April seems to been an average month for me. With UK lockdown beginning to ease, I can start to feel more positive about activates. It’s the start of the tax year so a chance to review my current situation and determine a plan for the new tax year.
Financially, my net worth has risen and I ended the month 6% up compared to the start of the year. This is a relief given that I have been living off my emergency fund and watched my shares and investments roller coaster over the past 18 months. Both shares and funds seem to be rising and picking up well after the pandemic year. What a write-off 2020 has been. I was hoping to have spent the time doing ‘me things’ and detoxing from my last job and looking forward to moving on to a new role. Things just didn’t work out as planned sadly. As I am in my 50s, I am going to struggle to find work as there are plenty of younger people out there also searching for work. I do need to watch my spending as I draw down my cash and leave my investments to grow, at some point I need to take some growth cash from my investments so I keep a balance of cash and investment to cope with any down turn in the economy.
I read TA’s article on Monevator where he announces that he has pulled the plug on work. It was good to read and will be interesting to see how life changes and what articles will be posted in the future. He is still working really, just not for the ‘The Man’. In some ways I am happy I am not working at the moment as the amount of working stressed-out people I am seeing seems to make me not want to go back to the workplace. They are saying how they wish they could be a ‘lady of leisure’ like me, not tied to ‘The Man’. I keep feeling divided over work, I feel anxious when I think of going back to the workplace but also feel guilty for not working when those around me are.
I can be grateful as I speak to ex work colleagues and family who are now being asked to go back into the office and submit to weekly COVID testing – I am glad I don’t have to put up with that. It feels like a drug test, proving that you are ok and fit to work and “irresponsible”. I know it is necessary but it also illustrates how bad our workplaces are with such poorly ventilated buildings and office spaces. Where I used to work they fitted new double glazed windows with NO opening windows, it was really bad when working on a hot day. I would almost pass out as there was no air flow even with the doors open. There was no air-con so I was working in a sealed box. Where my sister works it’s an old building with rotten windows that are painted shut so cannot open to gain any ventilation. If they want fresh air they have to go outside.
If I can stick this out I will try to stay on the lightly self-employed boat for a while and drift along trying to soak up the sun and try to stay away from full time work. I would like a part time job but they don’t exist in my line of work and the normal part time roles are scarce due to the pandemic, so for the moment I will continue living off my cash and letting my investment pick up the slack.
On the income front, some more share dividends were paid this month to add to my funds. It would be good if my other share holdings would start paying dividends but understandably these companies are holding back to maintain cashflow as they struggle with the effects of the current lockdown. Instead I will just watch the share prices begin to recover and grow via share price rather than dividends appearing in my accounts. I can see that I have another dividend declared for next month but others due that month have now issued results and will not be paying out any dividends until they have reviewed their trading season later this year. They may start paying out in 2022 but it is very unlikely this year seems to be the ‘between the lines’ thought reading through their results documents.
I have been trying to earn more money online, the site I use has had terrible problems this month including a full on outage for 3 days. It didn’t help that their hosting company had a fire in one of their data centres, which didn’t affect them directly at the time but may have limited their support for this event. It is now having problems making payments via one particular payment processor – which just happens to be the processor I use to receive my payments. Bad considering it is supposed to be a rated platform. They have advised us to change our payment provider to try and enable them to send our money via a different route. I am just waiting to see what happens. The associated user forum is full of pretty annoyed users, including those who depend on the money being paid weekly. I have therefore completed the setup of a transfer account which will offer better exchange rates so I can increase the amount finally received and cut processing fees. I will see how that works for the next few months. It also means I can collect some cash earned on a US site which I have been unable to pick up until now. I don’t do much work on their site as US tax rules restrict the amount I can earn before US tax is due.
Savings wise I have collected what I can but the rates are pretty poor and getting worse. Again, as per Monevator I have a NS&I savings cert that is up for renewal next month. They have sent out the paperwork this month and as per TI I will let it auto renew and take the hit on the poor interest rate. It has moved to CPI from RPI and it is about the same as the rates I am now getting from my bank savings accounts. I could close and put into investments but it is my cash pot and so I will accept the hit and let my investments balance out the poor returns in this cash pot. It will just keep pace with inflation.
Now the new UK tax year has started, I have sent a share cert off so I can transfer it into my trading account and sell down at a suitable point this year. I will use up my CGT allowance to sell and move the money to my ISA and/or top up my SIPP to diversify into broader funds. I have started receiving my tax certificates and I will start putting my tax checklist together ready for my accountant. I am hoping that they confirm the amount of tax I owe for last year is minimal, if any tax is due at all!
As a positive end to the month I have been to a pub! Yes, I have managed to meet up with friends outside and have a drink in sunny weather. Whether it was rain or shine we were going to meet up, the weather was on our side. It was a good, positive note to signal the end of the latest lockdown. I am also crossing my fingers that I can travel to Scotland soon, now the border has been opened earlier than planned. I can then have some time away from my home locale and feel like I am getting a break from the prison. A holiday at last, it’s the holiday booking from last year that was moved and the date is now imminent and the property owner is gearing up for me to travel there. Wow, a holiday would be great and a real mental boost for me as I have been feeling down recently. A change of scenery will really help me. Some good weather would help, I am writing this on the first UK May bank holiday Monday as I look out the window all I can see and hear is heavy rain and strong winds!