Wait or Sell?

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Dilemmas – when owning a BTL.

So the government announce yet more changes for landlords making it harder unless you are a professional. Probably not that good for a professional either really.

I have been pondering selling my BTL for a while. I wanted to sell in 2020 but could not due to the pandemic and the ban on evictions during that period and found the rent useful for my own living costs. The tenancy renewal date does not fall well which has hinder my options. I have therefore held on but now looking to sell which looks like the wrong timing as the recession news builds and buyers potentially start to disappear. The new rules being proposed recently is making me want to sell, I am not a professional landlord and do not want the hassle any more. I don’t have multiple properties.

I browsed the properties up for sale in the surrounding area and there isn’t much up at the moment. If I look at sold properties I can see that a few have sold since the start of the year so it looks like there is a lack of properties in the area at the moment. I did see an investment property for sale nearby with tenant in situ but it has now disappeared off the listings and I cannot see it marked as sold so not sure if it has been sold or withdrawn from the market.

I called my letting agent and discussed selling up, “The market is active”. They said I would get the best price by selling as a vacant, no chain property. They gave me a quick valuation over the phone which aligned with my guess – which is less than the prices being quoted on property sites (approx. 10% less). The agent did a quick drive by to have a look at the property and said that an actual valuation would confirm the price. The current tenancy is not up for renewal until November and I would have to serve a Section 21 in September to try and obtain the property back to sell. ( I say ‘try’ as the new rules being discussed by the UK government may hinder this too).

I asked about selling the property with tenant in situ and they said there were a few landlords looking and had a few on their books, mainly ones based in the SE of England but the yield is only 5% based on estimated selling price. It may not be attractive to them. They would want to buy at a lower price point than a first time buyer so “expect to get less” when selling to investors only. They said that by doing the valuation and telling the tenant, it might strike fear in the tenant. I am not sure what they were driving at there? Would the tenant kick up a stink/cause trouble or move out at the end of the tenancy leaving an empty property?

Is it actually a bad time to sell?

I was not sure if the agent’s views are valid or not? I had a look and they have one nearby property up for sale on their site and its a similar size, empty, no chain and up for a slightly lower price than mine. It needs some work doing and does not seem as appealing as mine (I am biased). I am pondering testing the water as its a ‘no sale, no fee‘ process with a free valuation so I can test the market and see what will happen. I can see how the tenant reacts too.

At the moment if it sells at my target price then I would have made more interest on the investment than I would if I had left the money in a bank account. The property would make a little bit of capital growth and that would cover the selling costs/taxes and leave a little left as a small profit.

Am I missing something? Could I do something better? Any tips?

Will the recession hit and buyers disappear in coming months?

Will this become a bad investment? Could I end up making a loss by having to cover a void property during a stagnant UK property market?

UPDATE: I had a dig around and in the area most other houses are renting out at about 5% yield so mine seems to fit the norm for the area. Flats seems to be providing a 6% or 7% gross yield, after ground rents and/or service charges to cover their net yields would also end up being around 5-6%. I found a few flats with tenants in situ up for sale in the area for investors. House-wise most seem to be vacant or with tenants about to leave. There is one rental house up for auction with a min price which equates to a 5% rental yield.

What’s wrong with work?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read some media articles about the UK employment market and how there are plenty of jobs out there but no takers. They say how there are shortages in some sectors and plenty of inactive over 50s who could be filling these roles. Really?

I cannot remember the name of the person who was on the radio who was saying that over 50s have a lot of experience & knowledge to offer and how they should be considered for these roles. Now – who was this person aiming this comment at?

Was it the ‘inactive over 50s’? You should be applying for these jobs, your experience is wanted by a prospective employer. Maybe they were but as an ‘inactive over 50s’ – my response is that for me, I am tired of the workplace grind. The last few jobs I have had were full-on with plenty of office bullies and impossible deadlines that meant I spend too much time stressed out trying to pull rabbits out of hats for the senior management. I did not feel my experience was actually wanted or needed – other than the bit that showed I could do the activities required for the job. If I had any experience/ knowledge, comments or ideas to improve the business processes and help the company, I was told that it was not required and ‘just get on with the task at hand’. What was the point? Your ideas due to knowledge or past experiences was not required, it was immaterial and unwanted.

