The summer’s over and life regains it’s depressing rhythm of shorter days, colder nights and the non-stop barrage of moaning on the news.
One of the good things about having savings and being competent with money is that you can take knocks like a price hike in your bills in your stride.
I’ve said that there is no such thing as an out of the blue bill – but as someone who’s had a bearish attitude for years, it now doesn’t surprise me that life isn’t all that amazing.
Still, energy is cheap, it’s just that we use too much of it. Hopefully the bitterest medicine helps cure the patient fastest.
Our Refugees are Fleeing Us
With regret, our Ukrainian guests have decided to find a new host. It is a very bitter cocktail of emotions that we feel right now. I won’t go into the details but we are unlikely to accept new guests.
I think that it came down to them wanting their own space and two families can’t live under the same roof – but the way they did it wasn’t great.
What I would say is that if we were able to help them and give them a better life, then it was worth it.
On the bright side, we get our house and privacy back. Looking forward, we have the kids’ birthdays, Hallowe’en and house parties plus friends staying/visiting which are a lot easier to do with it just being us.
The Master is back at school and summer is over. We’ve noticed that he’s becoming a little entitled, even spoiled! I can stand him being full of energy and having his own mind but he’s starting to really put the prick in precocious.
We need to work on it to make sure he doesn’t become any worse . Still, overall he’s got a lot fewer problems than most kids.
The Little Lady really blossomed over the summer and it’s great to see her growing up. This time next year she’ll be in school which seems crazy – time really does fly!
Life seems to revolve around the kids but I do like the school/nursery run though – it’s great to see our friends and our kids’ friends and have a chat and laugh. We’ve grown closer to a number of people and we’re lucky to be in that position.
On the work front. I’ve been pulled out of retirement for one last job. It starts soon and will keep me occupied and paid until the end of the year at least. Having time off this summer was good, but the money is good, the work interesting and I am working on projects that make the world a better place – so I’m not wasting my time. Plus I need to pay for my heating bills (Since I’m not going back to the office anytime soon! – and I’m not alone)
Very worryingly is the threat from the big boss that he wants everyone in the office in person all the time – or at least more than just none of the time. I don’t get why but he wants it.
If I have to go back in, I will consider taking up full time retirement – it’s not an idle threat, I’ve thought about it already.
I’m a contractor and have the freedom to work or not work and my place of work is home not someone else’s office. My department head knows this and has my back – which is nice.
Another record for net worth – up 2% in a month. I need to go through my accounts to see if there’s some sort of error in calculating the numbers. But it’s all looking good.
Just shy of £5,000, our spending was quite high. This did include a lot from our holiday in July which will drop out. We also spent a fair bit on the Edinburgh festival visits and good times. Well worth it if you can afford it.
Dividends and Side Hustle
The side hustle is in apparent decline making less than £1,000 for the first time since June 2020. It was good while it lasted.
Dividends though were very strong at £3,400 thanks in large part to some good VCT returns, green energy dividends and £350 for taking in the Ukrainians (although, it’s not worth it for the money alone and we could probably do much better on AirBnB).
Investments & Divestments
I sold off a few investments to raise money to improve the old credit rating to get the better mortgage (more of that below). I had good timing and can buy back at discounted prices again if I choose – hooray for volatility!
When the Beer Goes Flat
Keen readers will remember that I hold a number of shares in a popular beer company. I originally invested in 2011 at a price of about 50p per share. I sold in 2016 almost half of my holding for £4.75 a share and was looking to sell more but hadn’t been able to since.
Well this week there was a trading day and there was much speculation about where the price would land. At the last trading day they went for £15 but you could recently buy shares at £25 a pop – albeit with some discounts and what not – and I’d valued my shares at £20 each.
In the end they traded at a price of £6.50 which wipes about two thirds of my paper profits. It’s quite a climb down and does not bode well for the company which has been planning to IPO next year (for the last decade).
£6.50 won’t even buy you a pint in its pubs – probably.
I’ve done well from the investment – but I’d have been better selling at £4.75 6 years ago – based on my calculated performance I’d have turned that money into about £10 per share instead of a pathetic £6.50. The market closed on the 1st of September so the 5-figure drop in value isn’t in my September month-end – otherwise it’s been a shitty month!
The Lady has rightly been telling me that she told me so – boasting about imaginary profits in an illiquid investment is foolhardy – but my hope is that the trading day (where only about £250,000 of shares traded and only the lowest 10% of shares put up for sale were sold) doesn’t reflect the actual value in the company.
At this price, I would be tempted to buy more but I don’t think that I need the extra risk.
I don’t even like the beer that much – it’s good for the style of beer but the Lady and I are largely Belgian Beer only – messing around with IPAs is not to our tastes.
I’m looking to re-mortgage soon and have been pulling our finances into shape. Stoozing is good for your wealth but hits your credit rating. I expect that we’ll go from a 1.79% mortgage to 3.5%+, probably on a 5 year fix again. But I’d like to increase our debt to invest – I think that the arbitrage between 3.5% and potential returns make it an easy decision.