Egg's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Slightly belated, but February roundup now in. It was an alright month on the whole, I'd say. It didn't 100% conclude the question of whether I'm leaving my job - I'll have 24 hours notice when they make a final decision in the next couple of weeks. I've planned the immediate future, though, as if I'm leaving. I'm going to stay with my brother in Edinburgh next month and do a course for teaching English as a foreign language. I may use the qualification, I may not, but it's a good additional string to the bow for travelling, and provides an option to offset cost by teaching.

I've been seeing a new girl, who's cool. Nothing serious (just as well as I'm still shagging one of the girls in the office - I better be leaving or else that'll be too close to home for my liking) but she improves my overall morale. Will have to see how that goes. It'll probably end in a few weeks when I go to Edinburgh tbh, but who knows. As a bit of a tangent, it's interesting to observe in myself that I feel more relaxed when I'm seeing girls casually, whether it's just one or several at the same time. Relationships just give me stress because they play badly to my insecurities. Long-term I will almost certainly be better off facing my inner demons head-on, but I'm enjoying being back in the dating game for now.

Anyway, enough of that. Financials:

February

Expenses – £1320

Room – £185
Work canteen and bar – £200
Bank subscription – £10
Laptop screen repair – £70
Public transport – £25
Cinema – £30
Supermarkets – £10
Kindle – £760
Misc. – £30

Income – £2400

Salary – £2400

Savings rate – 45%

45%?! What a scandal. To be honest, I don’t feel too bad about it, though. Granted it’s a cheap psychological trick which doesn’t change the amount of money in my pocket, but if we were to subtract the amount I spent on Kindle publishing, which I hope to see returned in time, my savings rate would have been 77%, about as good as it’s ever been. Even if Kindle is a relative flop and I get back 50% of my initial investment, that’d send the savings rate up to a more palatable 60%. So basically, a pretty poor headline month, but hopefully a healthier underlying reality.

Ydobon
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Ydobon »

Ah - Kindle *publishing* - I'm sitting here thinking 'what the hell is he buying, you could get 2 Kindles and 100 books for that?'! :lol:

Edinburgh sounds good, I'm off to Murrayfield for the rugby this weekend, always a good laugh.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Ydobon wrote:Ah - Kindle *publishing* - I'm sitting here thinking 'what the hell is he buying, you could get 2 Kindles and 100 books for that?'! :lol:
Haha. Yeah, not quite that voracious a reader!
Ydobon wrote:Edinburgh sounds good, I'm off to Murrayfield for the rugby this weekend, always a good laugh.
You Edinburgh-based too then? Just as well it's about having a laugh not getting the win, eh ;)

Ydobon
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Ydobon »

Nah - Glasgow - but we got the win :D

Ginger1
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Ginger1 »

Just read your journal from start to finish Egg, and a very enjoyable read it was.

Congratulations on getting a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream. I've heard good things about it. I'm in London on a very similar salary to what you'll be starting on - and managing about 30-40% savings. Unfortunately, I'm about ten years older than you and with not a terrific net worth, London expenses and looming marriage and likely children and a larger house - things are looking a little bleak on the ERE front.

If there's one thing I wish, it's to go back to your age and spend that time getting as close to FI as possible before those aspects of life start to force themselves upon you.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Ydobon wrote:Nah - Glasgow - but we got the win :D
You did, and a smashing victory at that. Consider my words eaten ;)

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Ginger1 wrote:Just read your journal from start to finish Egg, and a very enjoyable read it was.

Congratulations on getting a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream. I've heard good things about it. I'm in London on a very similar salary to what you'll be starting on - and managing about 30-40% savings. Unfortunately, I'm about ten years older than you and with not a terrific net worth, London expenses and looming marriage and likely children and a larger house - things are looking a little bleak on the ERE front.

