The Full English Accompaniment – Crowdfunding maturing

What’s piqued my interest this week?

Over the past few years I’ve watched the crowdfunding field grow, with various platforms and companies gradually expanding into robust and trusted investment sources. I’ve thought about trying Crowdfunding investments before, the 2011 Brewdog prospectus still sits on my old laptop, but I’ve always been dubious about the liquidity. As a student I chose to spend my cash on beer in my hand, rather than beer in a portfolio. Other bloggers did invest, and have been stuck trying to reduce their exposure and sell up (1). Due to this liquidity risk I lump all crowdfunding and P2P investments together, including all of the stock, property and loans in one big, high risk, ‘invest and don’t expect to get it back’ bucket. They’re all basically junk bond grade investments. The percentage returns on these investments supposedly account for this risk of losing your money.

I think my concerns are largely justified. If you look past the odd moment a few months ago when Seedrs stopped it’s own investment round due to it’s own rules, there’s been plenty of warning signs (2). We’ve had Lendy’s collapse, and there could be more on the way (3, 4). In response the FCA is bringing in new rules to clamp down on poor practice and protect investors (5, 6). The P2P and Crowdfunding market is maturing, less wild west. P2P and Crowdfunding is going mainstream (7, 8).

So, if everyone’s doing it, I might as well too. I decided it was time to start dipping my toe, as part of my satellite active investments. But for me this wasn’t about attempting to increase my returns with a >10% P2P loan, like the one Monevator affiliated RateSetter offer (9). This was about getting in on the ground floor, like I coudla-shoulda-wounda with BrewDog, with a small amount of throwaway money. I was tempted by a number of options: MoneyDashboard (too many competitors, unclear valuation and monetisation strategy) (10, 11); Curve (not happened yet) (12); Tickr (too many competitors, unclear valuation) (13). I became aware of the gameification of crowdfunding investment, and the methods employed to prey on the ‘fear of missing out’.

My first Crowdfunding investment went on FreeTrade. I missed out on the earlier round after the glitches meant it was closed before I could complete (14). I got in with a small, test the waters, investment sum on the June round (15). This means, like Weenie, I have free stocks to share (16). I have concerns about FreeTrade, not least the proliferation of other free trading apps, and the recent move of Robinhood into the UK (17, 18). If it goes tits up, then I put in enough to be along for the ride. Invest, forget, and definitely don’t bank on the returns. (And if you want a free share, contact me or leave me a comment!)

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://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/how-to-put-out-a-fire-use-liquidity/
  2. https://www.altfi.com/article/5635_seedrs-suspends-its-own-shares-after-entering-advanced-stages-of-a-new-funding-round
  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/07/28/wake-lendys-collapse-britains-peer-to-peer-lending-bubble-go/
  4. https://www.altfi.com/article/5404_dont-panic-but-were-in-the-middle-of-a-peer-to-peer-lending-crunch
  5. https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-confirms-new-rules-p2p-platforms
  6. https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/peer-to-peer-investing-maximum-limit-fca-regulation-a8947886.html
  7. https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/peer-to-peer-lending–what-you-need-to-know
  8. https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/crowdfunding–what-you-need-to-know
  9. https://monevator.com/ratesetter-high-interest-offer/
  10. https://www.insider.co.uk/news/money-dashboard-raises-46-million-18983490
  11. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-48349943
  12. https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/34273/curve-set-to-embark-on-a-mighty-crowdfunding-campaign/retail
  13. https://www.altfi.com/article/5470_impact-investment-tickr-200-crowdfunding-target
  14. https://www.altfi.com/article/5290_freetrade-shutters-19m-crowdfunding-round-technical-difficulties-new-round-june
  15. https://www.cityam.com/freetrade-to-close-7m-in-second-crowdfunding-round/
  16. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2018/05/25/wisdom-of-the-crowds/
  17. https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/07/robinhood-fca/
  18. https://qz.com/1684107/robinhood-is-heading-to-the-uk-where-it-will-compete-with-freetrade-revolut/
  19. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49356248
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/aug/14/south-of-england-house-prices-fall-for-first-time-since-2009-brexit
  21. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/08/house-prices-fall-unexpectedly-pre-brexit-caution-bites
  22. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-7382937/Britains-expensive-cities-including-London-Cambridge-affordable-buyers.html
  23. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/09/chase-bank-cancels-all-credit-card-debt-for-canadian-customers
  24. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-7333403/Government-comes-fix-doctors-pensions.html
  25. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-7341053/Interest-rate-cut-cards-pound-takes-leg-down.html
  26. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49352760
  27. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49452366
  28. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1164081/pensions-news-national-insurance-stamps
  29. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article-7385337/Investors-ploughed-cash-Kevin-McClouds-business-told-expect-lose-penny.html
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/14/the-guardian-view-on-brexit-and-the-economy-storm-clouds-on-the-horizon
  31. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/aug/18/meet-people-saving-retire-by-40-fire-movement
  32. https://www.mrsmummypenny.co.uk/financial-independence-why-i-think-it-is-unrealistic-and-unachievable/
  33. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/money-makeover/money-makeover-earn-36k-can-retire-15-years-age-47/
  34. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/crunching-the-numbers-should-we-be-overpaying-our-mortgages-or-investing-instead/
  35. https://monevator.com/how-to-invest-as-an-expat/
  36. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-75-not-out/
  37. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/08/22/1000-per-hour/
  38. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/08/stagecoach-investors-bumpy-ride.html/
  39. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/08/06/milestones-on-the-path/
  40. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/08/14/heres-whats-in-it-for-you-right-now/
  41. https://theescapeartist.me/2019/08/21/getting-rich-with-property/
  42. https://cashflowcop.com/financial-independence-reality-check/
  43. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/08/orsted-half-year-results.html
  44. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/08/legal-general-revisited.html
  45. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/08/scottish-mortgage-trust-portfolio-sale.html
  46. https://firevlondon.com/2019/08/16/how-to-become-a-millionaire-in-london-on-40k-p-a/
  47. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/08/09/return-of-the-dogs/
  48. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/08/19/manchester-fire-meet-up-in-sept/
  49. https://drfire.co.uk/uk-government-to-raise-the-state-pension-age-to-75/
  50. https://drfire.co.uk/my-newfound-appreciation-for-podcasts/
  51. https://www.msziyou.com/veggie/
  52. https://www.msziyou.com/intergenerational-unfairness-part-2/
  53. https://awaytoless.com/inheritance/
  54. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/08/09/Early-retirement-numbers
  55. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/08/23/Why-we-lie-about-being-retired
  56. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/08/20/how-to-live-a-balanced-life/
  57. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/work-is-not-a-job-and-the-web-of-life/
  58. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/monzo-metal-cards-and-bullet-journals/
  59. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/6-personal-finance-numbers-that-are-bullshit-2/
  60. https://pursuefire.com/pursue-fire-updates/
  61. https://indeedably.com/a-goldilocks-decision/
  62. https://indeedably.com/meltdown/
  63. https://indeedably.com/fools-errand/
  64. https://ditchthecave.com/perfect-day/
  65. https://thesavingninja.com/what-is-happiness-to-you/
  66. https://lovelygreens.com/vegetables-to-grow-for-autumn-harvests/
  67. https://agentsoffield.com/2019/08/11/its-all-systems-go-almost/
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Q2 2019 – Green Credentials

