I am rather late with the monthly update this month, as it coincided with part one of our big move: selling up and moving out. After a hectic couple of weeks packing up and moving our remaining belongings into a storage container, we took a week off to recover. After a relaxing week on a lovely campsite in the Norfolk Broads in our campervan (I can highly recommend Clippesby Hall if you fancy a trip out that way), we are feeling recovered and ready to enjoy a nomadic summer.
As I write this, we are officially homeless (unless you count the campervan), but we have been surprised at how in-demand we seem to be as house / pet sitters! We are currently the custodians of a rather mischievous springer spaniel in a village fairly close to our old house.
Despite selling a lot of furniture and other possessions and taking car loads of other things to charity shops and recycling centres, we still had more stuff than we thought when it came to actually packing it into a storage container. I think the contents of the garage and the shed were mostly to blame. That is the problem with doing most things yourself, you accumulate a lot of tools and equipment which would be expensive to replace and not worth a huge amount second hand. The less said about Mr Wombat’s extensive vehicle cleaning supplies collection, the better………..
We didn’t hire a major removal company, but did pay for a few hours help from a local ‘man with a van’. Ray arrived a few minutes early with his friend Mike and they turned out to be very hard working and conscientious. They packed up the van and then the container in a very efficient and careful way to maximize the space. When asked if they would consider a longer trip to move our stuff to it’s final destination (probably in Scotland), they were very keen. I think a road trip appealed to them, so we may well see them again.
We may be homeless, but we do have a much boosted bank balance, and should now be attractive buyers. As we don’t know how long it will be until we buy somewhere new, we are in the process of splitting this cash balance into £85k chunks to stay under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme limit in the UK. We intend to spend the vast majority of this cash on the next property purchase and renovation, so it does not appear in the Freedom Fund balance. The equity in our home was already showing in our net worth, so there is no change to see there either.
Despite the very hectic month, we made the time to sit down and update the freedom fund tracker at the end of the month. It wasn’t quite as depressing a picture as I was expecting, but it still represents a drop of around £40k from last month.
Freedom Fund Value: £1,203,383
Hypothetical monthly income @4% SWR: £4,011
Actual monthly expenses: £1,901*
We sold our aged VW Golf in June, to prevent having 2 vehicles to juggle while we are without a permanent address. The high used car prices at the moment meant it was worth more now than when we inherited it in 2020. The £1000 proceeds have been added to our separate savings pot for vehicle maintenance and depreciation, so we will have a healthy reserve when the time comes to buy something appropriate once we are settled again.
As July will be the last month when our expenses will be covered by my salary, we have decided to top up the current account we use for everyday spending to around double our monthly outgoings. I will then continue to monitor our spending at the end of every month and withdraw that amount from the freedom fund (or cash savings if we feel the market is depressed enough to warrant it).
Going forwards, I will continue to monitor the freedom fund value every month, together with our monthly spend as a % of it, as well as any income we generate.
Right now, the thought of starting to decumulate isn’t too terrifying, but we’ll see if that feeling lasts if the market plunges too far. Sequence of returns risk is definitely not too far from our minds, as the media reinforces all the financial horror heading our way ;-). I am really not sure if our expenses will go up or down while we are floating around with no fixed address. I think it will probably balance out to a similar level, as savings on utility bills are replaced with monthly storage charges and increased food spending (you can’t do a weekly planned food shop with a small campervan fridge or when you are fitting in around others when visiting).
I am still ahead of target for my walking goal for the year, even though walking backwards and forwards with boxes has contributed more to the total than nice leisurely walks in the countryside in the last couple of weeks. Miles walked to the end of June were 998 (vs target of 874**). I have walked the equivalent of reaching John O’Groats and started the return journey.
Hot off the press: we have just heard that a property that we were very interested in, but missed out on to a higher bidder a couple of months ago, has fallen through. We are hoping there may now be a deal to be done with the property now being ‘off market’. Watch this space………
*Includes £500 per month personal allowances (£250 each), which may not be spent in the month, but which is not tracked. Some of it may show up in the freedom fund in the future, if savings build up and are invested.
** I challenged myself to walk the equivalent of Lands End to John O’Groats and back in 2022. This is the longest overland distance between 2 points on the UK mainland.