Month-End: August 2022

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.

Life

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.

Work

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.

Winter is coming!

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.

Net Worth

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.

Spending

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.

Brilliant Belgian Beer

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.

Re-mortgage Alert


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.

Thanks, GFF

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve only just started really focusing on our family finances (new location, new businesses, FI dreams and all that), and it’s always inspiring to read about other peoples’ journey.

    Sorry it didn’t work out with your Ukrainian guests and that you didn’t part in the best of terms.

    P.S. “starting to really put the prick in precocious” 😂 what a gem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

      I suppose that much FI material is for a single individual whereas, family finances come with a whole range of other considerations, compromises and constraints.
      It’s also largely impossible to truly RE when you still have the school run to do

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve yet to grow beyond a party of 2, but we are considering it! Personally not keen on RE (and neither is the mister), leaning heavily towards FI so I can do something I’m a whole lot more passionate about. Though I get knowing cash is coming every month brings peace of mind especially with little ones.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. And it’s funny that you’ve moved to NL – we were on holiday there for July and loved it.
      We were very tempted to move permanently either to NL or continental Europe for a variety of reasons.
      Haarlem is nice – a stoners throw from Amsterdam, near the coast and with great links to the rest of the world.
      Good luck with your new adventures!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I think I read your blog post about staying near the coast! Haarlem is such a gem, even though we’ve just moved here we already know it’ll be our long-term home! Bit of a nightmare finding a house but that’s ok, I think that’s just NL in general.

        Thanks a bunch, don’t blame you for considering relocating here!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah – I read with interest about the housing crisis in NL, like students being told to not turn up to university if they don’t have accommodation sorted.
        We were staying near Noordwijk so relatively isolated.
        But still, property seemed a lot cheaper than the UK

        Like

  2. Planning a remortgage application is best performed whilst you have secure paid employment.

    This week I was going through the process of extending the term of my interest only offset mortgage up until state retirement age. I’m doing this now as I too am getting rapidly fed up with my employer and I’d find it rather handy to have a large fully offset mortgage to potentially draw down in pre-retirement.

    Of course, that wasn’t the reason I actually gave during the mortgage “interview” as finance providers have been known to take a dim view of borrowing for investment purposes or handing over funds for pre-retirement laziness.

    I also had to provide details of my re-payment strategy which included my ISA holdings. I’m sure it will raise a chuckle when they see one of the poorer performing holdings in my portfolio is actually the finance provider I hold the mortgage with.

    Hopefully the underwriting team will sign it all off this week and then I can return to my stoozing ways in order to offset the energy bill increases. Whist it may seem morally bankrupt to make more money from moving other people’s money around I suspect morals will not keep me warm.

    “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 couldn’t agree more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The remortgage options are being looked into. I have no idea how much they think I can either borrow or pay back.
      My income is up and down which I am fine with but they just want one number for their calcs
      If I jump from a 40%odd LTV to 75% that’s potentially 100k in my pocket – to be strictly invested in home improvements.
      At 3.35% though, it’s not stoozing the easy way!

      Like

  3. I simply wanted to extend the term for potential pre-retirement bridging.

    I’m doing my stoozing using 0% and 0 fee credit cards in conjunction with another card with a decent limit which allows me to do a no fee money transfer. I do the money transfer and then match it with a balance transfer from a 0% and 0 fee card.

    If everything matches up on the same day I get 0% money to stooze for a year or 18 months. Of course I have to meet the minimum repayments each month and have the remainder available to repay at the end of the interest free period.

    With 1 year fixed rates at 3.5% in some places it’s started to be worth doing it again if you have sufficient access to 0% credit. Of course, use credit responsibly.

    Investment of the funds would likely bring greater returns but I’ll use my own money for that risk level.

    Getting my remortgage approved seemed a sensible thing before actively hammering my credit score. Oddly the mortgage hard search was much more detrimental than previous credit agreement searches.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s