January Update – 2020 Review, Current & Post Project 2235 Plans & More

Hey everyone, I hope everyone is continuing to keep safe and is doing as best as they can, what with it being National Lockdown 3 and all. Here is my January 2021 update! I will start with a quick review of 2020.

2020 – Quick Year Review

COVID – Global Pandemic

I think the year 2020 will certainly be memorable for quite some time for all of us no doubt. It has been a very unique experience and awful time for so many of us all around the world. It’s almost been like something akin to a world war where we are pretty much all affected and life is hindered in numerous ways.

Despite the awful nature of what has and is still happening, from a personal perspective I have so much to be grateful for during this difficult year. The most important thing by far is that none of my immediate family or friends have lost their lives to COVID and I myself have managed to avoid it which no doubt is half through effort and half or more through pure luck. I have even managed to get vaccinated against this along with my partner recently which is a huge relief.

Finances

From a financial perspective, I am still gobsmacked by the size of my portfolio given what’s happening in the world. I was very pleased that after losing well over £30,000 at one point during the initial drop that I held and didn’t panic. It was a great test of my ability to cope with big losses for the first time and I can now say I certainly passed this test. I actually enjoyed investing even more during this time of loss as I felt that in doing so, it would help me turn this around in the future as I was buying more cheap stocks/bonds so to speak. 

When it comes to my savings rate, I invested £1500 as planned every month which equates to 55%. My bills pretty much were as expected overall with some categories and items being increased whilst others decreased to balance it out overall. I have spent much less on fuel and energy for example but more on gifts and eating out/trips away. Overall the year was a huge success financially.

From the start of the calendar year to the end, my money increased as follows:

End of December 2019 = £182,819.97
End of December 2020 = £210,144.59
Increase = £27,324.62

Personal & Work

It’s been a bad year from limitation perspectives and watching the chaos that’s happening to the world but there’s also been many good things too for me in spite of all this. I pretty much moved in with my partner at the start of the original lockdown in March. This has really been good for us both. Since being able to form a bubble, we have now shared stopping at each other’s with her coming to mine for the weekends. This has worked out really well and has made the experience far different than if we were to of been separated for those first few months before bubbles were introduced.

Despite going through a pandemic, I still managed to go to London in February before it fully kicked off and have been to Liverpool, Nottingham and Birmingham for weekends away during the summer when things were much better. I also went out numerous times in the summer to the local pub and restaurants for food, I felt safe due to the low levels of COVID in circulation at the time and with being very careful hygiene wise. That could of no doubt backfired though but it didn’t thankfully.

Having moved in with my partner, I’ve had loads of new experiences and that’s probably the main reason my year has been very good on balance. I have learned to cook curries, bake cakes and create an island with cute animals on Animal Crossing… what’s not to like! Friday’s and Saturdays have been full on treat days with takeaways and/or beers. I have completed some pretty hard Lego sets during this time as well…I also now have baths every few days when I used to only have showers. Life’s been good compared to so many out there. I even managed to have a really nice Christmas and birthday at the end of the year, the day itself felt almost normal really. I had more food and drink than I think I have ever had to be fair…

My work is another area where I feel I have been fortunate. I work for the NHS which of course has been a difficult place to be throughout 2020. It has however meant I can still work and not be furloughed. I have been able to help keep systems working and build improvements to Infrastructure that has helped in our COVID response. This is about as rewarding as it gets. I deeply appreciate that I can work from home a few days a week and don’t need to wear full PPE as staff do on the front line, on the wards themselves. They are the true hero’s and I feel proud to help in supporting them in anyway I can with my role.

I could now focus on the annoyances of 2020 and start listing those things that were not so great. I just feel that everyone can already relate fully to most of those things and that it has been far better to focus on the good that’s come out of the year. 

Finance January 2021 Update

So now back to current affairs. Here is my January finances in review:

Financial Update – Jan 2021

The below figures are taken from 29th January.

  • Monthly investment (Dec 20 to Jan 21) – £1500 each month 
  • Savings rate (Dec 20 – Jan 21)– 55% each month
  • Investment portfolio – £200,435.58 (Woohoo…:D)
  • Cash is king fund – £10,000
  • Emergency fund – £958.07
  • Big expenses / holiday fund – £2154.58

Total Liquid Funds = £213,273.36

I haven’t really spent much money in January to be fair. It didn’t seem like such a long month when compared to previous years as it went so fast for me. The stand out figure in the above is that my purely Investment side of my portfolio has now also surpassed the £200,000 figure. Yay! Still can’t believe that…surely this will go down?

