For the past 11 months (started in Feb), I’ve been sharing with you our monthly results. Today, I want to take a step back and look at 2021 as a whole. I present to you, for the first time ever, Lazy FI Family’s annual results.
As I share with you what we’re up to (from a non-financial perspective) with each monthly results post, this post will be numbers-heavy so buckle up.
This whole post will compare the 2021 monthly average numbers to the monthly average numbers from the last 4 months of 2020.
Why only the last 4 months of 2020?
Because that’s when Lazy FI Mum came back from maternity leave to full-time employment. This way, we’re comparing apples to apples, or at least that’s what I hoped. As you read on, you’ll see this plan didn’t exactly work. In any case, I only have data going back to July 2020 so full-year vs full-year is not possible anyway.
2021 Annual results- Income
In total, our income grew by 47.29% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
That definitely improved our annual results.
It is not a great comparison because of the one-offs (see below) but it’s the best we have for now.
For a better comparison, you’ll have to wait a year and even then, 2022 will include maternity leave again so problem-not-exactly-solved.
When I say salaries I mean net salaries + employer pension contributions+ employee (our) pension contributions.
I explained why I include the pension contributions as part of our income in the “How to calculate your savings rate” post.
Now that you understand the calculation, let’s look at the numbers.
Our “salaries” line grew by 23.86% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020. That’s a great increase which I doubt will repeat itself any time soon. It is a result of a combination of 2 things.
First of all, I changed jobs in January 2021, which increase my salary. Secondly, Lazy FI Mum kept excelling at her job and landed a second promotion within less than 2 years!!!
Since April 2021 (the new tax year), we’ve been getting the full child benefit. This is thanks to the method I went through in the “How to increase your child benefit with pension contributions” post. As we didn’t get any child benefit in 2020, there is no % comparison. All you need to know here is that it works and that it helped us achieve an amazing (in my opinion) saving rate in 2021.
As you know, I teach (mainly Excel). 2021 was amazing from that perspective with earning 3 times more than the target I set up at the beginning of 2021. My target for next year is to reach the same numbers as 2021. This will allow me a nice additional income without it taking too much family time.
One-off income items
There were 2 noteworthy one-offs in 2021.
The first one is a very nice amount due to a settlement of an old legal case, I mentioned it in the June 2021 results post. I am not expecting anything similar in the near (or far) future.
The second one, although much smaller, is the cashback we got from American Express in December 2021. I will go into a bit more detail about this in next week’s post.
Time to move to the 2nd part of our annual results- expenses.
2021 Annual results- Expenses
Despite our income growing by 47.29% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020, our expenses stayed surprisingly stable. It’s a bit weird considering we started sending our daughter to childcare in 2021.
In total, our expenses grew by 0.88% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months. That’s less than inflation!
Ok, let’s dig a bit deeper.
As you may remember, we live in a shared-ownership property. This means we pay a mortgage (only the interest part) and rent. The housing/rent includes only rent and mortgage. The council flat and other bills will be included in the next section.
While our rent did go up a bit, our mortgage did go down thanks to a mortgage renewal with a much lower rent. This did come with a one-off fee so we will see the benefit in the 2022 results.
Our “housing/rent” line grew by 0.74% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
Bills (excl. housing)
Our “bills (excl. housing)” line grew by 9.48% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
While this is a large percentage amount, in monetary amounts it’s not that significant. The main difference is our new energy plan (we fixed our tariff for 3 years before all these crazy price hikes). If you haven’t looked at your tariff for a while, please read this MSE’s guide about the topic.
As I look at net amounts (how much I paid minus how much I got reimbursed), the amounts are tiny, less than £10 a month in both periods.
Going out and eating out
Our “going out and eating out” line grew by 358.65% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
Yes, for every monthly £1 we spent in this category in the last 4 months of 2020, we spent over £4.50 a month in 2021 in this category.
While the monetary amounts aren’t that big, the percentage increase is crazy. It does not mean we spent like crazy during 2021. It just shows how little we spent during the last 4 months of 2020.
