Cracking Retirement 2017 Net Worth Increase

2017 – Half Year Checkpoint

Goodness. 2017 is half over. How did that happen? Time for my 2017 Half Year Checkpoint. I started 2017 with some Big Dreams  and I reported progress at the end of March 2017

So how are we getting on now?

Increase Net Worth by 10-11%

Our net worth has increased by 4.64% for the half year. Not quite double where we were at the end of March (2.6%). The end June 2016 to end June 2017 increase is 8.83%, and while pretty good is not quite the 10%-11% that I desire. It is very dependent on the progress of the stock market, both in the UK and the US.

Cracking Retirement 2017 Net Worth Increase

As I did in March, I also looked at our spend rate. During the first quarter, our spend rate was 48%, and I hoped to get it down to 30-35%. The good news is that our spend rate overall for the first half , came down to 31%, which is really great. This was because we only spent 29% of our income April – June! How amazing is that? This doesn’t include any dividends, as all our dividends are automatically re-invested and hence show as Investment growth rather than income.

The other way of looking at this is that we saved a stunning 71% of our income over the last 3 months. Bear in mind that we are pensioners, and our income is a lot smaller than it used to be. It means my drawdown strategy is in line with what I expected. In 2011 when I set up the Drawdown Strategy I hoped that my pension would be enough to keep us for the first five years, and that is still proving to be the case, six years on.

On the investment front, my husband’s ISA has been stocked up for this year, my ISA is still outstanding, so I need to get that done soon. I have stopped ‘stock picking’, and invest in ETF’s and some managed funds. This has vastly reduced the amount of time I need to spend on my investments, and is performing better. A double benefit!

Blogging

I have a huge goal to get 50,000 views by year end. This isn’t big for many bloggers, but for me it is more than a stretch target!

So where am I? At the end of March I reported that my number of views after 6 months of blogging had just crossed 3k, over the total life of my blog. I am happy to be able to report that my views in the last 3 months have been in excess of 4k, totalling 7,291. June wasn’t quite as good a month as May, which was boosted by a couple of guest posts, one for White Coat Investor, and the other for #LooseChange for the UK Money Bloggers Forum.  My July figures have however been boosted by taking part in a Chain Gang on Retirement Drawdown Strategies.

Cracking REtirement - site stats June

If I double again the next quarter, (+15k), and double again the last quarter, I should be around 30,000 views. I still dream of a Rockstar Finance post. Who knows??

Metal Artist

I confess to being a bit slow in this area – I have sort of lost the vision I had for large copper pieces. However I have made quite a few pieces of jewellery this last quarter. My bundle of stuff that was recently hallmarked is below, and I have put a few pieces on my showcase page

Cracking REtirement Jewellery May 2017I have added quite a few items into my Folksy Shop. However, no sales yet. I took part in a sale for club funds, and quite a few of my items sold through that. So I know that my stuff will sell, but perhaps better, face to face. I had an aim to take part in several shows, but I haven’t progressed it.

Travel

Apart from a quick trip over to Ireland to see a friend, I don’t think I have been anywhere at all! We are just about to book a 5 week trip to Madrid. We also have a trip to Ireland for a wedding in July. No long haul trips planned at the minute.

Get Healthy

Still failing miserably here. My weight is still about the same. I am doing more walking, drinking less wine and eating less rubbish, but so far it hasn’t shown itself on the scales or my hips!

Learn 2 Languages

I’m still using Duolingo. I was gutted about 6 weeks ago when the scores got reset overnight. I went from 60% to about 48% in French and from 62% to 45% in Spanish. However, I have stuck with it, and have crawled back up to 55% in French, 49% Spanish. I am struggling with making a difference in the Spanish score, as I have been through all the modules twice, but French I still have about one third of the modules to go. There is a lot of focus on verb tenses, which are probably suitable for a serious language learner, but I don’t think as a casual learner that I really need them. While I am in Madrid, I need to force myself to speak Spanish. My reading is pretty good, but speaking is soooo hard

Cracking Retirement Duolingo Spanish Fluency Cracking Retirement - Duolingo French Fluency

Charitable Giving

I have continued sponsoring individuals through Kiva for $25 each month. I have even started getting my first repayments, which I will lend out again once they reach $25. So far I have lent to 6 women in India and Pakistan providing sewing machines or cookers to help them set up or improve their businesses.  In addition we have made for many years a regular payment to our old University Bursary fund to help less well off students, and we agreed recently to increase this donation. Macmillan Cancer also gets a regular donation each month. In addition I have sponsored some friends and family for charity walks. Overall our giving is 2.7%, which is up from my last year total of 2%, but I aim to get it closer to 5%.

Summary

I found it quite difficult to get traction on so many things at once, so I have decided to prioritise just one thing which is working on my blog. I will continue to keep a close eye on my net worth, but perhaps not so often, as it is a lot more stable than it was, now that we are spending less. Duolingo has taking more of a back seat, I enjoy French more, but I need to focus on Spanish given our forthcoming Madrid trip.

So still a B+. Sorting out my weight will bring me to an A-, but my Net Worth really needs to jump to be an A / A+

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Cracking REtirement Half Year 2017 summary

6 Comments

  1. Love these sort of “mid year report card” kind of entries. I think they are good for getting a handle on how you are doing, and make course corrections if necessary. Congratulations on your page views, too!

    1. Kevin
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      My page views are so much slower than some other ‘newbies’ that I despair a bit, but as my blog is primarily for enjoyment, I content myself. But here’s hoping by year end, I will have improved somewhat.
      The half year review is a way of holding myself ‘publicly’ accountable.

  2. Congratulations on your growth areas Erith. I’m with you in that we need to prioritize one thing or we get too scattered and spin our wheels, not making any real progress. Wishing you a great July.

    1. Thanks Amy, I just found myself spinning with self-imposed targets, which really weren’t helping me. So I have chilled a little and just concentrating on trying to grow my blog.
      Have a great summer

  3. Great job on your spending and net worth increase! We just did our mid-year assessment too, it’s nice to see others sharing.

    1. thanks. I was pretty pleased that our spending had dropped. I sort of knew it had because we hadn’t any big expenses, but it was good to have it confirmed. Particularly, because as pensioners, we don’t have the opportunity of large salary raises over the next few years!
      Next quarter isn’t going to be so good. We have just booked 5 weeks in Madrid, and our garage roof is being replaced before we go!

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