Personal January 2020 Update

Lockdown 3

We have now been in Lockdown 3 for almost a month with probably 1 to 2 months to go I would say. It’s not a sequel anyone really wanted but I think most would agree it was needed for sure. We have, it would seem, managed to just scrape under overwhelming the NHS which is very fortunate indeed.

Life for me has pretty much not changed much since the November lockdown. I still go to work as normal and I still get to come home to my partner at night. I never really went retail shopping but of course I miss being able to meet a friend outside for a walk. I am completely behind the lockdown so I just grit and bear it all really. This time shall pass so to speak. I really believe the summer could be just like last summer if not a little bit better, roll on that! The vaccine rollout so far in the UK is finally something to be really proud of I think. Let’s hope we can hit the ambitious targets of the four main groups by mid February.

Current & Post Project 2235 Plans

Post Project 2235

I have been looking again at Post Project 2235 plans that I discussed in the previous post. Even though this is of course completely changeable, it’s just so fun to look at figures and plan out possibilities as I’m sure many of you can relate to :D. I have added an extra few details to the below that including showing the income I would get and how much fun money I would have at these differing amounts of investments by the age of 50. 

Just to recap. If I achieve £250,000 at the end of Project 2235. I can then look at changing my monthly investment from £1500 to a lesser amount so that I have more big expenses and fun money to spend each year. For the past few years I have been devouring my matched betting profit for big expenses money which will mostly run out by the end of this year. This therefore not only needs replacing but I want to have much more money available for holidays and doing my house up, I want to live a little more essentially…

Looking at the above figures, I feel after much much thought that halving my investments to £750 to give me £9,000 a year is the sweet spot. My house indoors renovation will certainly be happy with that amount. This would also fund more holidays, more big purchases as required throughout the year and replenish my £1000 emergency fund when my other ways of replenishing it don’t meet the full amount. This would still give me £2284 as a monthly income at 50 which is more than I have now after investing and would give me even more money for big expenses (£13,000) at 50 than I get on along the way. This for me seems like the best middle ground of living for now and living for tomorrow. I can of course and most likely will flex what I spend and sometimes invest more and sometimes less throughout these years – Life happens.

Current Project 2235 Tweaking

The other thinking I have been doing around plans has been to tweak my current Project 2235 plans when it comes to my big expenses money increasing to £9,000 if switch to £750 as discussed above in Dec 2022 including until then my plans to use around £2,000 I have left from MB for this and next years big spending. I now intend to take £4,000 from my Cash is King Fund (£10,000) combining it with £1,000 of the MB money to give me £5,000 for the 2022 year so that when I become 35 I get more money to spend on that year. I feel like I will want to do so much in 2022 that it’s better to feel like I am more free to spend a year earlier than original planned. This will not impact my £250,000 goal as I will continue to invest £1500 monthly until Dec 2022. That will stay the same.

I feel this is a good choice as it means from late Dec this year, I will have plenty of cash to spend on things that bring me joy more now than before such as by going on more holidays etc. This means that this year which half of which will no doubt be a write off anyway will be the last where I can’t do as much as perhaps I want too. I have got the taste of doing more in the last couple years so this feels right for me – a good balance.

2021 Goals

I will keep this more brief than originally planned as I have wrote a fair bit already in this post. These are the kind of things I intend to achieve this year. I know I certainly should have done more with the time I was afforded in 2020 which includes becoming healthier and fitter which I had planned. You can’t win them all though right!

  • Lose 10 pounds of weight to get back to my best (Healthy eating with treats thrown in now and then)
  • Less alcohol, just once per week instead of twice lately
  • Become fitter
  • 30 press ups, 30 kettle bell lifts, 30 minute walk, 30 fast runs in my hallway with 5 runs up and downstairs daily except Sunday)
  • 8 Minute stretch, abs, arms (different one daily so doing each one twice a week. The 90s music is so corny, it’s amazing! Good routines though)
  • Declutter my home and digital life (During Lockdown 3)
  • Sail towards the Project 2235 Goal of £250,000 – £1500 Monthly Investment
  • Make the most of the second half of the year (Go away on holiday for a few weekends in the UK)
  • Keep working hard in my day job to support the NHS
  • Start reading some books and watch some video learning (TTC Videos)

I’d love to know what you thought of this post and especially of my post Project 2235 plans! Let me know how you have all been getting on.