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.

Q2 Returns:

Q2 Net Worth

  • Cash Savings Accounts £3200 (+£400)
  • Investments £1550 (+£1000)
  • Property £33,300 (-£1000)
  • Cars £3000

My net worth now sits at £~35,400, an increase of £2.2k over the past three months, which is a little less impressive than the previous quarter. This makes my rolling twelve month increase £14,900. Cannot complain.

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 £2650 in my name, and £300 held jointly. Some way to go.

My Santander 5% saver matured, so those funds were moved into a new high interest Nationwide current account. I used the excellent Bank Account Savings website plus Money Saving Expert to select another regular saver, opening a joint current account with First Direct for their switching bonus and then a linked 5% savings account (2, 3). I’ve also started squirreling cash into a Starling pot. The intention is to have liquid savings spread across three or four independent banks, with different card providers (MasterCard vs Visa). Protection against business and liquidity risk.

Goal 2: Pay off short-term debts

Short-Term Debt Q2

This has been the area of greatest progress. At the start of 2019 my short terms debts stood at £1.25k to family and £2.6k on 0% interest credit cards, then £250 and £2k respectively at the end of Q1. Those figures are now £0 and £650, and the credit card should be cleared this month. This will leave me free of unsecured debt for the first time in (I think) four years. Once the debt is clear, my money is free to be channelled into…

Goal 3: Save 25% of my earnings

Savings Rate Q2

I calculate my savings rate using this formula:

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

My current mean savings rate for 2019 is 18.4%, short of my goal. I had a March outlier thanks to a tax refund, and in May my effective savings rate was close to zero due to work-related bills (exams, course fees etc). Worth noting in the NHS it’s expected you pay for your exams, courses and training yourself. You can claim it back through tax, but only certain elements. The rest you take on the chin.

Goal 4: Live more sustainably

I’ve been pretty crap at keeping track of what we’re using from the garden rather than purchasing. With summer in full swing we’re getting at least two dinners a week just from home-grown produce. We’ve also made lots of little changes around the house to move away from plastic. These have included:

  • Switching toilet roll

We looked into the brand ‘Who Gives A Crap’, but I was pretty pissed off to find out all their recycled/ bamboo eco loo-roll comes on a slow ship from China (4). Not exactly sustainable. Instead we used The Ethical Consumer, an amazing website that ranks consumer products by multiple ethical/ sustainable/ fairtrade measures, to find Ecoleaf by Suma (5). Suma are a co-operative in the UK who have been producing sustainable, fairtrade products since the 80s.

  • Shampoo bars

Again we tried to use The Ethical Consumer. We actually found the Lush ones are pretty good, and despite costing £8.50/each, they seem to last a couple of months (6).

  • Washing powder ball

The Ecozone Eco-balls we bought are supposed to last 1000 washes (7). A recent change, so we’ll wait to reserve judgement.

  • Switching cleaning products to Method

Nice and easy as they’re stocked in mainstream supermarkets.

There’s loads of guides and blogs out there with tips on how to live with less plastic. I’d recommend starting off with the 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life (8).

Goal 5: Commence investing

I’ve not been very disciplined investing this quarter. In April I topped up my existing holding, but in May I held cash back to open a crowdfunding investment (still pending). My cash savings are calculated towards my Personal Allowance, whilst my investments are held in my Vanguard ISA. I have managed to get my investment portfolio spreadsheet at a stage I’m happy with (for now), so here’s a few example graphs:

Tax Efficiency Q2

Region Allocation Q2Country Allocation

Because I’m contrary, I’ve decided to actually try to calculate my worldwide exposure on a country by country basis. I currently just hold Vanguards Developed World Ex-UK Fund. I’m far more exposed to the US than I’d like, and so I’ll be opening some new holdings to diversify over the next two quarters.

Until next time,

The Shrink

References:

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/UKPersonalFinance/
  2. https://bankaccountsavings.co.uk/
  3. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/savings-accounts-best-interest/
  4. https://myplasticfreelife.com/2017/09/who-gives-a-crap-recycled-or-bamboo-toilet-paper-without-plastic/
  5. https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/home-garden/shopping-guide/toilet-paper
  6. https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/christmasgifts/fashion-beauty/shampoo-hair-soap-plastic-free-green-beauty-environmentally-friendly-a8505026.html
  7. https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/products/ecozone/eco-balls/
  8. https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

The Full English – Tech bubble or Tech revolution?

