Q3 2019 – Exposing myself

Quarterly return posts supplement my monthly Financial Dashboard, covering investments in detail and looking at my yearly targets. Here I track purchases and sales, document progress against my (in progress) investment strategy, and discuss re-balancing and changes over time.

I apologies for the title of this post. I am, at best, an overgrown manchild.

Q3 Returns:

Q3 Net Worth

  • Cash Savings Accounts £4200 (+£1000)
  • Investments £1550 (+£675)
  • Property £34,450 (+£1150)
  • Cars £2500 (-£500)

My net worth now sits at £40,350, an increase of £4.8k over the past three months, which is a pretty damn stonking (I’ll come onto this a bit more in Goal 3). This makes my rolling twelve month increase £18,000. Remaining strong. I’ve written down the worth of one of my cars for depreciation.
Yearly Targets:

Goal 1: Build an emergency fund

My first 2019 goal was to build an emergency fund, as per the r/UKpersonalfinance flow chart (1). My goal emergency fund is three months total household expenses (£6k) in my name, plus a further three months (£6k) held jointly. I now currently hold £3100 in my name, and £900 held jointly. I need to double down on this over the next few months to try and achieve the £6k figure by the end of the year.

Goal 2: Pay off short-term debts

Short Term Debt Q3

This goal has been achieved. Done. Sorted. I dip into my credit card now only for purchases where I want the security of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Moving on…

Goal 3: Save 25% of my earnings

Savings Rate Q3

I calculate my savings rate using this formula:

Savings rate as % = ((Income – spend) + Cash savings + Investments + Pension contributions) / (Income + Pension contributions)

Having paid off all my unsecured debt, I’ve been able to channel money into savings a bit better. My current mean savings rate for 2019 is 21.48%, still short of my goal but closing in.

The interesting aside here is my three month net worth gain does not marry up with my savings rate. Gaining £4.8k would suggest a £1.6k/month increase, and at a 35% savings rate (average over the last three months), I’d have to be earning £4.6k take home! I am not earning £4.6k take home. I am not earning £4.6k gross. Try half that.

So where’s it coming from? My investments have (aside from new holdings) mainly tread water, and the local house prices are holding firm. As ever I think this is a demonstration of how you can get numbers to show you anything you want. Here, the rise is due to my decreased student loan, increased property equity and increased joint holdings. It’s all noise.

Goal 4: Live more sustainably

Our drive to weekly healthy dinners has meant less packaging and more local or home grown food. We’ve also been enjoying the harvest glut, which means less imported food. An area to focus on next quarter.

Goal 5: Commence investing

I’ve been better at investing this quarter, but still not at the automated stage yet. Some subconscious barrier is preventing me, by telling myself that I need to hold it out for other positions not on my ISA platform. For the next three months I intend to invest in an automatic way each month into one of my current holdings. Because it’s now not just one.

Q3 Types

In the past three months I did the bad thing, first by opening a couple of CrowdCube investments. I put a small amount of money into the second of the two Freetrade raises, having missed out on the first round due to the CrowdCube glitch. I like what Freetrade are doing, I think they have a good model which has worked previously overseas (RobinHood in the US for example), and I don’t think they’re particularly overvalued (2). I have gone into the psychology of crowdfunding platforms, but suffice to say I don’t think FreeTrade were there to exploit the psychological ploys. It’s also a company I would, and will, use.

If you’re interested in trying Freetrade and want a free share to boot, drop me an email.

The other crowdfunding investment I made was in a small mining company called Cornish Lithium ltd (3). They were exploiting the psychological ploys, and this investment was pure, emotional, domestic-market-biased speculation. Laugh if you choose, it was the cost of a fancy dinner out and it’s sitting as a leaden, illiquid lump in my active satellite picks. I’m hoping it was a better bet than Sirius Minerals (or Wolf for that matter) are turning out to be (I hold neither).

Global Exposure.JPG

In the passive core of my investments, I opened an investment in Vanguards FTSE Global All Cap Index Fund (4). This supplements my current Developed World ex-UK holding, adding some emerging markets exposure and small cap. Is it worth bothering with? The Accumulator over at Monevator reflected last week on the 10 year returns across the market, and the little difference emerging market holdings have made (5). I was also torn between this and the Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF (6). Ultimately I decided to be a purist for the passive global argument; the All Cap is slightly cheaper (OCF 0.24% vs 0.25% for VWRL), and the concept is to capture the whole of the market. The All Cap Index Fund does just that, whereas the All-World lacks the small cap. The small cap gains probably won’t beat the dividend gains available through VWRL, making this a principled rather than pragmatic choice, but we’ll have to let history decide.

