Showing posts with label saving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saving. Show all posts

Saturday 7 October 2017

Look after the pennies...

...and the pounds will look after themselves.  A reasonably well known proverb that simply means if you focus on saving many small amounts of money you'll soon amass a large amount.  It’s also a proverb that in the circle of people I associate with both at work and in my personal life seems to not get a lot of attention.  I’m a little different and so it’s a proverb I’ve lived throughout my journey to financial independence and one I continue focusing on even as I sit here typing this post with over £1 million of wealth to my name.  Let me give a couple of examples of it in action over the past few weeks.

The financial services industry is a voracious beast that is continually trying to devour as much of its host as possible without its host noticing (all in my honest opinion of course).  I showed this previously by referencing a Grant Thornton study that concluded that someone entrusting £100,000 for 10 years to a UK financial adviser or investment manager would pay an average 2.56% annually for financial planning services and financial product expenses. 

In contrast to this my work defined contribution scheme extracts 0.6% in annual expenses from me.  Sounds like a great deal in contrast but in relation to what I know is possible I know it’s still expensive.  I choose to be a part of the scheme because it allows me to receive free money in the form of an employers match to my contributions up to a contribution limit.  Additionally by salary sacrificing I save on employees National Insurance and my employer saves on employers National Insurance for which they also pay some of the savings they make into my pension (I actually think it’s derogatory that they don’t pay all of the savings but that’s for another day).  Amazingly some people in my company don’t seem to be contributing to the scheme at all which is just turning down free money but the remainder I’ve spoken to seem to be happy just leaving their pension investments in that scheme which means they are losing 0.6% of their wealth every year.

Saturday 17 December 2016

I’ve written and published that book

Over my 9-year journey to financial independence (FI) I’ve had a number of readers of both this blog and the fora that I frequent ask me if I’d write a book.  If the truth be told I was reticent while on my journey as I thought I would be a hypocrite for writing about how to achieve something that I actually hadn’t done myself.  That all changed in July 2016 when I achieved my financial independence goal with being a hypocrite switching to feeling empowered and ‘qualified’ to tell the story.

I also thought that I was too busy to write the book but in hindsight that was just the victim coming out in me.  Like anything in life both achievement and success is all about unrelenting prioritisation in my experience.  Without that you just don’t have a chance.  So with a focus on just work and the book (thanks go out publically to a very understanding and supportive family who’ve had to put up with it and me) I’ve been able to get it written over the past months and it’s now published.

I’ve called the book - From Zero to Financial Independence in less than 10 Years: Tools and techniques to escape the rat race quickly.  It’s currently only available on Amazon but is available in both ebook and paperback formats giving some choice.

So why write it?  A few reasons:
  • I’ve found my FI journey an incredible experience both financially and spiritually.  I’ve also learnt so much, including a lot about myself, most of which will serve me well for life.  This includes a switch to focusing on quality of life rather than the far more common standard of living.  At age 44 I am also now in a position that is incredibly liberating and empowering.  I would just love others to be able to at least see what’s possible and hope the book might spread that message further than this blog.  If they then choose to stay on their current course I’m more than ok as at least they saw an alternate option and made a choice.  The book has only been live a few days and this goal is looking good so far.  It is already ranked number 4 in their retirement planning category, number 11 in their ebook personal finance category and number 24 in their ebook finance category.
  • I wanted to provide the book that readers asked for.
  • An unexpected reason was that I actually found the whole process incredibly cathartic.  For years I have been learning and had tonnes of information swirling in my thoughts.  By sitting down and putting pen to paper it allowed all that to be organised and filed forever freeing my thoughts for more.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Where’s the snowball – why you’d better save if you want to FIRE

You don’t have to travel far into most personal finance sites before you find the obligatory compound interest post.  Even I did one back in 2012 where I was so bold as to call it The Miracle of Compound Interest.

In brief Compound Interest, sometimes also called the snowball effect, is at its most basic just interest on interest.  A trivial example.  Let’s say you have £1 and can get an investment return of 10% per annum (those were the days).  Choose that option and after a year you’d have £1.10 which is your £1 plus ‘interest’ of £0.10.  If you reinvest that for another year you’d have £1.21 which is your £1, last years interest of £0.10, this years interest of £0.10 on your £1 but also £0.01 which is interest on your £0.10 interest from last year.  Interest on interest...

