Irish Financial Independence & Personal Finance Podcast

August 2022 Portfolio Update

Saturday 3rd September 2022

Finding My “Why”

Over the years, I have heard time and time again that when pursuing financial independence, it was so important to find your “why”. Why is one doing this, and what is getting them up in the morning.

I will be honest, for so many years I didn’t really know what my “why” was. I knew I wanted to take back my time, and have a feeling of being in control of my time and finances, but my big “why” was always about time freedom.

However, over the last couple of months, my passion for property has grown. I find myself looking at houses for sale all the time, or meeting with my builder to look at renovation projects, or trying to work out how to finance a property deal, or just talking with other people doing the same to learn from them. At some point, my love of putting a property deal together has become far more than just an investment - and has really turned into a passion.

I even have found recently that getting up to go to work feels a lot more motivating because I know I am going for a reason - to build more capital for my property portfolio!

Rebalancing My Life

I finally came to the realisation in August that my life was out of balance. We went for a week’s holiday to Spain during the month, and it wasn’t until I came back that it hit me just how exhausting and stressful it was working the long days that I have been.

It was like waking up in someone else’s body and going “what is this person doing?”

Rebalancing is important, and in many ways I am glad that I discovered that I needed to make some changes.

Work-Life balance can be a really difficult challenge to get right. Even though I am taking on extra work opportunities at the moment to maximise my income, I have come to the conclusion recently that it isn’t so much the extra work that is the taxing aspect, but more how I am managed on a day to day basis.

Different companies have different work cultures. In some companies, I am left alone to independently go about my work, in others I am micromanaged, find myself in multiple meetings per day and am given unreasonable deadlines.

Therefore, my focus is to stop working on projects which I find are causing me stress, and finding projects which suit my work style.

Solar Panels - Monthly Return

I thought it might be fun to give a monthly report on the return from my solar panels. I will keep it simple, and use the total cost of the panels + interest (from the loan to pay for them) as this will make it easy to give a return value on.

I also forgot to include a cost last month in my calculation, which was the BER Cert. In order to get the grant, you need to pay a BER Assessor to update your BER cert. The cost was €250. Therefore, the total cost of our system (including accounting for interest on the loan) after the grant was: €9,701.44.

Taking into account depreciation over 35 years, the monthly depreciation rate of the panels is €23.10.

Therefore, provided the panels save us more than €23.10 in electricity per month, we are making a positive return from them.

Given the rising energy costs, solar panels are looking better and better as an investment. I will use 26c per kWh to calculate our savings - this will be going up however no doubt this winter.

Our electricity usage last month was 244 kWh, which is lower than our average use - however, we were away in Spain for a week. We purchased 42 kWh of electricity, with our panels providing the other 202 kWh. Our panels provided 83% of our electricity in August.

At 26c per kWh, our panels saved us €52.52 of electricity. After depreciation, this is a saving of €29.42 and an annual tax free return of 3.64%.

Two things should be noted:
1. These numbers will be better when we are credited back money for supplying the grid.
2. These numbers are still good at 26c per kWh. Assuming electricity prices continue to rise, our savings on the panels will simply look better.
3. It should also be noted that we are a low energy household. We only average between 10-12 kWh per day. We tend to take short showers and try to use the air fryer where possible.

If you are interested in buying solar panels, reach out to fellow blogger Fire Dave, who set up a business last year to help people save money on their utility bills. Dave has partnered up with several Solar Panel providers (including the one which installed our system). He provides a free service to compare multiple solar panel providers at once. Dave is a good friend of mine, so any support for his business is welcomed! Click out Dolphin Utilities for more information.

August 2022 Portfolio Report

Stocks were well up midway through August, however a falling sharemarket the last couple of weeks has prevented me from hitting the €300k mark. Hopefully we will find ourselves there next month.

Amazingly, we still didn’t close on the house we went ‘Sale Agreed’ on back in April. There was an issue with the electricity being disconnected, so hopefully we get the keys in September!

My primary goal is to try to build a portfolio of €500k by March 2024 (a month before I turn 40). Assuming I continue to contribute €10k a month and assuming a 5% annual return from this point, I am currently on track to hit this goal by February 2024, a month ahead of schedule.

Portfolio Summary (as at 31st August 2022)
Opening Balance €288,504.13
New Contributions €10,000.00
Portfolio Growth €-1,305.41
Closing Balance €297,198.72

Monthly Portfolio Growth Report

Monthly Portfolio Growth Report
Capital Gain + Dividend Income from Equities €-2,017.25
Real Estate Income & Capital Gain €711.84
Total Growth €-1,305.41

Portfolio Breakdown

The table below shows the breakdown of my portfolio into the various asset classes:

Portfolio Asset Breakdown (as at 31st August 2022)
Equities €129,602.26 43.61%
Real Estate €148,862.71 50.09%
Cash €18,733.75 6.30%
Total €297,198.72 100.00%

Equities Breakdown

I currently have three different brokers that I use for buying Equities. At the moment, 100% of my equities are within a pension, though this might change in the future. The breakdown for equities is as follows:

Broker Name Total Invested
Irish Life €51,717.27
Davy Select €39,736.35
Aviva €38,148.64
Total €129,602.26

Real Estate Breakdown

My real estate investments can be broken down as follows:

Investment Total Invested
Investment Property 1 €92,207.34
Investment Property 2 €52,911.37
Investment in An Dúlra €3,744.00
Total €148,862.71

Year to Date & Lifetime Portfolio Returns

I thought it might be nice to show my portfolio growth on a year to date basis, as well as the portfolio returns since I started in 2018.

2022 Year to Date Growth Report
Opening Balance €221,789.02
New Contributions €80,000.00
Real Estate Capital Gains + Rental Income €6,748.22
Equities Capital Gains + Dividends -€11,338.52
Closing Balance €297,198.72
Portfolio Return -€4,590.30
Annualised % Return -1.52%
2018-2022 Growth Report
Opening Balance €0
Contributions (Money Added) €216,445.78
Equity Release* €41,220.21
Real Estate Capital Gains + Rental Income €29,379.27
Equities Capital Gains + Dividends €14,018.19
Other** -€3,864.73
Closing Balance €297,198.72
Portfolio Return €39,532.73

* In 2020, some of the new contributions came in the form of an equity release, as we turned our primary residence into a buy to let and purchased a new home to live.

** In 2018 & 2019 I made several bad investments in peer to peer lending, forex trading and unregulated investments, which resulted in losses overall.

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