The Financial Dashboard – March 2020

The goals for March were:

  • Review progress towards long term goals
  • Review emergency fund accounts
  • Plan for 2020s ISA
  • Get the project car back on the road
  • Gardening

Checking the assets and liabilities:

Assets March

Liabilities March

These are taken, as always, from my Beast Budget spreadsheet. Bit of a mammoth change to my net worth this month. As a result of exploring the NHS pension, I fired up my Total Reward Statement. It’s difficult to value an NHS pension ahead of when you actually take it, so I’ve therefore used the NHS estimate of a hypothetical equivalent annuity cost. Based on these new numbers my net worth increased by a lot, and I had a 38% savings rate.
Goal achieved: Review progress towards long term goals

I set my first goals in November 2018, and some of them were pretty ambitious and unachievable. Considering my pension made me question my approach. 2038 for a goal retirement date seems a more achievable number, and setting things down on paper which are realistic targets has been more motivating than a pie-in-the-sky number. My asset allocations also need a look at as I’ve learnt and understand more, so that’s a job for next month.
Goal achieved: Review emergency fund accounts

My emergency funds are currently split across three accounts. I hold £2500 in my Starling account, £2500 in a 5% Nationwide FlexDirect account and a further £300/month goes into a Monmouthshire Building Society regular saver at 3%. The Starling account interest is a paltry 0.5%, and I’d prefer to keep a maximum £500 cash float there instead. My Nationwide FlexDirect deal is also coming to it’s end. I’ve exhausted most of the bank accounts with fixed rate deals or regular savers.

In light of this, and following up on my recent post about Premium Bonds, I’ve transferred spare savings from my Starling into a new Premium Bonds account. This will be topped up by the £2500 from Nationwide when it expires. I’ll also be setting up a Marcus account as it remains pretty much the market leader, to be topped up with any leftover cash lying around (1).
Goal achieved: Plan for 2020s ISA

It’s that time of year again! I only put £2700 into my ISA last year. I’m very happy with my Vanguard account as a basic platform, but I’m after access to stocks/ shares and a wider range of ETFs for future active and passive shenanigans. For that reason, and planning ahead for platform risk, I’ve been looking at opening an account with another provider.

Both Monevator and Money to the Masses suggested Cavendish Online was the next cheapest for me after Vanguard from the traditional providers, whilst also offering a wider range of funds, ETFs and shares (2, 3). Interesting to note that Cavendish’s website actually links to Monevator for the price comparison section – if that’s not proof of success I don’t know what is!

When I ran the numbers including trades it turned out FreeTrade’s annual flat £36 ISA fee was cheaper than Cavendish. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and follow up my small investment into FreeTrade with a new ISA account. FreeTrade does have limits – it’s only ETFs and shares, no funds – but I can work around that.

If you want a free share for opening a new FreeTrade account, send me an email using the link on my About Me page.
Goal failed: Get the project car back on the road

It fought me, and with the help of the COVID-19 shutdown of most garages, won. Parts have been procured, fixes installed, and an MOT awaits.
Goal achieved: Gardening

Did loads of this, and very relaxing it was too. The enforced time at home meant the raised beds have been filled will seeds, shoots are emerging in the greenhouse for radishes, rocket, salad greens, sunflowers, tomatoes, spring onions… the list goes on.

  • Groceries – Budget £200, spent £175.55, last month £169.83
  • Entertainment – Budget £100, spent £106.75, last month £143.33
  • Transport – Budget £460, spent £401.48, last month £862.40
  • Holiday – £150, spent £317.33, last month £60 – Squeezed a stag weekend in before lockdown
  • Personal – £100/ £25/ £15.88
  • Loans/ Credit – £0/ £0/ £0
  • Misc – £50/ £15.12/ £94.59
  • Fees – £70 /£267.50/ £648.50 – Further gristle, for now cancelled conferences – refunds pending.

In the garden:

See above.
Goals for next month:

  • Review target asset allocations
  • Get the project car back on the road
  • Tidy the garage, sell anything unnecessary
  • Tidy the loft and begin to clear

Happy April everyone, I hope you’re all keeping well,

The Shrink


2 thoughts on “The Financial Dashboard – March 2020

  1. Whats with listing the life insurance as a asset? Or is it not included in the totals (It doesn’t seem to be). Just thought it was a little bit of a strange one? On your gardening- I really should be arsed to do some myself, but it doesn’t seem like all the time in the world could get me out there. I don’t seem to be able to grow anything, and really supermarkets make it too cheap. Is there something I should be doing/trying to try and get past the first hurdle?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair spot, life insurance remains on my dashboard from the days when I had more debt, and I as making sure, in the event of my death, I was solvent. It doesn’t figure in my numbers and serves as a placeholder and reminder.

      I’ve always quite liked gardening (or anything working with my hands in contrast to the day job). I would start with something quick super easy, like potatoes, lettuce or sunflowers. Alternatively I properly started with indoor chilli kits, as they’re easy and a bit different. There’s not much to lose if you give it a go, and any failures are lessons learned.
      Cheers for your continued attention!


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