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  • Writer's pictureMr H

Monthly Finances - May 2021

A solid beating for the finances!

Life, Health and Early Retirement - 13 Months Since Retirement

May was completely taken up by a trip to the UK as we left SA on the 2nd May and returned on the 7th June. We expected it to be an emotional trip as the reason for travel was my father's sudden death to cancer and whilst that was ever present it was a really positive journey to reconnect with my mum who I hadn't seen in person since our wedding in November 2019 due to Covid as well as meet up with so many friends we have in the UK. On the surface, flights seem cheap at the moment but it seems that all the airlines have done is reduce the service and increased charges for things like baggage so the savings are only optical. Mrs H got a nice bonus from work in April so we used that to fund the entire trip meaning the impact on our finances was negligible. We did however take advantage of the strong rand (or weak pound) to refresh our wardrobes whilst we were away! Whilst it wasn't my favourite reason to travel, this has been a real taste of what retirement is like and being able to drop everything and just go for close to 6 weeks was a real reminder of how lucky we are.

Net Worth

  • Our Net Worth: R14,626,290 / $1,083,212 / £769,804

  • Previous Month: R15,108,182 / $1,007,212 / £729,863

  • Change: -3.9% (When counted in Rand)

Talking about the strong Rand / Weak Dollar/ Weak Pound it is 3 months since I updated the exchange rates I use to calculate my net worth which has resulted in a massive Rand reduction of around half a million! Fortunately it has the opposite effects on the USD & GBP calculations which now show big increases of $75,000 & £40,000 for the month. The reality is though that I spend in Rand and mostly earn in dollars so the current rand price of R13.5 per dollar is technically bad news. It's only bad news though if you expect it to stay like that and I don't. I actually don't think the Rand is strengthening greatly or sustainably I think the US dollar is struggling and we all know that will be temporary so I'm not overly concerned. All of that said it was still a tough month on the investing front but I'll get to that further down.

Living Expenses

  • Living Expenses: R67,254 / $4,982 / £3,450

  • Budget: R68,000 / $4,500 / £3,400

Now the UK is expensive in comparison to South Africa, like really expensive. A litre of fuel is as much as R30, takeaway fish and chips are R150 and a "cheap" bottle of wine is around R100 so the day to day things are roughly double that in SA I would say.

So I was quite pleasantly surprised to find we came in pretty much on budget in Rand terms. Some friends looked after the house and Winston the wonder pup whilst we were away so household bills were largely the same as usual. Savings were made on household maintenance (my nemesis) and as you would imagine the food and drink elements were blown completely out of the water. We also overspent on fuel as I had a hire car for 4 weeks and we covered close to 4000 kilometres travelling the country seeing family and friends.

What is not visible in the budget is the other R80,000 / $5,900 / £4,200 we spent on the travel costs but as mentioned earlier that was covered by a bonus that Mrs H got that I don't account for in my budget. It was also an extraordinary cost because the Quarantine cost close to R50,000 of that and the flights and hire car made up the other R30,000 so more than half of the cost wouldn't have been incurred under normal adventure travel.

Investment Performance

Monthly Investment Return: -R588,513 / -$43,594 / -£30,974

Investment Return Percentage: -3,9%

Annualised Investment Return: 6%


Solidly the worst month since retirement, by a long way. We had the perfect storm in May with the following contributory slaps to the face:

  1. Tech stocks continued to fall from their highs and my Thematic ETFs took a real battering. Things seem to be turning around over the last few days but at the end of May those stocks had seena an average drop of 20% from the price I bought them at - Slap 1

  2. I hold most of my SA domiciled ETFs in offshore funds like the Sygnia S&P500 ETF as a good example. Whenever the Rand strengthens, these ETFs go down because whilst they're held in Rand, they're priced in USD so take the double whammy of a poorly performing stock market and a weakening dollar - Slap 2

  3. The recent bull run on SA stocks was fairly short lived and the JSE has taken a dip across the board. I don't hold that many JSE stocks but the ones I do have with averages of +30% profit are now more like +10% profit. - Slap 3

  4. Bitcoin had a bit of a crash when Elon Musk reversed his decision to let people buy Teslas with Bitcoin and shouted a lot about the energy wastage created by mining bitcoin. Also China pretty much made Bitcoin mining illegal and banned bitcoin transactions. That caused bitcoin to drop from its high of $65,000 to around half at $32,000 so my recent crypto investments got a firm shoeing. Luckily I have structured my crypto investments around trading bots so a temporary dip is actually a good thing although you wouldn't know that looking at my crypto accounts right now! - The TKO slap!

I guess the good news is that everything happened at once so I predict a pretty much flat performance in June and then a couple of recovery months to get back on top. I'm not concerned, there's always going to be down times, the key is to box clever when the punches come and try and make a little extra money on the way back up. Its times like this that I'm glad I'm so heavily invested in Solar as all f the above has zero effect on that investment it just keeps ticking away paying out every month and getting a little bigger every time I reinvest the proceeds.


In an otherwise barren and desolate financial landscape in May, I still managed to do some consulting work even whilst I was travelling and managed to get a couple of invoices paid to boot, so side-hustling sort of saved the day or stopped it from being a lot worse. I've got close to R500,000 in invoices outstanding so that kind of puts me back where I started after investment losses in May so every cloud right? My most recent assignment just got extended until the end of July so that should add around another R250,000 to the company coffers in the coming months.

Beyond that, the pipeline is pretty much empty so I predict a fairly quiet winter on the hustling front which is fine by me as I'm hoping the colder weather will help e get back to fixing up the house and crossing some projects off my to do list.

Picking A Winning Stock 2021 - Monthly Update

Month 5 of our 2021 stock pick challenge and it's all change again.

StuffyUncle continues to surge ahead with the "pin the tail on the donkey" strategy. TheGroses has managed to pull herself off the bottom slot and back in to contention and Charlie storms the table on the back of Redefine, well, redefining itself. The shine seems to have come off platinum and It would seem that all that glitters is not gold for Fundyourfire.

This experiment continues to confuse with constant changes in the league table but one thing is for sure, if you'd bought these stocks at the start of the year, regardless of how you picked them, you'd be sitting on a 15% return after 6 months which is not too shabby.


Financially? a bloody awful month and oen I wish to forget. Emotionally? A roller coaster, that's it. Lifestyle wise? We had our first trip of retirement and it was epic. We're still speaking after being stuck in a 6x4m room for 12 days in quarantine and we slept in a total of 6 different beds in 5 weeks. It was a great trip but I'm also glad to be home and reunited with my best buddy Winston, my couch and my bed. I love to travekl but there's no place like home.

As of 31st May 2021 we have enough money to last until I am 65 which is 20 years from now

Until next time, keep living

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