Month-end Accounts: January 2019

The Winter is upon us and I am sitting here in our upstairs lounge (we call it the fridge) working on my accounts and January is all wrapped up nicely for us

The overall good news is that after a few horrible months, we are back onto a positive net worth month again with an increase of 2.0% on the month!  That brings us back to August 2018.

On the spending front, January was solid

Total spending was about £2200 – similar to January and the dreaded Credit Xmas Card bill was mitigated by some nice cashback and also I decided to get a refund on some of my Oyster Cards that I had lying around.  I also go the car MOT’d without it costing anymore than the test itself.  Phew!

We went away on 3 weekend trips in January – the Trossachs, Aberfeldy & Newcastle – the latter was partly for work but we managed to have some fun whilst there.

I also spent almost £200 on Belgian Beer but since the Lady and I are still teetotal, it’s all just lying around the house and I put half of it in the attic for maturation.  We maybe have £500 of Belgian beer lying around as it’s so much easier to buy than drink (when you have a nursing infant).

Childcare was the biggest cost (40%), Household (30%), Spending (30%) was the split.  Much in line with previous months.


Pay was lower than last month as I took 2 weeks off for paternity leave and was paid statutory for one of those weeks which was a dent.  Pension payments were low meaning high take home pay.  The Lady is still on 100% maternity pay which is great.

Dividends came to about £1100, roughly made up of £600 from P2P lending, £350 VCTs, £100 from regular saver accounts and £100 from ISAs.  Next month should be higher.


Net worth was down up £17k or 2.0% which was satisfying after recent months.  Our pre-pension/FIRE funds were up £7k or 2% as well.  A lot of our FIRE assets are in a brewer which had a trade day on the 31st of December.  If the final trade price is lower than before it might mean a haircut on our FIRE assets.  That’s the fun of unlisted shares!

Savings Rate

Our savings rate was at 63% which is in line with previous low spend months.  The six month average is 50% meaning we are getting our spending under control.

The 6 month average Dividends were 56% of our total outgoings.  Lower than I would like but that number is creeping up!

Safe Withdrawal Rate

SWR spending was 3.1% on the month with FIRE SWR at 7.3% – an increase from 7.1% last month.  If you take away the beer alone it drops to 6.7% – so maybe I should be asking myself if I really needed to buy around 100 bottles of (admittedly fantastic) beer that I won’t drink for sometime…

Finally a little graph.

I love graphs. It shows our average spending from January 2016 (when we moved into our house) and the middle of 2019.  It shows that our spending has been consistent – consistently bad that it!  But a lot of that was the Nanny.  Some of that the house and some of it travelling (which we love).

What the graph shows is that our dividends (which is free cash flow) look set to equal our spending by the middle of this year.

Potentially I’ll be hitting FIRE this summer – but it’s a difficult decision to make.  Having a graph like this can make it easier to stomach though.  But there are other things to consider like next month’s bonus, the cost of the other car’s MOT/service and how bad is that credit card bill!


Thanks, GFF


  1. “Safe Withdrawal Rate”: I have noticed at a few American spots that SWR morphed into “sustainable withdrawal rate” and then “systematic withdrawal rate”. The last is a much better expression I think. There’s no guarantee of safety or sustainability but you can at least promise yourself to be systematic. (You won’t be of course; life will intrude. But it might give you a fruitful basis for planning.)

    Using the 4% rule or its close kin mean that you intend drawing a fixed income from fluctuating capital irrespective of life expectancy. This strikes me as ill-judged. No wonder many writers have concluded that it’s a woefully expensive way to fund a retirement, without even necessarily keeping you safe from ending up penniless. And, if it should happen to succeed, it might well leave you with a large pile of capital when you least need it i.e. “terminally”.

    Dropping the 4% to, say, 3% doesn’t get round the structural problem. Anyway, not to worry. Many FIRE bloggers may be rescued from the risk of an ill-advised decumulation policy by a stock market crash that keeps them working on, trying to accumulate again.


  2. Hello, stumbled across your blog. I too am on the cusp of FIRE but currently suffering from One more year syndrome. Have you covered what you FIRE point is in your BLOG. I know that many use 25 times annual spending.

    Liked by 1 person

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