Let’s talk about money

Let’s talk about money, aka an update on my investing journey. Just thought this post was overdue after last talking about investing in July 2020.

Just over a year has passed since I really got into investing. I had fears going into it, still do a little bit but I try not to overthink it.

Sure by now you are eager to find out how it’s going. Did I lose a lot of money? Am I rich now? Or has it just been a boring journey so far? So let’s talk about money.

Rest assured I have read a lot about it, watched countless YouTube videos on the subject, changed my mind and my investments a million times and I still feel like I have no idea about what I’m doing!

Before we get into it, a disclaimer, nothing in this post should be taken as financial advice.

With that out of the way let’s talk about money. I have tried a few services and different types of accounts to invest my money. Let’s start with the boring pensions.

Had a few pension policies with Aviva that I fiddled with. Changed funds in it quite a few times until I decided I actually didn’t like it there. From not having contract notes when switching funds to the long waits to speak to their customer services I thought I could do better so I sold all the funds in there, combined all the policies and transferred it all to AJ Bell. In the end I even got a complimentary gift from AJ Bell (12 bottles of wine).

The process was super simple and you can get to customer services within a few seconds after a two option IVR. Not being paid to say this, they have just been great so far.

Now about the current pension with my employer, I don’t love the company they picked but unfortunately there is nothing I can do to change that. For anyone opting out of their workplace pension just remember that the contribution from your employer is effectively free money that you’ll get to enjoy when you’re older.

Another one I looked into was the LISA. Not talked about much as it’s a very specific account and is not even available for everyone. It is a tax free account with a government bonus of 25%. If you are not over 40yo I would say read into it. I now have a LISA that I maxed out last year and I’m not complaining about the free £1000 from the UK government. In my opinion AJ Bell does offer the best account for LISAs.

I look at the LISA as a pension, even though I can also use it to buy my first property. If you use it for anything else your bonus and a little extra is taken away.

For the main event, my ISA, I use Vanguard. Well known for its low fees.

As I plan to have my money in there for a long long time low fees are a must for me. Last year I also maxed out my yearly allowance which was amazing as any investments in your ISA are tax free and if you don’t use your allowance you can’t use it in the next year.

In my ISA I changed funds/ETFs a few times until I decided on an investing strategy. Nowadays I tend to invest weekly and try not to think too much about the fluctuations of the market. I didn’t stick to the “easy” funds as I love spreadsheets and thought for some reason I could do better than the pre-made funds offered by Vanguard. So far I am up 21% on my ISA so I was probably right this time.

On the side I had a smaller dealing account with AJ Bell for UK shares and one fund that I found out about in one of their webinars. Now, I do not recommend AJ Bell for buying individual shares as the transaction fees are crazy expensive. Luckily they had an offer going recently where they waived the transaction fees so I sold everything I had in there.

That left me with a healthy profit of 18% in just under a year!

Buying individual shares is not for the faint hearted as their value can fluctuate a lot. I have picked some good ones but have also picked some that didn’t go anywhere in a year.

For individual shares I have been using Trading 212 which is an almost free trading platform. I don’t love it but it does the job and is easy to use. On there I am about 30% up in a year which is great. “Sadly” this is my smallest account as I see it as my play money to get into possibly more risky investments.

So far they have been the best performing ones but it could easily (and quickly) go the other way.

I think that’s about it. My SIPP (pension) and LISA with AJ Bell are relatively new so not much to report there yet.

Just as a side note, I do make sure I keep enough money in my bank account for a rainy day (or some rainy months). The interest in there is not great but I like having some money readily available.

This talk about money was a little long but hope it was somewhat useful. I am aware that I have had a really good year when it comes to investing so please don’t go into it expecting the same results just to be disappointed. Please take in consideration that I started investing shortly after the pandemic hit us so there were some cheap investments out there.

If you have any questions or anything else really please do use the comment section.

Thank you for reading! 
New blog posts whenever I feel like writing one.

Featured photo by Burak Kebapci from Pexels

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