Net Worth and other updates – January 2019 (+£29k)

All is redeemed? With the latest market volatility correcting for December’s falls are we back on track money wise? What else has been happening in January?

How was January?Ms ZiYou Tram Budapest

  • I may be unusual in loving January. It’s a fun month and always a great time to go away and explore some snowy places. And this year was no exception, with a trip to Budapest. What a majestic city, it really is the Paris of the East as they say. Sadly it’s nowhere near as cheap in 2019 as the last time I visited many years ago but it’s hardly expensive. My highlights were sampling several thermal baths – nothing like being outside relaxing in 36-degree baths when it’s freezing out of the water.
  • And after many exams, I have passed the first semester of my Chinese course. I am obviously very happy about this and it provided a much-needed burst of enthusiasm and motivated to study more.
  • I’m working on my 2019 Goals, and have managed to start shedding a few kilos and am making healthier food choices. Small steps but heading in the right direction.
  • Additionally, operation dating has commenced. More posts to follow on the topic later in the week.


I’m always a fan of Shakespeare, despite the many problematic elements of his work.

And my best theatre in January was a modern production of Richard II at the Almeida. There was lots to like  – Simon Russell Beale was superb as Richard and the barrenness of the set combined with the water and blood worked really well. Not to mention the Brexit comparisons were delicately done.


On the spending side, I am coming in at £20.9k for the last 12 months, bringing my savings rate back to 80%. A couple more months left of the tax year, so I think it’ll be touch and go if we end up just under or just over 80% for the year. There was the trip to Budapest in January but nothing particularly spendy or noteworthy.

Ms ZiYou Budapest Tram 2

As I mention a lot, I love travelling but am rather a frugal traveller. I still very much believe in the philosophy of spending on what makes you happy. And culling spending you don’t care about.  I could spend much less, but then life would be less fun. Conversely, I could spend more, but life would not be more fun. Getting your balance is key. What works for me won’t work for you, and vice versa.

Show me the numbers

Straight into the numbers: my figures for January (vs December) are:

  • Net Worth at £782k (+£29k)
  • FIRE fund at £522k  (+£30k)
    • Which is 70% to the £750k target
    • 23.7 x current annual expenses

And that was a quick correction. The majority of December’s paper losses have returned. And you know what? That was lightning fast. Selfishly I was wanting to check how I’d cope with a real dip. When losses kept appearing month after month. Instead, we have a quick correction and a poor year, but nothing major or insurmountable. So I’ve been getting a good test of the month on month volatility, but not much training on how to deal with large losses.

Having said all that, I am not so secretly happy things are looking rosier again. It makes my dream of retiring by 40 appear much more achievable. But there are still many many months to go, so I will be watching the market, and more importantly my reactions to it closely over the next year.

Now let’s check the country allocations. Has much changed? In reality no – just a few small changes following the market performance. I’m still very comfortable with these.

MsZiYou Country Allocation Jan2019

I always like to check my top 10 underlying holdings for any movement.  The same 10 stocks as last month feature – with a little reordering of their relative positions.

  • 1.25% Microsoft
  • 1.18% Apple
  • 1.06% HSBC
  • 1.05% Amazon
  • 0.96% Tencent
  • 0.89% Shell Class A
  • 0.84% BP
  • 0.83% Alibaba
  • 0.75% Taiwan Semiconductor
  • 0.74% Shell Class B

And now looking at the performance of my portfolio how are the trailing returns looking with all these falls and subsequent rises? Interestingly the 3-months performance is now no longer negative, although the 6 months and year performance are. But more importantly, the 3 and 5-year performances are looking very healthy indeed.

  • 3 Months 0.00%
  • 6 Months -4.95%
  • 1 Year -0.85%
  • 3 Years Annualised 14.93%
  • 5 Years Annualised 11.12%

Next, on the fund charges, the weighted aggregate charge of all my holdings is holding steady at a respectable

  • 0.15%

Related Posts

Over to you

  • How about you?
  • How has January been for you personally?
  • And numbers wise?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.



30 comments on “Net Worth and other updates – January 2019 (+£29k)

  1. Mind me asking how your 21k trailing spend for the year is broken down? My rent alone is 16k per year for a small family house.



    1. Hey J – of course, happy to answer that. The simple answer is I live in an uncool area and my mortgage rate is low -it is just over £9k a year. The comparable rent is a bit more at around £16k which is similar to what you pay I see. So my mortgage and bills come in at £13k leaving £2k for food & drinks and £6k for fun stuff!

  2. I’ll be interested on the dating front if anything gets serious at what point the money question comes up I didn’t obviously disclose net worth but my partner is fiercely independent and liked paying her way but she was really living hand to mouth when I first met her and I earned 4 x what she did so we had a money talk pretty early where I said I wanted to take her to do things she might not be able to afford and was happy for her to contribute but didn’t want her struggling to do so .

    It worked really well for us i e we’d go to the theatre she’d buy the train tickets I’d buy the rest but a difficult conversation to have quite early in the relationship

  3. I felt so sluggish in January (would have hibernated if I could!) yet you did so much – fantastic! And congrats on passing your Chinese exam!

