Financial independence update: November 2020

sea, beach, water, ocean, sand, bike, nature, travel, active, wanderlust, happy
Wanting financial freedom amidst a time of low freedom

I’m starting to think that one day I’ll look back at this humble finance/navel-gazing blog as the best documentation of my life through Covid times. Not because it’s particularly insightful, but in the midst of it, it’s quite easy to forget that we are living in strange times. But we adjust, we cope and plod on. For we must. Everyone is going through similar struggles at best, and tragic ones at worst.

But deep down, I know I’m not thriving right now. I’m dong okay. Work is too busy – I did probably 50+ hours this week, plus all the energy-sapping/zappingness of having a full-of-beans 4-year-old. Not that I’m resentful; creating a happy, well-adjusted child is just a lot of work! I am mindful to look after my wellbeing and knowing I’m motivated to means I must be okay.

November was mostly National (UK) Lockdown 2.0 for 4 weeks and news of an approved vaccine available before Christmas. Meanwhile, no one knows what to do for Christmas since Boris announced the special rules over 23-27 December allowing travel and 3 families to ‘bubble’. We are considering various options, but really will have to see nearer the time. I’m missing eating out, knowing I can get away from winter here, and just being in a range of indoor environments! What about you? We’ve been working from home since Lockdown 1.0. Mr Firelite is surely sick of me asking if we could escape to Barbados for a year!

Finances are merrier though! Technically December, but the S&P 500 recently finished at an all time high. This rebound has been felt in both my index funds and my small share portfolio. I added £2k to my index funds (split across 4 funds) yet my fund rose about £3.4k. I admit I added more than my usual £100 in my Freetrade account (£300, which includes £75 I won on the Premium Bonds in Oct) yet still this has grown. I’m not sure how Freetrade calculated a 26% money-weighted rate of return in the last month though, but I many companies I’ve held shares in have seen a plus return for the first time since holding them! Overall, my chart shows I’m doing strongly this year, financially. Much of this owing to lack of holidays. I think I’m going to start celebrating each 20k ‘barrier’ I hit on my way to 200k!

My FI stash since I started blogging – the Lockdown 1.0 V-shape is but a blip

Lockdown 2.0 saw us spending less (but not as low as the first time around, mainly as we kept up take-aways) and this has been ‘offset’ by getting a couple of Christmas presents and myself a brand spanking new bike (£400!). Plus accessories. Which is as good areason as any for spending as it’s my first proper bike in adult life and now we can go on family bike rides! With that in mind, I’m actually shockingly pleased by my savings rate. Small pleasures, eh?

House prices have “zoomed up” and after talking with another mortgage advisor, I actually found myself demotivated to do any further viewings at this time, especially with work being so busy. I just can’t deal with further important decision making as well as the housing market not really running in my favour (as a first time would-be-landlady) at the moment. I decided to ‘shelve’ this idea for now and have made my peace with keeping the funds in Premium Bonds for now. I’ve been attracted by Property Partner, a crowdfunding property investment platform (i.e. without the hassle of being a landperson), but the Covid-induced problems with the rental market atm, has also left me feeling like I’m better off keeping hold of my money at the moment. I’ve looked into REITS, but similar issues there. If nothing else, I learned these were pronounced ‘reets’ and not ‘rites’! (It’s not German!) Good to know in case I end up having a financial convo with someone in real life one day, lol!

Besides index funds, I put £500 into Energise Africa* (5.5% interest) in a bid to increase my ethical investments. Shares wise for fun, I bought small amounts (£50 each) in Virgin Galactic, Etsy, Renewables Infrastructure ETF*, Cineworld* and Xpeng. (£50 awaiting investment). Asterisks are additions I’ve already bought into before.

Great to see a few new followers recently, so welcome if you are one of them! As we’re getting close to year end now, it is a natural time to pause and reflect on my financial / FIRE strategy. Meanwhile, I aim to write again before my next monthly update. How has your month gone?

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