What am I buggering on about this week?

This week we’ve seen Slack join ranks of tech startups on the stock market (1). It’s price surged immediately after listing and remained up, a distinct difference to the Uber IPO in May and the Lyft IPO in March (2). Perhaps due to the state of Uber and Lyft’s respective balance sheets (3, 4). Perhaps due to the methodology of the listing, with Slack following in Spotify’s footsteps in utilising a direct stock listing rather than an IPO. This model means that current investors are allowed to list their stock for sale, but no new stock is offered, and the positive uptake of Slack and Spotify is spurring other companies to consider this model (5, 6).

It’s been a big year for new tech listings, with Pinterest, Zoom, Beyond Meat and Fiverr also coming to the market, and AirBnb, WeWork, Palantir Tech and Peloton all touted to be in the pipeline (7, 8). This is inevitably raising the spectre of the last time we had lots of tech companies listing… the late 90s (9). So what’s to set the current market apart from the dot-com bubble, and what comparisons can we draw (10).

The Similarities

These are fairly obvious:

  • Loss-making tech companies making well over valuation at initial IPO. Promising dot-com companies that make millions going public but never turn a penny profit was a hallmark of the dot-com bubble, and we’ve yet to see Uber or Lyft make money…
  • Linked to the above, 84% of companies going public last year were not turning profits, the highest % since 2000 (11)
  • A market that is (depending on your measure) over-valued (12)
  • Economists are predicting a recession, as they did in fear of the millenium bug
  • Investors are chasing returns through new startups as the traditional markets slow

The Differences

A defining trait of humanity is it’s ability to learn, so you would hope we’ve learnt from the dot-com bubble and won’t repeat the mistakes. Let’s not do a Nathan Barley (a Charlie Brooker masterpiece) (13).

Looking at the recent tech listings there are some differences:

  • The internet is more mature

The internet in the nineties was still a thing of wonder. It’s potential seemed limitless, so valuations naturally followed. It wasn’t yet clear how this could be translated into a money-making machine, and that was a partial cause of the downfall. The internet has matured in the intervening 20 years, and the FAANG stocks in particular have demonstrated how to capitalise on it. They now dominate the market with eye-watering profits. Their growth may be slowing but they’re unlikely to collapse given their hoarded cash reserves (14).

  • Companies funding streams are more complex, but also more transparent and under greater scrutiny

Many of the companies being listed are not the fully VC-backed start-ups of old, selling a fairly unspecific dream. Companies are staying private for longer, with pressure for their finances to be under public scrutiny. Others are utilising P2P/ crowdfunding streams like CrowdCube and Seedrs. You can’t just pitch any old crap with a domain name!

  • Companies are disrupting traditional models (IMO)

Arguable this one, but I think many of the companies that went bust in the dotcom years were basically trying to take a traditional economic model and translate it to an online format with minimal idea on how to gain market presence or be profitable; see Pets.com and eToys.com. Compare this to the current round of stock offerings.

The global tech revolution

Here’s where I see the real difference. Amazon, Netflix, Google etc are massive global players, making profits around the world. They developed their own markets. AirBnB, Spotify, Slack, Uber etc are all doing or have done the same. Their founders have identified a niche or a gap, and placed a product which is a natural fit. Why else would they become so ubiquitous if they were not so obvious. Improvements in the infrastructure of technology has made this possible, and will continue. Starling and Monzo, which I talked about last week, are also disruptive, but banking still has further to go.

We’ve seen wholesale changes in almost all aspects of our lives. There are apps for pretty much everything you do; shopping, leisure activities, work, investments and loans, sleep, music, etc. What hasn’t changed? Banking and central economics. Governments and central banks still set interest rates, still co-ordinate and oversee financial structures and currencies. Which is where Libra, the new cryptocurrency backed by Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Uber and Facebook comes in (15).

There’s plenty of arguments against Libra (I’m looking at you Ermine), not least security and the prospect of having Facebook digging through your earnings (16). But it’s backed by lots of major players, and could be truly disruptive. Like all blockchain cryptocurrencies it’s decentralised, beholden to no central bank (17). This has got the regulators in a right tizz; if it’s globally decentralised who can/ would regulate it (18). How will government lobbyists get their greasy mitts on it?!?

The clever move that puts Libra over and above Bitcoin and other blockchain cryptocurrencies (beyond it’s big industry support) is asset-backing (19). Backing with physical assets (probably cash/ bonds, but interestingly also could be equities) removes the wild price swings seen with Bitcoin. If it’s globally backed then you suddenly have a currency which tracks global inflation automatically, can be accepted in any country, and allows you to purchase across borders without incurring currency conversion costs. No wonder Mark Carney reckons it could be ‘systematically important’.

We live in the age of a global economy. Corporations are multinational, straddle borders and look to leverage international differences to increase earnings (moving jobs offshore for lower wages for instance). I don’t think central governments/ banks are about to relinquish their stranglehold on economic policy, but Libra offers a window into a future where this might be the case. Where your earnings are paid in a global currency by a global company, wherever you are. Where geoarbitrage becomes the norm, forcing international parity. Where interest rates on your loan are not set based on a baseline from central government, but by global market inflation, or a combination of your credit score and what a credit union of your Facebook contacts are willing to lend. Governments and global banks (Rothschilds etc) have long held a hegemony on money. Now there’s a chink in their armour.

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.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48707622
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47741990
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48451339
  4. https://marketrealist.com/2019/05/why-lyft-stock-has-declined-21-since-its-ipo/
  5. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-21/with-slack-sitting-pretty-its-bankers-eye-more-direct-listings
  6. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/slacks-direct-listing-bill-gurley-says-startups-call-morgan-stanley-2019-6-1028298641
  7. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/slack-listing-comes-during-banner-year-for-tech-ipos-despite-uber-and-lyfts-troubled-debuts-2019-06-20
  8. https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/20/18650993/tech-ipo-tracker-uber-lyft-slack-zoom
  9. https://www.barrons.com/articles/chewy-fiverr-and-crowdstrike-ipos-recall-the-dot-com-bubble-51560553067
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble
  11. https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/20/18650993/tech-ipo-tracker-uber-lyft-slack-zoom
  12. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/06/17/goldman-sachs-says-technology-stocks-overvalued/1483689001/
  13. https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/tube-talk-gold/a399600/nathan-barley-is-10-looking-back-at-charlie-brookers-debut-tv-series/
  14. https://marketrealist.com/2019/01/the-tech-sector-is-finally-slowing-down/
  15. https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2019/06/22/libra-could-make-or-break-bitcoin/
  16. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/all-you-cash-belong-to-zuck/
  17. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/facebook-libra-startup-privacy-analysis
  18. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-48688359
  19. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/20/lorraine-kelly-theatrical-artist-tax-tribunal-judge-rules
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/19/consumers-being-badly-advised-on-pensions-says-regulator-fca
  21. https://www.cam.ac.uk/employmentdosage
  22. https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/help-to-buy-house-prices-loans-first-time-buyers-savings-a8958056.html
  23. https://indeedably.com/marriage-of-ultimate-doom/
  24. https://indeedably.com/ownership/
  25. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/playing-with-fire/
  26. https://monevator.com/visualizing-investors-emotions/
  27. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/06/royal-mail-dividend-yield-is-13pc-but-i-still-wouldnt-invest.html/
  28. https://cashflowcop.com/best-guide-to-selling-on-ebay/
  29. https://cashflowcop.com/maternity-leave-for-men-tips-for-dads/
  30. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/06/sipp-drawdown-year-7-update.html
  31. https://firevlondon.com/2019/06/17/ive-paid-for-my-dream-home-in-less-than-4-years/
  32. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/06/20/crowdfunding-road-trip/
  33. https://ditchthecave.com/may-2019-update/
  34. https://thesavingninja.com/what-is-fire/
  35. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-april-2019/
  36. https://www.msziyou.com/bros-scared-me/
  37. https://awaytoless.com/a-way-to-less-what/
  38. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com/my-updated-porfolio-june-2019/
  39. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/green-money-greencoat-uk-wind-share-offer-success/
  40. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/hard-lucks-and-let-down/
  41. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/06/21/booze-and-babies/
  42. https://www.earlyretirementguy.com/summer-2019-networth-update/
  43. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/06/21/My-early-retirement-or-midlife-crisis
  44. https://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/2019/06/interview-urban-foraging-whiskey-cocktail-making-john-rensten-bushmills/

How I calculate my net worth

Prompted by some comments, I’ve decided to lay out the sums I use to calculate my net worth each month along with a copy of my Beast Budget spreadsheet. Some bloggers will notice elements stolen from their own spreadsheets – it’s very much a mutant offspring!

My spreadsheet actually calculates two different net worth values; a current net worth and a month end value. The month end value is the sum I report. It’s a pretty theoretical figure really, a sort of “if I had to liquidate everything now back to the banks where would I stand”.

Example dash

The first page of my spreadsheet is the Dashboard. The net worth figure shown here is the sum of all assets and liabilities on the day viewed (using the TODAY function of excel plus lookup tables). The buttons on this page hyperlink to the net worth tracking page and the summary assets and liabilities pages.

Net Worth Example

The net worth tracking page (‘NW Track’) gives a heads-up of every account and it’s change over the year. Beige boxes need to be filled by hand, whilst grey boxes autopopulate. The first table tracks the month to-date value in each account using a mixture of links and lookup functions. It will then calculate your net worth as:

Net worth = (property value – outstanding mortgage) + (all savings accounts) + (all investments) + (all bank accounts) + (pension cashout value) – (student loan) – (all credit cards) – (all other loans/ debts)

For my own net worth I halve my property value and outstanding mortgage, as it’s jointly owned between us. The table will also calculate your net worth without your equity or student loan.

Savings rate example

Table two tracks absolute net worth increases, percentage increases and savings rate (derived from table three). Enter your previous net worth in the equation for January to show the increase.

Savings percentage example

Table three calculates your savings percentage. It will calculate your take home income vs expenses amount using the figures for your primary bank account. The savings percentage calculation is (total saved) divided by (your take home income + your pension contributions). Table four is a countdown to FI calculator which I pinched from another FIRE blogger. TFS I think? It’s adapted to work with the rest of my spreadsheet.

Countdown example

The third page/ sheet is the Assets dashboard. This summarises the state of all your accounts on that day. Where pages exist for the accounts they’ll autopopulate, otherwise have a play about. The Liabilities dashboard does the same thing for accounts holding debts later on.

Assets example

Liabilities example

The following two pages are sample bank accounts. Your primary bank account should be the one your wages go into (although the NW calculator will pull income data from all of them). I think this was originally an excel template which I’ve modified. Enter your expenses and income as they come in.

Bank account example

The savings account page and credit card pages are very simple running totals that you manually input information to. Remember to make all credit card purchases negative. I added a graph to the credit card page because I like pretty pictures. Following the savings account is the investment page, which at the moment is really simple. I’m working on a separate investment workbook that includes live pricing, which I use to update this.

Credit card example

Mortgage example

The last few pages are very similar. Both the student loan and mortgage calculator consist of a summary page and an amortisation page. Enter the values in the first five grey boxes of the inputs section on the summary page and it will do the rest, producing monthly figures and an amortisation table. I’m most proud of the mortgage amortisation (as an excel novice). If you overpay one month, enter the new figure for the appropriate months payment in the amortisation schedule page and it will automatically recalculate all future payments and duration. You can get the student loans calculator to work out how much you pay monthly based on the sum below for Plan 1, or alter it for Plan 2. I tend to just put the payment values in by hand on the amortisation for my student loan, because they change so much and don’t fit a standard loan pattern.

Student loan monthly payment = ((yearly salary /12) – (Plan threshold)) * 0.09

Where (Plan threshold) is for Plan 1 £1,577 and for Plan 2 is £2,143. The percentage increases to 15% (0.15) if you also had a Postgraduate loan.

The link to the google sheets version is here:

Make a copy and save if you want. It’s pretty fugly in Google Sheets as I run it in Excel.
So there you have it, I look forward to constructive criticism.

Cheers for reading,

The Shrink

The Full English Accompaniment – Blogroll and some updates

What’s piqued my interest this week?

A bit of an odd Full English this week, as I’ll round up and catch up a few things.

Blogroll

First off, I don’t keep a proper Blogroll on my site. I posted a condensed list last year, but some have come, some have gone, so here follows a list of those I check at least monthly and I include when composing the Full English. I generally favour posts of ‘substance’, tending to shy away from SEO optimised material. I also only tend to share UK blogs, though I read others. The blogs can be split into broad categories, but with lots of crossover between them:

Information, guides, advice and motivation:

Personal experience and progress:

  • Firevlondon – full fat investing from a high net worth blogger
  • The Frugalwoods – the homesteading FIRE dream from the US
  • Quietly Saving – Weenie has been documenting her progress for 5 years, providing motivation for many a FIRE convert
  • The Fire Starter – Has also been going many years and has lots of links to resources as well as blogging his financial journey
  • Ditch the Cave – The Caveman is a professional in his 40s and has been saving for some time, but only started blogging this year, following his progress and thoughts
  • Dr Fire – Another blog started in the last year, interesting to me because of the shared academic background
  • FI UK Money – Fu Mon Chu is in his 40s and tracking his FI journey
  • The Saving Ninja – Blogs his own financial progress, but also lots of advice and the author of the popular ‘Thought Experiment’ series
  • Ms Zi You – Has been going about as long as I have, and alongside blogging about feminism and travel, runs the UK FI Podcast
  • Little Miss Fire – Blogging her progress, recently moved from their wordpress across to a dedicated site. No updates in a couple of months so may have dropped off the radar now
  • A Way to Less – New to the scene, professionals in their 20-30s documenting their progress
  • The Frugal Cottage – More frugal finance than FI blog
  • Gentlemans Family Finances – GFF blogs their progress but also tips on his process
  • The Finance Zombie – Has been tracking his saving and goals for many years
  • Where eagles fear to perch – The eagle does a bit on investment and a bit on gardening
  • Finance Your Fire – Offers his own experiences but also links to charts and lots of info
  • Early Retirement Guy – Periodically updating with his progress
  • Financially Free by 40 – Huw achieved FI at 34. His blogs been quiet for about a year, but I believe he’s still about on forums and at events
  • Pursue Fire – Dan at Pursue Fire has been going for about a year, blogging his monthly net worth and his matched betting
  • The Canny Contractor – Information on P2P, tools for contracting and quarterly income reports
  • The Obvious Investor – Blogs his growth and P2P portfolios
  • The English Investor – Quarterly reviews, company looks and general opinions pieces about the market
  • I Retired Young – David retired three years ago, and offers expenses and drawdown numbers as well as experiences from the other side
  • A simple life with Sam – thoughts, tips, habits and monthly spending reports
  • The FI Fox – previously Frugal Foxes I think – only recently started following

Finance and philosophical opinions:

  • Simple Living in Somerset – Opinions and sass from the learned Ermine
  • Indeedably – To be honest, Indeedably does a bit of everything, tracking his progress, offering charts and financial info, but I mainly follow for the philosophical reflections
  • FIREthe9to5 – Has left the working life behind now, but still gives their thoughts
  • Sexhealthmoneydeath – Lots of thoughts and reflections here, but no updates since last August means they may too have retired

Gardening:

  • Life at no 27 – Annabelle blogs about her allotment experiences and sharing the wellbeing benefits with others
  • Real Men Sow – Jono at Real Men Sow blogs about growing your own veg, and kept a financial track of money saved. Sadly no updates since last autumn
  • Lovely Greens – Tanya blogs about gardening frugally, sustainably and organically
  • Two Thirsty Gardeners – Gardening tips, along with homebrew, booze and restaurant reviews
  • Jack Wallington – An RHS qualified gardener, sometimes heard on GQT on R4, who blogs about his own allotment and garden
  • Sharpen Your Spades – Richard at Sharpen Your Spades posts tips, advice and experiences
  • Paul’s Patch – Paul blogs about growing in his small patch
  • Agents of Field – Period growing updates and advice from Sophie and Ade, who can also been seen in various media spots

I’ve probably missed some, so I may well come back and add more in the future!

Updates

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

The Right Way to Keep Chickens – Virginia Shirt – Another guide to our new pets.