The big % increase made me look at this line at a transactional level. Looking at each transaction separately, we got great value for our money. I regret none of the Nando’s visits or the Mexican restaurants with Family. I’m sure Lazy FI Mum regrets none of the visits to her vegan restaurants too.
In case you were wondering how much of this line can be explained by Nando’s, Mexican, and vegan restaurants (I did), here you go.
Going out and eating out- breakdown
Nando’s- 15 visits, accounts for 13.14% of our “going out and eating out” expense line. While 15 visits don’t sound like a lot, 13 of them were between September and December.
Mexcian restaurants- 7 visits, accounts for 18.97% of our “going out and eating out” expense line.
Vegan restaurants- 5 visits, accounts for 13.28% of our “going out and eating out” expense line.
These 3 items explain 45.38% of our “going out and eating out” line, the rest are various one-offs, which make life fun.
Going forward, I think I’ll be happy if we keep the same level of spending we had in 2021 in this line during future years. With Lazy FI Mum’s upcoming maternity leave, I expect an increase for cafes and restaurants with her friends. Hopefully, we’ll revert back to 2021 levels during 2023.
Our “groceries” line grew by 46.62% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
Woah, this makes no sense to me so let me check the reason.
* Going to my Excel spreadsheet *
Ok, I’m back. I checked and sadly, we are not really comparing apples to apples. The main reason for the huge increase is that I’m comparing 2021 to the last 4 months of 2020. During the last 4 months in 2020, we visited Israel, which significantly reduced our grocery bill (but increased our “holiday” line).
Our grocery bill is a lot higher than the average household mainly due to Lazy FI Mum’s diet and me insisting on buying kosher meat (which costs around triple the price in a supermarket).
Our grocery bill is pretty stable month-on-month and I expect only a small increase when Baby 2 arrives.
Furniture/ electronics and misc
Our “furniture/ electronics and misc” line decreased (!) by 30.63% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
What the hell?
Again, not exactly apples to apples. We bought 2 new beds and mattresses at the end of 2020. Not only was it a big amount, but we also need to divide it by 4 as we only look at the last 4 months of 2020. This kind of assumes we make such a purchase 3 times a year.
If we ignore the bed, our “furniture/ electronics and misc” line increased by 211.16% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020. The main reason for that is the hefty Israeli capital gains tax we had to pay in October 2021. If that doesn’t make you appreciate ISAs, I don’t know what will.
However, this whole category is mostly one-offs so it is not only hard to compare but also a bit pointless. Just like the bed was a one-off, so was the tax bill.
Yes, she has her own line. It includes only expenses that we can easily separate (clothes, childcare, her furniture, toys etc.). Her line does not include groceries as it will be too time-consuming to separate her items. It also excludes any travel fare we pay for her, that goes to the “holiday” line.
Her related expenses increased by 768.81% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
I know this number is crazy but the explanation is simple. She started childcare in 2021. Her expenses in 2020 were mainly furniture and a pram/buggy/stroller/pushchair (what do you call these?!?!?!). While these one-offs aren’t cheap, they are nothing compared to childcare costs.
Yes, we have a cleaner.
* FI police on their way to arrest me *
Totally worth it in our opinion.
Not only do we have a cleaner, our spending on a cleaner increased by 53.75% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
The main reason is, again, our visit to Israel in 2020. While we were in Israel, we didn’t need our flat cleaned and therefore the last 4 months of 2020 represent a lower-than-normal amount in the expense line.
Our “clothing” line increased by 587.40% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
The increase, in monetary amounts, is less than £20 extra per month. The expenses in 2021 are mainly dry cleaning as I had to go into the office a few times (and I don’t own an iron). As you can see, this expense line item is tiny.
Our “transport” line increased by 117.0% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
Thank god, in 2021, the initial fear of COVID19 calmed down a little. We were finally able to take the bus and tube to meet friends or visit Epping Forest (can’t wait for the weather to improve and go again). Honestly, I hope this expense line will increase even more in 2022.