    With the rebound in the markets, your numbers are going full steam ahead again towards your goal. Like you, I kinda wanted to see how I would cope with a real Bear market and better to have the doom and gloom now while I’m still accumulating. At least I was still investing when the prices were low in Oct-Dec.

    Yeah, questions not to ask on a first date, eg what’s your savings rate, what’s your networth…although how would you know they were telling the truth? The dilemmas of modern-day dating – my head’s not in the right place to go back on the merry-go-round but good luck to you!

    1. Thanks Weenie – I didn’t realise I was so alone in liking the month!

      Yeah, it was good to try out a bear market, and I want to get the full bear market experience over before I FIRE – but who knows, we’ve still got all that brexit drama that could add to the volatility.

      I’m not sure when you start to ask men those questions fifth date maybe? After you’ve made an attempt to estimate the answer?

  4. I just finished commenting on Caveman’s blog, saying how much I dislike January! It’s cold, wet, Christmas is over, etc. But maybe you’ve provided the answer to embracing the month… Fly somewhere else! I may have to give this a try next year.

    Great work with passing your Chinese exam! I could never get on with the different tones or the written characters.

    1. I firmly approve of travelling during January and having something fun to look forward to!

      And on the Chinese tones, I still don’t get them all – but I hope practice will improve my listening skills!

  5. Kudos on passing your Chinese exam, Ms. ZiYou, and also already seeing results with the diet! That’s awesome! Personally my January was a bit crazy, I have a lot of emotions as I’m getting ready to FIRE for good by this summer and struggling over how to announce it at work. I don’t love the work but I do love the people I work with, and I’m not sure how to break it to them that I’m retiring for good, not just leaving for another job. When I told my family I was about to FIRE, I got mostly negative reactions, as in quite a bit of jealousy. I’m afraid something like that will happen at work, and wonder whether I should keep it vague instead (“I’m burnt out and taking a break to re-assess my life,” etc – which would not be a lie, just incomplete). Anyway, it’s a good pb to have, of course! 🙂

    1. Hi Fille Frugale – I am so happy you are getting ready to FIRE for good this summer. That is awesome.

      And here’s the question – do you need and, and do you even want to tell them you are finishing for good? I think the taking a few years off as I have the money is a good white lie…. I plan on telling people I’m taking a sabbatical.. which works well as I plan on going travelling.

      But people can be judgemental. Especially of those who live life unconventionally. And even more so of single women who have the audacity to do it! So yes, I completely understand your desire to be flexible with the full reason.

      1. Thank you so much Ms. ZiYou, that is a very perceptive comment (about people’s attitudes re single women who march to a different drum). You’re right that a little white lie is the best way to go. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  6. I like January in its own right but I can see the appeal of getting away (although I believe that most people look for winter sun rather than going somewhere it’s even colder!).

    What the other part of this shows is the truth in that old saw: “Time in the market is more important than timing the market” You were able to benefit from the bounce as you stayed invested rather than pulling out into cash as I believe some people were doing in the back end of 2018.

    Good luck for the rest of the year!

    1. In my mind there is no fun in following the herd and going for winter sun – snowy destinations are where it’s at.

      Luckily I am very committed to buying and holding – especially as it seems a lot of effort to sell and buy all the time!

    2. I read today that millions of £ were pulled out of investments in the last couple of months last year. Either that is just cash sitting under the mattress and in low interest savings accounts, or it’s been ploughed back into investments but buying at a higher price than they were sold at! .

      1. I guess some of that could be seasonal and if you are depending in income from investments, some might had a perfect storm of depressed market and greater demand for cash.

  7. January has been a good month.

    I live in one of the areas of the UK with mountains and snow – and there have a few trips out into it with the mountain bike.

    I experimented with an almost computer/phone free Sunday last week and really enjoyed the resulting experience. More generally, I’ve been getting more books out of the library.

    I had a vague ambition to reduce/cut out artificial sweeteners which has largely been working. Also working on improving my splits for an arts discipline where while it’s not essential, it certainly looks nicer if you can do them.

    Like others, pleasantly surprised to see S&S bounce back (although most of my exposure is via my pension).

    Elsewhere, a small pay rise in the offering and a new interesting work project coming together sweetens the choice of continuing to work while not needing to.

    Finally, off to Iceland in Feb which will be my first flight in about a decade.

    1. I often think how fun it would be to live somewhere that has mountains close by – it must be really fun on the mountain bike!

      Computer and phone free days sound liberating…..truth be told I’m not sure I could cope…..but then again I live alone and use them connect and contact people, so maybe it is possible.

      Congrats and the payrise, and look forward to hear about the Iceland trip…..travelling is always fun 🙂

  8. January wasn’t a good month for me. I had a couple of big expenses hit, so I wasn’t able to put much away. Certainly not the 50% (post-tax) rate I was hoping for. But I’m hoping that this month will stay quiet and I can get back on track. I still have 2 weeks left in the billing cycle, so I’ll be holding my breath for a while.

    1. Hi Abigail – yes I sometimes find bad months are quickly equalled out by good months…..and I generally only measure things like that annually – as monthly doesn’t have enough perspective.

  9. Hi Ms ZiYou,

    Thats a very low aggregate portfolio expense rate.

    Do you have a post that details your portfolio construction?

What do you think?