October 2021 Savings, plus other updates

Highlights this month:

  • At last, I had a mini break away from home! As mentioned in my last update, I went to London – I had tickets to watch the NFL game, Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a great weekend – an enjoyable match with a sellout crowd in Tottenham Hotspurs’ beautiful stadium. The following day, we spent some time wandering around Camden, sampling some expensive beer and food and then happened across probably one of the coolest and most fascinating shops I’ve visited in a long time – I didn’t buy anything, just enjoyed the sights and the music!

It was a great atmosphere and yes, I did know what was going on (mostly!)

Walking into this shop was like walking into another world

  • I went to the cinema to watch the latest James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’ – have always loved Daniel Craig as Bond.
  • Enjoyed another great Manchester FIRE meetup in the pub – great to interact with faces old and new. There were around 20 of us who turned up. Anyone who’s interested in these meetups, sign up to Financial Independence FIRE – Manchester.  Events are alternately online and face-to-face, so the next one will be online on Friday 26th Nov.
  • And finally, I am sooooo relieved to say that I have finally exchanged contracts on my house, with completion due to happen early November! More details soon – so much (more) to do!

So, how did I get on with my savings in October?

I saved 14.4% of my net salary.

The above includes another £25 Premium Bond win, and £42.24 from doing Prolific surveys.

Shares and Investment Trusts

I started switching out some of my bond ETFs into a defensive investment trust, Ruffer Investment Co.  Monevator recently did a two-parter on the 60/40 strategy but I was already getting a bit antsy about the portion of bonds I held in my portfolio and wondering what I could do. Despite not holding anywhere near 40%, I was feeling it was still on the high side.

I won’t ditch them completely but will likely switch some more into other defensive investment trusts.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

After removing the funds needed to buy my house, my Future Fund has dropped to £227,413. It’s not half as bad as I originally envisaged – as suggested by regular commenter Jane In London, I asked my Mum for the max amount she would loan me (that I could still cover with the eventual sale of my BTL) so this meant that I didn’t have to dip so far into my own funds.

I had to sell some equities (from my S&S ISAs) to release some cash and fortunately, I sold little bits of my portfolio over July and August when numbers were green.

I’ve been dreading doing this graph update.

Regular commenter Kid Cocoa suggested rebasing the graph, as if the house money was never part of my Future Fund, so that its removal didn’t cause me any distress. I did that and this is what it looks like:

 

[edit – original post had the wrong graph]

Looking good, with the markets bouncing back after the drop in September.

However, for consistency and because I feel like I need to see the consequences (and feel the pain) of my actions, this is what the graph actually looks like:

Oof! Looks almost like the crash back in March 2020, although there’s very little hope for another V-shaped recovery, haha!

My Future Fund’s value is now what it was in March 2021 so I’ve only really lost 7 months. My FIRE plan is still intact and unchanged – this is fine, I don’t feel so stressed about it any more.

Anyway, as horrid as the graph looks, I am already looking forward seeing it go back up again.

Dividends and Other Income

A more average month for dividends:

Continue reading

‘Crisis’ Dogs of the FTSE + Random Shares

My latest Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio was set up in June 2021, so it’s time for an update.

I appear to have timed it just as the markets have gone a bit rubbish.

Here’s a reminder of the Dogs of the FTSE strategy (which is based on the US Dogs of the Dow strategy):

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Note that this is part of my ‘fun’ portfolio and represents less than 1.5% of my Future Fund – it is not what I do as a main investing strategy. All dividends received are reinvested.

In the Doghouse

The mutts are all looking rather poorly, drowning in a sea of red numbers.

The only two Dogs showing any gains are the two energy stocks (National Grid and SSE), flying in the face of a potential gas shortage crisis.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was -0.76% so the Dogs are doing terribly at -10.71%.

Even with dividends received included, it’s a loss of –8.33%, so not a great start.

Will be interesting to see how they survive the winter…

Random Shares

My Random Share Portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up to Freetrade* via my affiliate link, bagging us both a random free share (worth between £3 and £200) in the process.

A couple of the freebies I received recently – thanks to whoever signed up via my link!

Here’s the full portfolio.

I’ve kept most of the shares, occasionally selling when the odd one or two gain by >20%.

Money from the sales of any random shares are chucked into my ISA, with a few quid going towards my Winter Rock Associates Fund 😉

A big thanks to all who have signed up via my link in the past – hope you all got a decent free share!

“Freedom” Dogs of the FTSE 2021/22

My last Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio didn’t do too badly despite volatile markets during uncertain times.

Things got a bit hairy on occasion, with the markets all over the place, but I continue to follow the strategy as an experiment, documenting the bad times as well as the good.

As another reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced, prior to purchase]

The Dogs of the FTSE strategy is based on the original Dogs of the Dow strategy.

Note that this is my ‘fun’ portfolio and represents less than 1.5% of my Future Fund.

New Pooches

Time to set up my new Dogs of the FTSE 2021/22 portfolio! [I set this up in June but only getting round to posting about it now]

So, in accordance with the strategy:

Three Dogs Set Free (Sold):

    • Anglo American (AAL)
    • Standard Life Aberdeen (was SLA, now ABDN)
    • United Utilities (UU)

Total received from sales = £911.16

Total Dividends received = £35.79

Profit from original investment = £172.77 (28.6% profit)

Last time round, I had to shut my eyes and grudgingly push the ‘sell’ button to ditch loss-making stocks – it was rather easier this time!

No trading fees applied as I’m using Freetrade* for this portfolio.

Sign up via my link to get us both a free share worth £3 – £200.

Ok, next, in accordance with the strategy:

Three Dogs Rounded Up (Bought): 

    • Persimmon plc (PSN) – was in my Dogs portfolio 2019/20
    • SSE plc (SSE) – was in my Dogs portfolio 2017/18
    • Polymetal International plc (POLY) – a brand new Dog, never even heard of this company before!

So here’s how the Dogs of the FTSE Portfolio 2021/22 looks as at today:

A sea of red at the moment but that’s the way of the markets right now. Let’s see how they fare after a year.

I will continue with quarterly updates as before so those interested can see how the portfolio is doing.

Until next time, keep calm and carry on investing.

Dogs of the FTSE 2020/21 – final update + Random Shares

After the previous portfolio’s abysmal performance, I wasn’t sure how this current Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio would do, particularly with the continued situation around the world.  This portfolio was created just after markets had crashed and had begun its recovery so timing was not favourable.

Long-Covid Dogs

So one year on and my 4th experimental portfolio hasn’t done too badly.

As a reminder, here’s the Dogs of the FTSE strategy:

  1. Choose the ten FTSE 100 shares with the highest yield (subject to my criteria*)
  2. Invest equal amounts in all ten shares
  3. Hold for a year (give or take a week)
  4. At the end of the year, sell the ones no longer in the top ten, replace with new shares with highest yield
  5. Repeat from step 3

[*criteria being that shares already in my portfolio are not included, nor any where a dividend cut has been announced]

Here’s how the 2020/21 portfolio looked as at 8th June 2021:

A so-so gain of 14.98%, but a respectable 21.78% if you include dividends paid out.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 18.68%.

Anglo American was the outstanding performer, showing a gain of 66%+ over the year.

What Next?

It’s always been my intention to run this as a (minimum) 5-year experiment so the Dogs will be back for their fifth (and possibly last) outing very soon. I’ve not decided yet what I want to do afterwards.

So, some mutts will be kicked out and new ones brought in.

I’ll get this new portfolio set up soon, so will do an update in a couple of weeks.

Random Shares

My Random Share Portfolio is made up of free shares awarded to me whenever someone signs up to Freetrade* via my affiliate link, bagging us both a random free share (worth between £3 and £200) in the process.

One of the freebies I received recently

Here’s the full portfolio – it’s gotten a bit too big to do a full copy and paste.

Thanks to all who have signed up via my link – hope you all got a decent free share!

I’ve been selling the odd one, whenever any showed >40% gains.

Until next time – keep calm and carry on investing!

[*affiliate link]