Monthly Finances - March 2021
I thought we'd try a bit of a new format for the monthly update so here goes
Life, Health and Early Retirement
March was a bit of a life-changing month for Mrs H and I. After discovering I have some kidney problems last month, we embarked on a 6 week journey to lose some serious timber before I go to see the quack again in early May. We've been off the pop, pretty much carb free and spending most of our time analysing what our newly purchased fitness bands and fancy new scales tell us. Oh and drinking more water than I normally drink in a year. It's going pretty well and I am 7kg lighter than I was 2 weeks ago. That's 12% of my transformation done.
We actually got out of the house in March which was a peculiar experience after a year of lockdown, we spend a nice weekend in a little town called Montagu (famous for its dried fruit and nuts) and some friends came and joined us on Saturday for the day so a good time was had by all. I also managed a boys weekend away by the sea near Gansbaai which was incidentally also where I got married 16 months ago.
We've also been on a bit of a clear out of our junk and have just filled the first skip and discovered we're going to need a second! I also have a mountain of tech kit I need to put on whatever the online marketplace de jour is.
Unfortunately my father was taken ill this month so it is highly likely I'll be making a trip to the UK soon to see the family for a few weeks. Timing is everything at the moment with the current "UK Red List" meaning I have to quarantine for 10 days at a cost of R30,000 / £2000 / £1,500 which is not my idea of a good time so fingers are crossed that they drop that in the next few weeks as they open back up the country. I suspect I'll probably get a covid-19 vaccine whilst I'm there as I'll probably be well into my 60's before I get it in South Africa the way the SA government gets things done.
So some big changes for the month which I'm feeling pretty positive about. Side-hustling has been taking up a little more time than I would like but I am quite looking forward to a nice cash injection when my clients decided to pay their bills. Mrs H is also kicking off a little side hustle manufacturing candles and soaps and all the girly stuff so that is keeping her pretty busy and she seems excited about it so that is great.
A pretty good month on the living front
Our Net Worth: R15,006,604 / $1,000,440 / £724,956
Previous Month: R14,865,103 / $946,822 / £718,120
a 1% return is pretty much where I need to be to deliver my 9.5% annual target and have a little extra for any big purchases like updating the cars or the aforementioned UK trip. We're going to be in need of a decent holiday soon as we haven't been abroad for a couple of years excluding business travel.
My annualised net worth increase is bang on 12.0% so it would appear I might actually know what I'm doing! The R142,000 / $9500 / $7,100 is well over double our living expenses and that's a good benchmark, if you're spending half what you spend in retirement, you'll definitely run out of breath before you run out of cash.
Living Expenses: R68.142 / $4,542 / £3,407
Budget: R68,000 / $4,500 / £3,400
The first month on the new budget and we were right on target apart from the cost of a decent bottle of wine.
Eating low carb is expensive as it's all meat and dairy so that was a concern but every category came in under budget which paid for our weekend trip. It's the time of year were pretty much every South African service provider implements their annual increase and somehow try to justify that 10% is a reasonable increase when inflation is currently only 3.5%. I'm sure they'll all use COVID as an excuse this year even though they've had a year to adapt their business models to the new world.
Unplanned spend was three time the normal budget and on further investigation I can see that Mrs H has been spending way more time than she should in Chinatown and the Crazy Store which my powers of deduction tells me I seem to be co-funding a large part of her side-hustle. Lets see if I am a co-receiver of income as a result of it. Something tells me that cash will be less free and easy!
So no major drama on the budget this month and definitely has released a little anxiety from my mind which is always good. The increase however has seen a fall back on how long our money will last but I'm not overly concerned.
Monthly Investment Return: R121,547 / $8,103 / £6,077
Investment Return Percentage: 0.8%
Annualised Investment Return: 12.0%
It was a tough month on the stock markets as I'm over exposed to tech stocks which took an absolute pounding across my Magnificent 7 ETFs for pretty much the entire month. In the last couple of days we saw a turn of fortune and most of my losses were erased and I posted a respectable return in the end. I'm definitely seeing a trend of good performance at the start of the month and then a dramatic fall off in the second half. It's been happening now for four months so if I see the same pattern this month, I'm going to launch a little experiment to see if selling mid month and buying back in at the end of the month gives a better return. The markets are like a trampoline at the moment so I'm trying to do nothing when it comes to equities.
Alternative investing is doing well and we now own something in the region of:
1 Delivery Bike
86 Blueberry Bushes
22,000 Solar cells (which is roughly 235 Solar Panels)
Between them they're now bringing in around R9,000 / $600 / £450 per month but there is still a large amount of solar panels to go live and the returns increase every year so once everything is up and running that should be more like R20,000 / $1,333 / £1,000 per month. The long term objective is to grow that to the same value as our living expenses so we're about a third of the way there.
The investing hero once again is the crypto currencies, I've now got close to R100,000 / $6,600 / £5000 invested in crypto and the returns in March were pretty great at R24,000 / $1,600 / £1,200 which is 24% in 1 month. Hard to believe! I'm still waiting for the massive drop or the little twist I've missed which will wipe me out but it's now been 3 months seriously dabbling in crypto and the returns to date are 52% in just 3 months. If I can repeat that in the next 3 months I can cash out my original investment and then I really don't care if it goes up in smoke (well, maybe I'll care a little bit)
This is the area where the most action is. As we're into the final stages of covid in the Uk and US, my consultancy business has gone mad. I could work full time if I wanted but I'm trying not to do that. I did say until mrs H retires that I'd bundle as much cash in the bank from side hustles as I can but I can almost feel the corporate anxiety creeping back into my life at the moment so I'm going to have to start turning down work if that continues with everything else going on right now. It's a good problem to have though and whilst it's hasn't started coming in yet, I've got a decent inflow of cash building that should offset what I think is likely to be a choppy few months on the stock markets.
Picking A Winning Stock 2021 - Q1 Update
It's the end of the first quarter for our little experiment and the league table still seems to be changing on a daily basis so it still is really anybody's race at this stage:
It does appear that my strategy of using online research (which was the point of the experiment) is actually working in this case. We've got 9 months to go so way too early to claim victory but I do have a slightly smug look on my face right now that you could never get bored of punching!
So all in all a fairly middle of the road month for the finances and a busy month of change and transformation for the H household. At the end of April I will have been retired for 1 year and still believe it's the best decision we ever made. The plan to close the gap between our net worth and our magic 4% FIRE number is looking a little bleak but I really don't care that much. We have everything we need and a lot of the things we want and we want less and less material things the longer this life goes on so if there's a steak and a beer in the fridge, the wifi works and there's petrol in the car, we don't need much else.
As of 31st March 2021 we have enough money to last until I am 73 which is 28 years from now
Until next time, keep living