If there's one thing I wish, it's to go back to your age and spend that time getting as close to FI as possible before those aspects of life start to force themselves upon you.
Thanks on all counts, Ginger1 :)

Ah yes, "children", "house" and "London" all in the same sentence are enough to make anyone blanch. I'll be sure to check out your journal to see how you do it, but 30-40% in London sounds good to be honest. There are some very strong savers on the forums by percentage, but they often have the benefit of high-STEM earnings and sometimes also lower cost of living cities (I've certainly benefitted from the latter for the last few years). Fair play to them - we choose what (if anything) we study and where we live - but I'd not be put off in your position. Also, what you say about age is entirely valid, but as the proverb goes: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now".

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Hey there Egg! Fellow Pole living abroad. I saw your posts in Bakai's journal and ended up reading yours from start to finish this morning.

I too started my journey to FIRE in my mid 20's. My savings rate took nearly 3 years to get to the 50-60% range.

I look forward to following your continued progress.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

2Birds1Stone wrote:Hey there Egg! Fellow Pole living abroad. I saw your posts in Bakai's journal and ended up reading yours from start to finish this morning.

I too started my journey to FIRE in my mid 20's. My savings rate took nearly 3 years to get to the 50-60% range.

I look forward to following your continued progress.
Ah cool. Great to hear from you! It seems like there's not much for young Poles back in Poland, so I can't blame them for coming over here or for generally seeking a better life outside of their country. I don't view myself as a "Pole living abroad" because I've always lived in the UK, and I'm half-British, but I do still view Poland and the Polish language as an important part of my identity.

P.S. Jealous of Bora Bora/Tahiti! Sounds like you had a great time!

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Okay, so I've been a bit lax with my journal here these past few months. I have been tracking my spending as usual, and even wrote up a brief summary of the months, but just never bothered to upload it here. To save a bit of time, I'll just post the headline financial figures for March, April and May rather than a full breakdown. I may actually move towards a more summarised financial update format anyway unless anything new and exciting crops up in my expenditure, as it has been pretty similar each month since the beginning of the year.

March

Income - £2400

Expenditure - £955

Savings rate: 60%

April

Income - £2400

Expenditure - £835

Savings rate: 65%

May

Income - £2400

Expenditure - £1020

Savings rate: 58%


So, what have I been up to? Well my job didn't finish in March like I expected, and I accordingly didn't go up to Edinburgh for the month, didn't join the circus, didn't travel the world etc. etc. Instead the decision was made that I will have to leave my job, but six months down the line i.e. end of September. I have mixed feelings about that. Of course it's disappointing not to have the oodles of free time to go do something exciting. On the other hand, it means I can keep my savings momentum up just a little longer. In the past few months, I've been away on courses, graduated with a master's, and generally ironed out most of the uncertainties of my near-future. Meanwhile, my bedpost continues to acquire notches, and I've been enjoying the unseasonable British sunshine, even going semi-regularly to a friend's allotment to get down an dirty in an altogether more wholesome way. So in short, it's been a good few months. The savings have been ticking along just fine, work has been uneventful, and my personal life has been more colourful than it's been for ages.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Egg wrote:my personal life has been more colourful than it's been for ages.
That always shortens the path to FI! :geek:

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Alive and well I hope......

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Egg, where art thou?

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Hey @2Birds1Stone

Sorry for epic delay in response! I'm alive and well - and glad to see you're still going strong on these forums.

To cut a long story short, since June 2016 when I last posted. I've moved house about 5 times, lived in three different countries, bought a house (in cash), bought a car :oops: , got married, and we're expecting our first child next week, all being well.

The financials

We're not saving that much compared to how I used to be when I was solo (averaging around 30-35% recently) but that's mostly because my wife hasn't worked since she got pregnant (she's pretty frugal, though, thank fuck). To be honest, I haven't ever been happier and the slow-down in progress to FI doesn't really bother me day-to-day at the moment.

The fact that I now have a fairly stable job (civil service) which pays (marginally) more than I've ever earnt before (~£2.6k net) and which I find anywhere between just-about-tolerable and positively enjoyable has taken my focus away from trying to escape employment at the earliest opportity.

