Q1 is been and gone. GFF is looking firmly footed and things are falling into place.
March has been a good month for the Gentleman’s Family and the Gentleman’s Family Finances. It’s sometimes hard to not equate Spending money = Having fun, but we’ve sort of managed it this month.
We had some friends visit for a weekend in our house (instead of an AirBnB and that saved airbnb money but had an impact on us – hosting costs be it time/effort for cleaning or just the increase use of gas/electricity, coffee/tea and toilet paper!).
We had a great trip to London at the end of Feb with the bills coming through this month and this weekend we went to Edinburgh to climb Arthur’s Seat (which our little 2 1/2 year old Master did) and have a friend’s 2nd birthday party (+a trip to IKEA)
Saving & Spending
Spending was low overall at just £2068 for the month (down from £2970 in Feb, 6 month average is £2436). Most of the spending was on Childcare (~£900) which will stop next month as described here.
Savings Rate was 67% and outgoings were 2.9% of Net Worth or 6.9% of FIRE funds. Less childcare outgoings were 3.9% of FIRE funds – which is the lowest it has ever been. There’s been recent intelligent thought and long standing thinking about 4% SWR lately, but to be honest, if you are below 4% then good. We’ve struggled with our spending habits and getting all these numbers to come down is a good thing and 4% SWR is better than 6% – so SUCCESS!
Income and Dividends
This was the last month before the Lady drops from Full Pay to the Statutory Maternity Pay.
The HMRC says that: Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get:
- 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
- £145.18 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
Luckily the Lady’s employer paid 6 months at full pay and 3 months at SMP. If she takes a full year off, the last 3 months will be unpaid. Personally I think that M(P)aternity Pay and Conditions are not good enough and this rate should be improved.
Dividends added up to almost £1400 on the month and £4700 on the quarter. £1400 is more than we spent last month in everything (excluding childcare). Ideally, I’d like our dividends to cover our monthly spending – Fireproofing the portfolio I call it.
Net worth was up 1.6% month on month and +10.7% year on year. That’s a 5-figure – not bad at all. FIRE funds were up 1.9% but down 0.2% year on year – a symptom of poor investment performance and spending too much/earning too little. I’m taking steps to improve this but you can see fro the graph below – which runs from 2016 to present, our Fire Funds, Housing Equity and Pensions have all increased quite steadily except for the FIRE Funds which have plateaued. This is something that keeps me up at night! I also know from our cashflow forecast that money will be a bit tight so, whilst I think that things like LISAs are great for FIREes, we may not be able to 1) afford the money to put in 2) do without the money until age 60.
I invested money into a FTSE100 tracker this month and have reduced my P2P lending. All ISA allowances are full and I’ve put money into new VCTs after selling a couple. I’ve set-up some regular investments for the next tax year already to reduce costs and simplify decision making.
I’m really pleased with the performance. It’s been a steady month with solid increases across the board. Q2 is looking like it’ll be a good quarter too.
After my trip to London last week; I talked to the Lady about FIRE in depth. I’ve developed a budget that I think represents what we’ll be spending. FIRE is not a done deal yet but we’ll see how things go now that the Nanny (and the cost) is gone. I don’t see the numbers adding up at the moment. It’s the bridge between 40 and 60 that worry me.
How was your March / Q1?