Month-end accounts: December 2019

Due to Xmas and a family holiday, I’ve decided to close the book on December’s accounts a few days early. The recent strength of the markets has lifted our family finances to record levels – so we are ending the year on a high!

December 2019 numbers:

These might change a bit since it’s not yet Christmas but another record high month. Our net assets jumped 2.3% month on month and 12% year on year. That is a massive increase. Our FIRE assets were up 2.6% to a record high as well.

Spending was a blood bath at £4000 or so, without childcare it was about £2600 – a £600 bill for the roof and about £500 for cars/transport and £700 for travel (upcoming holiday) were the big ticket items. Total spending on the year was about £37,5000 or £3100 per month.

Our investments performed very well this month with big paper gains. Money coming in in the form of dividends were about £1750 for the the month with a total of just over £24,000 for the year. These dividends are only for our FIRE Assets and don’t include Pension returns, “inputted rent” or anything sly like that. Just dividends/interest for savings and investments and P2P.

Income was very strong, with the company earning a lot in November and I was able to generously pay all shareholders a nice dividend plus quite a lot in mileage (my 100+ mile commute at 45p a mile adds up quite quickly!)

Overall, it’s been a great month – never mind the outcome of the election (but let’s not get into that) with the rebound in the markets has been the main source of asset gains.

Finally a few things to mention

Back 4 years ago, my wife and I decided to buy a house together and raise a family. Unlike the predicament that many millennials find themselves in we were able to afford any house we wanted in any area and had our pick of mortgages. This was due to:

  1. saving money over the years / large deposit
  2. moving to a Low Cost of Living area
  3. having well paid jobs

It’s not to say that there were compromises but far fewer than most home buyers. One of the benefits of being rich I guess.

A lot has changed in those 4 years – kids being the main thing but I see January 2016 as being a start of a new chapter in our lives and it’s the point at which I look at our family finances from.

I’ll try to put together a better review in January but over those last 4 years we’ve managed to save money and grow our investments. There have been times when that looked like it was going to be difficult with big spending in the house (kitchen, bathroom, fireplaces, maintenance…) and the horrors of childcare costs plus when we got round to it travel costs were much higher due to the addition of the kids. With the Lady being off on maternity leave and my taking advantage of salary sacrifice, we were often running close 0% savings rate on take-home pay.

But looking back and looking at now, we seem to be on an even keel and the Ready, Aim, Fire plan seems to be doing according to plan.

I’ve got some numbers in mind for FIRE which are not hard and fast. In the last 4 years we’ve gone from between 50-60% to over 80% for FIRE Assets and over 95% for Net Assets. The trend is your friend and chances are we’ll hit those 100% targets in 2020.

Annotation 2019-12-20 130643

Regarding becoming financial independent. Things are looking better as our spending is more or less steady (despite having no budget) and our assets increase. Our withdrawal rates float between 7% – 12% for our FIRE Assets and 2% -7% for our Net Assets.

I can’t see these dropping to 5%/4%/3.5%/3%/2.5% (take your pick) in the near future but when our work related expenses and childcare alone account for about half our of spending or a 2% / 5% withdrawal rate then what can you do?

Annotation 2019-12-20 131902

Summary

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading.

GFF

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