I’ve just totted up the numbers for January and it’s been a bit rotten but not half as bad as I’d expected. Net Worth down £22k (-1.8%), not great but it only sets us back to October – so hardly the end of the world.
Income was good for the month with my December invoice getting paid. I did lose a week or two for Christmas but I booked 50 hour weeks earlier in the month and that bumped up the pay packet. I’ve started paying out larger dividends to avoid the tax grab on productive members of society that’s coming into effect soon.
In January we spent only £3,254! That’s right, only the equivalent to £39,000 a year, £10,000 more than the median family disposable income.
And dispose of this money we did! We splashed out on fun things like mortgage interest payments (£200), council tax (£237), childcare costs (£776) – spending is amazing!
Well, ok the usual household bills were roughly the same – but the big reduction came in our other spending – the more gratuitous, optional spending. Like the choice between getting a takeaway for £40 or eating buttered spaghetti or booking a holiday or staying home and spending nothing. Anyway, after an expensive H2 2021 where spending crept up and up and up, a lot of these “one-off” costs fell away. This £3,254 is actually the lowest monthly spending figure since May 2020 (and we all know why we weren’t spending any money then!)
Long may it continue, except I’ve got a massive holiday bill to pay on March’s credit card for our Summer WFH holiday.
For reference, 2021 total spending was £58,500 or £4,877 per month. We’ll probably come under than in 2022 but probably at around £45,000 (although that’s not a prediction, just a guess).
I also bought a new bike which is amazing! The cost was around £400 which is nothing compared to what it cost to get my car through the MOT! The new bike is shiny and fast and I love it! Shame it’s not exactly cycling weather – I have only really used it to drop the Little Lady to nursery – but when the time comes I’ll be burning the calories on it charging up and down the hills here.
Net worth was down 1.8% or £20,500 mostly due to the fact that markets were unkind to me – but then again everyone is in the same boat? My green investments performed well (or more accurately, didn’t do much at all). ISAs lost £3k, non-ISAs were steady, SIPP lost £14k, VCTs were up £1k. I did make some minor investments in some new platforms to see how they work and for a bit of bonus-bagging and I transferred an old pension into a SIPP for the Lady to tidy things up – another case of Bye, bye Aegon.
Taking a longer view on it – net worth was up £128,000 over the last 12 months – albeit that is down quite a bit from the last few months – but I think that our corona-honeymoon is over and the big problems of the world are coming back into focus.
For some reason none of our ETFs or funds or whatever paid a bloody dividend in January – same every October, July & April. But, our VCTs did pay £870 and my side-hustle generated £2,000 or thereabouts.
Financial Independence Ratios
Outgoing as a percentage of net worth were 3.4% for January but the 6 month average is 5.1%. Dividends including the side-hustle are about 86% of outgoings. The numbers look very good in general. I think that with our spending coming downwards over the next few years and income holding, we’ll keep saving money and building our wealth.
In February, some of the Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) that I invested in are going to be sold. These need to be held for 5 years to be eligible for the 30% tax rebate that was claimed on them. Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be selling about £45,000. The first one to sell is Unicorn AIM VCT . For a net cost of £4,900 in 2017 I’ve received £1,700 in dividends and hopefully will get around £7,800 back from the sale. The Internal Rate of Return is about 15% – after tax, it’s been a decent investment.
We booked our Summer holiday but we are thinking of Easter too – probably a trip back home to Ireland (cost effective).
I’m also considering buying an electric car (despite my protestations) – that will require a bit of company money.
I’m not too upset with the performance this month. The big stock market falls did a lot of damage but I’d like to think that our finances are resilient and I’m not going to get emotional about a few numbers on a screen changing colour or a spreadsheet telling me January < December. Given the inflation squeeze that’s going on right now and how people who live paycheck to paycheck are struggling – I’m in not place to moan.