July was a milestone month for us. We moved out of our home of 11 years, I left a company I had worked for in different roles for 15 years, and we set off in a campervan having packed 99% of our possessions into a storage container. “Darling, there are a couple of vagrants at the door” was how we were cheerfully welcomed by friends shortly after.
We have been very lucky that embarking on a nomadic summer has coincided with extraordinary mediterranean-like weather in the UK. Whilst 40 degrees in an English house designed to keep heat in, wasn’t particularly pleasant, there were only a couple of days of excessive heat and we were lucky that those 2 days coincided with housesitting for friends rather than sleeping in the van 🙂
The other big news is that we have had an offer accepted on a property in Scotland. The Scottish legal system is very different from England when it comes to buying and selling houses and, as there is some land involved, there is a lot of legal paperwork to wade through. Everything seems to be moving at glacial pace, but we are definitely progressing slowly. We are not sure whether this is normal for rural Scotland, and we are just impatient southerners who need to get used to a new pace of life, or whether we have just been unlucky with the 2 sets of solicitors involved. It has been a steep learning curve, and it is currently looking like we will be nomadic until early November, but we’ll see how things develop. Assuming everything goes through, it is a bit of a project, so I expect it to keep us busy for a year or two.
In view of the fact that the end is hopefully in sight, we have stopped the activity of splitting cash savings into different pots, as it’s not worth the admin for only a couple of months of a maximum of 1% in additional interest.
I will talk more about our experience with a housesitting platform next month, but so far it is working out well for us. We currently have no plans to rent anywhere before we move into our permanent home, but we won’t rule out a week or 2 of Airbnb if the weather turns really unpleasant.
There does seem to be something in the air regarding life changes. We have some friends who have been successful at renovating houses whilst living in them and then moving on. After a series of moves, they had ended up in a smaller place on the south coast, mortgage free. They were planning to take out a mortgage and buy a bigger place in the same area, and had sold their house and had an offer accepted on the next one. Then they went on holiday. On their return we heard that they had been thinking and had decided to pull out of their house purchase. They will still complete their sale, but will be giving up work and moving back to the north of England (an area where one of them is from originally). They plan to rent in a rural area (a lovely stone cottage for £650 a month!) and use their capital to embark on property developments and possibly buy to let / Airbnb investments in the area.
So how did our first month of
unemployment and homelessness carefree freedom look in numbers?
Freedom Fund Value: £1,223,028
Monthly expenses: £2,248* or a withdrawal rate of 2.2% if we were to maintain this rate of spending
Miles walked to end July: 1095 vs. a target of 1020**
The freedom fund value has slowly crept up over the month, gaining around £20k since the end of June.
Expenses this month are around average for us, with storage and removal costs replacing the normal utility bills. We also spent more than average eating out, which is probably to be expected. Interestingly this was mostly aggregation of tea/coffee and a sandwich type meals rather than evening restaurants. It really does add up! We also had a few family birthdays in July.
I did a few days handover with my successor at work in the middle of the month and while I was doing that, Mr Wombat did a few hours paid work too. This meant that we still had a reasonable, if much reduced income in July. I didn’t include the proceeds from the house sale or the number would look a bit different! I expect the income figure to drop to zero in August, but I will continue to track it each month, as it is likely we will do the odd bit of paid work going forwards. This will now be because we want to, rather than we need to.
The heat has slowed down the walking this month, but I am still ahead of target for the year.
A comment last month about the detrimental effect of fees when withdrawing monthly rather than annually, got me thinking. To draw down efficiently, we should consolidate our different accounts and investments within those accounts a little. This is something we will start to do over time. Once my final employer’s pension contribution goes in, I will transfer this into a SIPP to further simplify things (makes mental note to check transfer offers for existing providers).
I’ll leave you with a few images of our July and also a video of a combine harvester. The latter was captured on my walk home from my last ever day in the office (probably). Is it just me who finds combine harvesters as exciting now as when I was 10? I’ll get my coat…….
*Includes £500 per month personal allowances (£250 each), which may not be spent in the month, but which is not tracked. Some of it may show up in the freedom fund in the future, if savings build up and are invested.
** I challenged myself to walk the equivalent of Lands End to John O’Groats and back in 2022. This is the longest overland distance between 2 points on the UK mainland.