I have recently signed up to the forum, despite the fact I have been reading posts for many months with intrigue.
I am putting together a plan for our future and wanted to share my journey so far and what I am thinking as to our savings. At present my investments are a bit all over the place and I hadn’t any real direction or goal until recently.
Both me and my wife are 31 and we have a daughter born in 2017. My first investment was over 4 years ago into Royal Dutch Shell in a HL account. A bit of research went into the company itself but it was more attributed to luck than knowledge that I made a healthy return. At the time – just married no kids and 27yo and the first time (after saving for wedding and house) of having larger disposable income. I stumbled across the AIM market (I know, please feel free to slap me). As of today I am sitting just in profit I believe after charges, again more luck than judgement and rather than fully understanding the shares, my research was more amongst people who I felt were trustworthy on social media to pick winners, cross referenced and if all the ones I trusted were invested into a certain share and then set upon researching more into that stock to buy. A very risky strategy, at times I was up by a way and others way down. As our little one has come along I recognise our family future can’t be relied upon in such a risky market with limited knowledge. As it stands I still hold around 12 stocks, there are some that were from very early days that are so down that they aren’t hurting me (circa £50 value) and I am happy to keep in the bottom drawer should they come good again. There are some that after more and more research I am happy to hold as I feel they will bear fruits this year and prepared to take the risk. I have set sell limits to get out as soon as they do. Then of course there are some that are in profit, which I am considering where to position my sell in order to reinvest into funds instead. To note I have barely traded these in the past 24 months. I recognise I have been very lucky and despite my profit being minimal over 4 years I have attributed it to a learning curve that I shall move on from that being a novice it could have been much worse.
Around 12 months ago I did some reading and research on here and I opened a Vanguard ISA where I decided upon some LS80. More recently as I had planned this financial year to top up a couple of the shares that were down, so I opened the ISA in HL. I only made one trade (which I was happy with) and then have since further invested into more LS80 on here and also Vanguard Global All Cap.
In addition for context I invested £1000 into Ratesetter last year through MSE link and now the bonus is in the account I will withdraw for what will effectively have been a 15% profit in 13 months. Finally I also bought into my company share save scheme which I can’t touch for around 2 ½ years. With a good number bonus shares and the share price being some 25% above the offer price it was too tempting to not buy (company has multi billion turnover).
In total at present my investments are worth a total of 30k with an additional 10k in the bank and a large bonus due this month. I believe I can save around 6-8k p/a, this allowing us to live our lives with holidays etc. I plan to drip feed £500 per month (leaving around 5-10k in our Santander 123 – again other easy access account recommendations welcome) and then assess each quarter to add as and when I have had bonuses. For the past 12 months or so I have overpaid on the mortgage 2.01% by around £170pm. After looking at many posts on here I may stop this and put the additional £170 pm straight into the Vanguard funds too, thoughts appreciated.
What do you think about holding 2 platforms? I recognise it is more expensive to buy Vanguard on HL, is there cheaper platforms than HL that are recommended that would bring a happy medium should I wish to invest anything other than Vanguard in the future? I don’t believe there is any extuastionate penalties from HL. I assume just the cost of the trade for as and when I am ready to sell said share?
We currently are putting away £250 per month for our little one at present (to be split if we are fortunate enough to have a second). Would you recommend my wife investing in Vanguard funds in her name and then when the time is right we can gift it? The ideal would for it to go towards a wedding / first house / first car rather than just to have access at 18 to spend as she likes (so I am unsure on a JISA). My thinking is 15 years minimum into Lifestrategy 40 or 60.
I currently pay 8% into my company pension (company matches 6%). I joined a company pension late, currently just over 30k across 2 pensions. I am a 40% tax payer. I see the general consensus here is pay what you can, I am relunctant to put every penny away so it is untouchable for a penny until 55 at the earliest as I believe life is still for living and I hear too many stories of people foregoing things only to have something tragic happen shortly after retiring. My daughter also has CF and despite us having a positive outlook on this for her future, I want us to have a degree of access should we need to.
At present our mortgage is 254k. With the current 170pm over payment we are paying off around 620pm of capital. My end goal to summarise is to reach a point where I can get a crossover point between investment and mortgage as close to age 40 as possible (say 10 years). From there it will be to make decision of paying off the mortgage or continuing to retire early. Based on the knowledge above (phase out AIM, increase Vanguard funds) and plan to invest a target of 9k per annum if I use the 2k overpayment to go straight into Vanguard – is this realistic?
At the moment I haven’t really considered Capital gains taxes and whether things like Bed and ISA are applicable, at what stage should I really focus on whether this will affect me?
Sorry for the long message, I am sure I will have missed something, I look forward to your thoughts and if anyone can let me know if they would be focusing their efforts elsewhere and why (eg pension).