Until next time,

The Shrink

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/UKPersonalFinance/
  2. https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/freetrade
  3. https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/cornish-lithium-ltd
  4. https://www.vanguardinvestor.co.uk/investments/vanguard-ftse-global-all-cap-index-fund-gbp-accumulation-shares
  5. https://monevator.com/10-year-retrospective-what-a-decade-of-returns-tells-us-about-passive-investing/
  6. https://www.vanguardinvestor.co.uk/investments/vanguard-ftse-all-world-ucits-etf-usd-distributing/overview
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The Full English Accompaniment – Cognitive biases in crowdfunding

Continuing my current theme looking at crowdfunding, and in advance of some behavioural finance pieces I’m putting together, this week I’m pointing out some of the ways crowdfunding websites use cognitive biases to convince you to invest. For examples, I’ve pulled two pitches from Seedrs and CrowdCube which were at the top of their lists (1, 2).

Seedrs

Crowdcube

Crowdcube rewards

In my opinion, some of the main cognitive methods that these sites use are:

  • Bandwagon effect/ Confirmation bias
  • Overconfidence effect
  • Illusion of scarcity
  • Denomination/ reciprocity effects/ present bias

Bandwagon effect/ Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the internal yes-man, that disregards data that contradicts your opinion and suggests that ambiguous information supports your opinion (3). Your search for, remember and interpret information subconsciously to prove you are right. The bandwagon effect refers to the tendency of people to follow others, regardless of whether it’s a good idea (4, 5). It stretches into and is allied with groupthink and herd behaviour. It’s common in politics and consumer economics, and was also seen in the Dotcom bubble. Here confirmation bias and the bandwagon effect work in tandem, people will invest along with others thinking that it is evidence that they are making the right choice.

Crowdcube Bandwagon

Seedrs Confirmation

In the two examples chosen, you can see (circled in orange) that the number of investors and their commitment to a theoretical goal valuation are given pride of place in the ‘pitch’. Both websites aim to convince you that it’s a good idea, as many others are doing the same. Others must have done the research (social loafing), and they’ve committed (sunk cost fallacy), so you should too.

Overconfidence effect

Tied into confirmation bias, the overconfidence effect is the subjective belief that a persons ability is greater than the objective results would suggest (6). This should be well known to anyone who has read Smarter Investing etc, and is the basis of the active investment mindset. It’s also the whole basis of the Crowdfunding system, offering a variety of ‘pitches’ which you then evaluate, thinking ‘I have the edge others do not’. It’s worth noting in this that. Adding to this, optimism bias makes you think you are less likely to have a negative outcome (like a company failing) than others.

To help you on your way in your overconfident selection, the websites use the framing effect (7). Information is presented in a positive manner. These are, after all, advertising pitches. Every page will play-up it’s ongoing good points. Causes of concern are never mentioned (except perhaps in the discussion section). To look at the company financials often requires an investment or access request, inhibiting due diligence.

Illusion of scarcity

Scarcity, in human psychology, boils down to the fact that we as humans place greater value on things which are rare than those which are common (8). The scarcity heuristic is the mental shortcut we do when we say, ‘this thing is rarely available, therefore it must be worth more’. Salespeople employ this to great effect as the basis for mark-down discounts, Black Friday, and the perpetual DFS sale. Scarcity can come from quantity, rarity or time. For quantity, our innate reaction to finding out there is a limited quantity of something is to believe our choice to have that something is threatened, and therefore we want it more. For rarity, we place value on items we perceive to be unique. In companies this is often played on with pro-innovation bias, where we will favour innovation over the status quo and ignore flaws in the innovation (9). Such a pitch could be ‘look at our innovative unique idea, set to change the world’. For time, the scarcity heuristic is simple; time is running out, you don’t have time to do the complex thinking, the short cut answer is to buy, buy, buy.

