My Random Share Portfolio, plus Meet Up Reminder

Long term readers may recall my fascination with randomness and investing.

One of the first ‘investing’ books I read was Burton G Makiel’s ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’.

You know, the one where he mentions that a bunch of blind-folded monkeys could do better than expert stockpickers. This fascination and curiosity led me to running my own Monkey Stocks League, where I had my own randomly picked portfolio.

Time has meant that I no longer run the league but I now find myself in another position to have a part of my portfolio which is made up of random stocks.

Enter Freetrade

For those interested, here’s my review of Freetrade.

As a result of Freetrade’s referral scheme and thanks to interested souls clicking on my links, I now have a tidy little portfolio of random shares.

Basically, every time someone I refer signs up, we both get a free share. Here’s a screenshot of some of the freebies I’ve received:

I’ve yet to be awarded a high value share – some people have received Tesla shares, worth around £190!!

Here’s my entire portfolio so far:

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these – maybe hang on to some of them, maybe sell some of them.

If I sell some, perhaps I’ll use the funds to buy more of the ones I’m keeping…

Anyone interested in a great investing app plus a free share, whilst helping me grow my random portfolio, please drop me a DM via twitter or contact me via the Contact me form for a one-use only link.

I currently have a ‘mystery’ share queueing, courtesy of Tony from One Million Journey – thanks for using the link, Tony and fingers crossed we get good shares! 🙂

FIRE Meet Up Reminder

Just a reminder of the Manchester FIRE meet up next Friday, 27th Sept.

It’s taking place in the ‘Well Area’ of the Rain Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5JG.

6pm – late

Hopefully see a few of you there for a few beers and some pub grub (you don’t want to see me drinking on an emtpy stomach!).

August 2019 Savings

Just the basic numbers update as I’ve found only a small window of opportunity to post this!

So how did I get on in August?

I saved 46.5% of my net salary – not bad, and the good news is that this should continue to improve as my family settle in (separate post on that at some point…).

The above savings includes top ups of £43.27 from TopCashback*, £80 matched betting profit (from last month) and £68.74 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 

A lot of up and downs but my portfolio seems to have weathered it quite well, not moving much at £174,085.

Dividends and Other Income

A fairly average month for dividends: Continue reading

July 2019 Savings + other updates

The month of July seemed incredibly short. I enjoyed the bouts of heatwave – yes, even in Manchester!  Funny how the same people moaning about the heat are now moaning about the rain…

This month also saw me attempting to clear out some space around the house in anticipation of my sister and nephew moving in soon – that’s come round fast, yikes!

Anyway, how did I get on in July?

I saved 44.3% of my net salary – delayed holiday costs took the remaining chunk of my bonus so I wasn’t able to boost my savings rate after all. I am actually saving a little more though, my 3% pay rise is in there!

The above savings includes top ups of £100 from a webinar (more on this later), £20 matched betting profit (from last month) and £74.38 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 

A combination of the rock-bottom pound sterling and markets going up has meant a big jump to £173,204. I’m not getting too excited though – still plenty of political shennanigans which could make it drop right down again!

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends: 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!