It’s been another very busy two months. I work in financial services and tax year end is extremely busy for me, which has meant that blogging has take a bit of a backseat in terms of priorities.
So, what happened over the last two months?
Gas supply saga
I’ve been struggling to switch gas suppliers and have been paying two providers for gas – both companies claimed that they were supplying gas to my property. This, obviously, can’t be the case. After many angry emails, I decided to escalate my complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.
Like magic, it seems my problem has found a resolution – I got a written apology and a letter about what the gas company will do to put things right. It was received within days of me sending the complaint to the Ombudsman. The provider offered me a £60 goodwill payment for the hassle and promised to correct the issue with the gas supply switch.
I also requested the new provider to refund my gas overpayments as they were not my gas supplier but were charging me for this anyway.
I decided to accept the £60 offer as it seems things were finally getting sorted. I was also promised to get my overpaid gas payments refunded.
The above happened in February and now (April) I can say that the gas supply saga has finally ended. It only took 7 months to switch from my old provider to the new one. Welcome to the United Kingdom!
The lesson I learned is that if an issue doesn’t get resolved within 8 weeks, immediately send a complaint to the Ombudsman. This, it seems, strikes fear into companies’ hearts and gets things sorted.
British citizenship saga
We had to wait for our citizenship ceremony invitations in order to tick off the very last part of the naturalisation process. This finally arrived in mid-March (we waited 2.5 months) and we were able to book the ceremony for the 31st March.
Both I and my girlfriend have now joined the British club. We met the queen, celebrated with a full English breakfast and have been speaking with a British accent ever since. 🙂
Just kidding, we didn’t do any of the above. However, we did get a few photographs of us smiling in front of a picture of the queen with our certificate of naturalisation in hand. What a day it was… one I will share with my grandkids for sure.
I have dipped into my emergency cash as I decided to acquire new skills to have a bit of a backup when it comes to my employability. I’ve been thinking for a long time that working in financial services isn’t exactly the best fit and there might be other things/careers I should explore.
I decided to put some action behind my thinking and signed up for a training course to retrain as a software developer. A number of my friends work in software development and from my discussions with them, it sounds like it’s something which I could potentially thrive in.
It’s still early days and my studying is taking it’s sweet time. However, I have already achieved my first certificate in HTML and CSS – I do feel that web development isn’t for me though. I’m now on to learning “more serious” languages such as Python, C# and Java, which seems to be more interesting.
There is lot’s to learn but I’m quite excited about it and don’t regret paying almost £2K for the course. OK, maybe there’s a little bit of regret… but paying that money is a bit of a motivator to continue with my studies and pass the exams etc. I want value for my hard earned cash!
Counting my beans
My portfolio went down a little in February (£160,835 i.e. -£4,667 from Jan 2021) but made up for it in March. My net worth as at 31/03/2021 was £173,579 – an increase of £12,744 or 7.92% from end of Feb 2021. This increase includes a £1,600 ISA top-up, £3,344 pension top-up (I sacrificed 100% of my bonus into my pension) and £50 was paid into Premium Bonds.
Tax year end actions
I have also realised some gains in my GIA. In fact I sold all of it to cash to be able to make use of the annual £12,300 CGT exemption. My realised gains were about £11,000.
I’ve kept circa £20,000 in cash (to fund my ISA and LISA tomorrow i.e. on 6/4/2021 – the first day of the 2021/22 tax year) and re-invested the residual in a “similar” portfolio to the one I had previously (this is due to the 30 day CGT rule where sales and purchases within 30 days are matched for the purposes of CGT calculation). I will be switching my GIA back into my “normal” portfolio early in May.
Alright, I hope you had a great Easter holiday and have enjoyed the long weekend and the somewhat good weather!