So that’s the lovely theory but as someone who is now Financially Independent and so has been there, done that, got the t-shirt, what’s my view on it.  I’d now say care is needed.  Let me demonstrate with three simple examples.  Let’s go back in time to the end of 2007 where I’m going to give each of our punters seed capital of £50,000, I’m going to assume a real (after inflation) return of 4.1% (what I’ve achieved on my portfolio of trackers after expenses) and I’m going to assume their each looking for wealth of £800,000 (which is not far off what I thought I needed back then although inflation since has ensured I now need 2 commas) before packing in the day job.  From here their journeys will vary:
  • TheRIT will crack on with working hard, focus on quality of life and so annually squirrel away £58,728 per annum (which is the average annual savings I’ve achieved since I’ve been on my FIRE journey, equating to a post tax Savings Rate of 82.4%) earning a real return of 4.1% per annum (my actual real annualised return thus far).  I know that will include inflation adjusted savings but please give me a little slack here as it’s not important to the point I’m trying to make today so won’t bother with inflation adjusting.
  • MrAverage will also crack on with working hard but instead focuses on standard of living.  This means he can only save 5.1% of post tax earnings which has been deliberately chosen as it’s the current UK household saving ratio according to the ONS.  Like TheRIT, MrAverage achieves a real return of 4.1%.
  • MissInvestingSuperstar follows in the footsteps of MrAverage but boy does she know her stuff when it comes to picking winners.  So much so that every year that she invests she manages double the return of the others and so achieves a real 8.2% per annum.  Ask yourself how many people actually achieve that and would you be prepared to back yourself to achieve that with severe disappointment many years hence if you don’t?
My after tax Savings Rate over the long term has been 82.4%
Click to enlarge, My after tax Savings Rate over the long term has been 82.4% 

Saturday 20 February 2016

Am I an outlier or could most people do it?

I don’t think there would be much argument that millennials have it pretty tough financially with their plight now starting to make it into the mainstream media (FT link or search “Why millennials go on holiday instead of saving for a pension”).  After all:

  • They’re graduating with big chunks of student debt that their grey haired work colleagues didn't have to contend with, while their even greyer haired fellow countryman are being protected with triple lock state pensions;
  • They’re unlikely to receive anything better than a defined contribution pension with no hope of a defined pension; and
  • They’re graduating into a housing crisis where houses are today priced in such a way that ownership, particularly in the South East, is almost beyond reach.

While this is going on as a Generation X’er I'm starting to get comments that my current personal financial approach has become a little extreme.  To me it doesn't feel like it but I'm also conscious of the boiled frog analogy.

So with both of these in mind I thought today I’d run a simulation to see if a millennial graduating today, who didn't want to be as extreme as I am, but also didn't want to roll over and be a victim could still FIRE (financial independence, retired early)?  So a Saving Hard'ish, Investing Wisely, Retire Early simulation.  In short the uncomfortable maths suggests that the answer is yes...

A millenials journey to financial independence
Click to enlarge, A millenials journey to financial independence

Let’s look at the story in detail.

Saturday 15 August 2015

My Spending

Saving Hard has thus far been one of the biggest contributors to my reasonably rapid FIRE (financially independent retired early) Number progress.  For me this has never been about simply spending the least amount possible but instead always about maximising the answer to the formula Earnings – Taxes – Spending.  This results in a twofold approach:

With this in mind I suspect my spending profile will look quite strange when compared to many, but hey we’re all different and that’s what makes the world an interesting place.