TheFIJourney

November Update – £200,000 Milestone Reached! + Post 2235 Musings

Well… the content of my last post was all about life returning to some form of a new normal. How quickly things change. Since writing that last post we have been put into a national lockdown and as I am writing this, the area I live in has been announced as being a Tier 3 area until at least the 16th December when the current lockdown ends. Let’s be honest, I knew this was probably going to happen but still, it’s certainly a big change.  I must say up front though that I think it’s all been necessary. As I work for the NHS I have seen the impact directly with the increasing numbers and how it threatens all normal functions we take for granted from still being operational, it’s not just about COVID deaths in isolation. No one wants the NHS to have a closed sign up on the front door. 

I really hope everyone is keeping safe and is doing as best as they can. Now follows a quick update on a couple of things FI Journey related.

£200,000 Portfolio Milestone Reached!!!!!

I think five exclamation marks should be enough… I have reached a milestone I never thought possible prior to getting into the FIRE lark 6 years ago. It really does feel amazing to have hit that amount and even more amazing at this particular moment given that 6 months ago with the COVID crash, I was close to £150k. I am not sure if I will be dipping back well below £200k with any soon to come decline but whilst it lasts, I can and will enjoy the feeling of being above £200k :D.

I think it feels so good because it helps me feel so much closer to my base £250,000 Project 2235 goal which is now 1 year in with 2 years to go this month. I really can taste that quarter of a million portfolio target and it tastes dam fine the closer I get…You might wonder if I celebrated hitting this target and well yes I did do. I certainly didn’t splurge and buy a new car, book a trip to New York (not that you can right now) or buy a Rolex watch. No, I simply had a lovely Indian meal at home and got completely drunk on Hop House 13 beer with my partner. We even threw in a tub of magnum white chocolate ice cream no less… go us!

Don’t get me wrong though, life goes on and you get a bit used to where you are quite quickly but despite that, it really has left a feeling of being all so close to base FI, closer than I have ever felt before. Let’s see how long that feeling lasts. Onward to £250,000 I now March!

Financial Update – Nov 2020

The below figures are taken from 27th November.

  • Monthly investment (Sep – Nov) – £1500 each month 
  • Savings rate (April – Aug)– 55% each month
  • Investment portfolio – £192,525.21
  • Cash is king fund – £10,000
  • Emergency fund – £1046.41
  • Big expenses / holiday fund – £2971.93

Total Liquid Funds = £206,543.55

Post Project 2235 thoughts

Because of my £200,000 milestone achievement and my reaching the end of year 1 of 3 of Project 2235. I have been reflecting on what comes next after I achieve that base FI of £250,000. I have known for a long time now that there’s no chance I would retire and live on £833 a month (no mortgage) at 35 years old. This is a wonderful position to be in and would likely cover my most essential basic needs perhaps indefinitely however I just couldn’t do it for the following reasons;

  • It’s far too risky for me to rely solely on the 4% rule working out for hopefully 50+ years with no wiggle room to lower expenses if needed
  • Even if the 4% rule held solidly, this simply doesn’t give me enough money to get the most out of life for me personally. I want more money to spend on big purchases, holidays and other such expenses
  • I need extra layers of protection when I will be in the drawdown phase to sleep at night soundly. I want a large buffer so I can take less money when things aren’t going so well. I want a back up plan where state and private pensions will still cover my basic needs in old age at the traditional retirement age. This would give me at minimum a base FI in itself although I will be aiming for higher than this.
  • I just feel strange and a bit weird about stopping working at 35, now that it’s getting closer to being possible. I really don’t think I could do this. 

So what exactly am I thinking? Well if you take a look at the below. This is what would happen depending on what I invest each month. I currently invest £1500 as of now.