I want to slow down now, I would like a slow lane job where I can just go in work my hours without the stresses carried over into the next day and having to work my evenings to match deadlines. One without the threat of losing my job due to ‘perceived incompetence’ at every milestone review.

Sadly I have not found a job that matches that criteria yet, so I continue to sit on the outside trying to exist and watching from the edge. The jobs I have seen have an endless list of task and responsibilities as employers try to get one person to do multiple roles for single pay. Ok, I am being picky, I have also become very cynical. I am also trying to find a change in my work life and pace. I am noticing that I am slowing down and unable to work at the same rate I did before. I get brain fog and struggle to function at the fast pace of my younger years. For me, I need a less stressful job and one without all the pressure. When working I was looking sad, pale and had high blood pressure. Now I am not working, I am actually smiling more, feel happier and don’t have high blood pressure. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

I spoke to my sister who is very stressed out at the moment. She has no financial buffer (she used it up when made redundant a few years ago and has been unable to replenish it) so has to stick it out at her current job, she is looking to move but cannot find anything better, she works in one of these sectors which has a vacancy crisis. She is having to do more and more work as more people leave due to the stress & increased workload. It is snowballing and it will break her if she is not careful. She is waiting to see if her employer’s current contract is renewed, she should find out in the next few weeks. If it is renewed then she keeps her job but the workload will be increased to fulfil the new terms. If it is not renewed then she will have to wait and see if she, with others, gets offered TUPE to the new supplier or made redundant. Its a precarious situation and why the employer is struggling to fill vacancies. Who wants to join a company which could be losing their contract in the next few months and end up out of work.

She is working unpaid additional hours to get the tasks completed as she is pressured by the management to achieve the deadlines and juggle too many plates and told she cannot drop anything and made to feel that doing so will have a detrimental affect on her employment future.

This fear which is gripping the workplace and used as a big stick is making work unattractive to those who can choose. For some it is too much and they are crashing out of the workplace with illness and health conditions which become hard to shake off. I am so glad I don’t have to work at the moment. I hope things change and the workplace stops being such an aggressive, pressured place. It seems to be invading every sector of the work environment, at one time it was only some sectors that had the reputation for being aggressive and pressured. Every time I said ‘no’ to something I was told to rethink it and that ‘no’ was not an option and if I did not like it I should leave. One manager actually said to me ‘ If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen’ – so I did, I resigned.

Am I the only one seeing this?

Is anyone else feeling the stress?

What can be done to cure this workplace culture?

Monthly Update – May 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

A late post for last months figures, depressing reading really as the stock market continues to spiral downwards. I have been away on holiday, an escape to Scotland for my annual jaunt. A way of getting away from all this and having some fun.

The weather was not too good this year, talking to locals they say its the worst weather they have had in recent years. It seems that the season is about 3 weeks later than normal as the trees and floral were behind their normal flowering and growing rates. It did not spoil my holiday and enabled me to get away from things and not worry about the economy or my net worth plummeting. A nice break from MSM and social media. Given that I am living off my FI pot it is worrying to see the value plummet when it is required to sustain me until I reach my SPA. I may have to find some part time work more quickly than expected but I am currently enjoying spending time with my partner who has retired and enjoy the summer while we can. We still have some festival tickets to use in July so not really wanting to be dictated to by an employer on my holiday dates. (I have had employers who have refused my holiday requests in the past). I would like some autonomy so have tried to keep getting a little bit of cash from surveys and my other online channels. My little side hustle is not gaining any sales so I think that will be a dead end and I will stop trying.

I am not sure where the utility prices will be when I reach winter but I will have to look at ways to keep costs down and stay warm and fed. At the end of May my net worth is down another 3%, so all of last years gain has been sadly lost.

I have ordered my replacement double glazing units for my own house and waiting for them to arrive and get a fitting date. I am hoping they will help to insulate the rooms where they are being fitted to replace glass which has misted up. All the windows are south facing and all blown at the same time.

The large repair expense on my rental has also been booked in and just waiting for that to be completed. I did an online valuation for my rental and it came back with a value which I do not believe, given latest comparative sales in the area. I am waiting for a call back from a agent to discuss options. If I can achieve the value stated then this after taxes and expenses should give me around 3 years of income. I intend investing it into my ISA and then slowly draw it down over a few years to cover my gap between now and my SPA.

