As December begins, before fully embracing the festive season and all the festivities, it’s time to review the previous month of November. After October’s financial haircut, how did I fare last month?
And more importantly, how was the month of November outside of finances?
How was November?
- Overall I had a lovely if a rather busy November. Just the way I like it.
- My Chinese course is taking more and more of my time. But you know what? It is working. The grammar is slowly starting to sink in. Moreover, I think I am making small steps with my listening and speaking. At the end of the day, I believe it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And a little every day helps.
- I’ve spent a lot of time volunteering – which has been hard work but ultimately very rewarding.
- And it was another month with some travel – this time with a trip to Italy to see Florence and Pisa.
- I absolutely love this region of Italy for so many reasons. Both the food and wine are right up my alley. Pizza and pasta are mainstays of my diet and taste amazing when freshly made. Not to mention the abundance of cheap and tasty wine.
- And the art and architecture are astounding – even someone like me who doesn’t get religion can really appreciate the beauty of the Renaissance Masters.
- Seeing Michelangelo’s David in real life was awesome. The size and scale were mindblowing. Not to mention the accuracy and level of detail he sculpted by hand. From one slab of rock. A piece of rock that someone had already made a half-hearted attempt with.
You know how some plays are so bad – they are good? That’s what I thought of Chekov’s First play, at Battersea Arts Centre.
It’s clear the actual play itself was hard to work with, but I absolutely loved how the company interpreted it here. At times it got more and more extreme. Then just when it was too absurd the plot twisted again.
So, travel is one of my main vices, alongside chocolate. So how did this trip impact my spending?
I won’t lie, my spending was a bit high in November. When in Italy, one should appreciate the food and drink in my view. Spend on what matters to you personally, and for me that is travel.
My annual spending is still up at £21.5k, keeping my savings rate at 79%. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it, as these are just arbitrary numbers. At the end of the day, if it remains under £23k for the tax year I’ll be content.
Show me the numbers
Straight into the numbers: my figures for November (vs October) are:
- Net Worth at £776k (+£7k)
- FIRE fund at £516k (+£7k)
- Which is 69% to the £750k target
- 23.4 x current annual expenses
So there has been a little bounce back, but nowhere near making up all the losses of last month. And at this stage in the Brexit negotiations, it feels like December will be another volatile month, especially if you are denominated in Sterling.
At this stage, I am just sitting back and holding steady with the markets. It’s a good test of my resolve and my ability to withstand the (minor) bad times while I am still earning. As I know this will be much harder when I’m not working and have to suffer large losses without any income to balance them out like last month.
Also on the getting comfortable agenda is my pension contributions. I am planning on reducing them substantially from next year, as I think I’ll have enough there by the time I can access it at 58. While the maths shows this is the right thing to do if I want to retire early and have money to live on before 58, I still am not 100% comfortable.
Passing up that tax deferral is a hard thing to do – and it will feel weird not maxing out my pension. So I’m working on myself and getting comfortable with this decision. And accepting that I will lose that tax advantage. Which to be honest shouldn’t be that big a deal.
Every month I like to check my country allocations – nothing really of note and my UK allocation is slowly decreasing as I planned.
I always like to check my top 10 underlying holdings for any movement. And this month we have no new entries, but a few changes in positions with Microsoft overtaking Apple.
- 1.38% Microsoft
- 1.34% Apple
- 1.12% Amazon
- 1.08% HSBC
- 0.88% Shell Class A
- 0.84% Tencent
- 0.82% BP
- 0.73% Shell Class B
- 0.69% Berkshire Hathaway
- 0.68% Taiwan Semiconductor
And now looking at the performance of my portfolio how are the trailing returns looking with the recent drops? Overall not too bad, the 3 year and 5-year returns are still very strong – with the yearly return small but still positive.
- 3 Months -4.46%
- 6 Months -1.28%
- 1 Year 2.87%
- 3 Years Annualised 14.21%
- 5 Years Annualised 10.98%
Next, on the charges, the weighted aggregate charge of all my holdings is holding steady at a respectable
Over to you
- How about you?
- How has November been for you personally?
- And numbers wise?