In July 2015 I spent £1,926 (an annualised £23,112) and 2015 Year to Date I've averaged £2,068 per month (£24,816 annualised).  This covers all family spending, whether for fun or just too live, plus any personal spending that I desire.  The only thing excluded is my better half’s small personal spending.  Given this is hopefully my final full year before FIRE I want to track my full 2015 average spending as well as monthly for a couple reasons:
  • It gives me a floor of spending at which the family are happy with the lifestyle that we are living.  This will help tell me when I’m FI (financial independent), which will be before FIRE’d.  It will also help me understand how much overhead my 2.5% wealth withdrawal rate, at the start of FIRE, combined with my £1,000,000, actually provides me with.
  • We are still torn between early retirement in The Mediterranean vs Old Blighty and this will also help us understand our average spending profile when in different countries.
Retirement Investing Today July 2015 and Average 2015 Spending
Click to enlarge, Retirement Investing Today July 2015 and Average 2015 Spending

Now the detail:

Saturday 16 May 2015

Life’s Great Saving Hard and Investing Wisely for Early Retirement

This week as I was thumping up and down the motorway on my lengthy daily commutes I couldn’t help but take some glimpses of the current and potential future life that this journey to Early Financial Independence is providing.  There are of course negatives but the positives really did override my thoughts.  Let me share a few random musings.

Saving Hard

In a post back in March I shared a little about my personal life which included my ‘9 to 5’.  Today is my 397th post on Retirement Investing Today and that post is right up there when it came to Comments at 51 to date.  Some of them pointed to a punishing work life which prompted me to look around at my colleagues and I do agree that I work much harder than most but this is a little by design as I always want to stay in the top 10% of my peer group.  The rub is that what seems a negative to some is now just normal and on autopilot to me plus on the whole my health and wellbeing is as good as it has ever been.  The positive though is that this approach allows things like earnings increases of 44% in a year and I can already see a door potentially opening that may allow another step change in earnings.  So while I admit to being tired come Friday night I also think my colleagues probably are as well.  The difference is that I have an extra chunk of cash which I can save to power me towards Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) which means I’ll be done in the not too distant future and they’ll retire when the government lets them.

On the spending front I've also realised that Living Well Below My Means is now just an autopilot activity.  I no longer crave stuff and get zero satisfaction from consumerism.  I do still track spending religiously just in case I need to correct course but I no longer have any sort of budget and certainly don’t have a £0 one.

These two mind sets currently allow me to save 54% of gross earnings.  Sure it’s not at my target of 55% but do you know what – I really am starting to not care anymore.

Gross Savings Rate
Click to enlarge, Gross Savings Rate

Investing Wisely

My investment portfolio which is largely just a set of diversified tracker funds is running pretty close to plan through nothing more than passive portfolio rebalancing and to the end of April 2015 has grown by a Real (after inflation) Compound Annual Growth Rate after expenses of 4% since inception.  It’s also now pretty close to being an autopilot activity.

Performance of £10,000 within RIT Portfolio and Benchmark vs Inflation
Click to enlarge, Performance of £10,000 within RIT Portfolio and Benchmark vs Inflation

One active element with my investment portfolio is of course my High Yield Portfolio (HYP).  Trailing dividend yield is a healthy 5.0% when compared to the FTSE100 at 3.5%.  Capital Gain since inception is also a healthy 38% vs 31% for the FTSE100.  Over the shorter term it’s not so rosy with Capital Gain year to date at 3.5% vs 6.0% for the FTSE100.  So this non passive piece is not quite on autopilot but the strategy is well defined and I'm still happy with the results.  The question I'm starting to ask myself though is can I really be bothered with it.  I'm going to watch it for a year or two more but if results do start to converge toward the index I may just go passive.

Saturday 28 March 2015

To FIRE Fast we must know what we really Value

I think we've had enough about what I eat for breakfast and what I want to be when I grow up for now.  Let’s get back to what this blog is all about – an unrelenting focus on Saving Hard and Investing Wisely to enable Early Retirement in my case.  Your end game could of course be different.

I work hard for the money that I earn.  Given how much effort I've put into acquiring it the least I can then do is now put a bit of effort into retaining as much of it as possible.  Why?  Well, now that I have some money in my pocket I'm up against millions of people and corporations trying to extract as much of that money from me as possible.  It’s nothing personal but just the way it is.  Importantly, it’s also not just the big purchases.  I’ve found that sweating the small stuff is possibly more important because leakages here often have very little impact on your health and wellbeing.