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.mrmoneymustache.com/
  2. https://monevator.com/
  3. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/
  4. https://theescapeartist.me/
  5. http://www.retirementinvestingtoday.com/
  6. https://earlyretirementnow.com/
  7. https://youngfiguy.com/
  8. https://3652daysblog.wordpress.com/
  9. https://cashflowcop.com/
  10. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/
  11. https://firevlondon.com/
  12. http://www.frugalwoods.com/
  13. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/
  14. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/
  15. https://ditchthecave.com/
  16. https://drfire.co.uk/
  17. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/
  18. https://thesavingninja.com/
  19. http://www.msziyou.com/
  20. https://littlemissfire.com/
  21. https://awaytoless.com/
  22. http://www.thefrugalcottage.com
  23. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/
  24. http://www.thefinancezombie.com/
  25. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/
  26. https://financeyourfire.com/
  27. http://www.earlyretirementguy.com/
  28. http://financiallyfreeby40.com/
  29. https://pursuefire.com/
  30. http://thecannycontractor.com/
  31. https://obviousinvestor.com/
  32. https://theenglishinvestor.com/
  33. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/
  34. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/
  35. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/
  36. https://indeedably.com/
  37. https://firethe9to5.com/
  38. https://sexhealthmoneydeath.com/
  39. https://lifeatno27.com/blog/
  40. http://www.realmensow.co.uk/
  41. https://lovelygreens.com/blog/
  42. http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/
  43. https://www.jackwallington.com/
  44. https://sharpenyourspades.com/
  45. https://paulnelson90.wordpress.com/
  46. https://agentsoffield.com
  47. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47852589
  48. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/21/the-zero-waste-revolution-how-a-new-wave-of-shops-could-end-excess-packaging
  49. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-6952181/Save-planet-cash-20-little-changes-2-500-extra-year.html
  50. https://twitter.com/HBP_Surgery_CHS/status/1117720690759753730?s=09
  51. https://www.moneyobserver.com/news/nhs-doctors-to-reduce-working-hours-unless-lifetime-allowance-changed
  52. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-capital-gains-tax-receipts-are-soaring-a-good-bad-problem/
  53. https://inews.co.uk/news/business/britain-entering-golden-age-inheritance-baby-boomers-leave-assets/
  54. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/apr/20/an-isa-with-824-fixed-interest-a-year-is-that-simply-too-good-to-be-true
  55. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48015613
  56. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/half-of-england-is-owned-by-less-than-1percent-of-the-population/ar-BBW2oP3?ocid=spartanntp
  57. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/17/house-prices-rise-at-slowest-for-six-years-as-brexit-drags-on-growth
  58. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47969528
  59. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/1118865/state-pension-uk-how-much-is-state-pension-forecast-2019/
  60. The bull market continues because of the Fed
  61. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/04/interest-only-mortgage-crisis-how-can-older-borrowers-repay-their-loan/
  62. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/playing-with-fire-the-london-premiere-tickets-60671084848
  63. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47956891
  64. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/apr/19/so-what-are-the-chances-of-getting-300-off-mastercard
  65. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/23/us-stock-market-boom-us-china-brexit
  66. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/16/why-went-viral-after-talking-about-evicted-sky-news
  67. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/apr/16/teacher-live-back-van-personal-story-anonymous
  68. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/in-praise-of-the-flexible-isa/
  69. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/04/orsted-new-addition.html
  70. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/what-i-learnt-from-my-dads-early-retirement-aged-60-part-1/
  71. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/sweet-nectar-money-saving-with-amex-updated/
  72. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/im-a-millionaire-but-dont-look-it-part-1/
  73. https://thesavingninja.com/a-weird-month-savings-report-9/
  74. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2019/04/02/march-spending/
  75. https://monevator.com/how-to-improve-your-sustainable-withdrawal-rate/
  76. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/04/11/the-real-benefit-of-being-rich/
  77. https://ditchthecave.com/paying-tax-personal-polemic/
  78. https://ditchthecave.com/money-buy-happiness/
  79. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/hey-kids-whos-for-wallyworld-this-year/
  80. https://thesavingninja.com/how-to-increase-your-savings-rate/
  81. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/the-egg-hunt-is-just-as-enjoyable-as-the-chocolate/
  82. https://indeedably.com/exposed/
  83. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/04/living-with-paroxysmal-atrial.html
  84. https://cashflowcop.com/financial-independence-score-directory/
  85. https://www.iretiredyoung.net/single-post/2019/03/29/Some-small-and-random-things-I-like-about-my-early-retirement
  86. https://www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk/how-to-create-an-easy-sustainable-garden/
  87. https://lovelygreens.com/building-raised-garden-beds/
  88. https://lovelygreens.com/how-to-divide-grocery-store-basil-into-healthy-individual-plants/
  89. http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/2019/04/growing-spuds-in-a-massive-sack-maris-piper-vine-rituals/
  90. https://paulnelson90.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/over-wintering-abundance/

The Full English Accompaniment – Watch the population slump, and then the economy

What’s piqued my interest this week?

In the allocations section of my Investment Strategy Statement I mentioned that I favour emerging markets (a generalisation) because of changing demographics. Events of the past few weeks have prompted me to flesh my thought process out. I have a hunch/ theory/ feeling in my waters that long term stock market movements correlate to changing demographics (so far so normal), particularly the ratio of 20-40 year olds to other demographics. This has long been muted, but is difficult to prove, partially (I think) because it depends on where and how you define the demographics and stock market changes, and how you look at dependants (1). It should be noted by the passive investor because if you invest in a national index now you want to be sure that that same index is going to keep going up.

The Japan Problem

Japan is the canary in the coalmine. People have been noting for some time the relationship between Japan’s relatively stagnant growth and its ageing population. This has improved somewhat under Shinzo Abe, averaging around 1% growth over the past decade despite the significant headwind of a falling population. With the highest life expectancy in the world and a fertility rate of 1.4, Japan’s population is getting older, with the expectation the proportion of those >65 will go from 3 in 10 to 4 in 10 in the next 40 years, with the population shrinking by 25% (2, 3). By 2025 it will have an aged dependant per worker ratio of 75% (3).