Post Operation 2235£250,000 at Dec 2022 (35 going into 36)





Investment per month (5% growth)£0.00£250.00£500.00
40 Years Old (4y)£305,223.84£318,532.78£331,841.73
45 Years Old (9y)£391,711.66£425,864.17£460,016.68
50 Years Old (14y)£502,706.56£563,608.84£624,511.12
Investment per month (5% growth)£750.00£1000.00£1250.00
40 Years Old (4y)£345,150.67£358,459.62£371,768.56
45 Years Old (9y)£494,169.19£528,321.70£562,474.22
50 Years Old (14y)£685,413.41£746,315.69£807,217.97
Investment per month (5% growth)£1500.00£1750.00£2000.00
40 Years Old (4y)£385,077.51£398,386.45£411,695.40
45 Years Old (9y)£596,626.73£630,779.24£664,931.75
50 Years Old (14y)£868,120.25£929,022.53£989,924.81

My provisional thinking right now as I really enjoy my job is that if I were to work until I was 50 and that from during 36 until 50 I would invest say £500 a month on average, I would achieve the following:

  • Secure higher than Base FI in State and NHS Pension which is a safety net and pretty safe in itself, I would get this at traditional retirement age. This would be achieved as I would get enough years of national insurance contributions to qualify for the full state pension and my NHS pension would be decent by that time in itself.
  • I would still be investing £500 a month on average which would hopefully allow me to achieve £600,000+ which would give me £24,000 a year (£2,000 a month ISA Tax Free income) at 50
  • I would have an extra £12,000 a year from no longer investing £1500 a month to spend on doing my house up, going on holidays, enjoying life to the full on my own terms from 36 to 50
  • I would however not just spend the £12k for the sake of it but it would be available and if I ended up spending only 5k or 8k then I would invest the difference no doubt

This is just some of what I have been thinking about and of course I am not holding strong to any of these plans but it’s certainly nice to think a few strategies through. I’d love to know what you all think and also how you have all been getting on lately. How are you coping?

TFJ -TheFIJourney

Project 2235 September 2020 Update – A New Normal

Hey everyone, hope you are all doing well in this altered world we are currently living in… And please, continue to keep safe!

I thought it was about time I did a Project 2235 update as it’s a couple months over due for sure :D. I plan to fill you in on what I have been up to over the last few months and of course provide a financial update to see if I am still on track to complete the 3 year 2235 plan.

Operation 2235

So just to remind everyone, back in November last year I put forward a plan called Operation 2235. In summary, the plan entailed the following:

  • Reach a portfolio of £250,000 (Base FI) by December 2022 whilst I was still 35 years old (hence the name Operation 2235)
  • Achieved by investing £1500 a month over 3 years (£54,000 total) – With an assumed fair sail wind of 5% (2% real interest minus inflation)
  • Do the above without depriving myself whilst still being able to weather some expected unexpected outgoings

Financial Update – Sep 2020

The below figures are taken from 20th September.

  • Monthly investment (April – Aug) – £1500 each month 
  • Savings rate (April – Aug)– 55% each month
  • Investment portfolio – £182.360.08
  • Cash is king fund – £10,000
  • Emergency fund – £1004.29
  • Big expenses / holiday fund – £2795.15

Total Liquid Funds = £196.159.52

When it comes to my financial review of the last few months. I must say I have been very pleased with how things have gone with my spending and also with the market in general. I still have doubts about the market staying as high as it is but I can’t pretend I can predict it so I won’t even try to. I will simply continue to invest every month and won’t even contemplate market timing for a split second. As with my previous update, I have managed to continue to save money on fuel with mostly working from home and also on household bills as I am now mostly living at my partners. On the flip side, I have spent more than ever on going out and gifts which has balanced this out so I am still spending to my budget very closely. This has meant that I have continued to successfully hit my target of investing £1500 every month whilst most importantly – not depriving myself.

My big expenses fund has taken a slight hammering in the last few months due mostly to a few days trips, a £300 Liverpool weekend outing (expenses included) and recently from pre-ordering the PlayStation 5 which I had to get day one…All of this of course in my humble opinion is money well spent 🙂 and is guilt free. I am finding that the amount of discretionary spending I give myself per month coupled with my big expenses fund being available, is allowing me to continue to meet my targets whilst still enjoying the here and now (no deprivation). This is so important to me but until we return to a more normal situation without Covid-19, I won’t know if this is sustainable for the next couple of years and if I will need to invest slightly less if I find I need to spend more.

Some Normality Returns…

At the time of writing this, there are talks of more national lockdown restrictions coming into affect in the UK, there may be the banning of households visiting other households, curfews at 10pm in restaurants and pubs, the closing of hospitality venues and who knows what else. For this update though, I will be talking mostly about my life during the past few months and I can definitely summarise my activities during this time as returning to some normality, a new normal so to speak. I will now go into some of what I have been getting up to.

