Savings Report #19 – Life is a Rollercoaster

This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

January saw the stock market take a bit of a tumble and I lost £491 from my ISA and £305 from my pension.

It’s actually quite strange how I lost so much less from my pension as I have almost double the amount invested.

The majority of my SIPP is invested in a work-place pension scheme and I’ve chosen the option of ‘Passive World Index Tracker.’

I assumed it would be pretty similar to Vanguard LS100 but the difference in capital lost this month has showed me that it isn’t.

I only hope that when the market goes up, I won’t be losing too much money in this work fund!

I do plan on transferring it into Vanguard after I leave my current employer, which will hopefully be this year.

My Tesla investments grew by a staggering £881 this month (it actually grew by a further £500 on the 31st of January but I took the snapshot before this), gaining me back all of the interest that I lost in my passive funds! This is insane considering how little I have invested. My ‘Other Investments’ fund has actually grown by over 100% from Tesla alone in the past 3 months.

I also got a free share by opening up a Trading212 account. Use my referral link to get a free share worth up to £100 yourself, you only have to deposit £1 to get the free share; it’s extremely quick and easy!

My net worth is almost at £150k which I’m very happy with as it was only July last year when my total net worth crossed the £100k barrier.

It’s growing very fast, although I have to remember that I’ve been dumping a lot of excess cash into my ISA and pension before the end of the tax year arrives in April so it won’t be growing this fast all of the time.

January marks the first month of my rush to max my £40k pension contribution this year. I’ve got two more salary sacrifices to ensure this happens. I’ve actually upped my sacrifice again from 75% to 82% as I calculated that with the current contributions I’d be around £800 under the £40k limit; luckily my employer allows me to sacrifice up to 85% of my base pay.

It feels great paying barely any tax and zero student loan repayments and knowing that these savings are helping to increase my FI fund. In April after my full years’ tax status has been calculated I’m also hoping for a big rebate as HMRC took away my whole bonus in 2019 as tax.

Other News

Retire In Progress was generous enough to give me some invaluable advice on how to best prepare for an interview at a tech giant (thanks to Indeedably for the suggestion of reaching out).

We chatted for quite a while about the interview process; what to expect; how best to train for the difficult problems; and all of the red flags which I should try to avoid.

I gathered a lot of useful intel, but I also ended the call thinking damn; it’s hard! It’s like…really really hard. I’m not just talking about the immense pressure that you’ll be under at your 4 or 5 interviews (one after another), but the questions are hard as well.

Have I really got the cahoonas to even attempt one of these interviews?

I don’t know, I definitely don’t feel like I do right now.

I’ve set up a rigorous training schedule but I’m struggling to find the brain-power-time to commit to it each day. Couple that with failing miserably at seemingly easy questions and it’s starting to get me down.

I’m just going to continue slogging through for now and hope that things begin to get a little easier, I’ve still got over 4 months of preparation time left.


I’ve been a little light on the info posts lately. I’ve been spending some more time on website improvements like the interactive charts in the My Journey So Far page.

I’ve also been spending all of my creative writing time on a guest post for a friends blog which should be ready for release in February, so, unfortunately, it will probably be another somewhat quiet month…but I’ll let you guys know when the guest post is out so you can go and read it 🙂


Of course, due to being so happy prior to Christmas, my mood has crashed a little in January. It was inevitable that this was going to happen, what goes up must come down – just like the stock market.

I’m trying to reassure myself that it’s just my mood fluctuating but my dampening mood of lethargy and unexcited-ness for the future is not very pleasant.

I really need to try and combat these swings more, I can’t just keep pointing at FIRE as the answer. I’ll have to do some more investigation into meditation and potentially go to the doctors about it.

I currently feel that it’s not severe enough to go to the doctors, and I don’t want to be taking all sorts of pills, so I’m unsure whether that’s even an option. In any case, I’m thinking that they’ll just tell me to practice mindfulness and meditation – that’s what they told me to do when I complained about weekly migraines.

Do you think I should just stop being a baby and realise that everyone in the world has mood swings and is depressed every so often?

Anyway, I hope that February can get me across £150k net worth!

How was your month?