Income

I have income from ISA dividends and some taxable shares. I have my rental income and some cash from my online work. I will not get the online payment until June but it will help to cover expenses. I need to start looking at my cash holdings and how to gain more interest now that rates are picking up and I am receiving interest rate notices. It is good to see my cash starting to earn some additional interest even if it is nowhere near the current inflation rate. I use my cash buffer to live and leave my ISA and SIPP ‘growing’ – well if the markets were better, they should be growing, at the moment they are dropping and losing value.

Expenses

Just a few holiday costs to cover before I left and spending while there. I managed to get a full tank of fuel before the costs rose and with careful driving I was getting about 68 mpg so trying to get my value from the fuel. I saw fuel priced at £1.92 a litre – OUCH!

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping and cost of living rising, I am worried how this will affect my long term plans. I will continue to monitor and find ways of making some cash and cut my costs. I want to spend time doing some fun things over the summer. I will just see how it goes.

Where are we heading?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is going on at the moment?

All I hear on the media is doom and gloom. Living costs rising fast and prices just shooting upwards each week. The talk of stagflation and the markets kicking all over the place. I am fearful of a recession, a long one at that, I want to sell my BTL in the next 12 months and I cannot start the process for a few months yet. Yet again my plans are being scuppered and ripped to shreds. I will have to serve a section 21 and it will hit at just the wrong point in the year (winter). Not the best time of year to sell or try to get a property vacated. I fear that it is going to cost me a lot to get the place sold too, i.e. carrying a void house for months. Putting the property onto the market when there is a recession is not helpful as I could end up losing money, which was not the idea. I just wanted somewhere safe to put my redundancy money, then later sell and make a little bit of profit to cover costs and provide the equivalent to a reasonable rate of interest (~ 6%) on the invested money as that was better than a savings account ( ~1%). I think that idea has burst.

If COVID has not hit I would have initiated the process in 2020 and I would have been out of the rental market by now. I worry about the selling process as I watch my neighbour moving. They sold their house in November 2021, by open house and sold same day, but they have only just moved out, that’s 6 months to complete. Ouch! I guess some of that was due to a long chain, although it has taken my aunt 4 months to complete and that involved an empty house on one end and a first-time buyer on the other.

I was told by a friend that the area where my BTL property is is very competitive and that houses are selling fast (within days), they have a relative who has bought in an adjacent area and they were saying that they had to chase properties quickly as they were going as quick as they appeared on the market. I am not so sure this will be the case when I come to sell mine, this economic situation is not looking good. The property has low running costs so may appeal to a downsizer or a first timer trying to get on the housing ladder, its a 2-bed mid-terrace. It depends on what happens this winter with energy costs. I wonder if there will be any buyers at the start of 2023 when my property is likely to appear on the market? (If I can get the tenant out)

Any words of wisdom from BTL landlords out there?

Would local letting agents help me find a landlord who would be willing to buy the place with sitting tenant?

Am I better putting an empty property on the market and widen the potential buyers?

Dilemmas……

Try not to panic….

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

As it is Mental Health week I though I would post something related to mental health. So no, this is not a post about financial market panic … read on of you wish ….

I am focusing on my health in general at the moment both physical and mental and one thing that I read recently about agoraphobia made me think about my own experiences of panic/anxiety attacks. This is something that has creeped up on me slowly over the past few years. I think some of this is sadly linked to being female and of a certain age, that M* word again.

I started having the odd attack while at work. It normally happened when in our daily stand up meeting. There would be about 20 to 30 of us all crammed into a small meeting room. There was no air and if I had to stand, squashed up with others I would start to feel faint and struggle to breathe. The main trigger seemed to be the heat, if the heat in the room became too high I would start feeling really dizzy, I would feel that there was no air and I would almost collapse. I would try to leave the room or be by the door so I could make a quick exit.

I had episodes before when I had either felt faint or actually fainted. A previous occasion I was at a leaving party and we had gathered in a large pub and although there was plenty of space, I felt trapped and started feeling dizzy and turned white and nearly fainted. My work colleagues helped me out and after 5 minutes I was fine. They wanted me to see my GP and see what was up. The GP wired me to an ECG machine but couldn’t find anything wrong. The GP never mentioned this being any kind of anxiety or attack of any kind and I was just carried on. They just said they could not see anything wrong with me, so I just carried on.

