Hi folks, happy September!
As usual, I’m going to perform a review of how it went versus the various personal goals that I had set myself at the start of the year.
Here’s the progress summary chart:
I decided to change the format of these posts slightly. Rather than going through each goal individually and sometimes repeat myself month after month, I’m going to highlight the key progress/setbacks happened during the month. This will cut down the length of these posts significantly and convey the relevant information across quickly.
Without further ado, here are the highlights in August:
This is admittedly the most exciting achievement in August.
After many months of sweat and toil, my first novel The Rage Of All Fears has finally been published.
More than doubling pension contribution
July was the first month when I received a substantial bonus payment from my current employer, after my salary renegotiation. Previously I could never recall the destination of my bonuses because I would always spend them. This time, however, I made a conscious decision to devote 70% of it to my pension right after receiving the pay cheque. It entered into my pension account in August.
This meant that my pension contribution was exceptionally high in August, which also pushed my savings rate to 70%.
There are 2 benefits of placing it into my pension account rather than a general brokerage one:
- Pension contributions immediately attract a 25% tax relief from the government (£100 contributed becomes £125 almost overnight). Furthermore, as a higher-rate taxpayer, I’m eligible for a further 20% at the end of each tax year (so overall I would receive £145 for every £100 contributed).
- I cannot withdraw the fund until when I’m 57. This eliminates any temptation to dip into the nest egg and leaves it enough time to compound and “hatch”.
Dividend goal on track
Dividends are my favourite passive income sources. They are the ultimate hands-off cash-generating tools. A well-diversified dividend stock portfolio will churn off increasing cash months after month. I know individuals like Jason Fieber who actually FIRE through geo-arbitrage and live off dividend incomes.
August was a good month for my dividend goal (>£400 per month). It has doubled compared to this time last year. I am really beginning to see the effect of my stock selections 2 years ago and the continuous reinvestments through DRIP. Long may this continue.
Another goal I managed to start was to recommence running. When I lived in London, I would run into the office twice a week (4 miles each way) in addition to the usual cycling. This had taken a backseat ever since I moved out and I hadn’t been running for over a year.
So one of the goals I set myself was to reintroduce running into my commute. In fact, it’s 5 miles between the station and my office, which is a great distance. Enough to get a decent workout and short enough to be a commute run whilst preserving my knees.
I did my first run in August. It was a tough session as I had not been running for over a year. My legs were aching for days afterward and the runtime was terrible. However, it was a start. I did another one a week later, shaved off a solid 4 minutes from the previous round.
The start is always the hardest. Now that I’m made my mark, I’m looking forward to many good commuting runs!
We had previously planned a nice relaxing beach holiday in the Balkans after a rather busy 2018. Everything was set and all bookings have been made.
The little one became unwell and we had to focus on getting him to a specialist and the first available appointment was during our vacation. So a holiday is a “nice to have” in light of this and therefore we decided to cancel everything.
Thankfully the hotel reservation had free cancellation and I’m in the process of claiming our airfare back from the travel insurance company. Fingers crossed.
Oh the joy of parenthood!
August was a decent month. Absolutely crushing the savings ratio and I’m super pleased to have published the novel. An absolute bummer with the last-minute holiday cancellation though.
How are your 2018 goals progressing? Please comment away.