November 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

I’m back from a fabulous holiday but am both jet-lagged and hungover – not a nice combination, but yes, Christmas parties have started early!

I’ll do a bit of an update on my hols at a later date but without further ado, how much of my net salary did I save in November?

I saved 25.2%. My worst number since I returned to work but I’m quite surprised I even saved this much to be honest. Hurrah for automated savings!

My average for the year has now dropped to 42.8%. Unless I have an utterly disastrous December (it’s not looking great but shouldn’t be that bad), I should be able to make a reasonably good 40% average savings rate.

The above savings includes £25 premium bonds winnings, £36.75 from TopCashback*, £50 rent received and £85.73 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my Ladbrokes Coral shares to take 15% profit (including dividends received over the two years I’ve held the stock).

I sold as part of portfolio simplifying exercise but my decision to sell was also partly based on my thoughts that the government’s pending restrictions on the fixed odds terminals which will likely to have a big impact on the company, plus the viability of high street bookies in general. As for the takeover by Foxy Bingo owners, GVC? Not really interested to be honest.

The funds from this sale have been added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets appeared to be up a little this month, boosting my Future Fund, which now stands at £130,765. Another step towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Monkey Stocks – 2 Years on

Yes, it’s been (just over) a year since I announced the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge and as promised, I bring you the ‘what happened next’ update.

Monkey Stocks?

Not my idea originally, but here’s how I came up with the idea of running my own Monkey Stocks League Challenge.

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

A few 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 and which was the runaway winner of the league.

One Year vs Two Years

As a reminder, here’s how the top 10 finished after one year:

As at 10th November 2017, here’s how the top ten (and the rest of the league) look after two years:

Wow, the Underdogs Fund would have doubled your money if you’d kept all the shares for another year! But check out the big gains made in many of the other portfolios – buy and hold for another year strategy looks to have paid off in a big way.

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 made gains >20%) and there were only 3 portfolios showing very small losses.

One portfolio of note is the LovelyLovelyGorgeous Portfolio which a year ago, was bottom of the class, showing a loss of 19%. Another year on, it’s in 5th spot, showing a gain of nearly 38% – wonder if Stephen had purchased these for real whether he would have cut his losses or hung on for the turnaround?

Surprisingly plummeting down the table was John K’s Pigmamig Fund which finished a creditable 10th place after one year but a year later, ended up down in 20th place.

John’s portfolio scored the highest total dividend paid last year but the accolade after two years goes to Jim’s Stonegate Certainty Fund, which has provided a 22% dividend yield!

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 31%. Definitely one for the passive investors!

Random Strategy?

Of course, as before, in no way am I recommending that randomly selecting stocks is a viable investing strategy!

It could all go horribly wrong, especially as you could have been unlucky and ended up picking shares like this lot, which would have seen you make a 55% loss:

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

Or you could get something in between and according to the experiment, that doesn’t look too bad, with the average gain being 26% over 2 years.

Although M’s Dogs strategy proved superior in this experiment, it’s hard to ignore the numerous randomly selected portfolios which bagged some very decent gains.

Of course, we have seen the FTSE breaking records etc – wrong time to run the experiment or the right time? What would happen in a stock market crash?

One More Update?

As with one year, two years isn’t really long enough for any real analysis but this experiment perhaps shows that just buying and holding (and accumulating the dividends) can be a decent strategy.

I should really do one last update so I can get the 3-year measurement.

Let me think about it, as I’ll need to make sure I keep the spreadsheet going and keep on top of all the dividends (have to admit I found it rather tedious!). Hopefully, I will find the time to update it all.

I guess I’d also like to see if the Dogs can stay top for the 3rd year running! 🙂

October 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

Another blur of a month, not one of my favourites with the beginning of winter and the dark mornings/evenings.

A new member to the team at work has kept me extra busy but in a good way.  I can’t believe I’ve been at the company for 6 months already – time evidently flying while I’m having fun…

Still no progress on the kitchen – I’m facing a real possibility of it not being completed before the end of the year!

Anyway, how much of my net salary did I save this month?

I saved 37.8%. Surprisingly a slight improvement on last month but not by much. With Christmas shopping in my sights (at some point very soon), it’s not going to really get any higher than this.

My average for the year has now dropped to 44.6%. I’m not going to reach my target  but will be satisfied with it above 40%.

The above savings includes £575 matched betting profits (which includes the purchase of some shares in BrewDog* as mentioned in a recent post) and £98.05 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

I sold my De La Rue shares to take 53% profit (including dividends received over the three years I’ve held the stock).

I don’t usually sell any of my shares, mainly because my strategy is to buy and hold, but as I want to simplify my portfolio, I’m selling off stocks off bit by bit and reinvesting the profits.

The funds from this sale will be added to my usual monthly capital to top up one of my existing ITs.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets were on the up this month, boosting my Future Fund, which now stands at £129,187. Another step towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

September 2017 Savings, plus Other Updates

No idea where this month went – I had one weekend away (cocktails are never a good idea!) and that’s pretty much it. No progress on the kitchen so it’s still only half done, but at least I can cook now so the poor diet from previous months has improved. Hopefully, all will be completed by the end of this month.

So, how much of my net salary did I save this month?

I saved 37.5%. An improvement on last month but not by much. I think this is going to be as good as it gets, especially with the more ‘expensive months’ coming up.

My average for the year has now dropped to 45.4%. I’m not going to reach my target  but I think I’ll be happy if I can keep it above 40%.

The above savings includes £200 matched betting profits, £7.50 from TopCashback*, £50 rent received and £93.57 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you to all those who joined via my link – much appreciated!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

Nothing new was purchased, I just topped up existing holdings.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

Markets were a little volatile, which caused my Future Fund to drop slightly in value, despite the extra capital added.  It now stands at £124,961. Just a small step backwards but I’m still slowly plodding on towards my next big milestone!

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading