Monthly Update – Mar 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Well, here we go ! The UK cost of living and the fuel cost rise is now active. I was one of the many who supplied readings to try and lock my fuel prices at the correct rates rather than have the estimate and have the monthly bill calculated at the higher rate. I am still waiting to see where I will be moved to as my current energy supplier went bust a few months ago and is currently being run by a government appointed company. When I looked at my new rates, I am now having to pay double for my standing charge. I cannot do anything to mitigate that hike, I have no control on it, all I can do is try to cut down on my usage but I don’t think I can do any more than I am already. Some years ago I had a energy deal which did not have a standing charge, I just paid a little more on the units and it worked really well for me. The government pulled this type of deal and now we are forced to pay a standing charge. I feel that we are being scammed, the energy sector should not have been privatised as the money is going abroad and I keep hearing how we are paying for other counties to give their consumers discount and help with their bills. That’s my view, I don’t think infrastructure should be privatised but its done now. I now wonder if I should have gone for the solar installation deal that was on offer but the ROI at the time meant I would not get any benefit. If I did that calculation now, it could have been worth it. It is what it is now. I read stories on how heat pumps are no good in UK homes and they actually cost more to run that gas systems. It some point I will re look at solar as that seems a better option for me.

At the end of March my net worth is down 5%, so I have managed to recover a little of the growth from last year. I really need my investments to grow so they can sustain me.

The good news this month is that I have received a very nice tax free annual interest payment from NS&I, these index linked savings accounts are not available to buy any more. It was a nice sum to receive compared with the meagre sums from other savings accounts. It just helps to keep the value of these savings in line with inflation. I also won £25 on premium bonds too.

As the end of the tax year approaches, I have started to review my income and I may have to pay some tax this year. My dividends picked up considerably last year due to special payments and is well over the dividend allowance, in combination with my income (rent + online income) I think I will just breach the personal allowance and will have to pay tax.. Shame, I was so close. I will let my accountant work it out as I have some expenses that I can claim which may just pull me back under the allowances.

I also appear to have dodge the virus this month. I spent about 5 hours in an indoor location with someone who later tested positive for COVID and I spent the following week wondering if any cough, sniff or headache was the virus. I did LFTs every few days which remained negative, others in the group also remained negative so I await the next exposure.

Income

On the income front, I have earned more doing surveys that on the online platform, again. I have stopped doing them now until the new tax year begins as I think I am over the tax allowance. As my dividends have now started to pick up I may not need to do my online work any more which is great news. I was doing it as a stop gap during the pandemic. Watching my investment decline and net worth drop has made me think about the sequence of returns risk and how I stopped working at just the wrong time.

Although, if I have continued at my last job, I would have been laid off – so I have been in control of my own path rather than be dumped. I do feel sorry for the P&O staff. It reminds me of my second redundancy when we were treated badly. The parent company called an all staff meeting and announced the sale of the company, due to a employment contract anomaly were were told we had two options, not sign a contract amendment and be immediately made redundant (with 1 month’s pay – we did not qualify for redundancy) or be sold with the company to someone else. I signed the amendment alongside others thinking we may retain our jobs under new owners. But when the company was sold, we were immediately made redundant as the new owner had bough the rights but not the people. So ended up being made redundant with 1 month’s pay any way.

Expenses

My main expense this month have been household repairs. After the storms, my fencing was broken and I had to get it fixed. Luckily, it just needed new post supports (the wooden posts has rotten at the bottom and split) rather than panels – the fence just wobbled in the wind – the repair was not cheap (seller’s market!). I had concrete godfathers fitted. A large expense but cheaper than a whole new fence as the main fence is in good condition. The fence should now last a good few years. The guys did a good job, digging holes and filling with concrete and I managed to find them, recommended, through a local group on facebook.

My other largest expense has been my car. I had to get it MOT’ed this month to keep it on the road. I needed some suspension repairs done (again, not cheap- advisory from last year) and then I had it serviced and MOT – which is passed with no advisories, YAY! I am glad I am not commuting for work as the cost of fuel is just madness. I agree with some people on YouTube who are saying how expensive it is to live in the UK and the West in general. Prices just seem to keep going up yet when looking back on historic costs, some were higher than now but not impacting consumer prices and the cost of living like it is now. So is there actually some underlying profiteering going on here?

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping and cost of living rising, I am worried how this will affect me as I try to drawdown and find ways of being FI. The inflation rates negate any gains. The only positive is the pick up in dividends, which I hope will continue. I have started investigating how to best place my cash so it is not being eaten away by inflation but is accessible for living costs.

I am just glad the summer is getting nearer and I can go out and enjoy the sunshine.

One thought on “Monthly Update – Mar 22

  1. Like a lot of variables, sequence of return risk is really a matter of luck. As much as you plan out your FI, it’s impossible to time the market. If you’re 95% of the way there this period of certainty will likely be just a blip on the radar at an inconvenient time. Enjoy some sunshine!

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