Wealth update – 31/08/2021

Another month, another update.

Deposit drama

It seems I posted the court claim and paperwork/evidence to the correct address. Yay!

A few weeks after posting it I was contacted by somebody from the County Court to take payment of £308 to process my claim against my previous landlord. Three weeks later I got something in the post confirming that the case “has been issued under Part 8 of the CPR”. The previous landlord now has 2 weeks to respond (ends next week) and then I suppose I will need to wait until the actual court day.

It’s all taking longer than I thought… but I guess that’s good enough for government work.

Driving license

As I moved house at the beginning of June, I had to renew my driving license – it’s not allowed to have a wrong address on it. I was not able to do the address update online because the identity verification process did not find my brand new UK passport (which I got in April when I became a British citizen).

So, I had to use the paper form and post my original driving license off to Swansea. You may have read in the press about massive delays in processing times at the DVLA. I posted my stuff on the 21st of June and currently – 10 weeks later – they are processing stuff that was received on 18th June.

It may take a few more weeks I suppose…

I got a raise

I had my half-year appraisal and walked out with a £5K raise (9% increase). I didn’t expect a raise and didn’t ask for one. My manager started the meeting with “some good news” and I went along with it. Who am I to argue with a good thing?

They backdated the raise to take effect from 1st July. It’s nice to get paid more. 🙂

Health

This hasn’t been good. We’re both double vaccinated against Covid-19 but we’ve developed flu-like symptoms. Our symptoms are mild and nothing serious. I’ve had two PCR covid tests taken 6 days apart, which came out negative. My girlfriend’s PCR test was also negative. We’re feeling better now but continue to have a cough. We’ve been sick for about 3 weeks already. I think it’s very unlikely that all 3 tests were false negatives…

So, we’re unwell but not with Covid. I guess that’s the glass half full way to look at it.

By the way, it’s now possible to register for the normal flu-jab via Boots, which we’ve done. Our appointments are towards the end of September. I noticed some inflation here, last year the jab cost £13.99, this time it was £14.99 – that’s +7%.

Counting my beans

August was another positive month. My net worth as of 31/08/2021 was £283,810 – it’s an increase of £34,017 or 13.6% from the end of July 2021. This is after me making a £1,620 GIA top-up and £492 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

It’s been a good month.

Jobs that will be in demand in the near future

I remember a while ago I wrote that if your job is to drive a car/truck/bus (cab/Uber etc) then you need to start looking for another career really fast. Full-self-driving will become a thing sooner than you think. Ignore the news about the lack of drivers (due to Brexit) to move goods to our supermarkets – that’s only a temporary problem.

So, I did some thinking to put together a list of industries/jobs, which I think will probably do well in the future (in the UK):

  1. Anything to do with heat pumps. There will be huge demand as the UK aims to be more green and energy efficient etc. There’s hardly anybody able to do this sort of work these days.
  2. Solar and wind energy production. Similar reasons as above – we’re all going green.
  3. Technology – quite predictably – AI, machine learning, data analytics etc. This one isn’t really for the masses as this is hard work and only for the curly-brained ones.
  4. Games – developing PC/console/mobile games will grow. Have you ever heard of eSports – it’s bigger than you think? However, salaries aren’t as good in gaming as in other areas of software development.
  5. Electric cars and charging infrastructure – because Elon says so! Don’t bet against Elon!
  6. Nurses. The UK needs more nurses. However, salaries and working conditions/hours aren’t great.

Personally, I’m thinking about pivoting into technology – AI and stuff.

Good luck!

Wealth update – 31/07/2021

The market has closed for this month and I have counted my beans. Here’s my update for July.

Deposit drama

It seems we are legit taking our previous landlord to court over their failure to protect our tenancy deposit in time. They never responded to our letter before action (other than acknowledging it).

I prepped all the forms and evidence etc and we posted that to the local county court more than a week ago. However, we haven’t heard back. I don’t really know whether we should give the courthouse a chaser? I’d rather avoid that. Let’s wait and see!

Other

The month has been relatively quiet:

  • I’ve been to the office a few times but mostly work from home. I even met a client or two face-to-face.
  • The family (including the puppy) went to Dover and more recently to Broadstairs. Nice little day trips!

Counting my beans

July was a positive month and not too bad. My net worth as of 31/07/2021 was £249,793 (sadly it dipped below £250K) – it’s an increase of £17,203 (more or less my annual expenditure) or 7.4% from the end of June 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up and £411 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

All in all, a decent month!

The curse of the bearish case

Markets are at an all-time high. Everybody is making money and I just had my best month ever (see previous post). Now what?

A critic would say that this is not sustainable and the markets are in a bubble. They can’t possibly go any higher as the PE ratios are so high, earnings are too low, insane valuations, interest rates are about to increase, inflation is coming, governments will raise taxes to pay for their Covid-19 expenditure etc.

Bears strike downwards with their claws which is why it’s said that markets are bearish when they go down.

Yes, there’s lots to be concerned about.

A bull strikes upwards with his horns which is why it’s said that the market is bullish when it goes up.

