August – monthly update

Wow – another month over and I have just updated my spreadsheets. Ok, this month was good for dividend income. I received a good wedge of cash this month as a few companies pay out this month. I also had my regular saver account mature and pay my 6% interest. All done and closed, so back in there quickly to open a new one for this year and plough money into it on a regular basis. This year it will only play 5% which is still good compared to the savings account norm. It would be great if I could save more in there but it has restrictions which cap the total that you can save.

I have pushed money into my ISA and SIPP this month using the dividends received. My ISA account is about to have a platform move so I will then be unable to trade while this ‘transfer’ happens. That’s a bit of a pain, can understand why having done website re-platforms as a job role but its annoying when you experience it. In the meantime I track the growth, which is good this month.

All this positive news helps to give me focus and avoid the hell that is my working life. I know, people post that I should move, the pay is good and I’m in my “one-more-year” mode trying to just stick this one out to reach a threshold and then just call it quits! Hang my boots up and not work for a while – if at all. In another twist and turn, my counterpart on the supplier side of the project has resigned! just shows how s**t this project is. It just adds to the rubbish and office politics that I’m surrounded by. People are falling by the wayside as each month progresses. Being positive I have been doing things outside work to take my mind off all this rubbish.

So bank holiday weekend involved a visit to a velodrome to see a cycling event. So fabulous to see the tandems – yes tandems – doing over 25mph on the oval track. The added complexity here? The stokers were all blind! All trusting the front person to keep them on course and upright. Things like that just make your troubles seem so trivial. Some great time trails and points races seen. The para athletes were so inspiring. How to reset your mind.

I also managed to go to a T20 match. Now my grandfather was a real cricket fan and would watch the long matches – I really had no enthusiasm or patience. T20 mind was a really different thing – loved it! Something to tick off my bucket list. A great game and with the result known when you left at the end of the evening. Could easily do that again but the final is tomorrow! so will have to wait until next year.

Now looking to find some more fun experiences to do over the next few months – plus a weekend away somewhere.  More of this is good for my mind and body.

So crack on into September and keep this saving momentum up and reach that goal.

Nearly there…..

 

 

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July – monthly update

Better late than never !

July was a good month for income with quite a few NS&I accounts issuing interest. I also received a few dividend payment this month too.

My net worth seems to be steadily growing, I would like a nice double-digit growth figure but single-digit is it.

Next month should be good for dividends too. I have had a few expenses this month but still managing to keep a high savings rate of 50%+.

I need to review my monthly passive income and how I am reinvesting this and understand when I can live off the passive income in the future When will I be FI? Some time off from actually working would do me some good for a while.

 

June – Monthly Update

This month seems to have flown by – some of this has been due to being on holiday! Two weeks off, travelling around Scotland. The weather has been great and I have felt very relaxed and carefree. I feel revived although I doubt it will last long.

I really don’t care about ‘The Man’, it’s been a terrible few weeks on the run up to my holiday and I …SOOOOO… needed to get out of the office. Another guy left the team too, he wasn’t liking the job and the office environment either  – glad I am not the only one feeling this way! He has managed to find another job so has run as fast as possible out of the door…

It’s just a matter of finding a new job and getting through the stupid interview processes that are in place involving online tests and multiple interviews. It used to be a simple process now its a long cycle of assessments and probing. The sooner I can escape the better. Permanent roles just aren’t out there, it seems that they are being offered as fixed-term contracts only. The way of the beast now…. “Nuff Said!

I am currently in contact with a recruitment agent about a possible role but I don’t hold out much hope – plus I need to get time off work to attend an interview! Not good when I have just got back from a 2 week holiday – “You want MORE time off?“.

How have my finances done? Pretty good actually, my expenses this month are down as I have been away, my saving rate is higher this month as a result. My holiday is normally a walking one, so no retail therapy and expensive meals out. I have been quite frugal and have been trying to find any way of increasing my savings rate and cut costs. I don’t think I can cut any more off my costs. Looking at needs not wants.

My actual net worth is still plateauing – as much as I add to the pot, it is just treading water making up for the fall in investment values. Overall since I started on this FI path my net worth has increased 6% – not very good in comparison to other FIers who manage to get double-digit growth. I started off on the path really well as there were so many things I could do to make a difference, so in my first year I did make a double-digit % but since then it has dropped off. I have exhausted any more avenues to reduce costs.

I have a bad investment allocation and have been reviewing and re-balancing to gain some growth. Most of my funds are now in ETFs and I have moved into cheaper funds and cut account fees. I will have dividend tax to pay this year and I am moving the shares into ISA and SIPP accounts to try and prevent this in future years.

My shares from a previous employer (ShareSave and Share Option schemes) have been hit hard by the fluctuating market and the sector they are in has been hit harder than most. I cannot sell all in one go due to CGT so need to sell chunks each year and spread the risk across the market by buying funds. The share price is down at the moment and they have been giving out special dividends so want to balance the sell offs with dividend payments.

Pension accounts have been growing although the fund prices seem to have taken a dive at the end of this month but overall I am still making positive inroads on this part of my FI planning and taking advantage of employer contributions and tax credits. They will not be enough to live on until I combine with a state pension – if it exists when I reach 67. I commented on this in my previous post as the annual statements are just a joke.