Crowdcube Scarcity

Seedrs Scarcity

Once again these methods are front and centre of our two chosen pitches. You have limited time left to choose (time scarcity). There’s a limited quantity of available investment (quantity scarcity), at odds with the over-funding concept. Ask yourself why the data is being presented in this way?

Denomination/ reciprocity effects/ present bias

Denomination effect is a cognitive bias in currency where people are more likely to spend an equivalent value in small denominations than in large denominations (10). I see this alot, as MrsShrink will actively avoid spending big sums, but £<10 in Tesco on tat twice a week is not an issue. You are more likely to buy multiple small crowdfunding investments than one large investment, which also fits with diversification bias, the tendency to opt for a selection which gives you options or variety in the future (11).

Crowdcube rewards

Crowdfunding sites pitch your investments in small amounts. They also offer rewards, which works on reciprocity effects and present bias. Reciprocity is responding to a positive action with a positive action, leading to positive regard from both sides (12). If the company rewards you for an investment, you are more likely to see it in a good light. You are also more likely to pick a company which rewards you for an investment due to present bias (13). This incorporates hyperbolic discounting, but essentially can be said that if we are offered £100 tomorrow or £100 in a month, we’re more likely to choose tomorrow. If we’re offered £100 tomorrow or £110 in a month, the choice will depend on the person and how much they discount the worth through time delay. As all crowdfunding investments are essential gambles set for an uncertain future, a present day reward sways our choices.

TL:DR

These are just a few of the methods that crowdfunding websites use to part us from our hard-earned. There are many, many more, and I encourage everyone to read up on behavioural finance and understand when cognitive biases may be at play. The post may come off as harsh, so know that I invested in the last month on one of these crowdfunding platforms. It’s all about doing your homework and looking beyond the sales pitch. If you can be bothered.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References:

  1. https://www.seedrs.com/anna-money/sections/investors
  2. https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/justpark-1/pitches/bk7Aeb
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
  4. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bandwagon-effect.asp
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwagon_effect
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overconfidence_effect
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_effect_(psychology)
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarcity_(social_psychology)
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-innovation_bias
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denomination_effect
  11. https://humanhow.com/en/list-of-cognitive-biases-with-examples/
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology)
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_inconsistency
  14. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49884247
  15. https://metro.co.uk/2019/09/30/chancellor-sajid-javid-raises-national-living-wage-10-50-10834020/
  16. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49849484
  17. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49891141
  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49919189
  19. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7535061/Recession-fears-hang-global-economy.html
  20. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-7541673/Cautious-Treasury-loses-Sirius-Minerals-millions-failing-company.html
  21. https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3082227/new-gbp120m-low-carbon-greenhouse-project-set-to-deliver-one-in-10-uk-tomatoes
  22. https://www.getrichslowly.org/early-retirement-extreme/
  23. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-we-ditched-the-fire-movement-and-couldnt-be-happier-2019-09-30
  24. https://monevator.com/10-year-retrospective-what-a-decade-of-returns-tells-us-about-passive-investing/
  25. https://monevator.com/qa-thursday-with-lars-kroijer-session-1/
  26. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/09/30/month-end-accounts-september-2019/
  27. https://drfire.co.uk/september-2019-report/
  28. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/september-2019-a-month-in-review/
  29. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-september-2019/
  30. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/10/investment-review-september-2019.html
  31. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/10/01/september-review/
  32. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/10/04/saving-for-the-future/
  33. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-september-2019/
  34. https://thesquirreler.com/2019/10/02/september-2019-update/
  35. https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-15-getting-a-job-at-google/
  36. https://playingwithfire.uk/october-update/
  37. https://monethalia.com/monthly-savings-report-september-2019/
  38. https://awaytoless.com/monthly-spending-september-2019/
  39. https://firevlondon.com/2019/10/05/sep-2019-q3-review/
  40. https://gettingminted.com/reviewing-the-situation/
  41. https://grizgalonfire.com/do-i-need-a-personal-pension/
  42. https://indeedably.com/backwardation/
  43. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/how-to-successfully-merge-finances-without-breaking-up-over-it/
  44. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/10/the-hidden-debt-of-lease-obligations.html/
  45. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/10/itm-power-finals-key-partnership.html
  46. http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/2019/10/human-being-and-2019-q3-review.html
  47. https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/03/always-cooking-the-same-thing-try-a-weekly-food-box

The Financial Dashboard – September 2019

The goals for September were:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Look for a skip bike to use for short local journeys
  • De-clutter spare room for charity shop

Checking the assets and liabilities:

September AssetsSeptember Liabilities

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by 3.32%, modest but enough to push me over the £40k barrier. My savings rate, not including mortgage repayment, was 43.76%, pushing my average up to 21.48%. That’s my best savings rate of the year.

