Pulling the trigger on Insurance

For those of you who have been following my (random?) drivel and thinking around insurance, I can confirm that this month I finally pulled the trigger on my income and life assurance insurances.

I had a number of fairly lengthy discussions with my Financial Adviser on this (at zero cost, this is all covered as part of the regular fee he takes out of my contributions). I’ve run all the numbers multiple times, planned out worst case scenarios etc. to make sure this is the right choice.

So earlier this month I cancelled my two direct debits to the insurance companies. Needless to say they are both trying to get hold of me and get me to restart the payments – something I won’t be entertaining.

How do I feel right now? There are some mixed emotions, I will be honest. It is one thing to see a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet but a very different thing when emotions start to enter it. Will I be able to sell ISA holdings if push comes to shove? I’ll let you know if I ever get to that point!

For the first time since I have owned a property I know now that if the worst case scenario were to happen, we would have to sell our home and move. Granted this would be after a number of years and we have enough equity to buy a smaller home outright, but still leaves me a little uneasy.

On the plus side, I am REALLY looking forward to being able to put those insurance premiums into my ISA, watching them grow and increase in value knowing that they are making me (and not my insurance company) wealthier. It may be a little sad but I really do get a buzz out of that!

So, what am I doing with April’s premiums? Well, actually because of the timing of my investment to GTP ISA, they will simply go into cash reserves whilst I am still “suffering” from my companies Share Scheme, but after that, they will be invested.

I am still working my way through some of the Investment Trusts that I am likely to decide on one from and will post my thinking and findings once I have decided. I could have added it to VWRL but I want to keep these funds separate for my own sanity – showing just how much I have managed to invest by not paying insurance will be a nice feeling in retirement.

The other benefit that I hadn’t fully appreciated, is the difference it will make to my savings rate. I went through and updated my monthly expense tracking spreadsheet to see where I was going to be. I realised that something is going to have to give in April and May as I will be putting money into ISAs and I will not have enough to live on. I will worry about that problem once I know what my pay cheque in the new tax year will look like.

So part 4 of this random drivel (A New Hope again maybe?! :)) I will delve more into the ITs I will be looking at, in the meantime I need to go and start clearing some snow…

Enjoy the snow, and stay nice and warm!


Feb ’18 Go T’ Pub ISA Performance

So another month in, another standing order and not caring about what is going on in the world, and the ease of this portfolio is coming to its own. I still check it quite often, working out if I need to add more funds, changing the auto purchase to use every last penny I can each month.

For the full details over all of the portfolios as a summary please refer to the full month end report – this is specifically looking at what has happened on the Go T’ Pub portfolio only.

So, what activity did we have this month?

  • New Funds added. As always, the regular contribution of £1,100 has gone in however I added an additional £70 to this, taking it up to £1,170 as I wanted to push myself to get 19 VWRL units
  • This month CTY paid out a grand total of £52.67 – which will get reinvested automatically
  • No withdrawal was made
  • Left over cash from the previous purchases was left in

So all in all a very quiet month, no drama, no real action (other than the little extra funds that came out of rainy day savings).

Overall performance: The starting value was £15,499.17, with £1,170 in new funds added, and £0 withdrawals, meaning total starting value was £16,669.17. We finished the month on £16,451.84 so the total performance across the whole portfolio was -1.30%.

So, lets get into the detail…..


So the standard units were purchased – however with the extra cash meant that I could purchase a further 19 units purchased at £61.76 per unit, making the average cost per unit of £61.64. So it just keeps ticking along and increasing the number of units which all helps!

So – how does this now look as the graph data slowly builds up?


So the gap between contributions and stock value is continuing to be just a little different. It’s taken almost a year to get there (so far, pending further falls!) but it shows that the patience really does pay.

If you are thinking about setting up an ISA into this, hopefully this will show you in real life that it is worth it!

If the prices drop further I will actually be quite happy – I am pushing myself now to put in extra, and I will continue to do so even when things drop. If I could buy 20 in one month… well.. that would be cool.

Cash vs. Investment Trust

So for me this was the more interesting part of the overall approach – I transferred 50% of my last remaining cash ISA over to an IT and will be tracking the two together to see how things perform. Remember – you really, REALLY shouldn’t do this. Keep cash on hand, be able to sleep knowing your bills would be covered etc.

So, how is it looking?

Cash Now stands at £5,127.67
S&S ISA IT Now stands at £5,022.50

Another whole 4p from cash. I can’t believe how well that is doing ;-). Seems CTY had a bit of a blip there, and dropped down quite a bit. Not ideal by any stretch, and further evidence that you should NOT do this approach. Even when the dividend is reinvested at this rate it will be below the cash value.

Whilst I view this as disappointing, things have been on a tear, and as I continue to reinvest the dividends it won’t take long to go back above. Of course, this is reliant on me not needing the cash – if you had to sell out this would hurt.

How does the rollercoaster look now? Well, very much like this:


Ouch!! A huge drop in value there and shows the joy of cash as it were. It is not ideal, but I will look back at this after a few years and I am sure I will have a positive view of it!


Well – the fire and forget progress is still winning it for me. No need to think (other than adding in extra funds, changing the direct debit etc.), just wait. To be fair, if I had gone for say the Life Strategy fund, then I wouldn’t even need to do that. I chose ETFs as fractionally lower costs in the long term.

I am still contemplating my insurance premiums going in here, although I won’t be reporting on that as well as these are enough as it is!