Restaurants and Pubs…

Oh boy, it really is the simple things in life. I have really missed being able to go out with my partner or friends to restaurants and pubs. After the restrictions started to loosen on July 4th. I found myself slowly getting back to normality on weekends by being able to go down my local for a few drinks on a Friday. I was also able to go back to Wetherspoons for some nice cheap grub with a few cheap pints thrown in for good measure.

It really is a guilty pleasure of mine to go out on a Friday and or some Saturdays for a few drinks and some food. I have quickly got used to the new normal of sanitising your hands on entry and leaving, track and trace form filling in, consciously trying not to get to close to people, dividers between tables and keeping left whilst walking around. To be fair, I felt fairly safe in most places I have been, and usually people have been abiding by the rules where I have visited. I do take this Covid-19 very seriously and I like to side with getting back to a new normal whilst always being mindful that we are going through a pandemic, this must never be forgotten.

Continue reading “Project 2235 September 2020 Update – A New Normal”

Project 2235 April 2020 Update – Coronavirus Pandemic

I truly hope all of you are keeping as safe as you can and that you are weathering the storm of this pandemic and lockdown as well as you can. This first update post certainly will have different content to what I was expecting that’s for sure. There is a large contrast between December to February that I now know as the living life as normal months where as March has been a very different kind of month for sure. We will of course get through this, life will eventually return back to what we recognise as normal I am sure, it just might take a while.

So just to remind everyone, back in November I put forward a plan called Operation 2235. In summary, the plan entailed the following:

  • Reach a portfolio of £250,000 (Base FI) by December 2022 whilst I was still 35 years old (hence the name Operation 2235)
  • Achieved by investing £1500 a month over 3 years (£54,000 total) – With an assumed fair sail wind of 5% (2% real interest minus inflation)
  • Do the above without depriving myself whilst still being able to weather some expected unexpected outgoings

December to February Update (living life as normal)

The Plan

Ever since writing my original post about this plan, it has given me a real strong sense of purpose and direction even though I had a similar not so concrete plan in mind for a long time, writing it down online and sharing with you all somehow made it more meaningful I guess. It really does boil down to the same regular theme that has ran through many of my posts here which is:

Move towards FI without depriving the here and now in ways that matter and without having life on fast forward until you reach it, make sure to enjoy this part of The FI Journey just as much

Money & Investing

I invested £1500 every month as planned which always makes me feel good when I do it. Ever since getting my recent promotion, this figure has really been a sweet spot as I think any further promotions and/or money increases will go to other activities and purchases and not to my investing. 

When it comes to monthly expenditures – December was a fairly expensive month with it being the Christmas period and a multiple birthday month.  I spent a fair amount of money on going out and buying gifts with Christmas costing me around £600. I pulled some money out of my Big Expenses fund as I always do for December due to it usually being my most expensive month of the year. I ended up £6 from my budget for December which I added to my Expected Unexpected outgoings fund.

January turned out to be a much more expensive month than is usual for a typical January for me as I usually tighten the purse strings so to speak. I went to London for a long weekend trip and also went out to Birmingham a couple times for nights out. I also had food out a good few times more than normal. I ended up being £50 down from a budget perspective which meant I had to record a January deficit charge from my Big expenses fund (oh the humanity…)

The expenditure upward trend continued in February. I had to pay for a few annual renewals that I still haven’t included on my regular yearly bills monthly outgoing such as Amazon Prime, PlayStation Plus. I spent a lot of money on gifts for people in February as well which pushed my monthly deficit to £118 which I again took from my Big expenses fund. This was however something that I had intended this fund to be used for over the 3 years of this plan so this was not a worry.

Life

I had a really good end to last year in December. The month seemed full of activities and there was a nice relatively quiet rundown at work towards Christmas without too much pressure. I always like December as work always tends to be quite project wise and I get into a reflective mode in general and what with multiple birthdays, German market trips, many festive drinks and the like – there’s a lot to enjoy and look forward to.

January turned out to be very similar to December in activity terms, I started the month off with a lovely multi day trip to London which despite coronavirus being known of, it didn’t feel like it was going to be anywhere near as big as it has since become to me at least so that was enjoyed to the full without any fear – a few pub crawls around London with my partner was fun indeed.. This was followed with a very productive couple of weeks at work where the previous quiet December was soon left behind with huge projects and very tight deadlines coming out of the no where. Despite being very busy at work, it felt very rewarding as what we was helping to deliver would really help patients at our hospital and the quality of care they would receive.

