Financial Independence · investing

December 2020 Portfolio update & outlook for 2021

Let me start off by wishing you all a happy 2021, for 2021 I wish you all a year full of friendship, love, support, happiness, good health and profit of course!

The stock market continues to rise with good news for vaccinations all over the world. In the lead of top 5 most vaccinated countries we have some expected countries like US & Britain who started earlier in December, but there is also some surprises such as Denmark, Bahrain and most of all Israel. Israel already vaccinated 9% of their population and aims to vaccinate 60% by end of march! Amazing how they manage to leave all other countries behind. Their secret? They purchased large amounts of the Pfizer-BioNTech paying almost 3 times as what EU paid, but this way they did ensure very fast delivery dates.

Also in Belgium vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech started, be it at a slower pace, but there is hope of acceleration as more vaccines will get approved by the EU the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile most of Europe has closed their restaurants by now, but as usual the market looks at the future and with vaccines being distributed the market has a very positive outlook, causing a welcome rise in the markets this month.

The change of url went relatively smooth. The main issue was to get my domain rating back, which took some time, and which I noticed on my visitors coming from search engines, but by now my rating is at least the same level it was before, making sure it ranks high enough on google to bring in some users. I might create an additional blog with my 2020 results for the blog.

On a personal level the closure of the housing market has made it very challenging to view any houses. Housing visits are very restricted and I can feel realtors are really filtering out the visitors. I was only able to visit one house in December, so I am eagerly awaiting visitor days to be allowed again.

In terms of sports I have kept up with mountain biking and started running again after a short break. I purchased a sport watch using Miles I had gathered from business trips and I am looking forward to be able to do some sport events in 2021!

Alright enough stuff about my life lets go and check how much my portfolio dropped or increased.

Image result for I am not a financial advisor

My Portfolio

My FIRE fund

Firstly I need to start off with explaining I added a new type of investment which is my “House Fund”. Beneath it is actually just 1 ETF, but the idea of this is to cover myself in more from the lowering value of money market in the case that I would not be able to find a house in 2021, at least my money will not lose value.

My Portfolio has increased to 78736 EUR (+8847). This included a 2800 EUR extra investment, but also included a end of year recalculation for my pension fund (+5322 EUR) and a rise in the stock market (+725 EUR). So the big good news show.

Generally I try to invest about 800 EUR / month in this portfolio.

My Real Estate fund

I decided to start a real estate fund. As said above I hope this fund will give me better protection from inflation as housing prices continue to rise.

I have no graph yet as the fund was just created but I can say that to start off I invested 2000 EUR this month into ISHSIII-CORE MSCI WORLD U.ETF. Its a similar ETF as SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS just from a different provider. Its slightly more expensive (0.20% yearly costs vs 0.12%), but cheap enough to justify the purchase, and this way I have an easy way to separate my FIRE portfolio from my Real estate portfolio. Over the next months, maybe years I will be moving my money from the money market into the stock market.

ETFs

My ETFs are reporting a good profit, so a great way to close the end of year. As you know the inception date for most of these ETFs was the beginning of 2020, so that means that even in the biggest crisis year since WW II I managed to make a modest profit and so there is no “bad timing” to start investing.

Right now 13% of my FIRE fund is in the emerging markets. I want to increase this to slightly above 15%.

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made a nice jump this month, putting me at a 5.24% profit since inception.

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

Also my emerging markets ETF had a great month leaving me at a position of 5558 EUR or a total profit of 5.81%

Peer to Peer

I am left with only 5 peer to peer investments: 1 active peer to peer investment (Crowdestor), and with 100% of the funds in recovery (Mintos and TFGCrowd) and 2 where I am trying to recover some funds trough legal action.

I only show withdrawals here. So far I withdrew about 58.85% (+0.85%) of the funds I had invested in peer to peer.

