Q3 2015 Update

There's Value Goals

I realised in the summer that I’d forgotten to do a Q2/H1 trading and general goals update… I guess there was just too much going on with summer and the quietness at work etc. before all the stock market volatility started kicking off in August. I’ve not really made any big changes to our portfolios, but there are some good points that happened in terms of dividends and our goals for this year.

Financial Goals

Goals for 2015:

  • To earn at least £125 in dividend income
  • To save more per month and put into dividend shares (target to beat £165 p.m.  i.e. ca. £2000 p.a.)
  • To save £250+ per month for travel and holiday expenses
  • To save money for Christmas by July (£375)

As you can see, we crushed all our financial goals already. This is awesome… I was thinking maybe we weren’t ambitious enough?! So we decided to change things around a bit and double our dividend target to £250 for the year (this is just a target for M’s NISA account, we also have accumulation trackers in this and other portfolios, which have no goals associated with them). However, it looks like we will comfortably beat this too, due to some changes we made to our savings routine. We decided to save up our irregular expenses into the NISA too, and receive the dividends back to a current account. We just don’t invest in the months where we have to pay for things like house insurance, car tax, etc. This has really boosted our dividend income! Here it is in chart format, with the predicted income for Q4 included:

Dividend Income 2015
The last 3 bars are the predicted Q4 dividend income

General Goals

We’ve also made progress on several of our general goals. If you see the original page on goals, you’ll see that these cover a timescale of anything from 2 to 20+ years. We’ve made lots of progress on the up to 5 years goals and a bit on the longer term goals.

Allotment

Our allotment is coming along nicely, in fact we are going there today or tomorrow to dig over some new beds and cover them over for the winter. We will also be planting overwintering onions in our 2nd vegetable bed. We’ve had a great harvest of veg this year, and we’re currently harvesting apples – soon to be followed by some pears. We also collected some pallets and have a compost pile. We got a free barrel for rainwater collection and lots of 1 gallon bottles as well as a watering can to transport water to the opposite end of the plot. Our first veg bed was recently dug and filled with brassica plants i.e. sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, and a row of mixed cabbages. You can also see a few leeks in the bottom left (might move these to veg bed #2):

Allotment veg. bed #1

 

Travel

We visited the Baltic coast of Germany earlier this year, and to be honest having been here, I now have no huge desire to tour around the other Baltic states, so I’m probably going to remove that goal from our list. It was a beautiful trip with lots of great memories, but I’m under the impression that the architecture and so on is pretty similar all the way up the coast. Never say never, but probably not.

We also snook in a trip to Northern Ireland in August, and got to see some pretty cool sights, such as the Giant’s Causeway, which is utterly surreal:

Gian't Causeway
It looks much more amazing and surreal in real life

We were originally planning for a trip to the USA in 2016, however it will be our 5 year wedding anniversary, so we are going back to Berlin (where we honeymooned) instead. This is a way more frugal trip, not because we’re trying to keep it super cheap, but just because Berlin is astoundingly cheap in almost every way – accommodation, food, and transport.

Finally, we managed to make it to both of the FIRE Escape Meetups that have take place so far this year. This is something that Huw (FFB40) has organised, and they are a great opportunity to swap tips and talk about what we’re interested in i.e. personal finance, investing, etc. The first FIRE Escape Meetup was in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and the second was in York. The third is imminent, so if you would like to hang out for a day or two with some like-minded frugal people who love saving, investing, side hustles, online businesses, and self-development, then please check out Huw’s blog NOW and contact him to book your place!

Learning

T is taking the next level up in German, as well as practising vocab most days. Woodwork is on the back burner in order to focus on language studies. My language studies are also on the back burner due to being into the last trimester of my pregnancy – this also has pushed back the goal to learn sewing and dressmaking, as  evening classes are just too tiring after a day at work/looking after our son.

We’ve been saving up in our piano fund, so that we can buy a second-hand upright in 2016 (after the arrival of baby TV #2). We’ve been putting aside £100/month and we now have £1100 put aside. We’re putting in a bit more than what we think it’d cost, so we can buy things like a piano stool, some sheet music, and pay for any transport costs when we buy the piano itself. Afterwards, we’ll be using the monthly savings to pay for piano lessons.

Business

We had a 5 year goal to run our own business, well, technically we already have our own company. However, we are not doing much with it, other than owning some websites (like this one!). Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to take on a research contract under the business, however due to funding delays, it has only just started and it’s now been passed to someone else due to my imminent departure for maternity leave. I’m not bothered about this, but I do plan to work on the business between now and when I return to work in 2016… if I do go back that is. It is likely that I might not go back to the same thing I do right now, but I will still be involved with startups and mentoring/facilitation in some capacity or other.

Summary

I’m pretty happy with how this year has gone so far. We’ve achieved a lot already and we still have a few months to go! However, as the due date for baby TV #2 approaches, we will obviously be doing less and less active pursuing of various goals, so I’m pretty happy that we have had a great year so far. The main things that will be going forward from now until the end of the year are investing and working on businessy stuff.

