Month-End March 2020

Apologies for not posting this earlier. I wrote it at month-end but I lost my password for the account and realised that in the current climate, blogging is not the most important thing in the world.

Anyway, Another month comes and goes, it’s all groundhog day here with Gentleman’s Family Finances – another slaughter of our personal wealth but we have more to be grateful for like being happy, healthy and still alive.

The net result of the month was that our income from work was steady and actually covered our outgoings – something that didn’t happen last month.

Dividends were healthy at about £1500 on the month – most form P2P and VCTs – although if you dividends are paid out of capital you are just a snake eating itself.

Spending was lower since we suddenly aren’t spending any money and I’ve even had refunds on bus/train journeys and tickets we’d booked. It’s a shame that the corona virus has led to everything stopping because we had a few really good plays/shows/activities for the kids booked over the next few weeks and now we’ve nothing.

It reminds me that money is not just there for counting but for spending and enjoying life. If money is a blood of life – let it flow! Just don’t die to early trying to pump it out.

Headline number: our net worth fell by -4.7% compared with -4.2% last month. Falls were not only from share investments like ETFs but also in VCTs which are proving to be hard to sell at the moment. Causing a bit of a cashflow crisis which I managed to overcome and fill up the rest of our ISAs/LISAs before the end of the tax year. If the house takes a 20% knock in value it’ll be another 4-5% drop too – I’m expecting that and not worried. How you value your home is something that encompasses a lot more than what Zoopla or the Land Registry tells you.

Year on year our networth is up (just) – this crisis has put pay to my plans of full-FI freedom but then again, the job market might be so bad that everyone is temporarily retired for ages. No doubt about it, things are worse than they were a few weeks back when I was wondering if I should take another ski holiday or prioritise early retirement. Oh – how life was different back then…

Well, let me tell you this: People talk about FatFire, ThinFire, BaristaFire and whatnot – this CoronaFire makes me think that I do not want to live a retirement that involves me being locked up in the house and not allowed to travel or do anything.

One question the Lady asked was (that a friend of ours who is a bus driver was furloughed off work and then told that he wasn’t furloughed and was asked to come into work), would I rather be stuck at home with 80% pay (indefinitely) or go to work for full pay and drive empty buses around all day. It’s a good question. And one that makes you wonder if the attitude of the FI community is a bit wrong.

The FI answer would be an easy “furlough me please!!!” but it’s not as simple as that and work gives us something to do and even better an opportunity to get out of the house.

My goal for 2020 was to get a job working from home and I got it! No longer must I commute for 3 hours 30 minutes on the return trip. And the new job that I’ve taken would involve that extending to 4 hours. Working from home is an improvement but just as variety is the spice of life – working all day in the same room gets a bit monotonous.

New job is going well – I like it but the Lady’s job is not and they are looking to fire her by the end of the year. Not great but job security until the end of the year is better than most people right now.

I’m not sure what this crisis will change in us as a family and for me. Certainly I appreciate spending more time with the kids and they already like me more I think. Our bond is better and I’m not being thrown in as many bins in as many dreams by the Master. It does make you think about what is important in life and it’s nice to slow down a bit – although being under house arrest isn’t fun 24/7.

Going forward into the new tax year. The job that I have moved into is contract and I’ll start paying a salary, pension and dividends monthly. The job is securely outwith IR35 and I have the luxury of choosing where the money goes – which is another advantage of being rich. The finances of a lot of people are really stretched right now – most of the UK are doomed if they don’t get 100% of their pay on pay day. Having money is good but I do wish that I had more of a “in case of emergency” Cash Only emergency fund. £5000 in cash to allow me not to sell down investments when the bad times come.

But the company can provide that in the future – Director’s Loans – and I’ll be covered for the worst of what can happen.

Our Nursery is open – hooray! – but only for keyworkers. It means that the Lady and I are at home with the Master and Little Lady all the time and it’s very hard to do any work at all. And we have to still pay 50% fees for the nursery – which we can’t use. We are not happy at all about that. I did write a rant here but decided to delete it. We don’t have it that bad and we can easily afford the 50% fees. I’m trying to take a 50% off rather than 50% for nothing view point.

Tying things up with an awful analogy. We were all out for a walk without an umbrella and it almost started to rain around the end of 2018 but then the sun came out and we threw caution to the wind.

Now it’s bucketing down. We are soaking wet and the ground is flooded. But despite our fears, we are not going to drown in a flood and we can all swim if we need to. We just need to wait out the rain – it’ll stop, we’ll get a rainbow and the sun will come out again. Just remember to bring a brolly next time you leave the house… although we’ll always forget

Stay safe

Thanks, GFF

1 Comment

  1. Hi GFF

    Good to read that you and the family are ok.

    I’m like you, I’ve never really been enamoured with the ‘lean’ varieties of FIRE – normal FIRE is the minimum that I would go for, with the ‘normal’ being my normal and not anyone else’s!

    As for the bus driver choice, as long as the employer was providing me with the correct kit (eg facemasks etc), I would go into work for 100% pay. I have to say that while I look forward to returning to the office, I’m not looking forward to travelling on public transport.

    Love the analogy!

    Liked by 1 person

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