March, a fun month when the clocks change to summer time and the days get a bit warmer and longer. Although sadly in 2019 we also had the Brexit debacle ticking away in the background, would we leave or not? On what terms?
How was March?
- March was fun overall and kept me very busy and entertained which I love. Yes, I am one of those people that always need to have many things on the go, my resting is starting another project.
- On the Brexit side, I feel the constant requests for extensions are getting ridiculous. And it brings into question why some people feel that these politicians could govern us better than EU bureaucrats? Not to mention the disaster of it all brings me fresh hope we may remain after all – it is simply the easiest option.
- I finally feel that I am getting on top of my Chinese course and managing to keep up. Which shouldn’t really be surprising as it’s a full-time course and I am only spending around 20 hours a week on it. A very useful learning experience for me to be sure, and it has me pondering what to sign up for next term – a full course load or part-time?
- Running is becoming a simple pleasure again – I am covering long distances very slowly but so easily – after a 22 miler I had no pain afterwards, which makes me think I have cracked it?
- March’s travel was no doubt epic and very interesting. One of the least visited countries in Europe was my destination: Moldova. Truth be told, it’s not too much of a looker. Most of the buildings are of the Soviet variety. But there are some gems, like the gilded Orthodox Churches.
- An interesting place to go if you like unusual travel. Everything is cheap as chips, the bus from the airport was 15p and wine was £1.
- There is no doubt it is a poor country, with few signs of affluence and the infrastructure looking very old and dated. This was what I got served for breakfast, after a bowl of cornflakes! Fair enough I am veggie and it was a lot of food hence some of it became lunch.
- Additionally, I got to visit the breakaway republic of Transnistria which was very exciting and slightly never wracking. to be honest. It felt like a step back in time, and a visit to old mother Russia.
- There are lots of suggestions it’s difficult to visit and dangerous, and that people stop you taking photos. My experience was the opposite. It’s easy to travel there on the bus, border guards speak perfect English and nobody cared that I was taking photos with the SLR.
- I love old Soviet architecture so was in heaven. Honestly, can you not say this Lenin statue is magnificent? Where else in the world could you see this?
The best performances were seen at All About Eve, an Ivo Van Hove production featuring an impressive Gillian Anderson. I did know the film itself was really dated, yet seeing it brought to the stage was illuminating and exciting. Although I loved a show having two strong female leads. I absolutely hate that they are in competition with each other. Not to mention the narrative of the ageing woman is one I hate……….yet I still loved it. Go figure!
For the last 12 months, my spending is coming in at £21.6k which gives me that rounded up to 80% savings rate. All in I am happy with this number, I feel it’s very respectable and allows me to have a lot of fun and travel while also socking money away for the future.
Show me the numbers
Straight into the numbers: my figures for March (vs February ) are:
- Net Worth at £807k (+£15k)
- FIRE fund at £545k (+£15k)
- Which is 73% to the £750k target
- 24.8 x current annual expenses
Volatility remains in the markets, with wild swings on a weekly basis becoming the norm. Hence the month ended with a respectable increase in the markets +£15k is nothing to be sniffed at – it’s 2.7% of my invested assets.
It’s also interesting to note that I am very close to the holy grail of 24.8 x my current annual expenses. However, as lots of those funds are locked away in a pension I don’t consider myself ready to live off my investments yet. Not to mention my expenses are kind of low, and I would want to add some more contingency in there before saying goodbye to the working world. Therefore I am still aiming for the £750k target, which gives me more flexibility and options.
Digging into the stats (geek alert) I aim for a 95 stock / 5 bond split and still in the right ballpark here. Then for the country allocations – they are looking as expected – heavy on US, China and Asia. And I remain overweight in the UK but am gradually reducing this naturally.
I always like to check my top 10 underlying holdings for any movement. Some small movements here as Shell B is replaced by Taiwan Semi and the Chinese stocks strengthen slightly – although it remains very Tech focussed.
- 1.36% Microsoft
- 1.27% Apple
- 1.10% Amazon
- 1.00% Tencent
- 0.98% HSBC
- 0.90% Alibaba
- 0.87% BP
- 0.84% Shell Class A
- 0.75% Taiwan Semi
- 0.72% Samsung
And onto my portfolio’s returns – a good run in March has returned the 3-months to positive performance. And despite the fluctuations over the last few years, the long term annualised 3 and 5 year returns are still looking very strong.
- 3 Months 9.03%
- 6 Months -1.41%
- 1 Year 8.23%
- 3 Years Annualised 14.11%
- 5 Years Annualised 11.34%
Next, on the fund charges, the weighted aggregate charge of all my holdings is holding steady at a respectable
Over to you
- How about you?
- How has March been for you personally?
- And numbers wise?