That said, I have continued to track NW and expenses. Back in June 2016, I was at £96,000. I'm now at £154,000 (although house equity is hard to value accurately, and that accounts for most of it i.e. £145,000). That ignores a defined benefit pension, which is currently worth around £5k per year from State Pension Age (and worth an extra ~£1k per year for each year I work at current salary).

We spend around £1600-1800 per month for the household on average. Much less frugal than before when you consider we pay no rent.

Summary

I don't know that I'll ever go back to particularly regular updates, but will try to check in at least occasionally. It's fucking cool to see how far some (most) of you who kept posting have come (rube, cimorene12, m741and C40 being just a few of the journals that come to mind). I think it's pretty certain at this point that I will miss my original 2014 goal of FI by the age of 33 (5 more years) - I didn't blow up as a Kindle author btw for anyone who's followed the whole thread, though I'm still glad of experimenting with it back then - so unlikely to be one of those financial inspirational stories, but hey - as long as my family and I are happy and cared-for, that's good enough for me.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Thanks @cimorene 12 :)

Just a small update. Our son has now arrived (a month ago - he's an adorable little chap) so I took a month off work to be with wife and baby. It was awesome. It also all makes me feel pretty lucky to live in the UK (and to be with my employer) for a few reasons:

1) My wife got an infection after giving birth and had to go back into hospital for a bit. I imagine that could have been ruinously expensive elsewhere e.g. US and the hospital staff were almost all fantastic - way better than I'd have expected from what people say about the NHS - and made the experience as comfortable as it could be.

2) My employer gave me 3 weeks' paternity leave on full pay. I find that incredible - my dad was back at work days after I was born.

3) Even though my wife stopped working once pregnant, she qualifies for statutory maternity allowance (SMA). Between that and child benefit, she will receive £6k+ over the first year of our child's life. Most of that is a short-term bonus via the SMA, but it still seems super generous to me. Some people could live off that alone for the year. I don't feel we're 'deserving', and I'd be fine if the government changed the rules to means-test those benefits, but not going to turn my nose up at free money either.

Always a voice in the back of my head warning me of hubris, though. Happiness and health are both fragile...

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

The stock market tanked not too long after my last update. In our case, not that major an impact on Net Worth because - against the advice of some people at the time - we paid cash for our house when we bought it almost exactly three years ago rather than taking a mortgage and deploying the firepower elsewhere. That puts NW at ~£152k i.e. down about 2% from December 2019's update. That doesn't account for the fact that we've added around £4k to stocks and shares ISA since then, so total paper losses at this point are more like £7k i.e. 4.5% since December. I also imagine house prices might take somewhat of a hit, but that's really difficult to quantify right now (and would be potentially good news for us anyway, as would allow us to switch up into more of a "forever house" at lower financial cost).

More importantly. our son continues to grow and develop well, and we've managed to dodge COVID-19 so far, as have our more vulnerable family members. I'm also lucky to have a stable job that can be done perfectly well from home, so have been going out only for groceries for the best part of a month now. Although I'm not crazy for the actual work, I feel undeservedly lucky to be in this position, and feel really bad seeing swathes of people around us struggling right now through no particular fault of their own. Makes me lean a bit more tax-and-spend socialist like some of our Continental allies. But for the grace of God...

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

Things have ticked up a bit financially since my last post. Actually not that far off break-even since COVID-19 kicked off, even on the equity part of the portfolio, having also bought a bit more VWRL around the low (to date) - down around £2k as of right now rather than the £7k a month ago. That doesn't feel right but what the fuck do I know about market timing?

Also got a promotion, which should take effect in mid-June. By UK standards, pretty good salary (without being too precise, noticeably over £60k) which will make me top 10% of pre-tax earners (or, more depressingly, on par with a solid US graduate starting salary :S). Considering I'm still just about under 30, feels like career is starting to get a bit of momentum - though I've always been a little ambivalent about climbing the greasy pole. We'll see how it all goes.