Goals:

Goal achieved: Plan healthy weekly dinners

Within the confines of eating out/ in with friends, and the times when we’ve been away, I think this has been achieved. We’ve eaten less oven or ready meals, and more stuff fresh from scratch using our home grown ingredients. I want to build on this, by adopting a meal plan – a goal for next month.

Goal achieved: Exercise at least 3x a week

This was actually really hard. Life has a tendency to throw curveballs, and trying to fit in three workouts every week around work commitments, socialising, house chores and sleep has been challenging. Again I want to build on this – for next month it’s 4x a week.

Goal failed: Get two more blogposts out

Slightly better. June and July were a real lull, with only three and four posts, compared to eight in one month at the start of the year. I managed five in August, but still not back to my old standard. I’m going to aim for six this month.

Goal failed: Look for a skip bike to use for short local journeys

I decided not to do this, as I don’t need more stuff. I’m going to get my old bike repaired again instead.

Goal failed: De-clutter spare room for charity shop

Still a work in progress.

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £144.75, last month £299.90
  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £101, last month £81
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £257.49, last month £241.97
  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £0
  • Personal – £100/ £87.75/ £62.99
  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £152.25/ £152.25
  • Misc – £50/ £75.65/ £30 – Gifts mainly
  • Fees – £70 /£110.40/ £209.75 – Vets fees

In the garden:

More chutneys this month as our tomatoes and beans come to an end. A few courgettes still soldiering on, but I think this weeks weather might kill them off. Despite a strong start my pumpkins are sadly the size of plums. I’ve planted a lot of new stuff this month; winter potatoes, onions for spring, spinach beet, carrots and spring cabbage.

Goals for next month:

  • Adopt a weekly meal plan
  • Exercise 4x a week
  • Get six blogposts out across the month
  • Repair pushbike
  • De-clutter spare room for the charity shop

What’s in the pipeline: (Hopefully a couple this month)

  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Should I buy an electric car?
  • Q3 2019 – Steady as she goes
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy October everyone,

The Shrink

The Half English

Unfortunately I’m away/ busy this weekend, so it’s the abridged links only.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/24/theory-suggests-retiring-baby-boomers-could-spark-stock-dark-period.html
  2. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-7500027/Overpay-mortgage-beat-rock-bottom-savings-rates.html
  3. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24332493-100-ancient-grains-are-misnamed-and-their-health-benefits-are-unconfirmed/
  4. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/property/article-7352931/Swapping-buy-let-short-term-holiday-let-prove-profitable.html
  5. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7507989/Neil-Woodfords-Patient-Capital-shares-fall-amid-fresh-writedowns.html
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-49648109
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/27/bank-of-england-hints-at-interest-rate-cut-even-without-no-deal-brexit
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/28/uk-needs-billions-a-year-to-meet-2050-climate-targets
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/sep/29/i-sold-our-house-and-gave-away-our-stuff-the-minimalists-doing-more-with-less
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/24/global-economy-trump-china-iran-brexit-argentina
  11. http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2019/09/runaway-story-or-meltdown-in-motion.html
  12. https://monevator.com/something-to-lose/
  13. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/09/29/building-blocks-of-a-wealthy-society-2-democracy/
  14. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/09/nextenergy-solar-portfolio-addition.html
  15. https://www.msziyou.com/uk-fire-bloggers-directory-2019/
  16. http://bankeronfire.com/seven-popular-misconceptions-about-investment-bankers
  17. http://bankeronfire.com/junior-isa-is-it-as-good-as-it-seems
  18. http://fretfulfinance.co.uk/is-saving-and-investing-only-for-the-middle-class/
  19. https://www.foxymonkey.com/fi-getting-real/
  20. https://www.foxymonkey.com/gemfinder-q3-2019-doom-gloom/
  21. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/peer-to-peer-lending-risks/
  22. https://thesquirreler.com/2019/09/29/mcr-fire-meet-up-27th-september-2019/
  23. https://awaytoless.com/how-we-cut-our-food-shopping-bill-in-half/
  24. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/aiming-to-save-50-of-our-income-4-years-on/
  25. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/holiday-a-window-to-the-future-or-a-mirage/
  26. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/09/27/Early-retirement-travelling-again—is-this-why-I-retired
  27. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/09/27/the-power-of-positive-thinking/
  28. https://indeedably.com/rejection/
  29. https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/sep/27/are-oysters-vegan-kitchen-aide
  30. https://www.jackwallington.com/allotment-month-46-tomatoes-edamame-apples-raspberries-and-sunflowers/
  31. https://agentsoffield.com/2019/09/22/reap-what-you-sow/