19 thoughts on “Savings Report #19 – Life is a Rollercoaster

  1. Hey man, I think you might be overthinking this whole job-interview stuff. From my experience (I’ve done quite a few), a lot of it is about chemistry. And remember, you might have to go to 4-5 different interviews (with different – or even the same companies), before you land that job you so desire. If you don’t get in the first time, you can always just re-apply another time. It’s not like they are gonna put you on some sort of “blacklist” because you “fail” an interview. Just like life, it’s more important to try – and fail – than to not try at all 😉

    Now, I know this is gonna sound silly, but there are studies that indicate that Omega-3 can be used to combat mild depression/mood swings. Are you getting enough Omega-3’s (fatty fish) in your diet? 😉 I concluded that I wasn’t, so I started taking 2 Omega-3 capsules with my breakfast every morning. After 1 week I felt a clear difference. I now just take 1 capsule per day, and I really feel it helps me keep the black clouds away. Of course I still have mood swings, but they somehow seem much lighter than they were before.
    You can Google (or Bing – I’m not a big Google fan atm.) it yourself if you think I’m crazy. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties, and a mild depression is sometimes considered as an inflammation in your brain…
    Anyway, more fatty fish and/or Omega-3 supplements (don’t go cheap – get the quality ones 😉 ). It can’t hurt to try it I guess 🙂

    1. You may be right Nick. Normally I’m not one for shying away from an interview, these ones just so infamous that I’m perhaps paralyzed a bit. I won’t be going to any until after 4 months due to my bonus though, so I have time to spend fretting (maybe that’s a bad thing? :D)

      Ooo, interesting about the Omega-3, I do eat Salmon occasionally, but probably not enough. I do get bad migraines from inflammation occasionally, maybe it’s linked? Do you have any recommended tablets that I can buy here in the UK or online?

  2. Sorry to hear you’re having a dip recently, thanks for being open about it.

    You seem like you’ve been fairly flat out recently so maybe it’s time to allow some time for yourself? The best things to deal with depression tend to be exercise, diet, meditation etc. Antidepressants are really serious stuff. Obviously necessary for some, but in our opinion, best avoided for most people if you can tackle it other ways.

    Hope you start to feel better soon – hopefully leave those January blues behind!

    P.S. another ridiculous month on the finances – those pension contributions are insane!

    1. That’s something that I definitely think I need to improve on. Currently, every time I have a spare moment in the evenings or at the weekend, I’m planning and doing things that need to be done, whether that’s work-wise, home maintanance, studying. I’ve never actually thought; hey – why don’t I designate a single day to doing whatever like playing a video game? I just think that as I’m struggling with the time to get the other things done, I can’t possibly not even do them. But ‘me time’ is important too…

      Thanks 🙂

  3. Great numbers, SN – oh if only you’d bought more Tesla shares but if they had tanked, you would have wished you hadn’t bought at all! Great call anyway, as mentioned before, I wish I’d jumped in at the same time as you did!

    Great to see how your net worth has grown so quickly in less than a year, shows what can be achieved with focus – you’ll be hitting your milestones in no time.

    Thanks for sharing that your moods are in a bit of a dip – there’s a lot going on in your life so it’s only natural to experience swings in your emotions. With regards to the interviews, I get that it might feel overwhelming but now that you know what’s needed, you can work to get to the required level. Or consider if this is what you really want to do.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon – as with previous comments, before reaching for those prescribed pills, I too would suggest exercise, diet and meditation in the first instance.

    1. I’d love to say it was all my inquisitive foresight, not just a blind love for Elon 😛

      Yeah, I think as I’m already on track for FI and I’m happy with the speed, I do sometimes think; why work harder to earn more? I seem to have no ‘off’ button!

      I really wouldn’t want to take prescribed pills…it would be nice to know if there is some kind of imbalance though, I wonder if you can take tests?

  4. Hey SN,

    I don’t work for one of the big ones (FB, Google, Amazon) but I have peers that do. I do work for a multi-billion dollar tech firm just below that tier who have similar hiring standards.

    The Steve Yegge post & a read of ‘The Algorithm Design Manual’ by Skinena should be enough. I wouldn’t worry about it. They are all much of a muchness about space & time complexity & system design.

    Pick one, get a screening call with one of their recruiters and see if you get through that – which you almost certainly will unless you step on a culture/fit landmine. You’ll then get an engineering phone screen. See if you pass that. If you don’t, so what – there are 3 or 4 others to try. If you do, you’re then into like 4 or 5 stages which is as much about cultural fit as it is engineering chops.

    If you are really worried, you could try land a job at a startup of ex-Google/FB/Amazon engineers and absorb on the job. Though in my experience the ex- tag is overrated and there’s a lot of chaff. Depending on where you are based, there are also finance firms like Bloomberg that have an equivalent engineering culture. Probably better to not worry about imposter syndrome, just shoot for the moon and if you miss treat it as a learning exercise.

