Dogs of The FTSE and Dogs of the Brew

It’s been around 9 months since I set up my experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio, so time for another update.

So how have the flea-bitten canines done?

As at close of trading on 20th October 2017, the portfolio was showing a 4.12% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 8.45% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 6.28% so the Dogs are looking good only when dividends are thrown in.

Intu Properties as well as a couple of others aren’t looking very clever at the moment – I hope they will pick up before the end of the year.

Nothing to do really except to keep track of dividends as they roll in and see how things look in another 3 months’ time and then, it’ll be time to get rid of dogs that didn’t make the grade and bring in some new ones!

Until the next Dogs of the FTSE update!

Still on the subject of Dogs…

Dogs of the Brew

Back in 2010, I was on the mailing list to invest in a small Scottish craft brewery via crowdfunding. However, my love for beer didn’t translate at the time into my desire to invest (although chances are I couldn’t spare the cash back then!) so I didn’t apply for any shares. Had I done so, I would have done quite well from those shares.

Anyway, BrewDog’s Equity for Punks* initiative is back on and I think this time, I’ll purchase a few shares.

I’m not going to go into any detail here as I’m not recommending that anyone should buy these shares but if anyone’s interested in the company or in craft beer in general, they can always check out the website*.

I’m going to invest as it’s a company I like, I buy and drink their beer and it’s one stock which I wouldn’t mind mentioning to my non-investing friends that I owned as they would probably be impressed, haha! Also, as a shareholder, I will be able to get a small discount in BrewDog pubs (I go to the one in Manchester).

As with other crowdfunding ideas I’ve ‘invested’ in in the past, I class these as a ‘novelty’ and I’m not counting on them adding anything/much to my early retirement fund – it’s likely that I’ve missed the boat on reaping rewards for the shares anyway.

Still, I’d love to share in the company’s growth and success and the AGM’s look like fun so perhaps I’ll get the chance to travel up to Scotland to attend one day.

Investing in BrewDog shouldn’t affect my purchases of more ‘serious’ ie proper investments – I intend to use some matched betting profits as ‘fun money’ 🙂

So on that note, ‘cheers with beers’ and have a great weekend all!

[* EDIT – included my referral link]

Dogs of The FTSE – Q2 (2017)

It’s been nearly 6 months since I set up my experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

So how have the mutts done?

Are they still in the doghouse or vying for Crufts?

As at close of trading on 25th July 2017, the portfolio was showing a 5.24% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 8.18% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 3.85% so the Dogs are looking good on both counts!

Showing its ‘pedigree’ is Capita (CPI) which was actually booted out of the FTSE 100 in March 2017. Persimmon is also looking good right now.

Four of the Dogs are looking a bit flea-bitten but there’s nothing to do really except to keep track of dividends as they roll in and see how things look in another 3 months’ time!

Riveting stuff! 🙂

Investment Strategy – updated

It’s been over a year since I made a ‘tweak‘ to my investment strategy so I guess it’s about time I did a bit of an update and rehash of the post.

Party Politics?

This post follows hot on the heels of the UK snap election. I have to say that my investment strategy was going to be the same regardless of what happened and I’ll not be doing anything different now that we have a ‘not very strong and stable‘ government for another five years and there are the extremely rough seas of Brexit to navigate through yet.

Original Plan

My original plan had been to build up a large enough pot of investments (funds) and to sell off funds gradually, until I was able to draw down on my company pension at 65 and then state pension at 67.

My money was pretty much all in tracker funds, which followed my Portfolio for All Seasons plan, a plan which I set into motion in 2014.

When my company pension got frozen in 2015, I realised that I needed to review my whole investment plan, as I would need some extra income to make up for the unplanned pension shortfall.

Income

It’s still my plan to try to get dividend income of at least £3000 per year. Obviously, more will be better, but this is the minimum that I’m aiming for, and I think I’m on track for my goal of £1500 this year.

I know it seems like it would be easy to just double it but I’m still adding to the tracker funds too so my monies are spread out.

£3000 a year currently covers the following expenses for me – electricity, gas, internet/broadband, mobile phone, water, boiler cover, TV licence and dental/optical cover. That’s a lot of bills to not have to worry about!

Of course, these costs are likely to go up with inflation but hopefully, if I’ve invested wisely, my dividends will also continue to grow and kind of keep in line with inflation.

