Monthly Finances - June 2021
Phew! a bit of a financial rebound from the previous month from hell!
Life, Health & Early Retirement - 14 Months Retired
June was a bit of an uneventful month. We arrived back in Cape Town on the 7th from our UK trip so after a week of assimilating back to normal life, half the month was already gone. And to be honest, after the last two months of the emotional roller-coaster of my dad passing, visiting the UK to take care of my mum and my own health scare put on hold in the background, I was thankful I didn't have a job to return to other than my current consulting gig, which had fortunately hit a bit of a quiet patch during the last part of June.
I spent lots of time with my partner in crime and faithful hound Winston who has frankly become a bit of a spoiled little twat whilst we've been away. At least I know he was very well looked after by our friends who house-sat but they have still left me with the equivalent of a moody teenger. I think he had them very well trained by the time we returned!
We unfortunately came back to what is shaping up to be the worst wave of Coronavirus to date so any non-essential trips out of the house were pretty much binned. Mrs H has decided that the She-Shed we had built for her in the garden (in retaliation for me turning the garage into a woodshop after buying myself a he-shed last year and having a man cave I barely use) was to become her own personal Gin Bar. I had some left over wood from our recent renovation nightmare so made myself busy building the actual bar, which I have to say is starting to look the part despite being way off being finished as rain stopped play around a week ago and has not relented yet.
Having cancelled my previous appointment with the Nephrologist (Kidney Quack) due to the urgency of getting to the Uk I booked an appointment to see him the day after we arrived back on SA soil. It was a mixed visit to say the least. The absolutely great news is that my Kidney function hadn't gotten any worse since the last visit which was pretty massive as any more deterioration would have likely mean that I would get to the point where it makes a permanent impact on my health and lifestyle. However, all of the weight I had managed to lose the 6 weeks before I headed to the UK (a massive 11kg) was back. I knew I hadn't been eating great during the trip and 50% of it was outside my direct control due to travel and meeting up with old friends but I didn't expect it was that bad. What was even worse was my ankles were really swollen due to the flying and my sodium levels were off the chart because of the slight binge on take away and restaurants whilst we were away. Needless to say I'm back off the carbs, back on the fasting and have another appointment for bloodwork and a meeting with the Professor first week in September. I'm feeling positive about it though and even considering joining the gym when they reopen as my resolve to get healthier is as strong as ever, it was just put on hold for a bit during the recent low-points.
Our Net Worth: R15,079,503 / $1,077,136 / £773,328
Previous Month: R14,626,290 / $1,083,212 / £769,804
Change: 3.0% (Previous Month -3.9%)
Due to a bit of a dial back in the rand I adjusted my assumption for the next quarter slightly which is why the rand value has increased and the dollar value has reduced slightly. Focussing on the percentages shows we made back about 75% of the impact we felt from last months apocalypse and the remainder has already been made up in July, so as it stands, we're pretty much back to where we were at the start of May which is reassuring. I did give myself the lofty target of hitting R18.5m by the end of this financial year and as we're now 1/3 of the way through the year, that plan is looking some way off but I'm at my best under pressure and intend to continue to shoot for the stars and maybe I might still hit the moon.
Living Expenses: R69,890 / $4,992 / £3,584
Budget: R68,000 / $4,500 / £3,400
Living expenses came in slightly over budget for the first time this year for two main reasons. The first was that right at the end of our Uk trip, Mrs H decided she was bringing a bunch of flavoured gin home, I had half a suitcase of cooking ingredients that you can't get here or are super expensive (OXO stock cubes, paxo stuffing mix and chinese curry sauce powder for those interested!). We also had a mini binge on all of our favourite junk food before we left (Fish & chips, chinese takeaway, doner kebab, carvery lunch). All this sent the grocery bill into the stratosphere.
The second inflated cost was the electricity, given that June has the shortest days of the year and has been cloudy and miserable for most of the month, the Solar panels haven't been exactly keeping up so I had a R3000 / $215 / £150 electricity bill which is about 200% more than usual. This has actually spurred me on to get some more solar panels added to the system. I now get paid by the city for any excess electricity I produce so it just seems bonkers not to cover the roof as right now, Solar panels cost about R2,000 / $140 / £100 each and produce around R5 / $0.35 / £0.25 in electricity per day. That is around R1,825 / $130 / £91 per year so as you can see, if you already have the main system, the payback time for adding panels is less than 18 months including the cost of fitting and then will keep paying you back for another 18.5 years so as no brainers go, this one is pretty up there.