Feb ’18 Performance

So the month has ended and a bit more volatility than we have seen for a while (or is it just that it’s gone down for once?). So how have the investments fared this month? As I covered in my “How I measure performance” – basically I take the value of the portfolio at the end of last month, add on any contributions for the month, and that was my starting value. End value is the value at the end of the reporting period. Simples 🙂

So, what did February do for me? Firstly, I realised how poor the table looked in the browser, I will try and fix that at some point, although I could claim that is almost DIY so it will never get done!

Portfolio Performance Notes
Company Pension -2.45% No income generated as all funds are in growth or reinvested
Personal Pension -1.73% No income generated as all funds are in growth or reinvested
ISA 1 -2.20% No income generated as all funds are in growth or reinvested
ISA 2 -2.13% The performance does not include the income that was paid out into my account
ISA 3 -2.92% Although dividends are paid out, they remain in the ISA wrapper, and will get reinvested for growth. The performance figure includes both the Capital growth, and also income received which will get reinvested.
ISA 4 -1.30% Go T’ Pub ISA
FTSE-100 -4.00% This excludes any dividends
FTSE-250 -2.75% This excludes any dividends
FTSE-All -3.77% This excludes any dividends
S&P500 -3.30% This excludes any dividends
Dow Jones -3.74% This excludes any dividends
VWRL -0.62%
VHYL -1.59%
GBP/USD -2.95% This was taken on the spot rate on the close of the last day of the month. Going forwards I will pick up the exchange rate from www.xe.com for consistency and real life 🙂

So a lot of negative numbers there… despite what it looks like with VWRL and VHYL the GTP ISA is showing it is quite a difference.

Even worse for me, with all the negatives, and with all the funds I put in, the overall absolute number is also down on last month. The advantage of recording every month over the last few years is that I can look back and see that actually this is the 6th time this has happened. So it isn’t as unusual as I thought it was. It softens the blow, and I keep telling myself I am buying more of the same for a lower price which helps me in the longer run, but that doesn’t make it any easier!

So not really an interesting month other than seeing the values drop. I continue to put money into my accounts, and watch them automatically buy my future freedom (or at least a very small part of it).

Onwards and upwards for next month!

So, what does that look like in pretty pictures?


So VWRL is just a fraction ahead of my IFA managed pension, with the clear losers being VHYL and ISA 2 – however ISA 2 also pays out a lot of dividends and so my assumption is limited overall growth. The short answer is, I am not too fussed strangely… money is going in, and the assets are building up.

All in all, despite the disappointment of a lower number, it is still going the right way so I will cope with it.

How have you coped with the surprise drops this month?

Feb ’18 Income and Expenses

So February is a nice short month so in theory this should be a good month for me – the question is… was it?!


So the standard pay cheque went in – still deducting my companies share scheme which is painful but it is a long term bet so I won’t complain! I double checked back to what my income was at the start of this tax year. Worryingly what I am pulling in now is about what it was back then. That means come April when (hopefully!)  my tax code sorts itself out again I will be a little better off, but certainly shouldn’t be worse off.

The challenge for me here is that I have upped the amount I put into my rainy day funds, as well as other savings so I am worried it will be tough.

It was confirmed that I have an approximate 3% pay rise this year, which will hit in my next pay (back dated as well!) so that should be nice.

The income from my other half’s ISA was also a slow month so not a great month all round.


So – Christmas is now far behind us, so what did the month look like? Lets dig in….

Item Notes Amount
Things I choose not to avoid* Mortgage, Insurance, shared bills etc. – yes, we could move somewhere cheaper, not have insurance, reduce our bills a bit and so on, but we are where we are. 39%
Groceries All the food and other stuff needed for home 6%
Alcohol for home Home alcohol consumption only 2%
Bicycles / Car related Any costs related to either the bikes or the car 1%
Alcohol Out Generally, its the pub…. 1%
Eating Out I include purchased lunches in this as well as meals out etc. 3%
Other My catch all for anything I may have missed…. 3%
Holidays Any spending related to holidays, flights etc. 0%
Savings Anything left over! This includes money into ISAs, mortgage payments and non relief pension contributions. My company pension comes out before it hits my bank account so isn’t included, nor do I include the “top up” of money when my money goes into my personal pension (i.e. I put in £100, I register it as £100, not the £125 that gets credited in my pension) 45%

So although I was really worried about just how much I spent on food for home (and still not quite sure on what), my feeling was that it was not the best of months all round. Having said that, it was still a good savings rate overall just not as high as I would like. The reduced income has caused problems and the only reason that I was able to keep the GTP ISA filling up was by digging into my Cash Flow Fund (CFF).

It is worrying me that not only am I not able to build up the CFF, I am starting to drain it – I can probably only afford one or two months more of this, and I have more than that to go. This means it is going to be tough as I want to increase the amount going into ISAs but that will be a big ask.

So the general stand out for me was “groceries”. I really do not know quite how I spent so much on food. Granted there were a couple of non “food” items in there but still. Seems I just spent a lot. Oh well. I know there were some instant M&S meals in there and some fresh market and butchers meat but…

Eating out was a bit expensive as we went out for a few meals but then I do like to have some life, so I am not going to complain at that.

So I am 5% short of hitting the magic 50% – so reduce the groceries a few percentage, remove the other and reduce the alcohol and I think I could hit it. Would I be happy though, I don’t know.

Either way, 45% I don’t think is to be sniffed at!

How was your February?