At my last job, I would start having these attacks again while in the office. Again, when in meetings or just after meetings. I think they were linked to the stress of the environment. They involved feeling dizzy, faint and finding I couldn’t breathe (well, I could but it just felt like I couldn’t) a tight chest and feeling ‘enclosed’ or trapped.

Since stopping work the number of instances has dropped. I had one encounter in a pub which was just after lockdown eased and I walked in and the pub was relatively packed and the heat of the place hit my like a huge wave. I became so hot within seconds I had to sit down and felt like I was going to pass out. The place felt claustrophobic and I was struggling to breathe (or felt like it – I was breathing ok really). I sat with a cool drink and after 5 minutes I felt much better. My head stopped banging and my body temp dropped down to normal.

Another happened at a gig, again in an enclosed space. It was fine to start but as the place became packed and the heat in the place started to increase I started to feel strange. My head started to throb, my body temp started to climb and I found it hard to breathe. I felt claustrophobic and had to get out. I tried to make it to the exit and actually fainted as I reach the cooler air outside. The faint lasted seconds, just enough time for me to hit the floor (I just felt like I had stumbled) and people helped me to recover with a cool drink and a sit down. Again, within minutes I was fine. I have tried to not avoid such places as I don’t want this to restrict my life. So recently I returned to the same location to see a different band. This time the place was not so packed and although I felt apprehensive I succeeded in attending the whole gig with no incident.

It seems that there is a common trigger, a combination of enclosed space, lots of people, heat and a perceived lack of fresh air. Its a shame as I cannot control this and really don’t know if I ever will. I spoke to my sister and she has similar experiences and she thinks it is something genetic. I really don’t know, all I do know is that I have to accept it and try to stop it affecting my ability to get out and do things. I have checked my fitbit but it does not show anything unusual with my pulse or heart rate during these events.

I try to remain positive and enjoy my FI life. I will hopefully find a part time job in the future which will suit me and fit my lifestyle. I am learning to accept it and work with it.

If you enjoy my ramblings and want to buy me a coffee – click here.

Monthly Update – Apr 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

I have tried to enjoy April and the Easter break. I avoided the worst of the holiday crowds and ventured out with my partner to visit local towns/countryside and go out and about on our motorbike to a few cafes and enjoy the sunshine and good weather. I even managed to go and see a band play – the last time I saw these play was the month before lockdown happened.

Like many, I have been trying to keep my costs down and determine the consequences of the cost of living crisis and the impending fuel bills. I still do not know where my utility account will be moved too. I have been avoiding much of the news as it is so depressing and I am trying to stay positive.

At the end of April my net worth is down another 3%, so its not good when I see my investments and net worth dropping. Ok, I know I am drawing off them now so I can expect a drop but I am also trying to gain some growth so that my income balances out my expenses so I can live a FI life and not have to seek out full time work again. On that note, I have been looking for part time work but nothing going at the moment of interest. So I will keep doing the online work even though it does not pay well as it is giving a little bit of cash.

I have started receiving my tax certificates and my notice from HMRC to submit a tax return. I think I may have a little bit of tax to pay for the last tax year. As things started to open up and companies started to recover I received some bumper dividend payments.

I have also received a letter from my old employer saying that they are ditching moving my DB pension to a pension company who will then become responsible & liable for the supply of my DB pension benefit. I am waiting to see what that really means. I was banking on this as a baseline for retirement at state pension age. The letter suggests that the DB value may be reassessed and I may not get the amount I was expecting when transferred to the pension company – really annoying way of getting out of paying what was promised. I was going to use my DC pension to carry me to state pension age – but this may not pan out as well as first thought.

I have had a large repair expense on my rental to fund this month and I am beginning to think about selling the property. It is starting to cost me more in maintenance and the rental rules are increasing which makes it not profitable as a single house landlord. I entered this by accident rather than design and the rules are growing and I would rather have my money back and look to place that elsewhere and lower my potential stress levels. I know that house prices have gone up but with the current climate I may find it a hard and slow sell. I can’t initiate anything until the current rental contract is up and I will have to issue a section 21 to initiate the process of obtaining the property back from the tenant. I have to assume that the tenant will be reluctant to leave as looking at the local market there are no equivalent rental properties available. So I need to be prepared for a long repossession and sale process while still having to cover the basic costs (mortgage, tax, etc.) I have had a look at the past property sales but nothing has sold in the immediate area for months so it is hard to gauge the market and how easy or hard it will be to sell.