February was much quieter that the previous two months. Work was steady and going out was less frequent although we did go to a couple of live bands in town which was cool. A couple of take aways and beers at home on a Friday was the most exciting things I got up to really. I started to follow the events of the coronavirus much more closely mid month and I think I wasn’t going out so much as a result. I must admit I bought forward my bulk buying of beans, peas, cashew nuts etc that I do every couple months just in case before any restrictions were put in place. I am very glad I did this for the beans as I have a can a day…:D

March Update (During Coronavirus lockdown & Crash)


Money & Investing – The global financial crash – £27,000 Loss :O

Well, I knew that at some point I would experience a market decline that would wipe out tens of thousands of my portfolio. I prepared for that psychologically in part by not having all my eggs in one basket – By choosing to invest 40% in bonds along with some large cash buffers and owning my own home which would I hoped, make the loss not feel as big should it were to occur. By having enough cash to last over a year, I hoped I would not need to sell during a big decline if I were to lose my job at a similar time which would make me feel like I hadn’t truly lost the money invested in a sense. None of this however can be tested until such a decline would occur. How would I react?

At first I didn’t really react much to the declines I read about on the BBC news. I never checked my portfolio and I carried on as normal. I was more concerned about the virus and the impact it was having. It was only after several days of declines that my curiosity took the better of me and I logged in. I was £27,000 down. I experienced a small twinge in my stomach for sure but I was fine really.  My thoughts about the situation from a market perspective was, this year might end up written off for sure but things would return to normal. The markets will rise again and all will be well. I was more concerned about the human impact this was having on families and how we were all being affected pretty much at the same time.

I must admit that I was impressed with how I handled the loss. It would be interesting to know how much of that was because it seemed to be affecting us all with this being linked to the pandemic and also that I wasn’t chasing a solid set date for FI as much anymore. Nevertheless, it was a good test of my nerve. I made no sells and invested as normal the £1500 for March at the end of February. I also took advantage of the decline and sold part of the fund that was not in my ISA wrapper and put this back into my ISA to fill up the £20,000 allowance slightly earlier than I originally planned to.

My expenses for March was fairly high. I ended up £35 down which I took from my big expenses fund as usual for any monthly deficits. Most of this expenditure come from having a few more take aways than normal and also buying a fair bit of food and gifts for some relatives to help out.

Gratitude

Since losing the £27,000 this has now gone to around £18,000 at the time of writing but even when this was at its worse I still felt grateful for being on the path to FI and had no regrets about my pursuit of it. This has led to the following benefits which help in this situation which gives me immense gratitude:

  • I have a years supply of money to pay for all my bills if had no income
  • I own my own home so at least I know my home is all paid for regardless
  • My expenses are very low, I don’t need a huge amount of money each month to get by for essentials

Life – Unprecedented times

It’s been a very interesting March that’s for sure. This lockdown really has changed the shape of my activities as it has for most. I enjoy going out for a drink and dance on the weekend. This has been annoying to lose but the fact is it’s the simple joys and freedoms that I have missed. Just being able to pop in to see my dad, friends and other relatives to have a cuppa. Being able to go for a random drive, give my gran a hug etc.

I have been able to work from home for the past couple of weeks with having to go into the office 1 day per week on a rota which I am actually grateful for. It’s been interesting to experience working from home on the regular as it’s let me find out if I would like to in general when doing the same job I do now. I must say that there are benefits and negatives like with most things. I enjoy being able to stay up later at night as don’t need to get up so early, no commute etc and can wear jeans. I really do miss the human interaction though and speed of asking things in person. It really does make life easier and gets you up and about. It’s shown me that for me there is indeed a social element to working I miss when at home remote working. We have lots of banter in my office which I know not everyone gets to experience.

As always, thanks for reading my post. I’d like to know how you all have dealt with the situation we find us all in and especially how the large losses have affected you as for most of us, this will be the first huge decline we have experienced.

Chris – TheFIJourney 

My 3 Year £250,000 Target – Operation 2235

Intro

Hope everyone’s doing well. I have had a few busy months lately and have been focusing quite heavily on side hustles and then back to some career development by pursuing some new certifications in my field. I will do a general update discussing some of this as my next post during a Christmas review most likely :).

