2024 Goals

A week into 2024 and already, the boom we saw at the end of last year is beginning to fray a little around the edges. This is more or less how 2023 started so are we going to get more of the same?

The doomsters are still shouting the loudest and while I intend to try to avoid falling into the pit (of doom) they are digging, I’ll just roll with the challenges as they come and will as usual try to make the most of what is thrown at me.

So here goes with my Goals!

Please contain your excitement, there will be nothing radical or wildly different here.

I still prefer to keep to simple annual goals, ones which have some meaning to me, even if they might be meaningless to others. They provide me with some focus while I get on with the humdrum day-to-day stuff.

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Fractional Fun

Things haven’t been too jolly lately so I thought I’d do a light-hearted interim post to raise the mood, during these dark dreary days.

So what do the below companies have in common, aside from being big US corporate behemoths?

Answer: I own one share in each one of these companies.

After dismantling my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio, I sensibly reinvested the cash into existing investments but found there was a few quid left sitting in the account.

I had some fractional US shares which I was doing nothing with but I then got the idea of continuing to buy more fractions with spare pounds in my account (minimum £2) until I’d built up each holding (that I wanted to keep) to one whole share (or thereabouts).

Fractional shares have been in the news recently as HMRC don’t consider “fractions of shares to be shares’ which apparently meant they couldn’t be held in ISAs, so therefore subject to CGT etc.

This wasn’t the interpretation held by some investing platforms (such as Freetrade) which allowed fractional shares to purchased and held within S&S ISAs.

The good news is that it looks like HMRC’s policy may be changed following the Chancellor’s announcement in the Autumn statement that ‘certain’ fractional shares shall be allowed in ISAs.

However, I’m not sure what happens between now and April 2024 (the proposed change date) but I guess I will deal with whatever happens when it happens. If I have to sell, I’m unlikely to be breaching any capital gains thresholds.

Anyway, this is the only one of my portfolios where every single one of my holdings is currently showing green, with Microsoft leading the way up 42.13% (at the time of writing) and Meta at 35.65%. Apple is lagging at 6.89%.

Why am I doing this? Well, it’s not really making a big dent to my Future Fund (or it could actually be part of it!), maybe I just wanted yet another spreadsheet to update, or I just wanted to mop up those odd quids sitting in my account, to put every penny to work.

However, mostly it’s because it’s fun (I enjoyed running the Dogs of the FTSE portfolio) and it’s kind of cool (I think!) to say to my friends that I own a bit of McDonalds or a bit of Apple!

Keen-eyed readers will see that there are 9 stocks there and I’ve thought of ultimately making it a nice round 10.

But which company to consider for the last spot in my ‘One Share Portfolio’?

I’m overloaded in tech so maybe something other than tech?

Suggestions below for consideration and if stuck for decision (after my own research), I will randomly pick! 🙂

Dog Days are Over – Dogs of the FTSE final update

Well what better time to provide a final update to my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio than when everything seems to be spiralling downwards into despairing oblivion!

Dogs of War

So one year on and my 5th experimental portfolio has, like many other portfolios, seen far better days.

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 2021/22 portfolio looked as at 10th June 2022:

A loss of 8.06%, but nearly breaking even at -0.26% if you include dividends paid out.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 3.45%.

OUCH – look at those losses, especially the -85.96% loss suffered by Polymetal International, caught in the crossfires of the Ukraine war.

If I remove Polymetal, it would have been pretty much evens at 0.07%, and a nice 8.10% including dividends, but that’s not how it works, the strategy meant that I had to live with the bad Dogs as well as the good. Hey ho!

Five-Year Experiment

So, did the Dogs beat the markets? Looks like we might need a VAR check…

Year 1 (2017/18): Dogs 1% vs FTSE 100 TR (for same period) 0.85%1-0 Dogs (VAR check….)

