2019 year end

Last 2019 post

 

December was incredibly busy for me and I hope you will excuse the lack of a post until now.

 

My girlfriend’s sister has been visiting and we have been busy entertaining her. That involved a trip to Dublin for a weekend and then Scotland for Christmas and New Year.

 

Along with a very busy December at work, I have finally tied up some financial loose ends.

 

I have consolidated two pensions from former employers into a SIPP. This tidies up my finances and I hope will save money on fees. Previously I was paying 0.5% on the pension from my first employer. It had been sitting doing nothing (except growing to be fair) but it was time to sort it out. I also had another pension combined that was on 0.3%.

 

I am paying £120/year for this pension flat fee and have gained £250 cash back for making the transfer so basically it will be free for 2 years. It is with Interactive Investor whom I also have my S&S ISA.

 

Disappointingly, after I started the transfer process, which was tiresome, Vanguard announced their SIPP. Never mind, I can always transfer later but thanks to the cashback offer there is no need.

 

I now have my current workplace pension which needs to remain to get their contribution and one from my last employer which I have not been able to sort out as yet. I need to contact the provider of my former employer to find out about the tax rebate they should do before I move it.

 

It turned out it was a bit of an admin nightmare to get the transfers done. I suppose in some ways that is a good thing as it means it’s harder for fraudsters.

 

The exciting thing is I now have to decide how to invest this money…

On the downside, my lodger has let me know he is leaving. I’ve been renting out my spare room to a lodger for £500/month (mid-week only) which can be claimed tax free under the rent a room scheme. He commutes from Holland for work in London and has been there for 2 years so it’s quite sad he will be going as we all got on great. He was working in a bank in London and they fired him on his last day before Christmas. Absolutely shocking.

It drives home the underlying goal of FIRE to gain independence from a job (and someone else’s cruel decision).  I don’t know what he will do – he has two children and a wife to support in Holland. Hopefully, he put away some money. I also had a chat to him about FIRE every now and again but I don’t think he was sold on it so not sure if he was putting money away. However, he is a smart guy and well qualified so I think he will get another job.

From a selfish point of view, it also means I have less spare money to invest. I don’t think I’ll be getting another lodger for now so I expect my savings rate will drop.

My girlfriend has also taken a pay cut to do another job she will hopefully enjoy more. The pay cut should only be for a while (12 months) until she finishes a Masters degree the new company are paying for at which time her pay should be more than she was on in her last job. If anything this temporary reduction in income will make us more frugal so is a good thing!

 

2019 brief review

 

I will do a better review when I have some time in January but for now I will do a brief overview.

At the start of the year, I made some goals, one of which was to pay off my debts. I did this by September. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the notepad I wrote them down in so cannot recall the other goals! So I think they were:

  1. Pay off debts;
  2. Obtain a legal training pupillage;
  3. Renovate my bathroom.

My net worth is up from £265k to £324k (up 23%).

This is due to paying off debt and saving more. I paid off £37000 of debt and saved more into pensions and ISAs. It also includes mortgage debt reduction. I have not included any increase in my home equity (as I believe it has not increased in value!).

My FIRE fund has grown from £102k to £125k . A solid 23% increase mainly due to the bull run in the markets.

I am very pleased with this progress and will continue to save as much as I can…

In January 2019 I had £37000 of debt. This was causing me some concern. My savings rate was 13% which I thought was ok at the time!

I have ended this year with a savings rate of 57% with a peak of 85% last month.  Over the whole year it has averaged 41%. I am beyond pleased.

The other goals I have failed to achieve but I have removed the tiles from the floor in the bathroom. After receiving quotations for £12k to redo my bathroom I decided not to…

Pupillage is a long-running dream of mine and I will not give up.

Watch this space for 2020 goals!

We are all going to enjoy ourselves in Edinburgh at the street party this evening so I will wish you all a very happy new year in advance.

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