Back to working for ‘The Man’ tomorrow and I really don’t enjoy going into work. I could do with trying to find another career path as my current career feels like a dead-end as I am really fed up with the ‘s***’ and  BS that I have to put up with every day.

I hate being in an office all day and my health is really starting to be affected by it, my holiday has helped to illustrate this due to my lack of fitness. Need to find a way of rebalancing my life and getting my mojo back.

Self-confidence and Self-respect at an all time low in the work area of my life.

 

May – Monthly Update

Wow – the year seems to be flying by and I have a bank holiday weekend ahead of me.

I have just been doing my monthly summary and can see that this month has been a bit heavy on expenses, mainly paying for my summer holiday which is only a few weeks away now and some seasonal spending.

At last, my SIPP is showing a profit! the funds have been slowly rising over the past month and they have now started to offset the original investment buy/costs. I have also received the tax reclaim this month  – I didnt realise it would take so long to get the tax reclaim into the account. My pensions are quick at claiming and investing the tax reclaim – but not this SIPP company. It makes me wonder if there is a ‘slight delay’ to enable them to accrue some interest during transit?

Anyhow, with the sun out and the warm weather, it has lightened my mood which is gratefully received and required. I am counting down to my holiday and time away from my workplace. ‘The Man’ is tiresome and so full of office politics at the moment it might as well be them participating in the general election. Things are now accumulating on the project I am working on and the findings are not good. It may mean that the project is canned, if so, they have no need for me long-term so my time there could come to an end quicker than I thought. Which is fine, that’s the reason for the FI fund – to not be worried about the need to work. Its about having choices and the ability to live without being tied to ‘The Man’. Some independence and self-sufficiency.

My FI fund is looking good at the end of this month and is almost back to the level it was at when I took my ‘FI break’. Pension funds are looking good, making good gains and the SIPP is now looking healthier.

I have increased my ISA monthly savings amount to take advantage of the new allowances. Being able to put upto £20k into an ISA will really help me as I can move money that is idling in savings accounts into the ISA an earn some better income.

I also want to sell some of my non-tax sheltered shares and move the money into pension, SIPP and ISA accounts and the new allowances give me the freedom to do this.

Happy May bank holiday everyone, I am off to enjoy the sun.

April Fool

The 1st April all ready. April Fool’s day in the UK and I wonder what will appear in the media today….

I have just spend a few hours doing my monthly review to see where I am financially. Its been a quiet month really, I have been topping up my ISA and SIPP with any spare money to reach any tax year limits where possible and I have been re-balancing my funds. So sold funds and bought others to try and diversify and re-balance my accounts as I hold too many UK funds and need to move some into Global funds. In the normal way for me, the funds I have moved into have dropped in value but I hope they will pick up and move back into the black in the future.

I don’t really like buying funds at this time of year as I feel that the funds get overheated as everyone is trying to use up their allowances so there is a spike.  I will continue to review the re-balance activity over the following few months to smooth out the buying peaks.

Based on this month last year my net worth is up. Based on last month, I am down. The volatility in the markets continues and my investments seem to roller coaster rather than ‘bob’ along lightly. The sooner Brexit gets more settled the better.

I managed to fit in a long weekend holiday. A motorbike trip with my partner to Whitby to catch the sunshine. A nice ride round the York moors, a visit to Goathland and fish and chips in Whitby itself. The dry weather and blue skies were great. Although others had the same idea, so Whitby was heaving with people, cars queuing to get into the harbour area. Some very relaxing cafe stops in small villages on the York moors and pub meals in the evenings helped to re-charge the batteries. Being able to sit outside with a pint and take in the warm sunshine and views was great for my sanity. I need a few more weekends like this!

I needed the break from work as my head is about to explode. Why? Because my head feels like a football, being kicked between multiple managers (including my boss) as the office politics kicks in big time. I have receive multiple ‘verbal battering’ in meetings from various managers over the past month because I am being used as a deflection tactic by others and the scapegoat for other people’s inadequacies and failings. I have been well and truly hung out to dry by my boss too, so much for their comments about ‘having my back and supporting me’. They well and truly stabbed me in the back then tried to dress the wound with empty words afterwards. From what I can glean from others in the company, this scenario happened 2 years ago and resulted in my predecessor leaving! (as they were receiving the same treatment and decided that enough was enough).

The sooner I can quit this current career the better. It is no good for my health and I am fed up of being treated like dirt that can be shouted at and generally poorly treated. My head hurts.

I have been expected to put in extra hours this month and I have just continued to be barracked during this time too. I know I don’t work the kind of hours that some others do, I am not working a 12 hour day (work + commute) but to be fair I have done that and I feel I’ve had enough of it. “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt“, I just want a better work-life balance now. I have worked the long hours through my 20s and 30s and put in the effort and received no reward for it – other than to actually lose my job to redundancy. I want to slow down and get off the high-speed train and take a slower journey now that enables me to stop and do other things along the way.

I am being made to feel that I am inadequate and incapable of doing my job. The pressure and expectation is being increased and I am expected to perform. Well, I think I have had enough. My confidence has been squashed to nothing, I am now internally questioning my ability to do the job at all. My burnout limits just don’t seem to be at the levels they once were.

That is why I am on this journey to FI so I can have choices. To gain it I need to stick at this current job a bit longer and continue to save hard. I am so near and yet so far away…….

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.