That’s us well into 2020 now, so time to see how my figures are looking for the first month of the year.As always last month’s figures are in brackets for comparison. I break down my figures to both include and exclude my house equity. The latter figure is to show how I’m doing in my quest to reach mortgage neutrality.
Mortgage £80,767.87 (£81,415.99)
Cash £14,988.95 (£15,248.10)
Money in share save £15,304 (£14,804)
AVC’s £5,175.36 (£5,055.46)
Shares £33,554.66 (£36,932.81)
House £250,000 (£250,000)
Total Assets £319,022.97 (£322,040.37)
Net Worth including house equity
£319,022.97 – £80,767.87 = £238,255.10 (£240,624.38)
Net Worth excluding house equity
£69,022.97 – £80,767.87 = -£11,744.90 (-£9,375.62)
Slightly depressing to see things going back the way. Although actually, when I look at the figures properly it’s really “just” the shares that are letting the side down. Slightly less cash, but hardly anything to speak of. Considering that I had two much larger than normal credit card bills to pay, with Christmas and a couple of trips away for this year to pay for, that’s really rather encouraging. Slightly helped by a couple of hundred pounds for a forced sale of some old work shares. That’s just sitting there in my current account just now waiting for me to have enough for the minimum lump sum payment to my index trackers.
The share save balance has gone up again. One of the schemes has finished now and the money is just there waiting for me to give my instruction to buy and immediately sell to take the profit. I’m waiting rather optimistically for the share price to go up a bit to optimise my profit. Once I’ve done that the money will be going straight into my Vanguard Index trackers.
My AVC’s balance is pitifully low, so just today I’ve increased my monthly contribution to that. Looking at my budgets I don’t have any spare money left over to put more into AVC’s, but I’m working on the philosophy that I always have money left over at the end of the month, so I’ll manage somehow. I’m due a pay rise in April which is what I was hoping to use to put towards my pension. They’ve announced that it’s going to be a flat percentage rise irrespective of performance, which is not how it’s normally handled. Not exactly providing an incentive to go the extra mile. It doesn’t bode well for the bonus either. The pay rise is going to be tiny, but at least it will go towards the extra I’m going to put to my AVC’s.
I’m trying not to get too downhearted about the figures looking worse for this month than last. I need to remember that it’s the big picture that’s important, not the month to month fluctuations. I am definitely going in the right direction, albeit maybe just not quite as quickly as I would like.
Maybe it’s worth a quick look at how I’m doing compared to this time last year. That’s me been recording my net worth for a whole year now, so it will be interesting to see how I’m getting on. So this time the figures in brackets will be from January 2019.
Mortgage £80,767.87 (£89,432.06)
Cash £14,988.95 (£15,404.81)
Money in share save £15,304 (£9,304)
AVC’s £5,175.36 (£3,278.05)
Shares £33,554.66 (£31,206.67)
House £250,000 (£228,000)
Total Assets £319,022.97 (£287,193.53)
Net Worth including house equity
£319,022.97 – £80,767.87 = £238,255.10 (£197,761.47)
Net Worth excluding house equity
£69,022.97 – £80,767.87 = -£11,744.90 (-£30,238.53)
So suddenly I don’t feel quite so bad about my figures. I can see that I am definitely making some progress. If I was just starting out then I would feel fabulous about these figures. As it is, I keep getting frustrated with how long it’s going to take me to reach FIRE. Now saying that, there is one big figure missing from my net worth. My defined benefit pension is going to pay me out £10K a year if I can stick it out until I’m 60. That’s only just over ten years away. So I’m only really needing to bridge the gap between that £10K a year and what I need for a decent life.
Retiring at sixty is definitely possible, whereas before that was just a pipe dream. I would love to stop working at 55, but I just can’t seem to make the figures work for that. I guess if I sold up and bought somewhere smaller for cash then it starts to seem a bit more realistic. Realistically though I will probably still have kids at home at that point, for at least part of the year.
My eldest is going off to university this year. I’m starting to realise some of the financial implications of this. I’ve already had my letter through saying that his child benefit is going to stop. I also get a tiny amount of child tax credit and maintenance, which will reduce. He will still be spending about half the year at home though with the amount of holidays that students get. I’m delighted that he’ll still be spending time at home, but I can foresee that my finances are likely to take a bit of a hit as a result. No doubt I’ll adapt and figure out a way to try and help him a bit with his money and not bankrupt myself in the process.
So my plan for this year continues to be to diversify. I still have a ridiculous amount in shares of the company I work for. Moving forward I’m just taking the profit from any share saves that I do and putting the money straight in to index trackers. I also need to sell off some of the existing shares I have. Again, I’m waiting for the share price to look a tiny bit better.
I’ll keep going with my plan to try and increase my AVC fund so I can use that to get my cash lump sum without needing to reduce the amount I get from my defined benefits pension annually. I’ve got some work I need to do to the house this year. I managed to get my bathroom sorted on the cheap last year, but it is slightly ridiculous that I have an en-suite that I can’t use because of a cracked shower tray and a toilet that doesn’t flush. I might use my dividend this year to put towards sorting that out, rather than reinvesting. It goes against the grain for me, but the only other option is to use up my emergency fund, which I’m loath to do. At some point I’m going to need a new boiler, and my car is not going to last forever. One step at a time though.
All in all then not a bad set of figures. Not as good as December’s, but when you look at how far I’ve come in a year I’m reasonably happy with that. I’ll keep plodding away and try and manoeuvre the eldest moving away to university. The mortgage is coming down steadily, although not as fast as I would like. I would definitely have more freedom if I didn’t have that commitment. I’ve decided though that the seven hundred pound a month I pay towards it is enough. It’s more important to increase my investments rather than reduce that debt. Especially as I have a base rate mortgage. I’ll just have to be patient with that and remember that in the grand scheme of things another ten years of mortgage payments is not the end of the world.