12 Comments

  1. M,

    CONGRATS on crushing those investing goals. That’s how it is done my friend and you are making some serious progress! It sounds like you are making some great progress in terms of your general goals as well. The picture of the Baltics looked amazing and I’m sure seeing the area in person was even better. Don’t worry about the USA, we will always be here haha Going to back to Berlin for your wedding anniversary will be much more memorable.

    Now, let’s kill this 4th quarter and finish out the year strong. Keep on pushing through the grind.

    Bert
    Dividend Diplomats recently posted…Lanny’s Recent Purchase – EMR (x3)My Profile

    1. Bert, thanks so much for your kind words. You and Lanny are great examples of how to crush savings rates and dividend goals. We take inspiration from you guys!

      Cheers

  2. Hey M

    Wow, big contratulations on smashing all those goals! Well done!

    Like you, I too have managed to double my dividend target but I didn’t stretch my goal for the rest of the year – I will just set myself a more challenging one next year!

    It was your goals of saving for holidays and Christmas that has prompted me to start up my own ‘pots’ so thanks very much for helping organise my life! 🙂

    You’ve had a very busy year already and that’s with a young child and another on the way – I echo some of the other comments as I don’t know how people with kids do this FI stuff when I think it’s hard enough just doing it with only myself to look after!

    Fantastic stuff – interesting that you are considering not returning to your old job after your maternity leave – good luck with your business! What is the business – I think I must have missed this somewhere?

    Keep up the great work and hope you have a good weekend!
    weenie recently posted…Monkey Stocks League Challenge – The Full Line UpMy Profile

    1. Weenie, thanks so much for your kind comments – and I’m really glad that you were inspired to start saving up into your own ‘pots’. I find it’s really useful to track these pots and aim for various goals using them.

      The business is just owning a bunch of websites, but I haven’t had time to really work on it due to all the other stuff with which we’re involved. However, I am thinking of developing the sites whilst on maternity leave, hence maybe not going back to work if any of them actually start making any money!

      Cheers

  3. Nicely done M and congratulations in crushing those personal goals. Now you get to set a whole load of new ones!

    Echoing the other comments its a real inspiration to see what you guys have managed to achieve all whilst juggling a growing family. It’s certainly filled me with confidence that if my circumstances change in the coming years it doesn’t mean that the FIRE dream has to go out of the window 🙂
    FIbrarian recently posted…FIbrarian hits the gardenMy Profile

    1. Hey!

      Thanks for the lovely words of support. It is true that the FIRE plan does not have to go out of the window, just because you have a family. It’s kind of sad that I find the majority of bloggers out there who write about FIRE, so not actually have kids. MMM and Tawcan are two good exceptions though. You just have to be careful with your spending… in the same way as when you don’t have kids. You just have new categories on your budget like ‘nappies’ that weren’t there before!

      The thing I really love about all this is that we are deferring our own FIRE plans by having a family. We’re on track to be FI in around 16 years i.e. when our first child will be 18. However, since we’ve set him up with a SIPP, Investment JISA, and Cash JISA, then he will (hopefully) also be well on his way to FI by then. The bigger hope is that we instil in him, the same understanding or and attitude towards money that we have:

      save, invest, and give – for your whole life;
      live below your means, always;
      be generous – there’s always someone worse off than you.

      Really happy this gives you confidence!

      Cheers

  4. Thanks for sharing the details…I guess I hadnt followed you as closely – so lot of things came as a surprise. First of all, congrats on the pregnancy! Looks like you had a great summer and progress on a lot of fronts there. You have some really well defined goals and looks like you are achieving most of them easily or on track to hit them in the coming months/years.

    Best wishes
    R2R
    Roadmap2Retire recently posted…Outlook for October 2015My Profile

    1. Thanks R2R, really appreciate your kind words. We’re really pleased with our progress in life right now. A lot has happened over the last 6 months, all good!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Cheers

  5. Crushing all the goals this year already!?? Nice!! Are you setting new goals after crushing it?

    I’m on course to crushing my dividend goal this year too. But savings is a bit lacking due to the market meltdown.

    1. I have added some personal goals to my list, which I’ll talk about in another upcoming post. However, since I’ve got a new baby coming, I don’t want to go too hard too fast on my goals and then go through a period of zero achievement after the baby arrives. So I’m going to take it a little bit easy during Q4, so it won’t feel so bad that I’ll be doing pretty much nothing goal-related during Q1 2016.

      As ever, thanks so much for taking the time to pop by and say a few words, I really appreciate it.

  6. Ciao TV,
    I am really impressed that you manage to do so many things with 2 babies and a family to run too… I do not have kids and find it hard to do everything I need to, sometimes I wonder how you and guys like Amber Tree Leaves (another fellow blogger with family) cope!

    Ciao ciao

    Stal

    1. Thanks, you are too kind. I guess if you have passions in your life, then you will make time to follow them all! It seems to give you MORE energy when you have several good things to look after.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, as always.

      Cheers

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