So why at this stage do I want the minimum extracted from me while still living the life I want to live?  For me it’s not emotional and is simply by learning how to spend less I can save more which is then an enabler to help me FIRE faster (Financial Independence Retire Early).  Seven and a half years into my journey I'm at the point where this is probably the most important lesson I have learnt thus far.  Sure earning more helps but that just helps accelerate you to the goal posts and minimising investment expenses/taxes also helps but I’ve found savings have had a bigger impact on my wealth creation so far as the short time I have given myself to accrue the assets to FIRE don’t get much time to compound.  Spend less and two things occur which is why it is a critical element – it both moves you more quickly towards the goal posts but also moves the goal posts towards you.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Increase Earnings to Accelerate Progress to Financial Independence

UK pay or earnings seems to have reached the main stream media again.  By my calculations Average Whole Economy Annual Earnings are increasing at a rate of 1.7% with inflation over the same period at 2.0%.  So on the whole the average punter’s purchasing power continues to be eroded.  To be honest I can’t say I'm surprised and think this is going to continue for a long time yet.  As the world continues to globalise then the difference between poorer salaried and richer salaried countries must close.

The Private Sector is fairing a little better than average and has kept pace with inflation having risen by 2.1%.  Austerity does look to be biting the public sector though with increases of 0.8% which is well below inflation.

The chart below shows the wider real adjusted for inflation UK earnings story.  The summary is pretty simple – real UK earnings for both the public and private sectors are still well below those of 2007 to 2009.  Though is that a sustainable uptick I can start to see beginning to occur before me?  Given what I’ve said above I’m not convinced.

Index of UK Whole Economy, Private Sector and Public Sector Average Annual Earnings Corrected for the Retail Prices Index (RPI)
Click to enlarge

For anyone seeking Early Financial Independence, giving the option of Early Retirement, finding methods to increase earnings is extremely important.  Importantly this does not have to mean increasing your day job earnings but instead can involve a new business, a second job, a side hustle, even selling stuff you no longer need now that you’ve opted out of consumerism so think creatively. So why is it important?  I believe there are 3 elements to reaching the Financial Independence – generating cash savings, investing those savings to gain a return and then understanding how much wealth you need to accrue and how to manage it before calling it a day.

Monday 8 December 2014

Saving Hard – We’re An Interesting Bunch

Thanks to all readers who took part in the earnings and savings poll.  The results make for some very interesting reading but before we go there let’s just take a second to review what we were really looking at with this poll.

I see three distinct phases when it comes to personal finance.  I summarise it as Save Hard, Invest Wisely and Retire Early but these phases could be called many things.  In a little more detail:
  • Save Hard is how we go about building capital that we can then deploy to investments that hopefully with time will give a return on that capital.  For me, and I'm sure many other readers, that is earnings from the day job that aren't spent on living today.
  • Invest Wisely is how we go about maximising the return on the capital we've built from Saving Hard.  For me that’s a balanced portfolio of different asset classes invested as tax effectively and at as low a cost as possible.
  • Retire Early is how big the capital pile needs to become before the goal is achieved.  For me I’m chasing enough wealth to be Financially Independent and have the option of Early Retirement but there are many other reasons why we might want to build capital.  Having a Retire Early reason is important.  Without it there is no reason to build the capital in the first place and you’re probably then just hoarding.
The polls were really looking at the Save Hard portion.  The first question asked was what are your gross annual earnings?  The results are surprising particularly when I chart them below against UK individuals who have some liability to income tax.  The surprising part is just how much we all earn.  For example 19.4% of us earn more than £100,000 a year!  In the UK that puts those readers in the top 2% of UK tax payers.  The median reader earns between £40k and £50k per year where across the UK median earnings are only £20,300.  A median reader is earning somewhere between 2 and 2.5 times that of the UK as a whole!  The mode of readers is also £40k to £50k however across the UK it is only £10k to £20k.  These high earnings then give us all a fantastic chance to save if we live below our means and we don’t disappoint there.

Gross Annual Earnings
Click to enlarge

Saturday 22 November 2014

It’s All About Living Well Below Your Means

I've mentioned previously in passing that as I build the wealth necessary to reach Early Financial Independence I'm noticing that the major wealth contributor for me has actually been the Saving Hard portion of my strategy rather than the Investing Wisely.

Let’s firstly quickly remind ourselves of what each portion contains.  Saving Hard is the methods used to acquire Capital for investment.  For me that is a full time professional career with Megacorp where I’m continually working to Earn More, as well as continually working on methods to spend less, while achieving the standard of living my family desires.  The spending less is typically called Living Below Your Means or LBYM in the financial independence blogosphere.  Investing Wisely is the methods used to maximise return on that Capital.  For me it includes low investment expenses, tax minimisation, modern portfolio theory, tweaking of asset allocations based on market valuations and even my HYP.

The below chart separates the wealth I've personally built each year from both Saving Hard and Investing Wisely.  Every year except 2012 more wealth has been built from Saving Hard.  It even includes the last couple of years where significant monthly savings are given to my better half so that Financial Independence day is synchronised.  So as I alluded to at the start of this post for somebody like myself who’s trying to become Financially Independent in 10 years or so Saving Hard is essential.

Year on year change in wealth
Click to enlarge

So Saving Hard is important.  Let’s look at each element in turn.  When it comes to Earning More I've been fortunate, having been able to increase earnings by 128% since 2007, however I can also say it has come at a price.  I am also very aware that in the modern continually globalising economic climate where average earnings in the UK are increasing at a less than inflation 1.3% this is currently not easy and importantly is not 100% in our control.  I'm going to ignore Earning More for the rest of this post for these reasons.

Saturday 21 June 2014

The Buck Stops Here

Some might think this post a little cynical however I've found that it sometimes pays to be a little cynical so here goes.  Businesses and their marketing machines have few goals on their mind.  One of those is to remove as many pounds and pence from your pocket as legally possible.  Ideally they then get to do this more than once.  They then try and get you not to notice how many notes and coins you’re counting out by bringing other businesses into the game that can help you to pay the original business in one electronic form or another.  They certainly don’t assess whether the purchase will benefit you or your family’s life.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s simply maximising the revenue.

Once those businesses have completely emptied your pocket worry not.  That’s because another business will come along who will provide you with a product of one type or another that will allow those previous businesses to remove pounds and pence that aren't even yet in your pocket.  They also don’t assess whether the purchase will benefit you or your family’s life and are again simply looking to maximise the revenue.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s simply maximising the revenue.

You might even work for one of those businesses.  Again, they are not interested in whether the salary paid brings benefit to your family’s life or if you need additional State support simply to exist.  They are simply trying to pay you and all your colleagues the least amount possible that will prevent empty desks either in the form of people leaving and/or new people not joining.  If this should occur then some other business will maximise the revenue at their cost.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s simply maximising the revenue and profit.

Saturday 14 June 2014

The Path to Early Financial Freedom, Bicycles Optional

VW Polo SE Bluemotion
In my hunt for Early Financial Independence, maybe even Early Retirement, I'm unrelenting in my efforts to minimise my spending while not sacrificing the elements of family life that are really important to us.  This is essential behaviour as finding ways to minimise spending allows two things to occur:

  • the reduction in spending allows another advance towards the Financial Independence goal  because it can directly become savings; and
  • importantly by spending less the Financial Independence goal posts also move towards you.

There is however one area where this is not an appropriate course of action – spending required to earn money.  Generally, if you were just looking to minimise spending you’d be looking for the highest paying job where housing costs were low and your home would be within a walk or cycle to work.  Other considerations for some might include minimising child care or ‘uniform’ costs to name but two.  In the extreme this would be home working.  This is of course flawed because we need to actually be finding ways to Save Hard and not just spend less.  The mathematical way to think about it is Saving Hard is maximised by maximising earnings (which in a family unit could be 2 or more salaries), minus tax, minus national insurance, minus spending required to earn.  Of course it’s then appropriate to be unrelenting in your efforts to minimise your spending required to earn.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

A Method to Help Us All Save More

The road to wealth creation, which leads to financial independence if persisted with, is no secret.  In fact P. T. Barnum in his 1880 publication, The Art of Money Getting (available for free in Kindle Edition at the link), which is still as relevant today as when it was first published, reveals it by the second paragraph.  “Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only to set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.  But however easy it may be found to make money, I have no doubt many of my hearers will agree it is the most difficult thing in the world to keep it.  The road to wealth is, as Dr Franklin truly says, “as plain as the road to the mill.”  It consists simply in expending less than we earn; that seems to be a very simply problem.  Mr Micawber, one of those happy creations of the genial Dickens, puts the case in a strong light when he says that to have an annual income of twenty pounds per annum, and spend twenty ponds and sixpence, is to be the most miserable of men; whereas to have an income of only twenty pounds, and spend but nineteen pounds and sixpence is to be the happiest of mortals.”

