Thought Experiment #1

I’ve been persuaded to take part in a ‘thought experiment’, where people give their own take on the same thought/idea or scenario.

Please check out Saving Ninja’s post which explains in more detail.

So here’s the first scenario:

What would you do if right at this very instance you got given £1 million? This could be from a lottery win, an IPO, a scratch card, you name it. No tax needs to be paid, it’s just been plopped directly into your run-of-the-mill bank account.  

Lucky me! 🙂

Ok, off the top of my head, I would….

…be Financially Independent and would be able to retire early immediately, but I wouldn’t, not right away anyway. It’s a lot of money, I’d like to think things through properly so yes, I’d still go into work! I know for a fact that I would not be mentally ready to give up working just yet.

…remain anonymous and tell only my immediate family how much I had won and tell my close friends I had won a ‘large amount’. Why not tell them the exact amount? I’m not sure – never really discussed money with my friends so not really sure how they would react to be honest.

…put aside £300k to be gifted to my immediate family – all members of my family are already a lot wealthier than I am but I would still want to share my winnings and good fortune.

…put aside £100k to be gifted to my close friends. No idea how I would do this but in whatever tax friendly way I can do it, be it paying for their holidays, etc.

…put aside £100k for specific charity needs. Rather than throwing it into a charity pot, I’d like to pay for stuff like school equipment, that kind of thing

…use the remaining half to buy a property which would ultimately be my primary residence, perhaps buy another small property to rent out and invest the rest in boring index trackers to enable me to have a ‘fat’ retirement!

…be lying if I said I wouldn’t change because that kind of money all of a sudden is life-changing, for me anyway. I would probably naturally become less frugal but I think I still wouldn’t be wasteful or flash with my money. I wouldn’t buy a new car, as there’s nothing wrong with my current one, although I could realistically consider a new electric car as my next motor.

…start looking at holidays to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the USA!

Reading back on the above, there are probably some tweaks and changes I would make or add but the point of the exercise is to not dwell on your answers and just write what comes to your mind immediately.

What would you do in this instance?

Edit – Here are the other bloggers who took part in this experiment and their thoughts:

Ms ZiYou
Saving Ninja
TheFIREStarter
in-deed-a-bly
Early Retirement – Early Freedom 
Steel Kitten
Inspiring Life Design
DrFIRE

If you fancy joining in and want to be added to the experiment, send a tweet to @SavingNinja or send him a message via his website.

PS – I live in hope that I bag £1m with my premium bonds!

September 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Moel Eilio in Snowdonia. Yes, it looks creepy…

For someone who’s never really counted ‘walking’ as a favourite past-time, I did quite a lot of it this month.

Spent a couple of weekends doing ‘practice’ walks in the Peak District and the West Pennines, which I found surprisingly quite pleasant – not strolls but not too strenuous either.

The practice walks were to prepare me for a charity walk in Snowdonia, organised by work. We managed to choose a day which was in between two days with yellow weather warnings and ended up doing the walk in extreme weather conditions and quite poor visibility.

With lashing rain which stung the face and winds still buoyed by recent storms in the country which blew us all over the place, I found out that my waterproof jacket was not waterproof and neither were my walking shoes!

But I’m glad I attempted and completed the 9-mile walk, it was a good test of character! Plus I might even go on more walks in future (weather permitting), as may have discovered a new hobby of sorts!

Anyway, onto the nitty gritty, how did I get on with my savings?

I saved 43.5%, which sees my average savings rate going down a little to 44.8%.  Considering this month was quiet on the social outing front, I’m a little disappointed if I’m honest as I thought I would be closer to 50%.  No realistic chance of achieving my goal now with the final (more expensive) stretch of the year coming up but I’ll keep at it.

The above savings includes top ups from £447 matched betting profits (from last month), £16.15 from TopCashback*, £60.53 from Google Adsense and £123.33 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Again, I didn’t really notice what the markets were doing – all I can say is that with extra capital and reinvested dividends, my Future Fund now stands at £150,051, so I’m halfway towards my next big milestone! Woohoo!

I seem to have streaked well ahead of John K (whose portfolio is currently showing as £103,427) but I did mention that I had the massive advantage of chucking in a large chunk of my redundancy money last year. The next £50k will take much longer to accumulate as no large amounts of capital to throw in, so plenty of opportunity for John to catch up using his strategy.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Monkey Stocks – 3 Years on

Anyone around when I announced the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge?

