Year-End Financial Review: 2022

2022 may well have been a terrible year for your finances. Crypto & tech bubbles popping, rising inflation in everything (except assets!), and a general feeling of doom and gloom.

Yet, through all this our finances weathered the storm and we’re set-up for a solid 2023.

Some Numbers

Our Annual Increase in Net Worth was positive for the year. That is probably all you need to know. Up about £32,500 or 2.74% – success!

Now, where that increase came from is of interest, because some parts of the GFF cash engine helped spur us forwards, and some held us back.

Our house apparently went up by £31k,my old final salary pension by £17k and we saved about £24k on our income less outgoings. Add that up, and we gained £72k.

Spending

We spent about £56,000 last year, which puts anything that I write about this being a blog of “family finances” securely in the “first world problems” pile of middle-class moaning.

The reason we spend so much? Well, our mortgage interest was £2,500 over the year, childcare £9,500, household costs (£9,000). That’s what you might expect to be normal, so it’s not them.

How about travel £6,000, eating out £6,000, children & entertainment £6,000, and food shopping (including beer) £8,500.

So that’s where we spent all of our money – enjoying ourselves.

Maybe it’s a case of lifestyle inflation. Maybe it’s just lifecycle inflation – we are at a time now where the kids cost money.

I think that we did a lot of things for the money we spent and we try not to be too wasteful – but the numbers do add up.

Bad Apples

VCTs lost about £8k in value (-8.2%), My SIPPS, ISAs and LISAs dropped £13k (-3.6%) – which might sound good but considering I pumped in around £40k over the year, it’s a poor return – abpit minus 8%. But compared to the markets, I’m doing well.

My side hustle only provided £19k over the year with profits dropping. Share investments were hit by a 5-figure drop in my beer company share valuation. And my renewable energy shares performed quite well, although not so smoothly over the year.

Overall

The overall effect of these changes and the stories that go along with them (war, inflation, chaos, fiscal events, strikes…) is that my monthly average change in net worth (either positive or negative) was about £30,000.

By and large;

Such massive sums of money would probably make most people go mad, or at least lose sleep. But I, Gentleman’s Family Finances am immune to the distraction that would make lesser people weep. I try not to get too emotional about it and my monthly round up of finances is really just an expression of my love for manual data entry to clunky spreadsheets, than an in depth look at my finances and how to chop, change and churn my way to a bit of alpha portfolio mastery.

  • fill in the numbers
  • check the totals
  • look at the graphs
  • gloat at my progress or
  • zoom out a bit and gloat at my recent progress
  • get on with my life

It seems like from the graph, our annual increase in net worth is in a tailspin. The covid boost is wearing off. Hopefully, we’ll keep above the £0/year line in 2023.

I’ve come to understand three very important things about personal finances.

If you are invested in stocks (and this year bond funds too), prices go up and down, and the more that you have invested, the larger the ups and downs are.

Secondly, if you are still accumulating wealth (income > outgoings), then it’s better if prices go down because it makes what you are buying (a slice of the pie) cheaper.

Thirdly is that we have no control over the stock markets and even worse, when we try to exercise control (by picking stocks) it generally ends up worse for us (because our chances of success when competing against quants, supercomputers, teams of researchers at banks, hedge funds and pump and dump internet trolls).

So, I try to keep it simple, safely. The Monevator post about how often you measure your todger check your portfolio was a very interesting article. I don’t know what the value of information is for checking your portfolio hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, never. It takes time and attention to do it – in a neurotic sense, it’s brain space that could be devoted to something else. And then there’s the fact that if you are getting this information, what are you going to do with it? If you do nothing, you are wasting your time and energy. So you probably feel compelled to buy/sell which as we know tends to be a bad idea.

I once had to spend a night in a hotel with a fanatic Rangers fan. We were on our way somewhere else and weather got us stuck in Shetland. Anyway, that day the Rangers manager Ally McCoist was sacked and it was a big new story. I was desperate to sleep (since our wake-up call was maybe 5am) but this loon kept listening to the sports radio from 10pm onwards hoping for an updated. No update came, because while this true blue fan was waiting for a bombshell at 2am, Ally was probably fast asleep. Are we a bit like this with our own checking of stock prices?

Progress to Financial Independence

Whilst my net worth may jump up and down, I can be sure of one thing: I’m one year closer to death! I turned 40, and based on a quick estimate, that gives me another 40 (+/-) years to live.

Whilst we do spend a lot, it’s balanced by our incomes. Even if we didn’t have the income, we had a lot of money on the books.

Our personal withdrawal rates sit at about 12% for pre-pension funds (which I can access from around 60 onwards) and between 4%-5% for our total net worth. These numbers are somewhat conservative, and we may have already acquired more money than we need to live for the rest of our lives. Isn’t that a funny concept?

Look Back and Look Ahead

2022 was a good year. I’m still working from home, and our life is good. We don’t have to worry about money, which is a major cause of trouble and strife in the world. And rightly so, people my age have it very bad indeed.

2023 will hopefully bring with it more of the same. I’m still working from home at the moment, and personally, that would be the biggest change. There’s the whole kids’ stuff and the changing of the seasons, but it’s 9-5 that really matters to me.

If I did have to head back to the office, I would consider retirement – temporary, career change, or just enjoy the coming summer. In the meantime, I’m happy with the status quo.

Thanks, GFF

6 Comments

  1. Awesome post! It’s nice to see an honest comment about taking the time to spend on yourselves, while lifestyle inflation is a thing I think it’s also important to enjoy the progress you’ve made from time to time. To another great year in 2023.

    Like

  2. Great update. What keeps you motivated to continue working when you may have more than you will ever need to retire?

    I’m as much asking for myself as I am you 😀 We are in very similar financial situations so I wondered what motivated you and kept you doing some work vs tapering down and working on other areas of your life (health/fitness).

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In short: tramp angst.
      Also, I tend to work between 9 and 3/5, also i habe the best coworker (the Lady – Wifie), full work from home, high hourly rate…

      Another reason is that with kids, you have to be around to pick up/drop off.
      My work is interesting enough and easy enough to make the time in between productive.

      Like

  3. Thanks for the round up, GFF and all the best for 2023.

    I answered the Monevator poll and I’m one of those who checks daily, in the morning.

    So I get a “Yay!” or a “Doh!” to start my day, but it doesn’t prompt me to do anything in either case. I know, waste of time but I just want to know!

    The only time I wasn’t checking was during the Covid drop as that was my first big crash experienced and I didn’t need to make myself any more depressed!

    Liked by 1 person

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