This is a huge challenge for a social security system, as more people rely on pensions and the healthcare system than the funds that are coming in (4, 5). Public debt increases or the numbers of workers increase, or both.

Europe

The problem I see is the EU isn’t that far behind. There’s a big post-boomer bubble coming, made up of those born 1955-75 (6). Shock! Millenial not slating the boomers.

We’re already starting to see one sign of the problem, as companies struggle under the weight of increasing pension debts. It’s one of the things that’s dragged down BHS, Debenhams, HoF, and look at the ongoing saga with private railway company operators. Stagecoach and Virgin don’t want to be on the hook for the Railways Pension Scheme deficit (7). As the working population reduces and the dependant population grows this chasm in the unfunded public sector pension schemes will yawn wider. Executives are looking down the barrel and running for the hills, to mix metaphors. This is across Europe. Germany and Italy have expanding dependant populations, Bulgaria has a birth rate of 1.5 and has seen its population fall by 2 million in 30 years, Poland is closing schools due to the lack of children (8, 9). Some countries though, like Sweden, are bucking the trend through immigration.

The Global Picture

Look wider and there are notes of caution but also reasons to be cheerful. Globally birthrates are falling, the low levels in the developed world balanced by high birthrates in India, the Philippines and Africa (8). Emerging market populations are growing faster than the developed markets are shrinking, so the population will keep growing, but at a slower rate (9). This is good news for the planet, which can’t sustain the current growth rates indefinitely, but bad news for those who dislike immigration, as migration will be required to maintain labour forces in the developed economies with shrinking populations. Or will it?

Before I move on it’s worth focusing on three more countries: India, the US and China (9, 10, 11).

Things are looking peachy for India, which has an expanding population likely to drive greater growth even as it modernises and develops (although this is not without its issues). The US is in better shape than most of the developed world, with forecasts for a relatively flat or increasing population before you even take migration into account (12). This is one of the reasons, combined with global corporate and technological monopolies, that I don’t believe the NYSE is about to undergo a crash when the boomers call time and cash their retirement cheques. But what happened to China? The single child policy. We’re past its peak, and now China is looking at a reduction in its working age population of 212 million by 2050 (10). 212 million less people working. That’s the current population of Brazil. That’s what state top-down planning gets you.

‘Abenomics’ and ways out

So how do we get out of our slump? Well we could open our borders to a motivated migrant workforce, but that would just be too sensible and easy. Some authors look back to Japan for the way out of this population pickle. Shinzo Abe has sustained growth in the face of a falling population primarily through recruiting more people into work who previously were not, alongside technological productivity developments (13). Japan in many ways is a deeply conservative country. The perceived social norm continues to be men go to work all day, women are home-makers. In 2013 Abe introduced ‘Womenomics’ (there’s a theme here), increasing female participation in the labour force through a number of methods (13, 14). I don’t feel this would necessarily translate to western European cultures, where women working is the norm. I think efforts in our economy to bring those out of the labour market for whatever reason into work, like zero-hours contracts, have been less successful. There’s more people in work, but productivity and earnings aren’t necessarily increasing.

Technology and automation, on the other hand, probably are solutions. Automation enables greater output with fewer workers, and can be applied to manufacturing, construction and some service industries, as it has in Japan (14). It’s not good news for the factory workers and low-skilled employees, which is all the more reason for Universal Basic Income – an argument for another time. There will continue to be some jobs robots will struggle with; caring roles or where intuition is required. As a shrink I’m probably safe. Robots are yet to understand human emotions.

Major caveats

Important flaws in this whole essay:

The stock market isn’t necessarily correlated with population demographics.

There’s lots of arguments and evidence of this. It can basically be boiled down to:

  1. You can’t correlate specific bear markets, like the dotcom bubble, to demographic/ population change points – this is often identification error
  2. External factors and drivers such as politics (e.g. the fall of the Berlin Wall/ communism etc) have unpredictable effects on a) markets and b) demographics
  3. The timescales and effect sizes are such that the end result on the stock market appears negligible (15, 16).

Add in the fact that we have an increasingly interconnected world, with global corporations taking earnings from multi-national operations, and it all gets murky. I don’t think any developed market is about to crash while companies listed on it’s market utilise cheap developing world labour (17). Just also don’t ignore a developing market with increasing capitalisation (18). Which is why I aim to hold more in certain developing markets. But you, as usual, should do your own research.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

Other News

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

The Right Way to Keep Chickens – Virginia Shirt – Another guide to our new pets.