The Full English – The Crowdfunded Bubble

Calling economic bubbles is a no-lose situation for a blogger. If you’re correct, whoop-de-do, celebrate your foresight. If you’re wrong, you’re a grumpy pessimist but no worse off. With that caveat readers may recall a couple of weeks ago, in the last Full English, I mentioned that Curve had completed crowdfunding with a pre-money valuation of £201,000,000 (1). Yes, that is the correct number of decimal spaces. It left me asking, how the hell are people valuing these companies?

Turns out I’m not alone in wondering that (2). The hard data suggests that the price paid for a percentage of the company by the crowd is far higher than private equity pays (3). For your more expensive price you get B class shares and rarely see information about the valuation in the prospectus. How did we reach this point?

In a world of low interest rates investors are looking for returns. We’ve all read Smarter Investing, we know we should be avoiding active funds that would typically partake of Venture Capital. We exist in an economic climate that favours growth over value strategies. We see success stories like Facebook, Instagram, Monzo, Brewdog, Uber. We want a slice of that growth, and there are new and exciting ways to access it (4). So we apply some cognitive biases; illusion of control and confirmation bias. We can surely pick the winners.

We look to platforms like CrowdCube, Seedrs, etc to find a way in at the ground floor of the next unicorn. Because our purchase is fuelled by optimism (and a whole lot of sales psychology), we’re willing to pay over the odds for the ground floor. This drives competition for shares and increases the valuation of the company. Basic economics. When the company lists on the stock market you get off at the penthouse suite, suddenly a millionaire. The tech IPO procession continues (5).

But that competition for a slice of the pie ignores the companies bottom line. Crowdfunding platforms are slick presentations to consumers, not like the due diligence of a traditional capital firm. The position of power is with the listing company, not the lender. This again drives up the valuation of the market.

The companies, overvalued with optimism, get valued by the market fairly and fall from their listing price. The tech companies that have gone through the IPO process are losing money (6). And people are taking notice. IPOs are being shelved, most notably the recent WeWork delay (7, 8). Traditional institutions do not want an overvalued investment, because in the long run they won’t get a return. They don’t want to see their shares costing billions of dollars through the efficient market (9). While the stock is unlisted the return and gain/loss is not realised.

This isn’t stopping profitable and strong companies going public. AirBnB continues to voice that it will soon, now setting a timeline for next year (10). However as Crowdfunding grows it will continue to offer a window into murky investments, promising a lot but with little to report. It will continue to inflate prices with optimistic opinions of growth. At some point all the optimism becomes a little too sweet, and it’ll be interesting to see if we end up in a crowdfunded private-company rerun of the dot-com crash.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.

References:

