Wisdom of the Crowds

The idea of ‘wisdom of the crowds’ has always intrigued me and I’ve parted with a bit of money through crowdfunding, including charity and property crowdfunding, which I posted about here.

My most recent bit of crowdfunding ‘investing’ was when I bought some shares in BrewDog – less to make money, more because I like the product!

Another Crowdfunding Investment

Some of you may recall that when I set my goals in January, I mentioned that I was going to do some ‘trading’ and was on a waiting list for a new app, although by ‘trading’, what I really probably meant was not ‘holding’ long-term.

Five months later, this still hasn’t materialised and while I was waiting, I came across the chance to invest in another app, namely Freetrade via CrowdCube.

The company was looking for an investment of £500,000 – this target was reached in just 12 minutes!

After 28 hours, funding was capped at £3.1m and it became Crowdcube’s most overfunded equity offering ever.

What’s in the Box?

Freetrade has been touted as the UK equivalent of the US investment app Robinhood, which allows you to trade stocks for 0% commission.

Freetrade’s interesting tag line is: “Invest for free, forever.”

Bold words indeed – perhaps the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown aren’t quite quaking in their expensive shoes but I’m sure they will follow the progress of this app with interest.

Its pricing plan is like many of the ‘free’ apps you can download – you get a basic service for free but if you want some bells and whistles, you pay for a premium account – an ‘Alpha’ account in this case.

It’s very competitive though – check out the price list here and it looks like you can buy ‘fractional shares’- not sure how dividends would work in this case though.

There’s been mention that crypto currencies might be available on the app at a later date but I’m not tempted as that’s a gamble too far, even for a gambler like me!

Also, it’ll be interesting to see the app in amongst Monevator’s broker comparison list.

The app is being slowly onboarded (there’s a big waiting list) – my time in the queue will probably be even longer as I have to wait for the Android version of the app but I’ll probably do a proper review once I’ve got my mitts on it and tested it out.

I could be tempted to buy bits of the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) – why? Just cos it’ll sound ace to my friends – they needn’t know I’ve just got a fraction of a share, haha! Naah, most likely I’ll stick to stocks closer to home.

As you can already gather, I’m likely to just be using ‘fun money’ (ie matched betting profits) for this – right now, I can’t envisage transferring one of my existing ISAs here but I’m excited about the possibility of saving on trading fees for my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Anyway, there’s not a lot more I can say, except that there’s a nifty little Freetrade forum and community building already and I can’t wait to have a play on app!

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

[Disclaimer – I have no affiliation whatsoever with Freetrade and this is not a recommendation to download the app (although it is free). There are no referral links in this post, even though I do have a link but all it does is shove me up the waiting list – I think I can wait!]

PS – Everyone GDPR ready?

Here’s a comic strip which sums things up…

Dogs of The FTSE – Q1 (2018)

 

Just a quick update as it’s been around 3 months since I set up my second experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Before we look at how the ‘mutts’ have done, note that this is not part of my main investment strategy – it’s just a bit of fun, although I do reinvest all dividends I get from these ‘dogs’, which go towards helping to increase my overall portfolio.

 

As at close of trading on 11th May 2018, the portfolio was showing a 12% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 14.15% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 8.03% so the Dogs have gotten off to a great start on both counts!

All the dogs are showing gains, apart from BT, who recently announced the loss of 13,000 jobs. Some good dividends paid out already, notably from Evraz and Persimmon.

Well, that’s it really, until the next update – riveting stuff 🙂

April 2018 Savings, plus other updates

Ok, so I had some second thoughts after reading some of the comments from last month’s post about pulling out all stops to top up my ISA, so with just a few hours to go before the tax year deadline, I opened a cash ISA account – nowt like living on the edge, haha!