I am preparing to go on holiday soon and paid the balance so that will be great to get away from home and have a change from my normal environment. I could do with getting away as the good weather appears. I have a wanderlust and am so glad I am not in an office looking out at all the sunshine. I can be the master of my day and determine what I want to do based on the weather.

Income

On the income front, I have earned more doing surveys that on the online platform, yet again. Watching my investments decline and net worth drop is a bit worrying now I don’t have a working income.

I have started to withdraw money from my matched betting accounts – although one account is a painful process. My original card has been replaced and I now have to register a new one and wait until this is completed before I can withdraw money. To make it even more annoying, I have to deposit money with this new card before I can use it to withdraw to…. Other accounts have just let me change the card details. I am not sure I will continue with match betting, I just don’t find it stimulating enough even though the profits are tax free, which is an incentive. I just cannot get into a rhythm and I don’t seem to get many offers to make it worthwhile. I’m not their preferred punter. I should have tried withdrawing money before to make this process easier. My bad! Its easy to add money into the accounts but near impossible to remove it!

Expenses

My main expense this month have been rental repairs. With limited access and inspections during lockdowns the house has a few issues that have built up and now need to be resolved. It is now eating into my income and making this an unprofitable income stream. In addition to the taxation increases and the new rules coming in it will be impossible to comply with them without spending huge amounts of money to upgrade. The main one is energy rating. At the moment it is ok but I need to get a new energy cert next year – which will be required if I want to sell anyway. In a few years the minimum rating level will be increased and to get my property to comply will require considerable outlay… It’s a small mid-terrace and to go up a level, the recommended upgrades are solar panels and/or a heat pump. There is not much roof or wall space to squeeze these in never mind the upheaval of retro fitting the interior.

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping and cost of living rising, I am worried how this will affect my long term plans. I would rather not have to find full time work again. I would rather use FI to bridge my transition into retirement at SPA.

I have some maintenance costs on my own property to complete this year and the increasing prices mean I am fighting a moving target. I have the time now to arrange them but do I have the money? My FI funds need to support both the repair outlays and my normal living costs without ending up being unable to do any more than heat my home and eat in the years ahead.

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.

Monthly Update – Feb 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Well, what a year so far. At the end of Feb I have lost 7% of my net worth. It is a short month but plenty has happened. Pretty much everything is down and with the cost of living rising I am worried how this year is going to end. The government are ending all the COVID restrictions – but not necessarily all the legislation and rules that went with it. A war has now begun in Eastern Europe which has crashed the markets and begun a fear of additional division.

The energy crisis is getting worse. I am still waiting to see where my account will be reassigned since my energy supplier went out of business. I have received my new energy rates and from April my electricity standing charge will increase by 70% ! Yes, given that the future is electricity only and that we will be driving electric cars in the future, it makes sense for the utility companies to start piling all the increases onto electricity rather than gas rates. New houses will be built with electricity only and with car charging being the norm, the fees for electricity use will climb. I cannot see prices being reduced.

I am trying to stay positive, at least I am not living under the nightmare of invasion and I feel sorry for Ukrainians trying to find safe places and flee for their lives.

Income

On the income front, I have earned more doing surveys that on the online platform, again. I have been trying to build my new side hustle. No sales yet and I am doubting it will but I can but try. It may take 6 months to see any sales, so I have to wait for some time to see if anything will happen. I will be glad when the warmer weather appears, it may help my mood. Like others, I am now sick of the winter and need some sunshine and some positivity to lighten my mood. Watching my investment decline makes me think about the sequence of returns risk and how I stopped working at just the wrong time. Since I quit, there has been a pandemic and now a war with its associated economic turmoil. I am trying to survive on my savings and leave the investments to recover and maybe I can then look to draw from them in a few years when the markets have picked up. I will continue to spend some time doing some social things while I still can.