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end dateMoney left to withdraw
Crowdestor30/09/2019297476025/03/202225.55%
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure100.00%
Iuvo Group31/12/2019224004/20200.00%
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure100.00%
Mintos30/09/2019998285501/06/20218.57%
NeoFinance30/09/20191273004/20200.00%
PeerBerry30/09/20192548005/09/20220.00%
TFGCrowd30/09/201914348817/11/20206.14%
Total30/09/2019284301169805/09/202241.15%

CrowdEstor

  • I was able to cut my investment in CrowdEstor down a little bit further thanks to the secondary market and it is now at 760 EUR (-147 EUR). The last 760 EUR will be a challenge. At least 300 EUR of that is really stuck in defaulted projects. For the remaining 460 EUR I still have some hope. I need to withdraw another 440 EUR here to actually not have loss in my Crowdestor investment. I might not know this until the end of 2022.

Grupeer & Kuetzal

Nothing new to report this month, just letting legal action take its course. I am fully expecting to see some money back in 2021 here.

Mintos

Capital Service started repayments, but it is going so slow that I am strongly considering just to default this whole investment..in theory a large portion should be paid off in 3 years. My balance remains unchanged.

TFGCrowd

No additional repayments for TFCCrowd this month. My money is stuck pretty good there. They also introduced some rather wacko investment plans called plan terms. You basically give them your money and you have no idea what they do with it. Like a super high risk savings account. You would need to be pretty insane to invest in that, they are not even trying to appear like an investment site anymore apparently. Lets see if they manage to pay me another 6 EUR this month..

No way to do any kind of due diligence if you “invest” in this pon..I mean investment plan

Startups

I still have now 3200 EUR in startups invested, I have every intention to withdraw this whenever possible.

Retirement funds

I decided not to update my retirement funds all the time since for most of the funds I get an update just once a year, so I will update it also just once a year. This is from end of 2019. I will update it again in December 2020.

November 2019Current Value
KBC Pension funds9492
First job Pension plan1507
Second job Pension plan602
Third job Pension plan15949

Wins / losses this month

  • My Portfolio made a 725 EUR profit!
  • The domain rating of my blog got back to what it was before

What blogs are coming up next?

  • I need to review the 2020 goals I set (eek!), and set new goals for 2021
  • I want to review my savings rate for December and of course all of 2020
  • I want to set some realistic saving rate goals for 2021 (or should I say spending goals)
  • I will probably do an overview blog specifically for this blog, with visitor numbers etc somewhere in Q1 2021

I will also post a savings rate update soon! Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss any of my monthly portfolio updates!

Early Retirement · Financial Independence

Setting my FIRE number 2020 update, when can I retire early?

Previous blogs: Setting my FIRE number: when can I retire early? (2020)

In 2020 I made a first attempt to update my FIRE number, I was not really sure how to calculate it yet, as there was no sure way to calculate this in Belgium. Most calculation models are based on a US model where people need to save themselves fulltime for their retirement. In Belgium the situation is a bit different, as we have three pillars for our retirement

What pillars do I have?

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The 3.5% rule

Before starting I just wanted to give a quick recap on what we call the 3.5% rule. Actually a lot of FIRE blogs will stick to the 4% rule, but the 3.5% rule is actually a lot safer. It assumes that the stock market will go up every year on average with 3.5% + the inflation rate, giving you enough money to survive every year. You will not have to worry about the stock market going up or down, as it usually does, but instead you just take 3.5% of whatever is in your portfolio every year and survive on that. That should be small enough to have an ever-lasting portfolio.

My state pension

If the law does not changes I will get my state pension at 67. This is the age that the government wants people to retire. There is an online app called mypension.be where you can actually see how you get at the retirement age.

While many European Countries give a pension this pension only comes at a late age. In Belgium its 67! It might be that by this age the age has moved back again. You shouldn’t take the risk to let the government decide on when you can retire. At the very least you need a backup plan.

But assuming that everything is going like they tell me now I will get a pension at 67. The height of this pension is depending of how much taxed you paid and mostly how long you worked. Additionally you can buy off educational years (up to 4) that you studied. This is quite cheap if you do it within the first 10 years after graduation, but after that becomes expensive fast. Its especially useful if you plan to retire before 67, if not then its probably not so useful for you. I have bought off these years for this reason.

My pension looks like this, it means the longer I wait to retire, the higher my pension will be.

You can see that if you work until 67 that even then the retirement money is not so high, only 1934 EUR, unless you own a home it will not be enough to have a comfortable retirement, especially since you will have more medical bills and probably more staff such as house cleaners since you can do less yourself. In other words, additional funds will be needed. So that means even if you do not plan to FIRE you really should start thinking about how you will manage when you retire as the state pension will most likely not be enough.