Sadly, I wasn’t able to max my ISA, but I did add another £2.5k to make it over £17.5k (moved some of my emergency cash over and withdrew some matched betting funds) – I’m in a better position than I was before so thanks to all who made me reconsider and not dilly dally! 🙂

I went for Nationwide Building Society as I already bank with them so it was quick and easy to open the account – interest is 1.4% (Nationwide gave me an extra 0.1% loyalty bonus – woo hoo, I guess!) and the account has limited access but I’m ok with that.

Let’s see how I get on with this tax year’s ISA – I’m going to have try to top £17.5k now, aren’t I? Eek!

Anyway, how did that affect my savings this month?

I saved 45.3%! My average savings rate has now gone down to 51.1%.  I have now booked my holiday to HK – have paid for my flight in full (most of it via my ‘holiday fund’) but my sister has paid for my ‘holiday within a holiday’ (a few days in Thailand) so I’ll need to pay her back by next month.

The above savings was topped up with £1020 matched betting funds (I withdrew some cash from my betting and exchange accounts) and £68.54 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks 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 

The markets must have recovered a bit – after months of going backwards,  my Future Fund now appears to be heading in the right direction again at £138,939, back on track towards my next milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Home Brew #9

I can’t believe I’ve left it so long to get back to home brewing my own beer – my last batch was over a year ago!

Home brewing was a hobby which I took up back in September 2014 because I wanted to do something different, which would not only give me joy but save me some money  – it’s a fact that when I have home brew in the house, I spend far less or nothing on alcohol for home consumption. It isn’t an easy hobby but I think because of this, it’s a very satisfying one.

I only brew all-in-one premium kits, and the kit I made this time was Festival Razorback IPA.  This was probably the first kit I’ve attempted where I was a little concerned that I’d done something wrong.

After three days, fermentation still hadn’t started and I thought that I’d messed up with the water temperature, ie too hot, destroying the yeast and I dreaded the possibility of having to pour the whole lot down the drain.

Turned out it was the other way round, my kitchen was so cold that the mix had dropped to too low a temperature for the yeast to do its stuff, so as well as using a brew belt to increase the temperature, I wrapped an old winter coat round the tub and piled towels on top and that did the trick!

The kit produced 40 bottles (20 litres/35 pints) and cost £26.50.  So not accounting for the time spent doing the actual brewing, the cost of these beers work out at £0.66 per 500ml bottle or £0.76 a pint! Definitely happy hour! 🙂

Bit darker than the picture on the box!

Alcohol strength at over 5.5% is probably on the high side compared to what I usually drink but it still goes down easily! A good hoppy flavour, and this despite me not following the instructions exactly and leaving the hops in for just 4 days instead of the recommended 10 days, as I didn’t want to overdo the bitterness. From start to finish, this brew took just over 2 months before it was ready to drink and is likely to get better with time (that’s if I don’t drink them all quickly, haha!).

Obviously it’s nowhere near the quality of say BrewDog but it’s a decent beer with the important quality being that it pours with a good frothy head, which doesn’t disappear after a few minutes and which sticks to the side of the glass as you down the drink, just like a real pint you’d get in a pub! 🙂

I’ve now done 8 different beer kits and one cider kit. I had originally been planning to brew (and document) 10 different kits and then just reverting to brewing my favourites.

However, there are so many different kits out there, I may just keep going and trying new ones that catch my eye and picking up old favourites when I see them on offer.

Brewing as a Business

I can see me continuing with my brewing hobby and probably doing more of it when I no longer need to work.

Friends and colleagues have suggested that I should perhaps look into brewing as a proper business in the future (eg a microbrewery), but I’d rather not convert a hobby into a job.

Whilst it would be nice to earn money from a hobby, I just think that having deadlines and customer expectations would suck all the joy out of it. I’m happy just doing it for fun and sharing some of the fruits of my labour. My friends and colleagues are happy with the free beers they get off me but I reckon they might be a tad fussier if they had to pay!

I’ll leave the experts to rake in the profits that way!

I’ve promised a friend that I’ll do a cherry beer next – not something I would normally drink but I’ll give it a go in the next month or so.

Anyway, cheers!