Monthly Investment Return: R474,934 / $33,924 / £24,355
Investment Return Percentage: -3,2%
Annualised Investment Return: 7.8%
Despite the fact it's a bounce back from the worst month financially since I retired, this was the best month financially since I retired. This is the 4th month in the last 12 that I've had returns in excess of R300,000 / $21,428 / $15,000 and considering I've only had 2 months in the last year where our investment returns were negative, things are going pretty well. This is where the perspective comes in on FIRE and living off your investments. In the last year, it has cost mrs H and I R828,000 / $59,000 / £41,400 for our total living expenses (including some pretty major house renovations). Our investment & side hustle returns over the same period were R2,000,000 / $143,000 / $100,000. That means for every month I've been retired, we've paid for 2 more months of retirement in the future. It blows my mind when you consider we started some way off our "Magic Number".
Big wins for the month came from our international index stocks. The Magnificent 7 ETFs, who are now the Magnificent 8 after the addition of the Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) did very well and as I've now religned Mrs H's offshore savings to the safer bets in that portfolio (VTI, VOO & MGK) those wins also reflected in her offshore portfolio. The big surprise though came from my offshore investments that are invested in Rand as they're invested largely in the same investments as my offshore portfolios but are invested in Rand so had the added benefit of a slight weakening of the Rand against the dollar after weeks of the Rand gaining strength. The main funds in the local offshore (if that's not an oxymoron) portfolio are mostly in Sygnia S&P 500 (SYG500), Sygnia FAANG Fund (this is a fund not an ETF) & Sygnia 4th Industrial Revolution (SYG4IR) which for me have been great long term bets for any spare rands and are actually almost identical to Vanguard S&P 500 (VOO), Vanguard Mega Cap (MGK) & Ark Innovation (ARKK) from my offshore portfolio.
Side hustling continues to be a profitable endeavour and I'm still working for a US client pretty much ongoing. Its up and down on how busy I am and some days I have nothing to do, some days a couple of meetings and some days it's full on so I've resorted to keeping it simple; If the diary is empty, I take the day as a retirement day and don't charge. If there's 1 or 2 meetings in the diary and nothing really major going on, I bill for a half day and only logon after lunch and if it's busy I bill the full day. Simple as that, my client doesn't get overcharged I'm not trying to keep myself busy and I can pretty much plan my week and know when I'm going to be on and off the clock. I'd say I've been working around 2.5 days per week for the last month which is still a little more than I'd like but I figure I can take a good long break when this gig comes to an end.
One of the slightly strange arrangements with my current client is that I only bill at the end of the project and not monthly like I do with my other clients. Apart from the fact I'm missing the returns of having that cash in my own investments and savings account I'm kind of enjoying this arrangement as that little nest egg is building up to be a chunk of change. I've been working for them on this kind of part time basis now for 3 months and I've managed to build up an invoice of close to R700,000 / $50,000 / £35,000 which will obviously be taxed but is definitely going to keep the wolves from the door for a while. With the visibility I have over the next month I expect to bill over 1,000,000 / $71,500 / £50,000 which should be close to a year of living expenses after tax.
So that pretty much has me tied up on the side hustle side. I'm keeping my ears on the ground and a finger in the right pies but every penny that comes in through side hustling gets invested so that should start to reflect in our monthly returns in the not so distant future.
Picking A Winning Stock 2021 - Monthly Update
It's that time of the month again where we try and answer that burning question; "Is stock picking a science or a lottery?"
And at the halfway mark of this race it would seem the answer is that it's a complete lottery.
Stuffyuncle has a massive lead of more than double his closest competition; Charlie from DogInvestor.com. Stuffy was pretty clear on his application for this year's competition that his selection, Argent Industrials, was a shot in the dark. Well stuffy, you may have shot in the dark but you hit the bullseye as you're showing a 80% annual return at this point in the game!
So in summary, a good month all in all financially and a return to lockdown normality for another couple of months in the already freezing cold winter of Cape Town (didn't you know freezing is anything below 18C for South Africans). Budgets are on target for the year, finances should come right this month and side-husting is slowly closing the gap on our true Fi number so I have little to complain about apart from the alcohol ban.
What is the point of being retired and completely sober!
Until next time, keep living