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

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]