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.

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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.

December 2016

I am very late posting but I have had a nice relaxing Christmas away from work. A whole week + a few days off work has been fabulous!

For some this is the normal, for me it is a luxury as my past employment meant that Christmas was peak trade so expected and have worked Boxing days and Christmas Eves quiet regularly.

Now I work in a sector that isn’t affected by that peak and it is so great to be able to have a whole week and a bit of time off and say – “have a great holiday, see you in the new year.”

I have neglected by FI updates too as the time has been spend doing other things and avoiding looking at the poor state of my FI funds. The Brixit rumbling continue and my funds just rise and fall with each and every day of debate and counter-debate.

I update my FI figures the other day and I ended the year up by 3%. not bad considering that ‘free time’ I had last year and that dent that made on my funds which i have slowly replaced this year. In comparison to the previous year I am up as I only made a 2% uplift for 2015. At least it is an overall rise, it could have been a negative figure compared to my previous year.

My dividends are down as my shareholdings reduce their pay outs and start to wonder what Brexit really means to them.

Only time will tell.

 

 

June 2016 – Update

I started this month on Holiday!!!  I needed to get away and have a break from the working world. This time last year I wasn’t working and taking having a freedom break.

I had two weeks away in Scotland this year, where the weather was warmer and drier than England. I had a great time, yes, I may have spent some money but as I mentioned in my last post, you need to have some fun on the journey to FI freedom.

I had some great walks and a stopover in a bothy and some fab cycling, including sitting by a loch watching ospreys hunting/fishing. Such a great relaxing holiday a real shame to come back home and back to work.

I have checked my finances and since the Brexit shock, my investments have taken a real pounding. The shares I am interested in buying have gone through the roof as everyone piles in there as they have global exposure. Any UK based companies I hold have pretty much sank without trace. I have been ignoring the news as the media whip up a frenzy to help them sell ‘stories’.

For me, it is hard to tell at the moment what the impact will be. I work for a subsidiary of a global company (it was a UK company and was bought up by a global company 2 years ago). The global company have only just started sending people over to really start looking into the books and operation and the Brexit vote could make them take a different view. They wanted a stepping stone into the European market(we think – the parent is based in the Far East)  and this vote could see them sell or break up the company. The goods that are designed in the UK are manufactured in the far east & India. These goods are then sold across the world. The more I find out about the UK company, the more troubled I become over its possible future viability. It has no clear direction and it lacks investment and the parent company don’t seem to want to invest any money and are blocking or capping the spending.

In the meantime, I will concentrate on saving hard and keeping an eye on good investment opportunities that will enable me to grow my money..not that many options exist now with this uncertain market. I managed to keep my FI savings rate high (over 60%) for the month and have tried hard to not be frivolous when on holiday.

It was my birthday this month too, so I have some cash to spend on a few treats for myself. I do need to have some fun and enjoyment and with the sales on I should be able to find some good value consumer purchases that will last me a while. A £50 win on the premium bonds has also helped to lift my spirits – a boost to my holiday fund.

I wonder what my finances will look like at the end of next month?

 

 

Net Worth

I have been quiet on the posting front. I have been busy working and I have found that my work has picked up and the ‘expectations’ are growing and I am now working more hours.

So over the past 3 weeks my working day has crept up from 8 hours to 10+ hours. I should stop and I will if the bosses start having a go. I have started to experience the ‘real management style’ now. I am now 4 months into my new job and the work load is picking up all the time. You end up feeling bullied into doing the extra hours to prevent being shouted at by the management. It seems to be part of the job role I do. Everyone I talk too seems to be just as pressured.

My net worth keeps heading downwards and it is driving me to despair as I want to raise the FI fund so I can escape the rat race and really find a new direction. I am investing money but the overall value is tracking downwards. I hope the markets start to pick up soon so I can start to feel like my investments are actually making a difference and that I am progressing along a path to FI rather than just battling to reach that ‘finishing line’.

One thing with working, my pension pot is growing as my employer invests into a pension for me and that is picking up now and my pension savings are looking healthy, even if my other investments aren’t.

Now the new tax year has started it will be good to see how the net to gross interest payments will affect the savings accounts. Searching our a good interest rate is now my goal. Keeping my emergency cash fund ticking over without inflation eating it to nothing is a priority.

Some research required in my non-work moments.

 

 

 

Pensions -the new tax target

Well, all I keep hearing at the moment is the talk on the government tweaking of the Pension taxation. Now, if the tax reclaim limits are going to change to a flat rate value then that will be annoying.

In previous years I have been a high rate taxpayer so have been able to claim back additional tax for my pension contributions on my tax return.  This year due to my ‘freedom session’ I have not triggered the higher rate tax threshold so will be treated as a basic taxpayer. Now if the government change the rates quickly, i.e. in the tax year 2016/2017. Then I will not be able to push some lump sums into my pension before it disappears as I should qualify as a higher rate taxpayer in the next tax year. That will be an annoy twist to my ‘freedom session’.

I have also stopped looking at the share/fund prices as the values are dropping. Once I get my first pay cheque I can look to invest in some cheaper shares and funds, while I await that I will hang on and see if the prices continue to drop, meanwhile I continue to drip feed monthly payments into my fund NISA.  I am trying to increase my dividend share portfolio and getting a good price for additional shares is my plan this year.

It will be interesting to see how this year runs. According to TEA’s FI-o-meter  I should be FI within a year. It feels like the OMY syndrome but my falling net worth means that the threshold just keeping ticking along from ” I’m there ” to ” Oh, not quite there yet ” to ” still… Oh, not quite there yet “.

My idea behind my FI fund is to enable me to be free from “having to work”, I can then work because I want to rather than because I need to. I can then look at working just for the fun of it. Yes, working for fun! What a comment…radical thinking there. It normally is only quoted by the idle rich. I am not rich by any means, just looking for independence from the work treadmill.