Expenses

My main expenses this month have been social, going out and trying to enjoy life while I can. Meeting up with people and having a laugh. I am enjoying not working and want to maintain this lifestyle. I have spoken to a few people who are working and they are envious of my free time and spending my day doing other things, like walking & cycling to improve my health. I met up with an ex work colleague who has now decided that they are officially retired. They have updated their linkedin profile to indicate this too. They have a few more years to go until they can claim their state pension but just want to enjoy life while they can and have their health to do so. They can afford to retire, although they need to adjust their finances, they have recently received an inheritance and will use that to fund their early retirement.

Month End Summary

With my net worth dropping I am worried how this will affect me as I try to drawdown and find ways of making the pot last. The inflation rates negate any gains. I have started investigating the repossession options on my BTL and I am expecting, given the current climate, that I will have to go down the court eviction route so need to look at the costs required for this and then look to sell. Not sure what the house market will be like at that point given the cost of living crisis and economic conditions.

I will just keep pottering along and determine a route to survive this downturn. I will hunker down and try to find positive things to focus on and keep a smiling and be grateful.

Honey Pot Drawdown Plan

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have been spending my time researching and reading articles and guides on how to construct a drawdown plan. The winter weather has been too bad to do anything else, so I have focused on the question : How do I manage my honey pot and get it to serve me well over the next few years and consider myself FI?

I did the original ‘target FI income’ x 25 calculation to obtain my FI target figure years ago and my Honey Pot has reached that total, in fact it passed that figure last year but has, due to current market conditions, crash to just above this target. I expect it to drop below this level very soon.

I quit my job 2 years ago, I was not intentionally retiring permanently, just having a break from working for a while. I was intending spending this time traveling and experiencing things I had been unable to do due to work commitments. I needed a break from the work grind. The pandemic hit and smashed my plans and I have been living through the pandemic on cash reserves, rent and any side income. This has proved to work for now and to make sure I am ok, I have been living on about 70% of my target FI income to give me a buffer. During the pandemic this wasn’t too hard as the lockdowns prevented me from doing any leisure expenses other than a 2 week holiday in the UK last year. But now the world is opening up, I want to get out more.

I now need to do some serious number crunching to see how I can fare over the long term. I want to be able to draw enough from the Honey Pot to live without a job being necessary. I want to be able to go out and do things, travel and complete life experiences and not run out of money.

Now, unlike some other FI bloggers I follow, I do not have a dependent partner or children. This has its pros and cons. I have less to worry about from a financial dependency viewpoint but it does mean I don’t have the benefits of joint finances or shared expenses. I cannot therefore use economies of scale to help reduce expenses and living costs are therefore higher for me.

I watched a few YouTube videos recently on lifespan, I have used a few sites and my forecasts suggest I have a 25% chance of living to 95. I have been working on plans running to 95 and a little beyond just so I can make sure I have a margin of error. We don’t know how long we really have but I can only use forecasts and look around at close family relatives as a genetic guide to what is possible. Anything can happen, nothing is guaranteed.

I have to therefore allow for a minimum of 42 years in my plan. I don’t need to preserve my Honey Pot for others so I can focus on one life. I have been looking at pension income and when these will become available. I have 14 years until I reach the current state pension age(SPA), when I can claim my state pension (which is less than the full £9k as I do not have the full 35 years entitlement) and also gain access to a company DB pension which when added to the state pension will equate to 75% of my ‘FI target income’. I would therefore need my other investments to top up the difference at this point.

I have also read articles saying that once we reach the age of 75 our spending decreases so maybe my FI target income figure could be reduced, I will maintain it for now so I can assume ‘the worst case scenario’.

I am using a 3% SWR to determine how to drawdown my ISA and SIPP (when I can access it). I have some shares to sell too, the majority of which are from an ex-employer and accrued from sharesave schemes during my employment with them. These currently provide some dividend income which I add to my annual income stream. My intention is to sell these off in stages over the coming years to utilise CGT and add to my cash pot – any extra, I will invest to provide some additional growth.

I have also been reading about variable SWRs and maybe I should use this as a way of living now; draw a higher SWR now and then phase it downwards to 3% as I reach SPA and determine what the actual top up rate would need to be from my ISA and SIPP at that point.

There are quite a few ideas running around my mind at the moment. I need to find a good site to enable me to do some scenario simulations and see what the success outcomes are.

I am excluding my BTL from these plans at the moment. I am looking to sell the BTL soon so I can release money tied up in it, after expenses and taxes I should have some additional cash to replenish cash pots or investment accounts. This is a area I am separately running scenarios for.