  1. https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2019/09/151157-fastest-startup-to-ever-hit-4-million-crowdfunding-on-crowdcube-curve-kills-it-now-at-5-5-million/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn_bubble
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/goncalodevasconcelos/2015/05/27/valuations-in-crowdfunding-are-we-all-barking-mad/
  4. https://monevator.com/venture-capital-investing/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/30/lyft-ipo-stock-market-unicorns-uber-airbnb-slack
  6. https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/09/13/uber-and-out-why-the-tech-unicorns-keep-losing-money/
  7. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49687338
  8. https://moneyweek.com/515081/proof-that-the-tech-company-unicorn-ipo-bubble-is-bursting/
  9. https://marketrealist.com/2019/09/wework-ipo-shelved-unicorn-stocks-lose-luster/
  10. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49761461
  11. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-7452637/Never-ending-Brexit-saga-continues-drag-UK-housing-market-RICS.html
  12. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49752883
  13. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-7468833/Almost-half-banks-cut-fixed-rate-savings-August.html
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/17/britons-are-still-worse-off-than-in-2008-new-research-claims
  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49738869
  16. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49567197
  17. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/16/more-than-1400-uk-restaurants-close-as-casual-dining-crunch-bites
  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49721436
  19. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7472389/Sirius-Minerals-shares-crash-fails-secure-funding-mine.html
  20. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49766418
  21. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49720446
  22. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/20/you-may-have-more-time-than-you-think-to-achieve-financial-security.html
  23. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/09/12/michael-burry-index-funds/
  24. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2019/09/17/market-peak-upcoming-recession/
  25. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-how-could-the-financial-services-sector-better-cater-for-the-likes-of-us/
  26. https://monevator.com/my-biggest-fi-demon-status-anxiety/
  27. https://monevator.com/what-is-a-master-trust-pension/
  28. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/09/mitie-dividend.html/
  29. https://cashflowcop.com/csi-finance/
  30. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/09/18/translating-financial-independence-from-american-to-british/
  31. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/09/11/the-ice-sculpture-the-turkey-and-the-rollercoaster/
  32. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/09/afc-energy-portfolio-addition.html
  33. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/09/first-solar-new-addition.html
  34. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/09/bluefield-solar-trust-full-year-results.html
  35. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/aiming-for-fire/
  36. https://littlemissfire.com/erase-and-rewind/
  37. https://littlemissfire.com/why-im-the-fire-underdog-and-thats-ok/
  38. https://www.msziyou.com/money-is-political/
  39. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-august-2019/
  40. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/random-update-aka-what-the-hell-have-i-been-up-to-over-the-last-3-months/
  41. https://thesavingninja.com/how-to-get-a-first-class-flight-for-free/
  42. https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-14/
  43. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/09/13/august-review/
  44. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/09/13/Early-retirement-costs-targets—August-2019
  45. https://pursuefire.com/monthly-update-15-august/
  46. https://pursuefire.com/pursue-fire-updates/
  47. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/09/tax-planning-for-retirement-savings.html
  48. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/how-to-calculate-your-personal-investing-rate-the-usability-update-that-savings-rate-desperately-needs/
  49. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/db-pension-options/
  50. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/the-importance-of-being-earning/
  51. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/exit-strategy-update-is-it-best-to-quit-your-job-face-to-face/
  52. https://indeedably.com/telephone/
  53. https://indeedably.com/volte-face/
  54. https://indeedably.com/own-goal/
  55. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/09/19/random-shares/
  56. https://lovelygreens.com/tips-for-starting-a-new-vegetable-garden/
  57. https://www.jackwallington.com/allotment-month-46-tomatoes-edamame-apples-raspberries-and-sunflowers/

The FIRE Cemetery

Here lies a list of blogs now deceased, moved on to fairer lands…

On life support (>3 months since last post)

  • 3652 Days – Fairly infrequently updated, this has slowed down
  • The Finance Zombie – Last post in February 2019, infrequent prior
  • Early Retirement Guy – First post 2014, most recent June 2019, and that was a six month update
  • Sparklebee – First post June 2014, last in May of this year. At that point their work had been making them ill, so I hope they’re well and taking time.
  • Fire in London – First post in Nov 2016, last in December 2018
  • Deliberate Living UK – First post 2017, last from Wephway was in December 2018

In the morgue (dormant for >1 year)

  • Financially Free by 40 – Huw at FB40 last posted in mid-2018
  • Sex Health Money Death – Jim first posted in August 2015, and the last post was August 2018. At that point he was close to retiring, so he may well have blogged his last.
  • Under The Money Tree – One of the original few, now dormant since December 2017

Dead and buried

 

If you can think of any more please leave a comment below, and I’ll periodically return to update.

The Financial Dashboard – August 2019

The goals for August were:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Recheck my budgets as I change jobs and drop my income by 1/4 (gotta love the NHS)

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets AugustLiabilities August

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. This month my net worth grew by 5.47%, the second best this year. My savings rate, not including mortgage repayment, was 34.66%, pushing my average up to 18.69%.

