February was quite a month, for The Twenty Percent, personally and globally. It’s heart breaking to see the events unfolding in Ukraine.
Writing a normal update post feels strange, given so many are living anything but a normal life right now. The ability to sit down and write in peace is something I won’t take for granted again.
In this post I’ll cover:
- My last month
- The Twenty Percent finance update
- Geopolitical worries
- What you can do to help
My last month
February was a busy month.
Work has really picked up. In person meetings and events are truly back, which means more time in London, later nights and more train-related stress. Keeping a strong work-life balance and getting enough sleep has proven a challenge. This is definitely something I want to work on going forward.
I was also lucky enough to be invited onto AJ Bell’s Money Matters podcast, highlighting the impact the cost of living crisis is having on young people.
My fitness also continues to improve. Running and exercise may take a lot of my time, but I really enjoy it and it allows me to function during busy and stressful times. I also notice a genuine difference in my mood after a good session.
To round off February, I took part in my first National Cross Country Championships. It was an incredibly tough race, complete with around 600ft of elevation and knee deep mud around a lot of the course.
Despite these challenges, I was really happy to finish 354th out of 1010. For context, I was aiming to finish in the top half of the field.
The Twenty Percent finance update
I had a strong month for freelancing work.
In many ways personal finance writing is the perfect side hustle for me. I find the topic interesting, I learn more about the subject, and I improve my writing skills – all while earning some extra money!
I didn’t quite reach my target of invoicing £1,000 in February, but it was a busy month and I’m happy with the £650 I did earn.
The Twenty Percent continues to do well too. I’m slowly growing my business and am exciting to see where it will go. If you have any suggestions do let me know!
In terms of my own finances, I continue to save as much as I can. I am still hoping to get on the housing ladder later this year – although this feels very optimistic still!
However unrealistic it might seem, I keep putting aside as much as possible each month and my deposit fund is slowly growing.
Of course, my investments aren’t doing so well right now. I haven’t looked at their exact performance – I don’t need that worry in my life.
I’m investing for the long-term, so market falls don’t affect my strategy or plans. Of course, it’s unsettling. But, market crashes are part of investing. Learning to cope with falls is as important as making money.
Naturally, I’m an anxious person. This means staying calm in situations like this is difficult. My coping mechanism is to unplug from all the data and metrics. Instead, I look at the bigger picture and remind myself of my long term goals.
Any worries or stresses in my life are insignificant when compared with the war in Ukraine. The senseless human suffering and mass displacement of individuals is heart breaking. Everyday, we seem to wake to worse news than the day before.
It’s normal to have concerns about the implications this conflict might have on your own finances or personal situation.
However, I maintain we must also place people above portfolios. If you still have a roof over your head and your loved ones are safe, there is plenty to be grateful for.
Of course, it won’t just be investments where we feel the financial pinch.
Energy and oil prices are likely to soar, for example. Oil already has. For those reliant on cars, this will significantly add to your costs.
I’m lucky that I don’t have to drive too often, but I am starting to think twice about making certain journeys.
Where there’s the option of public transport, I am opting to use buses and trains instead. Although, this is not always the cheapest option in many parts of the country. Living near London makes this possible.
What you can do to help
If you want to do something positive and have some money to spare, you can donate to charities that will help the relief effort
When donating, do make sure you check out the charity properly first. Unfortunately, even during times of tragedy, scams are rife, and criminals try to profit off other people’s generosity.
The Disasters Emergency Committee has also launched a special appeal to help those affected by the war. The UK government has pledged to match any donations to this appeal pound for pound, up to £20 million.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling any donation I make is simply not enough. How can I be going about my life normally when so many others have had their whole life uprooted?
However, any display of support or donation could make a difference. Improving just one person’s life is worth it.
Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts.
Did you know I offer freelance writing services and personal finance workshops and talks for schools, workplaces and organisations? I also regularly feature in the media. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Twitter @Katie20Percent if you’d like to find out more.
If you found The Twenty Percent’s February update interesting, please ‘like’ and share it on social media or with your friends. How did your month go? Are you happy with how your year is progressing? Comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!