In case you want to do the simulation yourself (as a Belgian citizen), you can do this on mypension.be

The second pillar: Occupational pension

My previous job invested about 1% in a work pension, my current job even invests 6% of my yearly wage into a work pension. That’s quite interesting, because as it turns out it can grow to quite high by the time you are 67. The downside here is that the growth is limited by the minimum growth the government says the fund should have, which is pretty much the inflation. Still its a very nice boost you would get at 67. Using the 3% rule it would give me an additional 637 EUR at 67 if I kept working until then.

The Third pillar: private pension

The third pillar includes an extra pension saving plan that the government is giving Tax advantages for. You can save about 1260 EUR per year in an additional pension fund and withdraw 30% from your taxes when you fully invest inthere. The downside is of course that these funds come with considerable costs and the returns are not necessarily higher then what you invest yourself. I do invest fully in these funds because:

  • Its only 1260 EUR per year
  • The less taxes I pay the better

For the growth of this fund I have assumed a modest 3% growth per year, this together with my yearly investment, gives me the following income at 67, depending of when I stop working:

So another 252 EUR income IF I stay on the job force until 67, giving me a total of 2854 EUR. I would say this is good news. If you are in the workforce, and don’t want to worry to much about retirement and don’t mind to work until 67 then your pension should be high enough to cover your retirement.

Its only when you want to retire before age 67 that you run into a problem. Say you want to retire 10 years earlier I would only be left with 2242 EUR at age 67 plus I would need to find a means to survive for an extra 10 years. It gets more difficult if I wanted to retire at age 47, as then I would only have 1644 EUR at 67 plus a 20 year gap I would need to fill.

The fourth pillar: other investments

This is where my fourth pillar comes in. While officially its part of the third pillar, I prefer to classify this under a second pillar. This is where you store your additional investments in real estate, the stock market or other type of alternative investments.

In my case I plan to invest right now about 800 EUR per month in this fourth pillar. I already have 47.000 EUR invested inthere. The good thing about this investment is that you can start withdrawing whenever you like, so you can use this portfolio to bridge the gap between when you retire and the official age of 67.

Now I am assuming a growth of 6% per year for this porfolio and with a monthly investment of 800 EUR per month, the growth cycle looks like this:

Meaning at age of 67 I would be able to withdraw 3220 EUR safely or combined with my other pillars almost 6000 EUR. A pretty wealthy retirement right?

What about retirement before 67?

Right the interesting part. Of course we don’t need 6000 EUR / month to survive. Even half of that would give us a very comfortable wealthy lifestyle.

There is two main things that affect your retirement age: how much you invest, and how much you spend. I really do say how much you invest and not how much you save, as you might be setting aside money for other goals as well. In my case I am also setting aside cash to invest in a house for myself so I am not investing everything that I save. Its important to make this distinction for yourself as I really do consider housing to be important.

But for those who want to retire before 67 (or who knows it could be higher as the government increases this number)

Lets calculate my FIRE number

2019 Recap

In 2019 I calculated that my FIRE number was 983350 and I was 3.7% along to FIRE. This was based on my current portfolio and a yearly expense in 2019 I had of 29501 EUR!

I did had 29501 EUR expenses in 2019, but also a great income. This year my income dropped with about 20%

It was a pretty huge number, both in terms of expenses as in terms of FIRE number.

What changed in 2020

In 2020 I had about 25000 expenses, so I actually managed to lower my expenses with 4500 EUR! Thats pretty nice. Lowering expenses actually makes it easier to retire. For me I noticed I spend huge amounts on restaurants so just cutting these out already allowed me to save a lot more. Granted Corona did help a lot with that!

I calculated that in 2019 I needed about 27 years until I FIRE’d. This was still better then the 32 years to go to official retirement. My income dropped with about 20% in 2019 because of Covid, however because expenses matter so much in terms of FIRE, I actually managed to cut off another 8 years from my retirement. I am now planned to FIRE in 20 years! Of course I want to try to lower that a few years more. This shows to me that FIRE is not a one set number you calculate once and it stays like that, infact lots of things can influence your FIRE number such as buying a house or having children. Its not because today I can FIRE in 20 years that this will be the same number next year.