Goals:

Goal failed: Plan healthy weekly dinners

Getting better at this, but continuing to be away a lot has meant that having the time and space to plan out food for the week has been tricky. I had begun to rely on frozen food, so we’ve gone back to fresh, and I’ve been making big batches using the glut of veg from the garden. We continue to just about manage a split of three meat, one fish, three veggie, but lunches are often whatever I can snatch. With a job change I need to get better at organising and preparing in advance.

Goal failed: Exercise at least 3x a week

Sort of fail. I averaged exercise 3x a week, but had a week where I only managed to go twice. Keeping this on to pressurise myself into making it a strict 3x in a week.

Goal failed: Get two more blogposts out

Miserable. Even worse than July. I’m just not at home or in front of a desk with free time enough to write at the moment. The pressure will remain on.

Goal achieved: Recheck my budgets as I change jobs and drop my income by 1/4 

A necessity, as I change my job in the annual Black Wednesday shuffle, when all hospitals are suddenly staffed by junior doctors asking; “What do I do?”, “Where do I go?”, and “Who am I?”. My new jobs incurs a pay cut of 1/4, as I’m working fewer unsociable hours. Looking at my budgets:

Budgets

  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £299.90, last month £254.

This probably isn’t an accurate representation, as our finances are now settled enough that all food bills go through out joint account, while this was set up when we were doing food individually. Somehow I seem to have spent £135 of my own money and £250 from the joint this month, and an eye-watering £490 from the joint last month. A few £50 shops, with lots of £10-20 top ups has really bitten a chunk out of our monthly earnings. I’m going to bring the budget down from £300 to £200, notionally as £150 for the joint (£300/2) and £50 from my own. I used to survive on £20/week, so there’s plenty of fat to trim.

  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £81, last month £186.

This suffers the same problem as the groceries section, in that the budget was set pre-usage of our main joint account. This mainly goes on eating out at restaurants or activities with friends. We could do better at getting out into the countryside for free again, and we should only really eat out once a month. Going to trim this down from £150 to £100 and see how we get on.

  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £241.97, last month £618.29.

Looked at this relatively recently, so it’s going to remain unchanged. Will hopefully be driving less in the new job, so can save some petrol money. Really need to get back on the bike too.

  • Holiday – £150, spent £0, last month £103.50.

Planning something for later in the year, and putting the budget towards that in a Starling pot.

  • Personal – £100/ £62.99/ £30.76.

This is clothes, gifts, books, games, DVDs, trips to the barber etc. I always feel like it should be more, but I suspect a lot of stuff ends up under Misc or Groceries (supermarket clothing etc). I’m going to keep this the same.

  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £152.25/ £493.30

Big changes here, as now my credit card debt is cleared I want to make it an exception if I have to use and pay off any credit card. Dropping the budget to £0, as this is what I should be aiming to be paying.

  • Misc – £50/ £30/ £119.35 

This is my catch all for unexpected or difficult to classify things. I have empty fields in my spreadsheet capture the data. No change to this, as you always need a float

  • Fees – £70 /£209.75/ £-

New data. This is all my monthly fees for services; mobile phone, internet, bank account fees, life insurance, plus professional subscriptions. It’s a pretty jagged graph, as many of my professional costs fall yearly as a big sum which I’m now averaging across months as savings in another Starling pot. Nominally I’ll set a budget which incorporates all my routine monthly direct debits without the lumpy stuff. Off the back of this I went and spoke to my mobile phone provider, renegotiating my contract and reducing the monthly figure by half.

In the garden:

Full glut mode activated. Chutneys everywhere. Excess beans, melons and tomatoes. Potatoes finally harvested, sadly a bit grub-munched. Sunflowers drying for their seeds. Cucamelons tiny bursts of joy. Purple carrots adding colour to salads. Just in time for that first chill wind.

Goals for next month:

  • Plan healthy weekly dinners
  • Exercise at least 3x a week
  • Get two more blogposts out
  • Look for a skip bike to use for short local journeys
  • De-clutter spare room for charity shop

What’s in the pipeline: (Life continues to get in the way of blogging)

  • Stoicism and the finance world
  • Should I buy an electric car?
  • Q2 2019 – Green Credentials
  • Property Renovation Lessons Part III
  • Plus the usual Full English Accompaniments and other drivel…

Happy September everyone,

The Shrink