If “those who really desire to attain an independence, have only to set their minds upon it” and spend less than we earn I ask how do we find ourselves in a world some 133 years later where every 5 minutes and 7 seconds someone is declared insolvent or bankrupt and the average household debt in the UK (excluding mortgages) is £6,020?  Why is it “the most difficult thing in the world to keep it”?  While we shouldn't trivialise this as there likely many reasons depending on who you are, which includes some people who through no fault of their own fall on hard times, I also can’t help think of two major reasons which likely prevent the road to wealth from being found for many.  The first is that in the modern day a lot of people refuse to take responsibility for their own actions but instead prefer to act like a victim.  The second is education.

If nobody shows you where that needle in the haystack is then probability says you won’t find it.  The problem is in modern society who has it in their interest to show you where the needle is?  Of course the individual does but if they never know they are looking for it then it’s down to luck to stumble across it.  Family and friends possibly do but it relies on them having found the needle for themselves.  Worse it is actually in the rest of the world’s interest for you not to find the needle.  All those advertisements you are bombarded with day and night whether direct or more subtly via the current lazy mainstream media certainly don’t want you to discover it.  They want you spending “twenty pounds and sixpence” and not “nineteen pounds and sixpence”.

Let’s therefore make this post a needle in the internet haystack and hope that some find it.  If you’re reading this then feel free to Like or Tweet it, as every one of those places another needle in the haystack that might be found.  Let’s detail the simple method that helps me save more.

Step 1: Prepare a Budget

A budget is no secret and I’m sure 99.9% of the population is already aware of what a budget is.  Just about every personal financial site and book talks about them.  While well known they unfortunately don’t give you any answers but they do give you information.  They won’t help you save more but are a necessary first step as they:

  • let you take a step back to see what the situation looks like;
  • tell you how quickly you need to act; and
  • tell where you should focus first.

If your budget shows you spending “twenty pounds and sixpence” then you clearly have an emergency on your hands.  Every second that passes is seeing you move further into debt which is then making it more difficult to ever get out of it.  Mr Money Mustache ‘eloquently’ advises that in this situation the correct response is to treat it like “there is a cloud of killer bees covering every square inch of my body and stinging me constantly!!!!  I need to stop it before I am killed!!!”  In this situation you need to get yourself to the point of only spending “nineteen pounds and sixpence” quickly.

Monday 20 May 2013

Save Hard by Earning More

To gain financial independence or early retirement in the soonest possible time then Saving Hard and Investing Wisely are must do’s.  On the Saving Hard front there are two main routes that we can follow with early retirement coming sooner if both are applied with vigour.  The first is what we talk about regularly including frugal living, opting out of consumerism and watching the small spends because they can quickly add up to big spends to name but three.  This is nothing more than cutting our costs to free up cash for Investing Wisely and is something we can all do by refusing to act like a victim and then simply applying some discipline.

The second is potentially a little more difficult to achieve but equally valid and involves Earning More while increasing your costs to earn that extra by as little as possible.  There are many ways to do this but some options might include maximising your current career to gain promotion, retraining into a new career, taking whatever overtime is offered (if you are lucky enough to be offered overtime), starting a small business, developing a side income or simply starting to sell some of that consumerist tat that you bought before it becomes worthless.