I can also say that where in 2019 I was 3% FIRE, I am now 6% FIRE. This is going up slow, but thanks to compound interest the number will accelerate as it grows larger.

How to deal with purchasing a house, children

Well its because of these additional expenses I am only investing a fixed amount. That means higher saving rate does not necessarily lower my retirement age. I invest a fixed amount of 800 EUR in the stock market every month. Once I bought my house then I will consider to increase this number, but I expect it to be fixed in 2021.

Additionally I am slowly starting a house-saving portfolio. So far I put money I saved for a house in the money market, but I realized that the hunt could take longer then expected and then its good to be covered somewhat for inflation. It remains risky to do something like that because it might be cash I need on the short term, but I found that keeping it in money market is just as Risky, as the prices of houses go up and the value of cash goes down. To limit the risk I am moving the cash with about 2000 EUR per month from money market to the stock market. More about that in my December portfolio update!

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investing

How to build your ETF portfolio: the two-ETF strategy

High Risk high gains is very often just high risk. My FIRE strategy exists from mainly buying two ETFs as you might have seen in my monthly portfolio updates. Its quite a boring strategy actually, you usually know what to buy, and even though you read in the newspaper what the next big stock could be, you still buy the same old tracker every month. Even worse both my trackers are accumulating, so no seeing my dividends increase every year!

But there is a fun part, if you are in the accumulating part following this boring, simple strategy will also make your portfolio, on average, grow faster then other strategies. Read further bellow why I feel this is.

For those who don’t know what ETF is, ETF stands for exchange traded fund, it is basically a tracker that just tracks a certain index. It is all computerized so stocks within this ETF change based purely on the tracker with no human interaction. It can track the SP500 index for example. You have two kinds of ETFs, distributing and accumulating. Distributing hands out dividends and are therefore usually more motivating to buy, as you can see your income steadily increase.

Two ETFs you can buy

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF

This is an accumulating ETF that tracks the performance of large and mid-sized equities in developed markets globally. Development countries are generally considered safe havens for

When we look into the factsheet we can see what stocks SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF contains.

As you can see bigger companies take up a higher % of the index. Thats infact how ETFs work, they will never have the same % of every company in their portfolio, instead they will have a bigger % of the biggest company, and the smallest company will only have a very small share. Indirectly I am participating in Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, Testa and johnson & Johnson.

And in this way purchasing SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF gives you stocks in a dozen of sectors and over 23 developed countries. While you might say some of these sectors grow much faster then others currently, like Information technology, it is still good to be spread out as you never know how the next crisis will affect a certain sector.

So great diversification! But what do I like most of all about SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ? Costs! With a mere 0.12%/year this is about 10-20 times cheaper then actively managed funds.

iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

As I second ETF I like iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS. iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS is also accumulating, it tracks not the developed market but the emerging markets. As you could see on the above graph (cumulative index performance) it has performed very similar to the MSCI WORLD index, although you could see its a lot more volatile.

As you can see its mainly China that is boosting the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF, but also big upcoming economies like India and Brazil. These merging markets are becoming more and more important in the world, and their steep rise cannot be overlooked, especially because China is predicted to be the world n2 economy by 2024. India will be the third and Brazil will hold the 8th spot.

As you can see the emerging Markets will hold almost half of the top 10 spots! Especially the jump into the pack of India is quite remarkable. They went from emerging market economy to a top player. Although you might still see a different imagine if you look at per capita since China and India both have high populations, but its still great progress for those countries.

You would be insane not to grab a very easy opportunity to be part of this market and making Shares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF part of your portfolio. Of course these countries do not have the 200 year old Democracy that US and some European countries have. So the risk is higher, but the gains might be well worth it.

What else do I like about Shares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF? Costs! With only 0.18% costs /year it is one of the cheapest ways to invest in the big emerging market economies.

Why accumulating ETFs?

Distributing ETFs give out dividends every quarter (or more/less depending of the ETF). Its quite motivating to see your dividends increase every year and build up a passive income stream that way. But when you are in the phase where you are still acquiring wealth you would only be re-investing this money again in stocks. That would lead to extra costs to purchase these stocks. Additionally some countries, such as my own (Belgium) are taxing dividend income. Where accumulating ETFs are only taxed at the very end when you sell them, at only around 1%, compared to a yearly 30% tax on the dividends.

That’s why your portfolio will grow faster when you buy accumulating ETFS.

There is one exception (at least in Belgium), that is if you buy dividend stocks. Then there is a tax free part of up to about 600 EUR of dividends. Not very high if you want to build a large diversified portfolio.

How to balance between them?

Right now its commonly accepted that a good balance is about 85% SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF / 15% iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF, so the developed markets still play the biggest role.

A third ETF you might consider: iShares MSCI ACWI ETF

If you don’t wan to balance between SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS and iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS then you might want to consider a third option: the MSCI ACWI tracker. This Index tracker tracks both the developed countries and the merging markets in one tracker. So you don’t need to worry about balancing between them. I am actually considering to add this tracker to my portfolio also as a third tracker. At the beginning its quite easy to balance yourself, but balance will become harder without selling ETFs.

The tracker is also accumulating, so that means lower costs and taxes.

As you can see the global coverage of iShares MSCI ACWI ETF is amazing, tracking a huge amount of countries worldwide, although it does include some rather questionable countries such as Argentina, but they don’t take up much or any space at all on the tracker since it only tracks the bigger companies.

When looking at the division US and US companies hold a very tight grip on the top. However if predictions come true China should start playing a bigger role here, I think it will be interesting to look at this tracker again in one year and see how the percentages moved.

Why did I not purchase iShares MSCI ACWI ETF yet?

While I firmly believe in the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF, there is one downside for this convenience and that is cost. The ETF costs about 0.32% yearly and that’s quite a lot higher then SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF (0.12%) and iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF (0.18%). So about triple the SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF and that is withholding me from purchasing this ETF for now. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a cheaper alternative hits the market the coming years, so its for sure something to keep your eyes on.

What does iShares or SPRD stand for?

The trackers are actually just called MSCI ACWI, MSCI Emerging Markets and MSCI WORLD. There is different exchange traded fund families that offer different types of ETFs. They then put this in front of the tracker name. It does vote confidence when a tracker is from a famous fund family such as iShares or SPDR. iShares was created by BlackRock and SPDR (pronounced “Spider”) was created by Standard & Poor’s.

Another very famous one with some good tracker is Vanguard, if you live in the US then I would consider their SP500 index fund tracker which is low cost and is performing very well.

What about other ETFs?

I believe it would be wrong to say that this is the only possible strategy. Infact I believe there is a lot of great ETFs outthere, and for sure a few of them have outperformed the ones I mentioned. I just like the low cost, low taxes, geographical and sectorial spread they deliver. I do believe if you just buy one ETF and stick to that thats already a lot better then getting individual stocks. Just be aware that the more limited the ETFs are the more vulnerable you are in case of recession.

For example the Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF tracks the Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment Intellidex Index and holds a small basket of 32 stocks. While it has performed outstanding before 2020, at the Corona epidemic this ETF suffered much much more then any other as it lost almost 70% of its value going from 52$ to 17$.

While now somewhat recovered at 38$ it does show that if you choose your ETF to limited in sector or region you expose yourself at a big risk.

But as I said it doesn’t mean there is no great other ETFs outthere. One I also really like is ETFs based on the SP500. I used to have one of these in my portfolio and it performed great and you can even find them with a costs of only 0.05% per annum! I only sold them because I felt I would be greater diversified with SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF, but everyone can see it has performed pretty amazing the last years and especially if you have US nationality you should consider making this part of your portfolio.

Is it now the right time to buy ETFs?

Well some would say you missed the big drop of the market in March, and then was the time to buy, and some would say the market is overheated and a recession year could be coming up in 2021.

Perhaps, the thing is these are all things people say every single year. Its just more spectacular to say we are expecting a crash then saying I am expecting a modest but steady rise over the next years. Just keep in mind you are buying for the long term, you need to expect not to sell what you buy for another 10 years at least, and at that point it doesn’t matter if the crash comes next year or in 5 years, because in the long run you will have a modest steady rise.

So I would say the time to buy is right now. Now while statistically its better to put everything you have in the market right now, it’s probably not so good in case another recession comes. While in the long run you will recover you might get demotivated quickly. That’s most people recommend to invest a steady amount every 1-2 months. If you have a large amount of cash on your bank then you could decide to invest a larger amount then you usually would every month spread over about 24 months for example. This way you give yourself the chance to gently get to know the world of stocks and avoid panic when the market drops the first months you invest.

How can you buy ETFs?

You can buy all these stocks with brokers. There is a ton of them globally, one famous one that I use is DEGIRO. DEGIRO sells both SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITS ETF and iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF. DEGIRO has low costs, good support and great UI and user app. But there is more such as Keytrade bank, or even your local bank might sell them (although they usually have high costs attached to them).

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saving

Savings Rate November 2020: topping off at an amazing 51%

Its been a while since I could show such nice figures for my savings rate. While I must say my expenses did not do particularly well, I got a nice amount back from the tax-man that gave me a great boost on the income side.

Expenses

Lets go over the different expenses for this month and compare with last month

October
November

The highlights

  • Housing: my housing costs is the biggest one this month at 1249 EUR. This is because I had my quarterly syndic payment this month. Good news though. Its a new year, and with one of our loans almost paid off the quarterly syndic costs dropped from 670 EUR/Q to 520. A nice drop of 20%! It will drop more next year, and even more the year after.
  • Groceries at 246 EUR: If the groceries are my second highest cost then it must have been a pretty frugal month. Although I know people are doing better then me, it is much lower then it used to be. As you read in previous blogs I am shopping in the Aldi, and while it has lowered my grocery bill by a lot, I want to see if there is options to shop even cheaper, without cutting back on health of course!
  • Hobby’s 150 EUR: while I usually spend about 400 EUR on hobbys, this time it dropped. the 150 EUR was because of: 1)Report costs to my kite, 2)purchased a second hand harnass to kite. I really believe in second hand purchases when it comes to amateur sport gear. Yes you will never have that extra edge to be the top, but you are doing it for fun afterall and I am having a great time with my second hand gear. Remember I purchased a second hand full carbon racebike in October for 250 EUR? I tested it out and where I used to be at the back of the pack, now I spend a large portion pulling the pack and taking the wind. So as long as you look hard enough you can do great bargains! I also saved on my monthly tennis/gym subscription which is together about 120 EUR per month. Although I would prefer the gyms to reopen of course. Maybe in January..
  • Shopping 146 EUR: mainly because I had to buy a bike – carrier for my new car. It costed me 129 EUR and can carry 2 bikes. I purchase most sportgear usually at Decathlon, but they didn’t had what I needed for a good price, so I got this one at bol.com. I absolutely love the quality.
  • Business expenses 144 EUR: I purchased a new domain for my Website (changed from euromoney to roadtriptofire), and it was time for my monthly renewal. I have a Premium account at wordpress that costs about 100 EUR per month.
  • Smaller expenses: restaurants 23 EUR (I got 15 EUR coupon from Uber eats, so went ahead and ordered 2 meals, and I got another coupon for a free bickyburger so went to get some fries), also gifts (67 EUR) because of Christmas coming up is worth a mention

Interested in coupons? Check out the app spydeals. I sometimes get coupons there but free stuff as well!

Expenses overview for 2020

Total Expenses for November = 2275 EUR

2020 average = 2146 EUR (+12) / month

Income

My income rose to about 4500 EUR this month, mainly because I got about 2000 EUR taxes back. Why so much taxes back: startup investments, pension savings and a loan on my house are the main reasons to get taxes back.

Saving Rate

So thanks to this boost on income I was able to report 51.44% saving rate this month!

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 40.43%

What’s next

  • I don’t really expect any high costs in December to be honest. Of course its gift month, so I need to find Christmas gifts for my family. I usually budget at about 30 EUR per gift, which is normal in my family. For birthdays 50 EUR is expected..
  • Im looking forward to use all this data to put me some realistic budgeting goals for 2020!

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Financial Independence · investing

November 2020 Portfolio update: amazing recovery in the market!

While Europe is in crisis and in full lockdown the rest of the world marches on and steers the stock markets to new all time highs. Especially the news of one successful vaccine after another are giving that extra boost to the markets. Markets don’t always care what the current situation is, their value is often based on what the market will look like in the future. Markets don’t like insecurity, but it seems that the news of vaccines going around has taken away that insecurity and the market has already compensated today for what will happen in 6 months.

