Finances, Mindful investing, Work

Financial Independence update: September 2020

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Well, I was wrong. Turns out we did manage to get Junior tested for Covid and, with a negative result, resumed school life after a week at home. Phew!

It’s not a week I’ll forget soon though. Me trying to create online learning materials (which takes bloody ages), and Mr Firelite, with a Major Project Deadline, constantly being on the phone. After 2 days of Poor Junior coughing, he was bouncing off the walls of Not Being Poorly Anymore, which doesn’t tend to mix well with trying to video myself teaching / constant work calls to hit a deadline. The result was working late into the night (even more than “usual Covid times”). I was exhausted.

I walked an hour to get us to a walk-in centre then an hour back home, desperate as I was to get a golden ticket back to school – I mean, a Covid-19 test for the welfare of my child. After several days in ‘self-isolation’ though, it was a welcome walk – then a culture shock as all the students were returning to the city and I had no idea so many people were wandering the streets creating bottlenecks in places. These are the areas with an infection rate as high as 1% now, so am avoiding these areas like the plague/Covid-19.

If I had to think up a milestone I’ve reached this month, it would be that my net worth (outside of my DB pension and any property value increase on our residence) has risen £25k since I started my blog. Yippee. Of course, this is not really a milestone, but I need some positives right now. Tracking saving is much more rewarding than tracking a budget!

My savings rate

Gone are the highs of my early-lockdown savings rate that were smokin’ hot up in the 70s and 80s (%, that is), While a few of August’s weekends away expenses came through this month, I have clearly spent on other things too as this restricted life has now become a way of life – such as going to the hairdressers (£90 + tip) and getting some new jeans as my parred down wardrobe reflected my pre-Covid office life (ie. 7 pairs of work pants Vs 3 pairs of jeans). So anyway, I feel I didn’t do too badly still at an SR of 59%.

It was inevitable…

Changes to my portfolio

1. Bought Vanguard All-World tracker ETF – by mistake! Well, I was rushed which was precisely why I decided to buy into a blended tracker this month, but I pressed the wrong thing and then realised I couldn’t undo it. I wanted a tracker that automatically reinvested dividends. On the upside, I’m slowly reducing my percentage in cash savings as I’m putting away 125% of my savings rate into equities each month (for the last 3 months).

(I’m planning a separate post comparing this ETF with the global tracker and with a combined two ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) trackers – developed world and emerging economies to help me determine what to do next.)

2. Bumped up my investing for social good percentage slightly by buying into an Abundance green/social crowdfunding investment. I have been following them for a while, so have seen the release of a fair few projects. I’m looking to invest more but also to diversify due to the risky nature of these investments. I missed out on Energise Africa investments as these were ‘full’ very quickly. Maybe something to do with the 5-7% interest in a climate where interest rates are now virtually zero.

Bought no new shares this month – in large part due to busyness. For the first time in a while, my shares have had a drop (-10% or so) as some of the ‘punts’ I took are really affected by Cv19 and continue to drop in price (think buses, airport food, hotels/pubs, holidays, and cinema). I did buy M&S a few days ago (technically not for this month-end report) at least as a short-term hold given the upcoming festive season and winteryness with few other outlets for indulgent spending.

Increasing my savings rate by another 15%?

Excitingly, I could potentially up my savings rate by almost 15%. Yes, you read right! When I’m not paying for childcare (that is mainly paid gross from source/my work). But I wish I’d been better organised and cancelled this monthly arrangement earlier as now I’m having to pay in until November. At least we have finally found some after-school childcare for 2 days a week, which will chip away slowly at my childcare voucher build-up of way over a grand.

Starting school is a whole new gig for us. No childcare or weekday lunch costs – fantastic! But we have uniform costs and going by the 2 pairs of ripped school pants already, it is only an initial outlay even within a school year! I reckon we’re coming into a little bit of a sweet spot until child costs increase again (soon!) as Junior’s stomach capacity is almost surpassing mine these days and public transport costs will kick in at five years of age.

Work as the impact of Covid draws on

Mr Firelite has said through all of lockdown that he felt he was safe in his job, but he was working on his CV today. The company he works for is reliant on the airline industry and 40% redundancies are about to be announced.

Meanwhile, my job is stressful. I’m having bouts of dizziness for the first time in my life. Lots of uncertainties as we’re [university staff] seemingly at the mercy of the R number, government decisions and economics. In some ways, things are going well – with success on a couple of research grants, but the teaching…

Next week I am going over a practical with 400 new undergrad students online on Zoom where I imagine most will have their cameras off (so I’m talking to black spaces) and our home internet connection is not amazing (e.g. audio didn’t work in 2 out of 4 meetings today). What could possibly go wrong? At least my job is looking a whole lot more secure than at the start of lockdown.

3 thoughts on “Financial Independence update: September 2020”

  1. All the best for Mr Firelite at work – the rest of this year unfortunately is going to result in job uncertainty for many. I don’t think anyone is really 100% safe, even if no direct impact, the repercussions of other industries will have an effect. It was announced last month that one of our competitors really struggled during initial lockdown and has been swallowed by a bigger player. Does that mean the company I work for was in a far better financial position or is the inevitable just being drawn out? I try not to think about it.

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering from stress – things don’t seem to be getting much better so I hope you are able to find some time to destress and rest.


    1. Hi Weenie, sorry for my late replies and thanks for your thoughts on this. Hope you’re well as we find ourselves in another lockdown now. The furlough extension has helped Mr F’s company, just as redundancies were going to be announced. Managing my work better now, thanks, I’m getting more used to working online with people I’ve not met before and try to take a lunchtime walk.

      Liked by 1 person

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