Share and IT portfolio can be found here.

Last year, I switched some of my tracker funds into ETF equivalents which added to the monthly income received, whilst at the same time reducing some management fees (the fees on my investing platforms are capped for ETFs but not for funds).

Living off dividend income is very appealing but to only live off income and not sell off any capital would be pretty much beyond my financial capacity.

I don’t earn a mega salary, there’s only one income coming in (gotta get dating again) and I don’t have the luxury of saving/investing for >20 years to build a massive pot, not if I want to retire early.

I could probably save and invest more but who wants to live like a frugal nun? Not that I have anything against frugal nuns but I choose not to go down the extreme path.

This past year or so, I’ve been steadily throwing cash at a basket of investment trusts to grow my dividend income. The shares I already own also contribute to this income. I practice a buy and hold strategy, apart from the little experimental portfolio I have, whereby I will sell in accordance to the ‘Dogs of the FTSE’ strategy – well, I’ve not sold anything yet but plan to do so early next year!

P2P and Property Crowdfunding

As well as the trackers/ETFs and the shares/ITs, I’ve also got a small amount in peer-to-peer (P2P) loans and some in property crowdfunding (via Property Moose*).

I’ve been invested in P2P for 3 years and my portfolio has grown by over 15%. However, I have now started to divert some of the P2P funds (interest and repayments) into my other investments.

This is for no reason other than to start simplifying my portfolio, although if it was possible to convert my existing P2P accounts into one of those new innovative finance ISAs (it’s not), I would probably just leave them as they are.

I won’t be cancelling or cashing in any P2P loans early, just withdrawing the repayments and interest, so this exercise could take up to 4 years before the loans are fully cashed out, since I took on some long term loans early on when the interest rates were really high (some of my Funding Circle loans were at 17%).

I’m likely to keep the property crowdfunding ticking over for a while longer – I want to see how it does since it has been purely funded by matched betting profits.

SIPP or ISA?

Aside from the bit of money tied up in P2P and property crowdfunding, the rest of my savings/investments are ‘tax efficient’, ie either in my SIPPs or my ISAs.

I’m continuing to invest in both, although I plan to build up more in my ISAs as I feel they offer more flexibility and (hopefully) will continue not to be subject to tax. I currently have more in my SIPPs but hopefully that will be addressed over the years.

Cash

As someone who may consider stopping working full-time within the next ten years, I don’t have a huge amount in cash in my overall portfolio.

The latest Monevator post reminds us that we’re not getting any younger and that your investments should reflect your age.

The classic principle governing age and asset allocation is:

Hold 100 minus your age as a percentage in equities
Hold the remainder in bonds (or cash?)

Equities currently make up around 85% of my portfolio which is pretty high risk for my age. I’m ok with that.

The majority of the 15% cash element is sitting in premium bonds. Yes, I know, crap returns and all that, but I don’t care – I just love that every month, I get the chance to win something. In fact, I won again this month, the second time this year, although it was just a £25 prize!

It’s possible that I might not leave so much in cash/premium bonds – I might feel the urge to pick up some bargains when the stock markets take a dive. Or not. Probably not. Who knows if I’ll be feeling ‘brave’ when the news and noise is full of doom and gloom!

Anyway, as mentioned in my May update, my emergency fund isn’t looking too shabby now, with the equivalent of about 4 months’ living expenses, courtesy of some of my redundancy payout.

So that’s my investment/savings plan for the next couple of years or so.

It’s not set in stone and is subject to change depending on what obstacles life (or government legislation) throws at me and will be reviewed as required.

How are you investing for your future?

[*referral/affiliate link]

 

Dogs of The FTSE – Q1 (2017)

It’s been around three months now since I created my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio so how have things gone for the mutts?

Nothing to report really.

The portfolio is showing a 1.17% loss from its starting value.

Including dividends received (£20.20), it’s a 0.34% loss.

So not very exciting, with a few Dogs gaining in value and the others showing losses.

Good to see dividends already coming in – I’m expecting around £100 by the end of the year from these shares.

Whilst I’ll be reinvesting these dividends, to keep trading costs to a minimum, they’ll just get reinvested into the rest of my portfolio as and when I make my usual purchases.

I’m not sure if I really want to see anything exciting happen with this portfolio, since ‘exciting’ might not always be positive!

Let’s see how things look in another three months’ time!