more reliable. At least it is allowing me to take time out from work when I need to.

      If anything I am grateful. My positive spin at the moment is : I don’t have to worry about going back to a compact office where social distancing would have been difficult to enforce.

      I will continue to sew scrubs while the requests are still there.

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