Family and I still healthy. Fingers crossed. Hope anyone reading this is also keeping well.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

I'm surprised by how surprised I can still be by my own expenses, having paid reasonable attention to them for years. April was quite cheap due to being cooped up in the house. I rarely bother to tot up the exact figures these days, and remain embarassingly far from the ERE ideal, but this month we spent £735 between the three of us (well, the baby spent zero technically). Since this is at least £500 less than usual, my main reflection is that I had been been spending more than I realised pre-COVID on car parking, fuel, and buying lunch when travelling for work. That's the main thing that's changed; it definitely wasn't being spent on "fun stuff" for the family. Side reflection: some people live off this much every month. It's roughly the same as a full UK state pension and more than a couple's monthly Jobseekers Allowance. I wouldn't know what had hit me if I was spending at this level by necessity rather than choice.

For old time's sake, here's a monthly finance report.

April

Income - £2600

Expenditure - £735
Council tax - £110
Energy - £80
Water - £30
Union fees - £30
Netflix - £12
Internet - £20
Groceries - £275
Presents - £75
Baby stuff on Amazon - ~£80
Other stuff - ~£25

Savings rate: 72%

~7 years to retirement if COVID never ever ends. Which also means:

Egg wrote:
Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:18 pm

Goals

-FI by 33 (not currently on track, but need to start winning from compounding, rather than losing net worth to inflation)
🤣🤣🤣🤣 Good one, early-twenties Egg. Although in a dystopian perma-lockdown future, not that far off...

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

General update - May

COVID-19 continues to figure pretty heavily in our lives, as I'm sure it does for most people. Staying at home still feels relaxing and pleasant, and am experiencing zero cabin fever so far. Son is a total dude and a joy to be around. Weather has also been amazing, so plenty of time outside enjoying the garden.

Financials - May

Spending was roughly average. We spent £1628 this month (38% SR), which is more than usual, but £623 of that was annual car insurance, so pretty standard otherwise. We also bought some useful things for baby and garden, which I think will do us for a long time (garden especially - baby is a constant stream of buying different stuff tbf).

Financials - pensions

One financial consideration I find hard to factor in (and therefore don't even try) is the value of a defined benefit pension (I don't count pension contributions in savings rate either, so in a sense they are a drag on 'canonical' 25x-expenses-accumulated FI). If we live to state pension age (67) we're already good for an income of £6k+ p.a., and within 5-6 years should be good for our entire expenses (say £18k p.a.) from that age, even if I go part time in the interim.

With state pension age being almost 40 years away, we don't count it at all - rules could change etc. etc. On the other hand, there's a good chance we'll find ourselves suddenly showering in gold coins when it's of little use to us, and even probably too late to be of maximum use to our children either.

Obviously that'd be a nice problem to have, but it seems a shame not to be able to factor it in. However, it will realistically take us another 10+ years to reach 25x expenses, where we'd still have almost 30 years to bridge to state pension age, so pensions would be of next to zero FIRE value. I might even end up opting out of the pension scheme even though it's great value (2.32% of pensionable pay in a CARE pot, in return for 5.45% (going up to 7.35% when I get my payrise) of gross salary).

Closing note

Anyway, enough about money. Hope everyone is keeping well. We're definitely playing it safe here in terms of self-isolation, but things in the UK generally looking a lot looser of late. They might even ask me to go back to office soon :shock:

In case anyone apart from me actully reads this journal, I'm open to any recommendations for good podcasts. No particular topic - preferably something off the beaten track. Need not have any utilitarian value.

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Egg
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Re: Egg's journal

Post by Egg »

MEA wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:54 pm
Here's a great podcast about a real life mystery, if you're into that type of thing:
Thanks for the recommendation. Really enjoyed the Somerton Man episode (just got round to listening to it finally). Love a good mystery.

Not really into sci-fi, but will also check out your other recommendation as soon as I get a bit of spare time.

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