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]

Toilet Twinned

I’ve committed to donating at least 10% of my matched betting* profits to charity by the end of the year. So far, I have donated a total of £460.

In the scheme of things, it’s a tiny amount, but it’s still a few hundred quid which I could be chucking towards my own savings and investments (or holidays!) and it’s more than I’ve ever donated in the past.

One of my goals this year was to ‘twin’ my toilet with a block of toilets at a school via Toilet Twinning for a £240 donation and I have now achieved my goal (this amount is included in the above £460 figure).

We are far from living in the dark ages yet there are still millions of people around the world today who are not able to ‘do their business’ in a sanitary and safe toilet. Imagine having to worry about your own health and safety every time you wanted to go? Stressing about whether there’s any toilet paper seems so trivial in comparison!

Anyway, I’ve made my donation and have received a nice framed certificate/photo of my twinned toilet (in Guatemala):

 Some might think this framed photo is an extravagance on the charity’s part, but Toilet Twinning first came to my attention when I saw a similar framed photo in the toilet of some pub. Perhaps guests to my house might be intrigued enough with the photo to find out more about the charity.

I intend to continue to support this cause so will aim to twin another toilet block next year (to the other toilet in the house!).

According to the website, it’s possible to twin someone else’s toilet, so perhaps in the future, I’ll twin a ‘lucky’ reader’s loo, if there’s any interest for that sort of thing, haha!

Other charities I’ve been supporting on a regular basis are Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and British Red Cross as well as adhoc charities (eg sponsoring friends and colleagues).  I’ll probably add one or two more to this list as time goes on.

[*referral link]

Liar Liar

One of my goals for this year is to read three non-fiction books. I know that doesn’t sound like many but generally, I read books for enjoyment, not for education. Of course, the two are not really mutually exclusive but I’ve yet to find sci-fi investing books out there! 🙂

I usually read around 30-35 fiction books a year and I think 3 non-fiction is about all I want to attempt really.

Anyway, the second book I’ve read is ‘Liar’s Poker‘ by Michael Lewis.

Written and set in the 1980s, this semi-autobiographical book charts the rise and fall of investment bank Salomon Brothers (which ultimately became part of Citicorp in the late 1990s) and documents the greed, ambition and excesses of the people (including the author) who worked for the company and the bond trading industry.

Salomon Brothers made an absolute killing selling mortgage bonds to customers (including other banking institutions) who didn’t really understand what they were buying. In the days before the internet, the traders had all the info (and weren’t always truthful) and customers, fearful they would miss opportunities, would jump in with their money without doing their own research (yep, that old chestnut!).

The regulators were ineffective as they were always playing catch up on the new, inventive and complicated ways financial products were being structured to make profits. The bond traders and investment banks were unscrupulous and unrelenting in their greed, with no thought of consequences.

The amounts of money involved were jaw-dropping – it was scary to read about what the traders got away with, their audacity, the lies they told and how greed ultimately had businesses investing in things they didn’t have a clue in.

Big Swinging Dicks

All the traders aspired to be ‘Big Swinging Dicks’, the ones who made the most money and commanded the biggest bonuses. Yes, even the very few women who were able to fight their way past extreme gender inequality aimed to be a BSD!

Liar’s Poker

What was ‘Liar’s Poker’? It was a high stakes gambling game which the bond traders played, using bluffing and psychological tactics.

Anyway, I thought this was a good read (thanks for the recommendation, Jim), with a fair amount of humour and kept my interest throughout. I’d be tempted to read another of Lewis’ books. I know he wrote ‘The Big Short’ though having seen the movie adaptation, I may try one of his other ones.

What did I learn from this book?

Don’t invest in things you don’t understand and don’t be tempted by huge profits.

Have a great weekend all – it’s apparently going to be a sunny one! 🙂

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