The month has been another busy one with day trips to York and London and an overnighter up in Yorkshire for my Mum's birthday. However all this hasn't worked out too expensive in the scheme of things as we used my leave last week for a "staycation" instead of travelling further afield, so there were no expensive hotel bills as anticipated. The plan had actually been to wait and see what the weather did and take the tent somewhere if at all possible, bailing out into a hotel if necessary, but there was altogether too much rain and wind for us to be able to raise the enthusiasm to pack our bags so we bought a local footpath map, packed picnics and "discovered" the area on and around our doorstep instead.
The good news is that the final part of my husband's TFLS finally turned up. Most of it stayed in our new NationWide current account to keep the balance topped up over the £2,500 and so gaining the maximum 5% interest, but £500 was invested in the Scottish Mortgage global equities IT we hold. I just happened to make the buy on "Black Monday" , however the timing was more by luck than by design as we had planned to do it anyway. It did no harm to buy at the lower price though. (This trust is currently trading at a 2.42% premium to NAV so I do have some misgivings about buying more, but it is just about the only exposure we have to American large caps at the moment and the charges are fairly cheap at 0.51%).
My FSAVC still hasn't made its way into my SIPP. Fidelity went down somewhat in my estimation when they phoned at the beginning of the month asking why I hadn't returned a bit of paperwork they needed to progress the transfer, and then obviously came across the said form in my file half way through the conversation. I'm used to this kind of administrative fiasco with Interactive Investor but I did think (hope?) that Fidelity were a different kettle of fish. Maybe not. I'm now almost 8 weeks into the transfer (the maximum time they quote for it to complete) but not holding my breath. It took iii over 6 months to transfer in both mine and my husband's ISA, so I know full well that patience is a virtue (and the only way to stay sane) with these things.
Further administrative incompetence meant that my instruction to reduce my work's pension AVC from £500 to £200 per month was not activated in time to make the change by the time my salary was paid at the end of the month (despite my asking for it to be done on the 2nd). This, although annoying, is probably a blessing in disguise as boosting my AVC pot is a very tax efficient way of increasing my post-retirement funds and being forced to put in a little, if unplanned, extra is not such a bad thing. Hopefully payroll will manage to make the change by the end of this month though, as our monthly budget requires that my salary is at a certain level now that my husband only has his pension coming in.
The financial news this month has been dominated by the volatility in world markets sparked off by the steep drop in the Chinese stock prices and the fear that growth there is slowing down. This has meant that our combined portfolio has dropped this month despite the fact that we have ploughed in over £1,000. The total is down from £126,304 at the end of last month to £124,759 this and is recording an investment loss of 4.7% for the month. (This figure includes our ISAs and my private pension and AVCs but not our DB pensions.) However on the whole we are fairly comfortable with the turbulence as I secured the cash we will need for the next couple of years to see my son through his MA course by selling funds a couple of months ago and took some further profit from our Japanese and Bio-Tech investments at the same time. It will be interesting to see what the coming months (and years?) bring.
On a more serious note we have all been further, and tragically, reminded that we live, and act in a global environment by the ongoing refugee and migration issues. The opportunities brought by global trade and travel also bring responsibilities. Simplistic nationalism backed up by barbed wire fences just won't work for very much longer and Europe is being forced to recognise this. Escaping war at home is one of the the current drivers, but in the future mass population migration may well involve many more desperate people moving around the globe trying to escape the effects of climate change. Personally I'm pessimist about our ability to reduce carbon emissions enough to prevent very real problems. We continue to dig fossil fuels out of the ground even though the harm reduction plans we are pretending to put in place mean that we cannot possibly burn them, the UK government massively reduces subsidies for renewable energy and we continue to reward CEOs for deepening the climate change crisis. This year is set to be the warmest on record, intensifying patterns of extreme weather. In the light of all this the ongoing market "blips" and the effects they have on our portfolio pale into insignificance. Hey ho.