Thursday, 2 January 2020

First Portfolio Post!

Hello fellow Fire Fans!

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a good break and are ready to continue the FIRE journey.

If you remember, I promised in the very first blog post, that we would be sharing our real portfolios, so that you can see exactly how and where we are investing and also keep a track of how they perform with us. I will be looking to do this on a regular basis, hopefully at least once a month.

So let’s get into it!

We have Savings/investments with the following providers: (Values as at today)

Vanguard ISA
Nutmeg ISA
Hargreaves Lansdown
First Direct

Vanguard ISA

Vanguard ISA opened tax year starting April 2019.

Nutmeg ISA opened tax year starting April 2018 (No longer contribute further to this ISA).

Been investing with RateSetter since 2015. I like P2P investing as unlike the stock market the value never falls, however obviously it has its own set of risks. One reason I like this platform is that it has a big provision fund and they mention on the website that since inception, no investor has lost a penny. However, this is no guarantee for the future – but it provides some comfort.

Hargreaves Lansdown - this was my first foray into investing. I read online about the Lindsell Train Fund and went with HL. I wish I had opened this as an ISA but didn’t really know much about investing back then and ended up opening a general account. I was just experimenting with a few hundred quid and don’t contribute much now either. Will probably just let the funds remain in there and let it accumulate.

My Santander account is the 123 Current Account, I treat this as an all-in-one type of account i.e. Savings, Current and Emergency Fund. I always maintain the balance above £20K as I can earn the full 1.5%. (I was very disappointed when the knocked the rate down from 3%! ).

I know deep down I shouldn’t hold this much cash and should take some out and invest it, however due to the nature of my work, I feel I need a slightly higher buffer just in case I’m out of work for a bit and its also ingrained into me to keep the balance above £20K to make the most of it.

The First Direct account I only did as I had a dormant 2nd current account lying around with Santander for years and at the time, First Direct were paying £150 to switch to them. I made the switch and transferred the £150 out. I need to keep the balance above £1,000 else they charge a £10/month fee.

HSBC account is primarily for online purchases. Had this before 123 account and have just kept it open.

Wife’s Barclays account is her current account, we don’t leave much in here as my Santander 123 provides enough emergency cover for both of us.

So these are our savings and investments at this time. The Vanguards ISAs are invested into various different funds and I’ll go through these in another post providing a breakdown into the proportions and reasons why we are invested in them.

Disclaimer: This is just a personal blog and none of the info provided anywhere across the blog should be considered as recommendations or financial advice.


  1. Hi FF,

    Happy New Year and thanks for the interesting post. I've not tried RateSetter before but I'm tempted to try it with a small amount, as quite a few people I know use it.

  2. Hi Ad Otium,

    Happy New Year to you too.

    Yes it is a good platform, although recently it appears they don't pay as high interest rates as some other platforms, so I will be looking into other options too - if anything at least for a bit of diversification.

  3. Happy New Year and thanks for sharing - that is a huge amount of cash but hear what you are saying regarding the nature of your work.

    Ref First Direct - fairly certain that if you have another product with them, eg a savings account, the £10 fee is not applicable (I've never paid a fee). Also, they have a regular savings account whereby you can pay max £300 per month for a year and receive 2.75% interest. This used to be 5% but like all other savings accounts, has been reduced.

    Also interesting to see how much you have in Ratesetter. I've pretty much exited out of all my P2P, preferring to shelter my cash in equities which are a lot more liquid (and FSCS protected). I did quite well over the years with P2P, getting around 7-8%, even with Funding Circle's defaults but I decided to simplify my portfolio.

    1. Sorry, by "you can pay max £300 per month", I meant "save max £300 per month!"

  4. Hi Weenie,

    Happy New Year to you as well.

    Yes I debate about the cash a lot in my head as well! If I was in permanent employment and know I would have money coming in every month, for sure I would not hold this much.

    Yes I've thought about opening further accounts with First Direct, but the only reason I haven't done so, is that I don't like having too many bank accounts - I find it a hassle to keep tabs and manage them.

    Regarding RateSetter, I know it's quite a bit in there, the reason why is that I like the fact that the value would not ever go down - I do not, though, do further contributions to this - I reinvest the interest and capital and will just let it compound and build till the day I achieve FI!

    OMG! I actually feel embarrassed about this, but I didn't know equities has FSCS protection, just did a quick Google search now! That's actually good to know. I had always assumed that FSCS only applied to bank accounts. Thank you!

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