Personally, up until now I've followed the maximise my career to gain promotion option but am starting to now consider some of the other options as financial independence approaches.  Some of the techniques I’ve used to get to my current position have included:

  • Looking around and ensuring I have stayed in the top 10% of my peers in terms of delivery.  Where I'm a little slower than others on some tasks it’s meant I have to work a bit longer and where I’m not as smart as someone else it’s meant some self learning or further education.  Both ways have meant more hours invested in my career than most of my peers.
  • I've never asked for a pay rise for something I am about to do unless it is of course offered.  Instead I always do the job and then ask for the pay rise.  The advantage of this method is that if they then say no I already have the skills on the CV to move to another organisation where they will recognise and pay for these new skills.
  • I'm prepared to commute to maximise earnings.  This one is a little controversial but I look at it from the perspective of maximising my free cash after all costs which includes commuting costs.  More free cash means more savings.
  • I'm very flexible.  If the toilet needs cleaning to ensure that project succeeds then I clean the toilet.
  • I'm always on the lookout for that door that is partially open even if it means a bit of extra effort in the short term.  This is because you never know where it leaves and on at least 2 occasions it has led to more stable earnings for me.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates – June 2012 Update

The interest paid on savings accounts is important to a lot of UK investors.  A quick look at Money Saving Expert shows us that if today you were in the market for an instant access account and were prepared to accept a little account complexity, including a big reduction in interest paid within a year or so, you could get savings interest of: 
-    3.2% AER variable with Santander.   Forget to switch in 12 months to the new highest rate bank and this becomes 0.5%.
-    3.17% AER with the Post Office.  Forget about this one and in 12 months you’re at 1.65%.
-    3.1% AER with the Nottingham Building Society.  This one works a bit differently.  If you close the account before the 30 September 2013 you only get 1% and after this date you also only get 1%.

Of course banks like Santander, rely on the vast majority of the Average Joe’s and Jane’s out there forgetting to switch after 12 months, at which point you’re quickly penalised.  Let’s say you start one of these savings accounts but then get distracted and only remember to switch to the new best offering in 15 months.  That 3.2% which looked ok has now become effectively 2.7%.  Leave it 18 months and you’re now at an effective rate of 2.3%. 

Friday 27 August 2010

Alternatives to NS&I Index Linked Savings Certificates? – July 2010 Update

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is currently sitting at 4.8% while the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is at 3.1%. It is highly likely that if you are holding any cash in bank accounts that you are therefore seeing your hard earned cash being slowly devalued. I know I am. Firstly let’s look at my chart for today. This shows that if you’re prepared to lock your money up for greater than 2 years then on average you can get around 3.7% gross. If you’re a 20% taxpayer then that means a net return of 2.96% and if you’re a 40% taxpayer then unfortunately your net return is 2.22%. Both of these values are less than both the CPI and the RPI meaning on average people’s savings are still being eroded. Provided inflation keeps tracking at these types of year on year percentages then the average rates after tax seem to be well behind the deal that was being offered by NS&I Index Linked Savings Certificates (ILSC’s). If you’re not sure how the returns were calculated on ILSC’s then have a look here.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Positive real savings rates are impossible to find - Average UK savings interest rates – July 2010 Update

If you’re a UK saver it remains pretty ugly out there. According to Money saving Expert the top clean rate account pays 2.6% AER however it allows only one penalty free withdrawal a year. That doesn’t sound overly clean to me. If you want unlimited access then you’re looking at 2.5%. With the RPI at 5.0% today, every month you hold your money in one of these accounts you are seeing its purchasing ability eroded.

Saturday 1 May 2010

Average UK savings interest rates – April 2010 Update

My chart today shows that for those that are looking to save it still isn’t getting any better out there. If you don’t want to lock your money up for greater than 2 years (I know I don’t with what I see going on with inflation) then the average interest rate on savings accounts continues to decline.

Monday 15 March 2010

Average UK interest rates for savers – March Update

My chart today shows that for those that are looking to save it isn’t getting any better out there. Average interest rates on cash savings are declining if you are prepared to lock your money up for any period of time and if you want instant access the average increase is a miserly 0.07%. Let’s analyse the data in more detail.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Frugal living – pay yourself first and the lowest price grocery bill

I am trying to achieve retirement within 7 years. I’m defining retirement as work becoming optional. To do this I am generally saving 60% of my gross earnings every month. How have I managed to get to this high level? Well I think it’s a high level, if you’re doing better or similar I’d love to hear your methods. In fact I’d like to hear anyone’s suggestions for methods to save money. Please feel free to comment.