Cracking Retirement Passport

2017 – 1st Quarter Summary

Cracking Retirement Q1 2017 summary

2017 started with a post – Dream Big.

When I wrote it, I was in New Zealand, the weather was brilliant, I was warm. Now I am back in Scotland, and while we have had a very reasonable / almost warm winter, it is still ‘coats weather!’

So how am I getting on?

My goals were

Increase Net worth by 10-11%

So far, this one is going pretty well. We are up 2.4%, but it is a long road… Goodness knows what will happen to the Stock Market over the next few months, Brexit, Trump, a second Scottish Independence Referendum (locally termed IndyRef2 or Neverendum). A lot of our savings are invested, so this one is pretty much attached to the FTSE.

I checked our progress from the end of March 2016 to end March 2017. Overall, a gain of 10.3%. If I manage that over this calendar year, we will be bang on our 10-11% goal.

I also looked at our savings rate. I had previously estimated that our savings rate was around 50-60%. I did the sums on this over the quarter – 52%. Not too shabby. However I would like to get this to 60-65% saving. If I keep a close eye on all our outgoings over the next few months, we might manage this next quarter. Our savings are what we need to buffer us for the future when inflation bites and our pensions are not worth as much. I have already noticed a huge rise in everything this month, despite the notional 1% inflation rate! I’ll just have to take my own advice as posted in Frugal February, Miserly March and just yesterday Awesome April. I posted a bit on How to save money on your Grocery Bills, we are really noticing a huge increase in our weekly shop. 25% on some items. (e.g. Salmon), to the extent a friend said she had knocked it off her weekly list and moved it to the ‘Treat’ category. Scary

Blogging – increase my views to 50,000

I must have been feeling very ambitious when I wrote this – My views to date are more like 3,000, not 30,000… However, a few high profile ‘shout-outs and this might change considerably, so I’ll follow my fellow bloggers advice, keep posting quality items, and you will get there. I still have to investigate affiliate links – so I think this is Quarter 2… My spike in views coincides with ‘callouts’ in Rockstar Finance, or in their blog list. Slowly but surely, I am also building my list of subscribers.

Cracking Retirement page views
Weekly summary of page views

Metal Artist

Well, I haven’t taken part in a show, or even planned one. But I did take part in a Hobbycraft Fair with some fellow club members. I had some of my pieces on display, and the feedback on my stuff was excellent. I have also re-opened my Folksy shop and have just added in a few items – watch this space…

A recent piece. A Leopardskin Jasper pendant, hand cut and polished, and set in silver.

cracking Retirement Jewellery

Travel

This started well, with January in New Zealand. We had a great trip to New Zealand North Island. Also a lovely few days on the West Coast South Island. Well, Ok, I got a chance to investigate the NZ health services – Great! However, when I researched trips elsewhere for later in the year, I was shocked by the increase in prices, due to the exchange rate. The £ has fallen so much against the Euro/Dollar, that prices are almost double last year. A significant increase. However, I may look at different ways to get my travel in, with a few city breaks etc. I also want to go back to New Zealand. My son and daughter-in-law are just finishing off a new house. It looks amazing, and I cant wait to see it.

Get Healthy

Failing miserably here – maybe 1 kg down, loads more to go. I have also failed on the daily walks. So I think I need to give myself a kick in the rear. However, Spring is here, which always makes me more positive. I have taken, what for me is, a ‘risky’ move. I have published a blog post on my Progress or rather Lack of it. The idea behind it, is if I make it public, I will be encouraged to do it. Watch this space.

Learn 2 Languages

Now this one, I will count as a win. I have been managing to spend 1 hour just about every day doing French and Spanish. In January, I reported 53% for French and 58% for Spanish. I am delighted to say the scores have improved. I have been spending an hour most days doing this.

French is now at 60% 

and Spanish at 62%. French has a lot of room for improvement, but Spanish has plateau’d. I’ve done all the modules, so I’ll just need to continue strengthening it.

Charitable Giving

So far this year, we have responded to an appeal from our church to increase our giving by 15%. I have also given away 2 charity gift cards totalling £35, and earlier this month I gave 2 lots of $25 to help women in India set up their own businesses through Kiva. I will do this again several times this year…. If the loans dont get repaid, then it becomes a charitable donation, and if they do get repaid, the money can be lent again.

Cracking Retirement Kiva Loans
My Kiva Loans

Overall

I think I will give myself a B+. A significant weight loss, would have moved me into an A- category, but A+ will only come with major improvement in my blog. So I’ll just have to hang in there.

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Cracking Retirement Q1 2017 summary

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