    FWIW I shot for the moon and missed, and who cares. I have a job I like, and it pays pretty much the same as one of the big-places all things being equal, especially considering I don’t have to live in a high-cost-of-living hell-hole.

    Feeling down in January. Everyone does. Time of year. I combat it with a bit of rewarding oneself, exercise (running for me), eating well (though totally failed at this!) and getting outside in the daylight, especially on clear days. The doctor just told me to subscribe to Headspace and stop drinking a ton of booze.

    1. Thanks MM, I just re-read that blog post, it’s really good!

      I’ve not got my heart set on one of these companies, I just knew I’d have to get better at interviewing if I wanted to be sponsored for a position in a different country, so I thought I may as well study hard and try these top-dog interviews (you never know!) It will be training if I don’t get in.

      I’d love to subscribe to Headspace but it’s so ludicrously expensive D:

  5. Gosh, January is hard work, isn’t it? Like Money Mage said. In fact, two people in my corridor has just got those SAD lamps at work – you can’t help but notice them as they’re so bright! Before I was thinking that Jan is a gloomy month in terms of light and now you got me thinking everyone is suffering with an inner malaise…

    I’m not going to offer solutions as you are well capable of considering/researching them yourself. Anyway, I think it’s our general biology – hibernation time! At least for me. I think next year, I’ll go away in January even if just for a weekend to warmer climes. It took many years for me to make this seasonal link, but I’m definitely more ill-at-ease in winter. I try to prepare for it now, somehow, not consciously but I sense some dread with winter. When we are feeling discontent, then the world -whether political or otherwise -seems a lot more foreboding. Anyway, just that you’re not alone. I try to make some positive/new plans so I can feel excited about something. Next week, I’m going to a free property seminar, for example.

    Hmm, looks like I should’ve invested in Tesla!! And lots of interesting observations about your investments as usual. 🙂 I love how dedicated you are to your FI cause and working on your career! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I always attributed the January blues with having such an exciting prior quarter with all of the excitement of Christmas. Booking the snowboarding trip for April really boosted my mood, that’s kinda worn off for now though. I’ll hopefully get out of the funk soon!

      Tesla is behaving like Bitcoin at the moment, it’s gone up by £2000 more since I posted this. If I didn’t know from the start that this was a long-term investment of love, I would have sold a long time ago! I’d not recommend it for a short term hold, it’s bound to tumble soon.

  6. Thanks for such an open honest post.

    It really resonated with me and the way I’ve been feeling lately.

    Sometimes it’s helpful just to know someone else is feeling the same – thanks again!

    PS, I would just add sleep to the list of do’s, it’s amazing what a difference it can make!

    1. I’ve always been pretty good with sleeping, I’m probably getting too much of it! 🙂

      I’m glad I’m not alone; thanks for the comment.

  7. Yes, it luckily is a roller coaster, how else can we become a better version of ourselves? We learn lessons from bad experiences or by overcoming tough times. You’re being lucky. It’s time to learn a lesson, whatever it must be, find it!

    Meditation is only a tool, and it only works over the long time, it needs constant discipline and a lot practice.

    Ninjas don’t take pills.

    This motivational video has done some magic to me:

    Also, how are your exercising habits?

    You’ll be fine soon, I am fully convinced! You’re a bl**dy ninja! 😀

    1. Thanks for the motivation Tony! 🙂

      I’m exercising quite a lot as I cycle to work almost every day. We try to do more too D:

      I think I’m just in a Wunderlust-funk again!

  8. Hey dude!

    Good to see you last week and catchup – I know what you mean regarding that sort of ‘post crash’ after Christmas. It sounds silly, but I take vitamin D supplements over Dec / Jan / Feb and sometimes into March. Being sat in an office job myself, I rarely get enough vitamin D and a deficiency in that can lead to low moods, tiredness etc.

    These are the ones I take:

    Noticed a boost pretty much the day after.



  9. While I’m sorry that you’re stressed for the interviews, I applaud for doing so much preparation. Having spent 20+ years in HR, most of it in recruiting, I see too many job seekers wing their interviews to disastrous results. I think it’s great that you’re talking to different people to get inside intel and tips. As for the uptick in net worth, congrats! Don’t forget to save up some cash for the downturn in the market (of course I can’t predict when but we’re overdue). Then you can buy more Tesla or whatever you have been following!

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