Finances, Index trackers, Investment strategy

Financial update: September 2019

I started this update stood at the bus stop on a sunny crisp morning wondering where the month went… To a lot of work I guess…a lot of life energy…making Jill a dull girl, no doubt! But it does mean not spending too much. 🙂 Except vending machines at work. Guilty on that count! That old chesnut – spending for convenience, though at times it simply felt like survival, I’m sure. :S

Now, over a week later as I finish this update, I really have been overworked. My voice went on strike! Laryngitis, I suspect. So, apologies for the delay getting this financial update up. Really had to get my head around prioritising self-care. It’s been a hard week not speaking, surprisingly hard. I’m back from the world of the silent; a big wake up call that I need to rethink work. Life 1.2 has felt far away yonder, but it shouldn’t be. I should be hatching plans while giving the impression of working hard, but instead I’m just working bloody hard! Why?! Seems like time for some reflection – just as soon as that work deadline’s gone! :S

Anyway, seems I’m such a novice after all with my spreadsheet. And tired by the time I have spare time to work on it. I made a few adjustment errors in August in my move to month-end accounts as well as an error in my savings rate! This was partly due to trying to retrospectively adjust and in large part due to movements at the end of the month, so I ended up counting the £4000 in my cash accounts AND in the bond index fund. Oops… And worse still, I was still counting savings for the month ahead (as I get paid near the end of month).

It now looks like I’ve lost a tonne of money between Jul and Aug but that’s just because effectively I counted Aug savings into July. Also, I DID think a 70% savings rate seemed incredibly high! This was due to a typo I didn’t notice on my take home pay, d’oh! Savings rate still in the 60’s though, if that’s meaningful at all…!

September August *
Cash accounts £42100 40490 (45000)
Cash at 2-year+ fixed rates £28200 28200
Tracker funds (ISA) £15000 12700
Bond index fund (ISA) 4000 4000
Peer lending £3200 3200
Total FI stash (see here for pension and other assets) 92500 88500
Savings rate: (including workplace pension) 61.7% 65.8%

*Includes corrections from last month.

I didn’t actually spend that much in September, but a large wad of our European trip cost came through on the credit card. I’ve also held a bit of potential savings back to buy a new pair of barefoot shoes – just can’t decide what pair!

I also dropped £2500 into my ISA index fund, making it a nice round 15k. I went for a mix of USA, Europe (exc UK), Japan and UK to better reflect market capitalisation. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I went UK. I might’ve been thinking about the low pound and relatively low FTSE all share performance. Funny how things make sense at the time, but esp when you’re busy, you quickly forget. :S Anyway, my funds have dropped from the gains made. For the first time since July when I first bought index funds, my total rate of return is below zero! This wasn’t the case month-end, but on 4th October as I write. -.23%. (Edit: now 1.59% as of 11/10/19.)

This is how my current spread is looking across all funds, including the £4k bond fund (which is US weighted; in hindsight maybe I should’ve gone for UK govt bonds):

I see the emergent markets representation here as something for the very long haul. My equity holdings in the US is actually 43% and UK 19%. I like to think ‘other’ is the north pole!

I didn’t realise it at the time but all the small increases in pay and paying much less for childcare etc. that I mentioned last month won’t actually be reflected in my savings rate until the October month-end. Who knew it’d be this complicated – reporting it all, that is?! I guess real life is just a lot messier than once monthly reports captured statically on a basic spreadsheet. Anyway, I can safely say I’ll be trying to keep my SR in the 60’s as a minimum.

New goal -> diversifying into property

Avid followers (my imaginary ones!) will notice my post focusing on property (okay, maybe it’s more focused on getting old!) and so this is still my future intention, saving for a deposit for a buy-to-let. I’ve a lot to learn, but I’m not rushing like I had been with FI stuff, mainly because of how busy work is. Any suggestions welcome though.

Much of my cash funds (not in fixed rate products) is tied up with family members (which I completely trust), so I look like I’ve got more cash at hand than I have right now. I probably have something like £8k accessible atm and I need something closer to £30-40k for the kind of house I’m considering. I estimate it’ll take 10 months to reach the 40k deposit (if I sell some index fund units too and cash in some of my peer lending). I’m not sure whether to invest ‘potential deposit money’ in markets meanwhile. Probably a bit risky if I’m looking at a 10 month time frame…

So, all in all, things are trickling along just fine financially despite some miscalculations (at least I’m honest, hey?!!), but illness and work have loomed large of late. A new direction with property potentially, which is kinda moving me away from previous months’ goals. But only time will tell if I’ll really take the plunge…

2 thoughts on “Financial update: September 2019”

  1. I made similar ‘schoolgirl’ errors early on too! I wouldn’t worry about the mistakes – at least you spotted them so you can adjust! Logging the numbers gets easier over time.

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