Year 2 (2018/2019): Dogs 16% v FTSE 100 TR -2.02%2-0 Dogs

Year 3 (2019/2020): Dogs -11.7% v FTSE 100 TR -9.6%2-1 Dogs

Year 4 (2020/2021): Dogs 21.78% v FTSE 100 TR 18.68%3-1 Dogs

Year 5 (2021/2022): Dogs -0.26% v FTSE 100 TR 3.45%3-2 Dogs

VAR check on Year 1 gives the Dogs the win, so Dogs ‘beat the market’ 3-2 (however it was really a draw, wasn’t it?!)

Why???

Until recently, I hadn’t really considered why I was even running this experiment.

Mostly it was out of curiosity, I wanted to see if the strategy would work, and I thought it would be fun (spoiler – it was! 😀 )

However, ultimately, I think I was seeking a strategy which took the emotions out of investing, a strategy which had an element of ‘spoon-feeding’ – here I was being told what to buy and when to buy, and what to sell and when to sell. Easy peasy investing!

I have to say during times of volatility, my Dogs portfolio was the only part of my investments which I could look at and honestly shrug without a care, because I knew 100% I wouldn’t be doing anything with it since the strategy didn’t allow me to.

With the other parts of my portoflio, there was always the choice to do something and we all know that in investing, it’s not always easy having to decide to do nothing.

Conclusion

Whilst the strategy took all the emotion and decision-making out of investing, it was totally inflexible in that you couldn’t make any changes to the portfolio in reaction to world events, eg war/pandemic, although I guess that’s the whole point of it!

You could argue that if not for the pandemic or war, the outcome might have been different but there’s always some other world crisis which jiggles the markets in some way.

What Next?

It was my intention to run this as a 5-year experiment so this is, sadly, the Dogs’ last outing. For now.

If the economical outlook didn’t look so dire,  I would have probably continued with it, or thought about doing a sister Dogs of the FTSE 250 portfolio but I think right now, with my serious head on, I need to rein in this fun side of my investments and knuckle down until things improve.

Since this is the end, there’s no need for me to kick out unwanted mutts at a loss (to  bring in new ones), I’m just going to wait for the market to recover and then see what happens.

I’ll likely be hanging on to some of the Dogs long term, possibly adding to a few, as part of the income producing part of my portfolio.

So, it’s goodbye from the Dogs..until we meet again!

In the meantime, keep calm and carry on investing!

Dogs of the FTSE + Random Shares (final update)

My final (probably) Dogs of the FTSE experimental portfolio was set up in June 2021.

I haven’t been paying attention to this so it’s high time for an update.

As usual, I always seem do these updates when the markets are incredibly rubbish, so I couldn’t have chosen a better time!

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 (although it’s been no fun at all lately!) 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.

Dogs of Doom

The mutts are again drowning in a sea of red numbers, although unbelievably, the portfolio is actually doing slightly better than it was in my last update!

A few (BHP, British American Tobacco and National Grid) seem to be strong in the face of adversity but the others are not looking so clever (notably Polymetal International, Persimmon and M&G).

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was a lofty 8.42% so the Dogs have been a complete disaster at -2.35%.

Even with dividends received included, it’s only a gain of 2.38%, so a really poor show for this strategy.

I guess I might drum up the motivation to do another update in a couple of months’ time, to see if there is any change, for better or worse!

Random Shares

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

Freetrade has been ordered by the FCA to get rid of all paid-for social media influencer posts.

Apparently, some TikTok influencer alluded in a video that using Freetrade contributed towards them reducing their personal debt. Not very responsible, but who gets financial advice from TikTok influencers? Too many, it appears.

I personally don’t class my blog as social media and I don’t categorise myself as an influencer but I don’t want to fall foul over anything so this will be my last Random Shares portfolio update.  I will likely sell off all the shares in this portfolio (once they’re in the green). One less thing to keep tabs on.

My referral link still works for free shares, I just won’t brandish it about in any posts, unless people ask me via email/DM and of course, their capital is at risk if they choose to use the app.

Can I just say now that I’m not in any way saying that you will reach FIRE if you download the Freetrade app, although fee-free transactions might help you along the way!

Here’s the full portfolio before it’s all sold off.

Anyway, a big thanks to all who signed up via my link in the past – hope you all got a decent free share and perhaps continue to get some use out of managing your portfolio with the app.