I did promise I’d catch up with my monthly updates so here we have the belated update for May 2019. And what a month May was. Very unusually for me, If you asked me in March what I’d be doing in May and compared it to the reality it would be miles out. No work was the top change, along with the last minute holiday with my new love interest.
How was May 2019?
- I will say it now, May was different from any month before in the last 15 years. I did not have to work. It felt kind of surreal. And freeing. A lot of time was spent reflecting on how lucky I was to be able to do this. I was happy.
- Now I already had a 10 day holiday to Spain planned in, split between visiting my Dad and followed by a solo exploration of Madrid.
- And additionally, I was easily convinced to go to Georgia and Armenia with promises of tasty wine and bread with my new man. More details below.
- May also brought exam time for my Chinese class – and it’s been a long time since I’ve had such exams! So lots of time was dedicated to madly revising and trying to make sure it all “stuck” in my brain.
- In summary, I spent most of May away from home. I hoped my poor cat would remember me when I returned. Don’t worry, he had people looking after him in my absence.
- Travel is where both my heart and body were in May 2019. As planned many moons ago, I went to Spain for a family holiday and also got to see Madrid for the first time. Family time was much as expected, a very traditional British holiday with beach, pool, sunbathing and lots of wine.
- Truth be told, I’m so glad I visited Madrid, but I wasn’t as bowled over by it was I expected to be. Firstly, as a veggie who speaks terrible Spanish, the food options are not amazing. Secondly, while I don’t dislike art, I get the impression I wasn’t as into it as some of the other tourists. I was happy to go to the mobbed free opening times and queue. So glad I went, but won’t be rushing back.
- Also had an amazing day trip out to Segovia, which was architecturally stunning on some many levels. A massive aqueduct, cathedral and Alcazar all in one place. Again it was overrun with tourists, but by going off the beaten path you could find much quieter areas.
- But the far more interesting holiday was our last minute trip to Georgia and Armenia. Now as mentioned earlier, I wasn’t exactly planning on an additional trip away in May. But given my sudden free time, I was very game for a holiday and what better test of a new relationship than going away together for 10 days? Given travelling is very important to me, I want a partner that also both loves travel and is a good travel partner for me.
- So as we were discussing the idea, I checked for flights. And when we saw return flights for 10 days to Georgia were only £60 each we decided to go for it. The flights were booked, and then we just had to agree on an itinerary.
- Luckily we easily agreed on travelling style, and go to see Tblissi, Signani, Yeveran and many many more places. Travel was by bus or marshrutka, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to so many monasteries in my life (remember I am not religious). In the end, I am now a big fan of Georgian and Armenian wine, and the khachapuri – it was divine.
- Here are some of the photos that showcase just how awesome the scenery was.
OMG. For the first time in years, there was no theatre in May. I know, shocking right? May 2019 will have to be entered int he record books. Normal service will be resumed next month. Truth be told, with 2 ten day trips out of the country and Chinese exams, there just was not enough time to squeeze any in.
For the last 12 months, my spending is coming in at £22.1k. And it’s no surprise that it’s travel, in particular, the last minute Causcaus trip that added a bit. Having said that, that trip was under £500 for 10 days, so not bad value in my mind. Just look at those pictures above – I’d do the same again and go back for some more of that delicious wine.
So as for the spending numbers, I am slightly over my soft target, so I am going to have a more frugal June and July to balance it all out. And as mentioned in my goals, I’m reducing my pension contributions so my savings rate is going down; now at to 69%. Now I know this is rationally the right thing to do, I just need to deal with my internal voices that are sad the percentage is going down!
Show me the numbers
Straight into the numbers: my figures for May 2019 (vs April) are:
- Net Worth at £817k (-£11k)
- FIRE fund at £563k (-£12k)
- Which is 75% to the £750k target
- 25.6 x current annual expenses
So, that’s a bit of a decrease from last month. And it’s the markets that have caused this volatility, all due to Trump and his tariffs and threats of trade wars. Ah well, it is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it. I’m trying to remain stoic and just watch the stochastic nature of the stock indexes. Not to mention it’s far from my biggest monthly loss.
Interestingly I am still above the hallowed 25 x monthly expenses. However, I don’t think I am really FI yet for many reasons. Lots of my money is in a pension I can’t access to most probably aged 58 (or 55 if they don’t make the legislation change they are promising). Not to mention my expenses are probably artificially low as I haven’t had any major house repairs or replacements needed for a long time.
May 2019 Numbers Deep Dive
Onwards to looking at the details. I like to see my country exposures; due to the trade wars, my China holdings have decreased and US holdings increased. Apart from that still roughly 95/5 which I am happy with.
I always like to check my top 10 underlying holdings for any movement. We have Shell B back in and Samsung out, with the latest stock movements. Again, nothing particularly interesting here, I just like to check where I am.
- 1.53% Microsoft
- 1.29% Apple
- 1.13% Amazon
- 1.00% HSBC
- 0.88% Tencent
- 0.86% Shell Class A
- 0.83% BP
- 0.80% Alibaba
- 0.72% Shell Class B
- 0.66% Taiwan Semi
And the performance of my portfolio has decreased this month, but interestingly still all positive returns. Even though one year is showing a low return, I’m buoyed by the much larger returns for the longer periods, smoothing out that volatility.
- 3 Months 3.23%
- 6 Months 3.46%
- 1 Year 2.03%
- 3 Years Annualised 14.29%
- 5 Years Annualised 10.98%
Next, on the fund charges, the weighted aggregate charge of all my holdings is steady at:
Over to you
- How about you?
- How has May 2019 been for you personally?
- And numbers wise?