It is mostly TFL (87.06% of the 2021 transport expense). The rest is Trainline (commute to work) and a few taxis.
This is a gym membership (now cancelled) and health insurance.
Our “health” line increased by 1,046.03% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
As I mentioned, I moved jobs in January 2021. While the salary is higher, the health insurance is nowhere as good as the one I had with my previous employer. Also, in my previous employer, it was deducted from my payslip so it didn’t get its own expense line.
I don’t think there’s a lot to do about this line.
Our “holiday” line decreased by 31.31% in 2021 compared to the last 4 months of 2020.
This, again, is because we went to Israel in the last 4 months of 2020, which distorts the average monthly expense in this line.
Still fun to go over our 2021 holidays. Let’s see what we had:
March-April 2021: We went to Israel to get our COVID 19 vaccination and spend time with family in friends.
September 2021: We visited Canturbury with Lazy FI Mum’s mother, stayed in a great Airbnb and had a great time.
We also prepaid for a February 2022 holiday (stay + commute) in Center Parcs, which should be a lot of fun too.
I know it may seem like I “give excuses” for some expenses or don’t seem too worried about specific increases in expenses, that’s because I’m really not worried.
The first reason is our expenses, in total, only grew by 0.88%, that’s a lot less than inflation levels.
The second (and main reason) is because the number I care about is our saving rate and it’s freaking awesome!
2021 Annual results- Saving rate
We ended 2021 with a wicked saving rate of 54.19%!
For comparison, the saving rate for the last 4 months of 2020 was 33.11%. That’s why I’m not too worried about specific expenses.
Our long term is target is a 40% saving rate (which we smashed this year) with a 33.33% (a third) target for 2022 due to Lazy FI Mum’s maternity leave. which will decrease our income and affect our 2022 annual results.
2021 Annual results- Net worth (nominal)
In 2021, our net worth increased by 38.40%. The 38.40% is made of 2 parts:
- Our actual savings increased our net worth by 20.58*%
- Our investments went up in value, which increased our net worth by 17.83*%
Despite an amazing year from Mr Market, 53.58% (20.58% / 38.40%) of the growth came from our savings during the year. “Only” 46.42% (17.83% / 38.40%) of the growth came from Mr Market. You can look at these figures in 2 ways:
You can look at it as an amazing year from a saving perspective
Alternatively, you can look at the “small” contribution Mr Market made to our net worth as evidence of how little we had invested. We now have more money invested than we had a year ago. That means that If Mr Market performs in 2022 as he did in 2021- I don’t think we stand a chance of competing with him.
As you invest more money, the more control Mr Market has on your net worth.
As the market does go up in the long term (looking at historical data), we want to have as much money invested as we can, so it can grow and allow us to reach FI.
2021 Annual results- Net worth (real)
Reminder: I set our FI number (how much we need to retire) in July 2020 and update it every month for inflation (I use CPIH** index).
In 2021, the CPIH increased by 4.58% (114.1 / 109.1). This means the nominal amounts above need to be adjusted for inflation by dividing them by 1.0458, let’s do it.
While our nominal net worth increased by 38.40%, things got more expensive (by 4.58%), which means our purchasing power (our real net worth) increased by 32.34% (1.3840 / 1.0458).
As you can see, 2 factors are out of our control:
- The market performance (are our investments worth more or less this month?)
- Inflation (are things more expensive than last month?)
As these factors are out of our control, we’re left with only one factor which is in our control- savings, which was great this year.
Luckily, the market performance was extraordinary this year, which more than compensated for the relatively high inflation.
That’s it for our first-ever annual results. I hope you enjoyed it.
* I know 20.58% + 17.83% = 38.41% and not 38.40%. That’s because these numbers are rounded to two decimal points. 38.40% is the correct increase in our net worth.
**CPIH- “Consumer Price Inflation including owner-occupiers’ Housing costs”. As we are consumers and we do, partly, own our home- I think this is the best inflation metric for us. You can see the changes in the index here.