I have plenty to keep me occupied and I have a few spreadsheets on the go at the moment. I am trying to model scenarios and determine the best plan and have a few variants to use should things go awry. This maybe more important than ever as I look at the stock market and the world news which is currently looking bleak.

If others have suggestions or useful info and tools that could help with this I would be happy to hear about them. Feel free to add them in the comments below.

In the meantime, I will ponder options, run scenarios and determine a number of routes I can take and determine if I am truly FI.

Monthly Update – Jan 22

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Well, what a start to the year. By the end of Jan I have lost 5% of my net worth. Pretty much everything is down and with the cost of living rising I am somewhat worried what this year will bring. I have started the year spending time doing ‘free time’ stuff. I have started going out more and trying to cycle, walk and enjoy the best of the dry and sunny weather. I have also started working on my new passive income idea. I am not sure it will fly but I will give it a go. It may take a few months to get some sales to appear – if they ever do.

I am not good at marketing and with others having the same idea and with costs now rising, discretionary spending curbs my mean this idea will not fly. I have taken a break from the online platform as the volume of work and the pay rates are so low it really is not worth my time. I received some dividend income this month and this has surpassed the total income received from my online working for the whole of last year. With dividends being paid, I now wonder if it is worth the point of carrying on with the online platform.

I had another interview for a job but it really was not going to happen. Just as I had my interview, the government changed their advice to ‘go to the office’. Although the person who suggested the job to me was saying I could work remotely, it was quite clear during the interview that the successful applicant must work in the office. They may have some staff working remotely now but they do not intend taking any more on in that capacity. The commute to the office was prohibitive, it’s about an hour and a half train journey away so not really very practical.

My net worth has started the year down by 6%. I have lost half of the gains from last year. Pretty sad when I am looking at how to survive off it and cope with the inflation and cost of living rises now occurring.

I am still waiting to see what happens with my energy supplier. I just pay the bills and wait to see what happens. I dread to think what the costs will be from April. Other than sitting in a cold house with no heating on I have done everything I can to keep my usage down. The government offer of a rebate on council tax to offset the energy bills does not really do much for me. The rebate is the equivalent of one month’s council tax payment so really does not help much.

While speaking to others, we find this £200 energy ‘loan’ is a bit of a fudge too. It’s just an interest free loan and with fingers crossed that the rates lower over the next few years to help flatten the curve. I cannot see how this will happen. These new energy changes such as multiple variable day rates coming in just adds to the complexity of tracking usage. Energy is going to get more expensive for all. Can you work and live in the off peak times to cut your usage?

I was shocked to read the article about someone with solar panels and an air source heat pump who is paying £99 per WEEK for electricity! That sounds like a very bad installation and does not make me feel very comfortable about fitting any of those ‘green, energy saving’ options.

Income

On the income front, I have earned more doing surveys that on the online platform this month. My rate of pay is better from surveys even if participation is capped each week. I will keep watching for online work now and again but am wondering about getting a part time job. I will continue working on my new passive income idea and see if that takes off, I am enjoying doing it even if it does not earn me any income. I am feeling more down with life and really not interested in going back to the IT grind. Something different is needed as I just don’t feel any passion for that job any more. I will be glad when the warmer weather appears, it may help my mood.

Expenses

My main expenses this month have been birthday gifts and meeting up with people. I am enjoying not working and want to maintain this lifestyle. I have a few large expenses next month which I have been focusing on so I can manage my money and expenses accordingly.

Month End Summary

I am pleased with the dividend income this month as that was a real boost for me. I just need dividends to keep on coming this year. With my net worth dropping I am worried how this will affect me as I try to drawdown and find ways of making the pot last. The inflation rates negate any gains. I cannot access pensions for a few more years yet so need my ISA, shares, rent and cash take the strain. I spoke to some others about my BTL and want to look at selling it in 12 months. I am now looking at what I need to do to get possession of the property so I can sell it. In the area, there have been no recent sales so it is hard to see how much it will go for and also if it will sell. I had a look at Zoopla but their estimates are WAY off! There is no way the house is worth the money they are suggesting. With selling costs and taxes I may just get my invested money back and break even.

I will just keep pottering along and see how long I can last before I have no choice but to get another job.