So December is been and gone and it’s now 2019.
The market gods looked unfavourably on us all this December with stock markets hitting lows. My net worth was down about 1.3% which might not sound like a lot but it feels like a lot to me, it is over £10,000 after all!
Maybe we are entering a nasty bear market – so be warned. Who knows. But as I’m still earning money and saving money and investing the money saved, dips in the markets mean that my money buys more – which is a good thing. If the price of petrol goes up you don’t think you are richer because you’ve still got half a tank in your car do you?
On the spending front, things are looking really good.
Total spending was about £2200 compared with an average of almost twice that for 2018 as a whole and about the same as November. This was down to being frugal – a lack of holidays and big capital spending and lower childcare costs. I also got some payouts from cashback websites and we didn’t go crazy with Christmas presents – which can only be a good thing.
- 41% was childcare or £900 for the month
- 31% was household costs, mortgage interest and car depreciation or about £700. I swapped home insurance and broadband suppliers and that will save me over £100 for the year – based on the low price I already pay (not the rip-off renewal prices offered).
- 28% was general spending or £600 – although I’m sure I’ve a nasty credit card bill coming in Jan. I don’t think we ate out in the evening at all which is due to the Little Lady making meal times a cry-fest. So cooking all meals ourselves saved a lot.
- Savings rate was 66% which is really good (the 6 month average is 49%).
I took home more pay from work as I have cut my pension contributions. The Lady is still on 100% maternity pay which is nice. On dividends we had a strong month with about £1500 paid in the month . One investment (High Winds co-op) paid a 5% dividend of £150 which was nice because I had expected only 4%/£120 and the general performance of wind power has been poor this year due to the warm summer. That’s a 7% return with accounting for the EIS rebate.
Net worth was down about £11k or 1.3%. Although with the market volatility recently, and with around half my net worth in the stock market, the average day in December probably meant I was up or down £10,000.
Our pre-pension/FIRE funds were badly hit – down about £5k and now stand lower than at the start of 2018. Not very encouraging.
Safe Withdrawal Rate
With the continued decline in our spending, it’s meant that our current withdrawal rate is 3.1% and from pre-pension/FIRE funds it is 7.3%. What I would say about SWR is that the assets is the long game – it can take you a long time to raise your assets by 20% (about 18 months for me) but you can reduce your spending by 50% pretty easily (if you spend like a sailor on shore leave).
I’ll try to write a 2018-wrap-up report with some more interesting observations. For the moment, the focus is on making VCT contributions and maxxing out the ISA allowances for the year and building up my dividend streams.