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://bit.ly/2UVX1x6
  2. https://www.indexmundi.com/japan/age_structure.html
  3. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/12/japans-economic-outlook-in-five-charts/
  4. https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/11/26/the-challenges-of-japans-demography
  5. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/japan-demographic-lesson-european-growth-by-daniel-gros-2017-11?barrier=accesspaylog
  6. https://www.indexmundi.com/european_union/age_structure.html
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/apr/10/unloved-stagecoach-may-have-a-point-on-rail-franchise-pension-risks
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/31/birthrate-crisis-require-new-mindset-growth-population-prediction
  9. https://www.businessinsider.com/2-charts-tell-the-global-demographic-story-2015-12?r=US&IR=T
  10. https://www.businessinsider.com/changes-to-working-age-population-around-the-globe-2016-12?r=US&IR=T
  11. https://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/age_structure.html
  12. https://fat-pitch.blogspot.com/2018/05/demographics-growing-prime-working-age.html
  13. https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-aging-japan-defied-demographics-and-turned-around-its-economy-11547222490
  14. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/09/what-is-japans-secret-women-and-technology.html
  15. https://medium.com/street-smart/the-demographics-of-stock-market-returns-part-ii-a41a46622198
  16. https://global.vanguard.com/portal/site/institutional/nl/en/articles/research-and-commentary/vanguard-voices/demographics-and-equity-returns-vv
  17. https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/03/28/slower-growth-in-ageing-economies-is-not-inevitable
  18. https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2018/08/01/should-long-term-investors-own-more-emerging-market-equities/#3fcebc6854ee
  19. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47609539
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/04/sales-new-cars-fall-uk-consumers-continue-shun-diesel-brexit
  21. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/04/us-china-risk-house-price-slump-trigger-recession-imf-lending
  22. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/01/was-the-us-stock-market-boom-predictable
  23. https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2019/apr/01/fca-supervision-lcf-london-capital-finance-investigated
  24. https://monevator.com/the-slow-and-steady-passive-portfolio-update-q1-2019/
  25. https://monevator.com/what-is-a-sustainable-withdrawal-rate-for-a-world-portfolio/
  26. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/04/01/march-2019-other-updates/
  27. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2019/04/11/freetrade/
  28. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2019/04/01/how-i-sold-this-website-for-9-million/
  29. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/month-end-accounts-march-2019/
  30. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/fire-health-the-diabetes-epidemic/
  31. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2019/04/trig-share-offer-completed-update.html
  32. https://youngfiguy.com/audit-reform/
  33. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/through-the-brexit-looking-glass/
  34. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2019/04/financial-planning-2019-annual-review.html
  35. https://www.msziyou.com/net-worth-updates-march-2019/
  36. https://www.msziyou.com/dating-as-a-feminist/
  37. https://indeedably.com/random-acts-of-bastardry/
  38. https://indeedably.com/feels-like-home/
  39. https://indeedably.com/designed-to-fail/
  40. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/04/rightmoves-share-good-value-dividends.html/
  41. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/04/three-value-traps.html/
  42. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2019/04/three-value-traps.html/
  43. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/how-to-stockpile-food-shortage/
  44. http://twothirstygardeners.co.uk/2019/04/building-a-raised-bed%EF%BB%BF/
  45. https://sharpenyourspades.com/2019/04/13/allotment-gardening-and-the-power-of-to-do-lists/

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Quarterly Returns – Q1 2019

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.

This post marks one year of my blog. One year of posting rants and general waffle. It marks a new year, and the end of the old tax year, so how did I get on in my Q1 of 2019?

Q1 Returns:

Net Worth Q1

  • Cash Savings Accounts £2800 (+£1000)
  • Investments £1000 (+£1000)
  • Cars £3000

My net worth now sits at £~33,200, an increase of £4.7k over the past three months, and up dramatically from the £~20,000 I first wrote about twelve months ago. I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to keep up a 60% increase in net worth, but I’ll keep a twelve month rolling calculation out of curiosity.

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).

I’ve continued to add to my Santander 5% regular saver, which will reach maturity this month. It currently stands at £2200, which is a month of total household expenses at our current spending, or two months of my half. I’m now looking to set up another regular saver. I’ve parked some extra cash to pay for upcoming car and work related expenses. In the past three months I’ve decided I’m going to define my goal emergency fund as three months total household expenses (£6k) in my name, plus a further three months (£6k) held jointly. This seems a fairly realistic target for the next year.

Goal 2: Pay off short-term debts

Q1 Short Term Debt

At the start of 2019 my short terms debts stood at £1.25k to family and £2.6k on 0% interest credit cards. In the past three months I’ve paid £1k off our loan to family, but some significant work expenses had to go on my credit card, so that figure has only come down by £600. I’m going to have to work hard to achieve my goal of clearing my credit card by the end of Q2.

Goal 3: Save 25% of my earnings

Q1 Net Worth

In the past three months my savings rate has gradually increased, but it’s a bit early to take averages, particularly with the March outlier. I calculate my savings rate using this formula:

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

Where income minus spend equals the money left from my income in my accounts at the end of the month. It’s important to note I don’t include any mortgage payments in this (i.e. increased equity), nor do I include reductions in debt. This is purely the amount I have been able to save out of my earnings. I see some arguing that imputed rent or equity increases should be included in savings, but for me this figure is a literal savings percentage. Equity/ debt changes show up in my net worth, which accounts for the rapid increase in net worth concurrent with a piddly savings percentage.

Goal 4: Live more sustainably

Some success here. We’ve reduced our plastic usage, we’re eating more locally and sustainably sourced food, and I’ve finished setting up our mini-market garden with new raised beds for veggies and some pet chickens. As things start to crop I’ll add them up and work out cost savings from homegrown produce.

Goal 5: Commence investing!

Q1 Tax Efficiency

I’ve taken the plunge. March’s tax rebate has been quickly squirrelled into a Vanguard S&S ISA. I opted for the FTSE Developed World ex-U.K. Accumulation Fund, buying at £352.62/unit. I learnt a quick lesson in a) market timing and b) not checking investments too frequently, as literally the day after the price fell to £341/unit. I’m not in it for short term gains, I told myself.

Since then I’m trying to avoid impulsively checking the NAV every hour (bloody idiotic), busying myself building a spreadsheet to track returns and allocations. Like many others my intention is to unitise my portfolio (1, 2, 3, 4). I’ve been reading about this methodology through (as usual) Monevator, and also Bogleheads which has a fantastic portfolio spreadsheet (5, 6). Hopefully by the end of Q2 it should be ready to be unveiled.

Until next time.

The Shrink

 

References

  1. https://firevlondon.com/2017/01/17/my-investment-tracking-spreadsheet/
  2. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2018/08/how-to-manage-a-portfolio-of-shares.html/
  3. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/unitising-my-portfolio-shows-i-sucked-last-year/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_valuation_system
  5. https://monevator.com/how-to-unitize-your-portfolio/
  6. https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Calculating_personal_returns#GoogleDocs