The positive spin would be something like this: the world is re-opening, the pandemic will be over or we will all learn to live with Covid-19, mRNA and CRISPR will be used to treat countless other infections and diseases, a cancer cure will be found this decade, we will all transition to sustainable energy production and battery storage technology will make many breakthroughs, automation and AI will significantly improve our quality of life, the 4-day work week will be the norm, anybody anywhere on the planet will have access to 5G internet speeds (Starlink), the future will be spectacular and the stock market can only go up.

You are probably thinking that the bearish case sounds more reasonable than the bullish case. And that, my friend, is the curse of the bearish case – it always sounds smarter.

The bullish case sounds a bit like pie in the sky and is just too rosy. It doesn’t sound that smart and is harder to believe.

If you listened to the media and got out of the market whenever someone said a crash is coming, you’d most likely be broke. Or, at the very least, you’d be significantly worse off.

I remember reading an academic study into the profitability of the clients of a brokerage company. Collectively speaking the best performers were accounts of deceased people or people who forgot their logins and weren’t able to make any investment decisions. Most people don’t know what they’re doing and they are shooting themselves in the foot when they trade. Investing is like any other skill – you need somebody to teach you, otherwise you can make very expensive mistakes.

I’m a believer in passive investing (buying index-trackers) but know that there’s a place for active investing and hedge funds etc as well. You do you. There’s millions of ways to make a profit – find out what works for you and do that.

Wealth update – 30/06/2021

June has been a very good month and I’m very excited to write this post.

Holidays

I took two weeks of annual leave but didn’t go anywhere for my holiday as the puppy makes that quite difficult. So it’s a staycation in London where we make the most of our new home and its garden.

The weather has been mostly summery and I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends face-to-face. That was nice. We’ve also been taking our puppy out to explore the great big new world. His tail never tires from wagging… I hope he never grows up.

Deposit drama

We moved earlier this month to another rental flat. As these things go, we had to do an end-of-tenancy cleaning at the previous flat. I was recommended a cleaner by a trusted friend and to our surprise the end-of-tenancy gig only cost £30.

That sounded very cheap as previously it cost £80 for a small studio flat. This was a one-bedroom flat with two toilets. We didn’t argue with a good thing and agreed to the low-low price.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. We got the end-of-tenancy inventory report, which stated that the flat was cleaned to a professional standard but had a few specific omissions. Several things needed some extra cleaning (e.g. some limescale in sinks and toilets). Well, fair enough, we’re happy to pay for that as that did need further scrubbing.

What came as a surprise was the amount the agency wanted to deduct from our deposit. They came in at a lofty £195 to do the “necessary” cleaning.

Wow! Greedy much?

Almost £200 to scrub limescale off from a few places? I think an end-of-tenancy cleaning for a 1 bedroom flat would cost around £100 (I did a quick Google search) and they wanted to charge us double that to clean a few specific things? No way.

We disagreed with their quote and they magically reduced it to £120. That was still too much as this was a cost of a full end-of-tenancy cleaning, which the flat did not need. We explained that we are happy to pay for a reasonable amount as the flat does in fact need additional cleaning. They then claimed it was their “standard” cost for cleaning – we rejected that justification as well. So they advised us to take it to the deposit dispute resolution service and we responded that we’d be happy to do so.

I looked into the dispute resolution service and among other things found out that:

Many landlords don’t realise that the onus is on them to prove they have a legitimate claim to a share of the deposit, whilst the tenant has no obligation to prove their position. This is because the deposit remains the tenant’s money until the landlord has successfully proven their claim. It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove damage etc

depositprotection.com

We sort of left it there as I never got around to doing the actual dispute stuff. Luckily, a few days later the agency emailed to say they are happy to reduce their cleaning charges to £80, which we accepted. I thought this will bring our cost to £110, which is what the end-of-tenancy cleaning should’ve cost us anyway.

We then got the majority of our deposit back in the next couple of days. So, that was good for our finances.

The above exchange about the cleaning costs was quite unpleasant. It wasn’t so much about the money as we can afford the initial £195 they wanted but it’s the principle that is important. You can’t charge people inflated “standard” rates plucked out of thin air and greed. We were quite angry about this.

Once our deposit was safely in our bank accounts we pounced on the agency with a letter before action due to them failing to protect our deposit within the statutory time limit of 30 days. In part it’s revenge for all the failures and negative experiences we had renting from them but it’s also an opportunity to make some tax free gains 🙂 .

Taxes

I also did my 2020/21 tax return and got £63.40 back – most of it was a refund due to me claiming the £6 p.w. allowance for working from home all of last tax year. I was planning on claiming loss relief on an EIS investment that went to zero but it turns out that the company is still in business… so I will need to try that again in the future.

However, £63.40 for an hour of work ain’t too bad.

Counting my beans

June was my biggest positive month for my portfolio so far. My net worth as of 30/06/2021 was £232,590 – an increase of £41,087 or 21.5% from the end of May 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up, £411 pension top-up, and £175 was added to my emergency cash pot. I also received my £1,000 LISA bonus in June.

June has been a fantastic month. My gains this month were more than my annual net salary. In just a MONTH! I’m now also solidly above the £200K net wealth figure. In fact I’m now above the average wealth of a UK adult (£210,529 or USD 290,724).

I am very happy.