Anyway, as promised in my 2-year update, I bring you the ‘what happened next after 3 years’ update.

Monkey Stocks?

Here’s how I came up with the idea of running my own Monkey Stocks League Challenge.

The majority of the £500 portfolios (consisting of 5 stocks each) which lined up in September 2015 were made up of stocks/shares (from FTSE 350) and were randomly picked out of a hat.

A handful of daft brave souls followed me in purchasing their random stocks for real!

The league also had a couple of portfolios chosen by experts (John K and Huw) and of course, we had M’s infamous portfolio, based on the Dogs of the FTSE strategy, which was the runaway winner of the league after both 1 and 2 years.

One Year vs Two Years vs Three Years

As a reminder, here’s how the top 10 finished after Year 1:

Here’s how the top ten (and the rest of the league) looked after Year 2:

And here are the scores on the doors after Year 3:

Zombie annihilation, with Mr Z’s Undead Monkey Fund taking the top spot, more than doubling his initial investment.

What’s in the winning portfolio?

Three not-so-great shares but the humongous gain (and dividend) from Evraz (EVR) more than made up for those losses (apparently, Roman Abramovich is a majority shareholder – only just found that out!). Of course, EVR is also one of my own Dogs of the FTSE shares…

Anyway, after one year, only 8 portfolios made gains of >10% and there were 10 portfolios showing losses.

After two years, 17 portfolios made gains of >10% (12 of them >20%) and there were only 3 portfolios showing very small losses.

After three years, again, 17 portfolios made gains of >10% (14 of them >20%), with 5 portfolios showing losses.

John K’s Pigmamig Fund was one of those which ended up in the negative after 3 years, but had this been a real portfolio, I’m sure John would have gotten rid of some/all of those stocks to minimise/avoid losses using his own investing strategy.

Still Steady Eddy

Mention must be made of diy’s Mutley’s Magic Formula fund which continued to maintain its steady process and remained in the top 10. This fund was based on Vanguard’s 60% LifeStrategy Fund, ending up with a gain of 34%. Definitely one for the passive investors and one which I will invest in myself.

Random Strategy?

Of course, as before, in no way am I recommending that randomly selecting stocks is a viable investing strategy, though I find it’s a fascinating one, which appeals to my gambling curious nature!

Did my experiment show that randomly picking shares ‘might not’ result in disaster?

It could have all gone horribly wrong, especially as you could have been unlucky and ended up picking Carillion…

Alternatively, fortune could have shone on you and you could have randomly chosen ones like this lot and celebrated seeing your investment quadruple:

Or you could get something in between and according to the experiment, that doesn’t look too bad, with the average gain being 29% over 3 years. Better than sitting 3 years in a cash ISA

Of course, we have seen the FTSE breaking records these past three years. What would  have happened if there was a big Bear market?

No More Updates

A 3-year measurement still isn’t great for a buy and hold strategy but this will be my last update for this league. Whilst the first year was fun (especially as there was a trophy at stake!), it was a complete chore getting all the dividends for the 100+ companies, plus I had to find out what happened to companies which were bought out/sold, changed names or were no longer trading.

I’m still very much interested in the random walk theory in relation to investing so I won’t rule out creating another small experimental portfolio in the future (and again with real money).  Sorry, I won’t be running another such league though – far too much effort and not nearly enough people with skin in the game!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this experiment and if after your own research you fancy running something similar, I’d be interested to hear about it!

August 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Well, it looked like summer was well and truly over up here and it was time to dig out the warmer clothes already, but then it turned all sunny again! I don’t know what to wear any more!

Life is more or less back to normal – the family have all gone home so the house is all quiet again.

Work has been busy, despite many people being off for the summer holidays – one week, I’m one of the employees of the month (yay!), the next, they’re asking me to work on the bank holiday (I’ll get the day back in lieu).

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence…?

Anyway, I had several social outings this month so how did that affect my savings in August?

I saved 35.8%, which sees my average savings rate going down to 44.9%.  Still a decent savings rate in the scheme of things but not great for the target I’ve set myself!

The above savings includes top ups from £148 matched betting profits (from last month), £18.06 from TopCashback* and £137.42 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

I didn’t really notice what the markets were doing so all I can say is that with extra capital and reinvested dividends, my Future Fund now stands at £149,204.30, still steadily making progress towards my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading