August 2019 Savings

Just the basic numbers update as I’ve found only a small window of opportunity to post this!

So how did I get on in August?

I saved 46.5% of my net salary – not bad, and the good news is that this should continue to improve as my family settle in (separate post on that at some point…).

The above savings includes top ups of £43.27 from TopCashback*, £80 matched betting profit (from last month) and £68.74 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you 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 

A lot of up and downs but my portfolio seems to have weathered it quite well, not moving much at £174,085.

Dividends and Other Income

A fairly average month for dividends: Continue reading

July 2019 Savings + other updates

The month of July seemed incredibly short. I enjoyed the bouts of heatwave – yes, even in Manchester!  Funny how the same people moaning about the heat are now moaning about the rain…

This month also saw me attempting to clear out some space around the house in anticipation of my sister and nephew moving in soon – that’s come round fast, yikes!

Anyway, how did I get on in July?

I saved 44.3% of my net salary – delayed holiday costs took the remaining chunk of my bonus so I wasn’t able to boost my savings rate after all. I am actually saving a little more though, my 3% pay rise is in there!

The above savings includes top ups of £100 from a webinar (more on this later), £20 matched betting profit (from last month) and £74.38 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thank you 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 

A combination of the rock-bottom pound sterling and markets going up has meant a big jump to £173,204. I’m not getting too excited though – still plenty of political shennanigans which could make it drop right down again!

Dividends and Other Income

A record-breaking month for dividends: Continue reading

Monkey Stocks – 3 Years on

Anyone around when I announced the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge?

Anyway, as promised in my 2-year update, I bring you the ‘what happened next after 3 years’ update.

Monkey Stocks?

Here’s how I came up with the idea of running my own Monkey Stocks League Challenge.

The majority of the £500 portfolios (consisting of 5 stocks each) which lined up in September 2015 were made up of stocks/shares (from FTSE 350) and were randomly picked out of a hat.

A handful of 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, which was the runaway winner of the league after both 1 and 2 years.

One Year vs Two Years vs Three Years

As a reminder, here’s how the top 10 finished after Year 1:

Here’s how the top ten (and the rest of the league) looked after Year 2:

And here are the scores on the doors after Year 3:

Zombie annihilation, with Mr Z’s Undead Monkey Fund taking the top spot, more than doubling his initial investment.

What’s in the winning portfolio?

Three not-so-great shares but the humongous gain (and dividend) from Evraz (EVR) more than made up for those losses (apparently, Roman Abramovich is a majority shareholder – only just found that out!). Of course, EVR is also one of my own Dogs of the FTSE shares…

Anyway, 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 >20%) and there were only 3 portfolios showing very small losses.

After three years, again, 17 portfolios made gains of >10% (14 of them >20%), with 5 portfolios showing losses.

John K’s Pigmamig Fund was one of those which ended up in the negative after 3 years, but had this been a real portfolio, I’m sure John would have gotten rid of some/all of those stocks to minimise/avoid losses using his own investing strategy.

Still 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 34%. Definitely one for the passive investors and one which I will invest in myself.

Random Strategy?

Of course, as before, in no way am I recommending that randomly selecting stocks is a viable investing strategy, though I find it’s a fascinating one, which appeals to my gambling curious nature!

Did my experiment show that randomly picking shares ‘might not’ result in disaster?

It could have all gone horribly wrong, especially as you could have been unlucky and ended up picking Carillion…

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

Or you could get something in between and according to the experiment, that doesn’t look too bad, with the average gain being 29% over 3 years. Better than sitting 3 years in a cash ISA

Of course, we have seen the FTSE breaking records these past three years. What would  have happened if there was a big Bear market?

No More Updates

A 3-year measurement still isn’t great for a buy and hold strategy but this will be my last update for this league. Whilst the first year was fun (especially as there was a trophy at stake!), it was a complete chore getting all the dividends for the 100+ companies, plus I had to find out what happened to companies which were bought out/sold, changed names or were no longer trading.

I’m still very much interested in the random walk theory in relation to investing so I won’t rule out creating another small experimental portfolio in the future (and again with real money).  Sorry, I won’t be running another such league though – far too much effort and not nearly enough people with skin in the game!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this experiment and if after your own research you fancy running something similar, I’d be interested to hear about it!

Who Let the Dogs Out?

I was so impressed by the performance of M’s ‘Underdogs’ portfolio (using the Dogs of the FTSE strategy), the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge, that I was determined to set up a similar portfolio of my own.

Dogs of the FTSE?

The Dogs of the FTSE strategy is the UK equivalent of the US ‘Dogs of the Dow‘ strategy and setting up this portfolio is relatively simple:

  • Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield.
  • Invest equal amounts in all ten and hold for a year.
  • At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield.
  • Pocket profit / reinvest / cry at losses* (*delete as applicable)

The rationale is that “a high yield indicates that a company is out of favour with investors. When that happens, its shares will be undervalued relative to its prospects and intrinsic worth. When the market realises this, the firm’s share are likely to rebound and give investors a decent profit.”

Allegedly.

Still, according to Money Observer, over the past 15 years, the Dogs strategy has performed impressively, though of course, past performance is not a guarantee of future results, etc, etc. (*update 01/03/17- here’s Money Observer’s article about the success of the 2016 Dogs).

The strategy was considered back in 2010 by the ermine, although I can’t find an updated post on whether he followed through on it or not.

My Doghouse

I could have just set up a ‘notional’ Dogs of the FTSE portfolio like other sound-minded folk, but risking some real money makes it more interesting for me and worth the effort of tracking the progress of the portfolio. Risking real money also satisfies my gambling gremlin!

I received a bonus from work as part of my severance package so decided to invest the entire lot (as close to) in this ‘experiment’. Note that this will lead to a massive boost to my savings rate for this month!

So, who are the mutts in my Doghouse?

  1. AstraZeneca plc (AZN)
  2. Capita plc (CPI)
  3. HSBC Holdings plc (HSBA)
  4. Intu Properties plc (INTU)
  5. Marks & Spencer Group plc (MKS)
  6. Persimmon plc (PSN)
  7. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSB)
  8. Royal Mail PLC (RMG)
  9. SSE plc (SSE)
  10. Standard Life plc (SL)

Some of these were actually just outside the top 10 but I didn’t want to include any shares which I already held in my portfolio, or any where a dividend cut had been announced (hope I haven’t missed any announcements…).

The shares were purchased on 10th February 2017 (via regular investment to reduce costs). Here’s the live link, which I’ll stick on my header menu at some point. I’ll probably do quarterly or half-yearly updates.

As at close of trading, 10th Feb 2017

Risky

Yes, I’m aware that this strategy is on the risky side, though not as risky as randomly and blindly selecting shares out of the hat like I’ve done before… However, these stocks represent only a small part of my portfolio, it’s a bit of fun (gosh, should investing actually be FUN?), plus I may make some profits along the way. Or not. This will also expose me to the pleasures/perils of buying and selling as opposed to my usual buying and holding strategy.

I was a little concerned at first about the timing of my purchases – stock market is currently high and likely to dip in the year with Brexit/Article 50 triggering, the end of the Trump rally or more shenanigans and other stuff happening in the UK and around the world which may affect the financial markets.  Should I have waited to buy low?

I went ahead anyway because stuff happens all the time and I don’t know how to time the unpredictable market. Plus the money would be doing nothing if left to sit in my bank account, except to tempt me to spend it!

Anyone else tried this strategy before?

I’d be interested in any success/sob stories!

Anyway, have a great weekend all!