Operation 2235 – Intro

Back to Operation 2235… I had to give it a name like that to make it sound cool. It should be considered pretty cool on its own though I know but still there it is…

So there I was reviewing my finances a week or so ago and entering some costs as it were – I still track to the penny and record it against categories such as Going out, Gifts, Food etc. I updated my current portfolio total which I do once a month and it got me going yet again to an online compound interest calculator – oh boy have I visited that site a lot over the years. I put in 5 years in months and 5% as the interest (not 8% accounting for 5% real growth with inflation taken away) and I noticed that my current total was £161,000 and with my recently new monthly investment of £1500 (increase from £1160) I would be on track to hit £250,000 in 3 years time when counting the money I have in my Cash is King fund. This would coincide with me still being 35 years old at this point. 2022 – 35 years old (Operation 2235 :D)

Many years ago when I first started getting into FI, I dreamed of getting to £250,000 (saying Quarter of a million sounds so much better…) which I considered Base bare bones FI giving me the £833 monthly figure at 4% SWR, this would pay for all my current bills and basic outgoings as fortunately I am mortgage free. I dreamed of getting to this figure before I was 40 but originally it was going to take me until 50.. this has since fell due to a good dose of luck and increasing my monthly investments with a couple of promotions along the way.

The Plan

In order to hit my target of the quarter of a million. I need a nice sail wind that I won’t be able to control such as the 2% real growth for 3 years with no bears showing their face. Who knows if this will happen what with what’s going on politically and with the long bull run we have had. Life itself will have to go as I plan also when it comes to my job, health and such and I only mention these things as I am very aware that I can only control so much and even if the wind turns against me, I will still consider this plan a success if I manage to pull off the below;

  • Invest £54000 over the next 3 years (£1500 a month)

  • Do the above without depriving myself whilst still being able to weather some expected unexpected outgoings

Is it Achievable?

Is this target I have set myself achievable? I would certainly say it is yes. The key thing for me that will determine this is that the £1500 monthly figure itself is realistic given the realities of life and my increasing expenditures lately.

With that in mind when I look at this target I have looked at 3 areas financially that I need to ensure are strong. There are of course many other factors such as ensuring I keep my job, working hard etc but financially my main instruments used in this success are as follows:

Expected Unexpected Outgoings Fund

I have always had a £1000 cash expected unexpected fund that I use to make sure my monthly investment amounts are safer from being meddled with due to any number of issues propping up. I currently fund this in terms of replacing it every year so that should I spend the lot, by the next April I will have a fresh £1000 ready. This is done from normal cash monthly interest, the 2 months of council tax I don’t pay and 2 yearly payments I receive for doing a task for family members. Every year for the last 5 years, something has come up using some or most of this money. Whether it’s a large vets bill or to replace a boiler, fridge etc or fix my car. This has always helped me out so this fund for me is a big first defence of not touching that £1500 monthly investment

Big expenses Fund

The next major pillar to the success of this plan is that when it comes to big expenses such as buying that new iPad, new 4K TV, PS5 or yearly trips to Amsterdam and Liverpool etc. I can pay for these things without it impacting the investing. This fund which has been sourced from side hustles (mostly MB) stands at around £7k and will be there to use for these next 3 years. This is a huge relief for me as it means I can still do the things I want to do without yet again impacting this plan.

Non depriving Discretionary spend 

Now for me, this is probably one of the most critical parts of this plan. One of the most important parts of all this for me is that this is a financial plan and goal which of course impacts so many areas of my life. Despite this however, I don’t want to spend 3 years not doing the things I want to do such as having drinks on a Friday, going out for a meal once a week, buying that game or book when I want them or going out on day trips etc. I am still very very careful with my money and I always look for deals and buying food in bulk as an example but I will not compromise on quality of life when there are things that for me really bring great joy. 

For these reasons, I have set a weekly discretionary spend that for me should be enough. It’s slightly higher than I am used to but not much more. This is in part because I have been spending more money on buying gifts for people and going out in the last few months and I don’t want that to stop.

In Closing

I will provide updates on how I am getting along with this £250,000 challenge from now on every quarter at least. I would love to know your thoughts on this and if you could share any of your financial plans however large or small.

Chris @ TheFIJourney