Meanwhile in Belgium the lockdown is being slowly lifted. Shops and swimming pools can reopen, although that is the only thing that is allowed. On Christmas it would be allowed to celebrate with 3 people indoors (not of the same household), if you are single. Families can only invite one extra person.

I changed the website URL to https://roadtriptofire.com. There was multiple reasons, firstly I always wanted to move to a .com domain but I did not want to lose my domain rating. I realized my domain rating is not so high to begin with, and I would be able to recover that rating and even rise above it in a few months. Another thing is that I was contacted by euromoney.com who don’t like that their site is being confused with mine, and to be honest I don’t like being confused with them as well! Lastly I feel the new name of the site reflects much better what direction this site is going to, the name already contains what this page is about, which is much better!

Mountainbiking is what is keeping me on my toes during these times. I have been going every weekend, but I do notice I have trouble to keep up with people with better bikes then me. I am riding a 300 euro mountainbike that’s super heavy, so I have become aware that I really need to upgrade. So I started to look for a pretty new second hand bike. The ideal bycicle would be one that someone purchased new, barely used and now wants to get rid of. I managed to get really lucky with my racebike, buying a full carbon second hand for just 250 EUR, but I might need a bigger budget for my mountainbike.

Alright enough stuff about my life lets go and check how much my portfolio dropped or increased.

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My Portfolio

My Portfolio has increased to 69889 EUR (+2880) with nothing additionally invested this month. Really a big win here!

I am considering to switch to a quarterly graph since it is getting a bit crowded. I went into some of my numbers all the way back to 2016, and came up with this:

Lets look into more detail for each of these investment types shall we.

Someone told me once you reach 100k it gets easier because compound interest starts to kick in. So close…

ETFs

For the first time the stock market reaches green! I bought about 25k of ETFs the beginning of the year and kept investing all year. Now it seems its paid off and I finally have a (small profit).

At this point I am really happy I limited my portfolio to just two ETFs, it makes it so much easier to track! And I keep finding it very easy to invest with DEGIRO, I am really happy I chose DEGIRO as broker!

I did notice I should invest more in emerging markets, the goal was to keep this ETF at 15% but its now bellow that so my next investment will be in this ETF.

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made a big jump this month, putting me at a 3.59% profit since inception.

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITSTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% P&L
31/01/202025160.4100
28/02/202023674-3852-3852
03/31/202022851-3362-7214
30/04/2020290343627-3587
31/05/202029590556-3031
30/06/202031411-95-3126
31/07/202033825816-2310
31/08/2020355741749-561-1.55%
30/09/202036924-576-1137-2.76%
31/10/202036483-983-2120-5.49%
30/11/202039991350713873.59%

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

Also my emerging markets ETF rose slightly

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L% gain/loss%gain yearly
31/01/2020244800
29/02/20202249-205-205
31/03/20201918.38-331-536
31/04/20202099182-354
31/05/20202064-36-390
30/06/20202211147-243
31/07/20202318113-130
31/08/2020238265-65-2.69%
30/09/20202346-42-107-4.17%
31/10/2020238443-64-2.64%
30/11/202025631991354.70%

Peer to Peer

I am left with only 5 peer to peer investments: 1 active peer to peer investment (Crowdestor), and with 100% of the funds in recovery (Mintos and TFGCrowd) and 2 where I am trying to recover some funds trough legal action.

I only show withdrawals here. So far I withdrew about 58% (+3%) of the funds I had invested in peer to peer.

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end dateMoney left to withdraw
Crowdestor30/09/2019297496425/03/202232.41%
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure100.00%
Iuvo Group31/12/2019224004/20200.00%
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure100.00%
Mintos30/09/2019998285528/02/20248.57%
NeoFinance30/09/20191273004/20200.00%
PeerBerry30/09/20192548005/09/20220.00%
TFGCrowd30/09/201914348817/11/20206.14%
Total30/09/2019284301190205/09/202241.86%

CrowdEstor

  • I was able to cut my investment in CrowdEstor in half thanks to the secondary market and is now at 907 EUR (-902 EUR). Unfortunately I fear the projects I have left will be harder to sell. Most of them have delayed payments and for some I don’t have any confidence at all I will be able to recover some of the money. I will keep trying to list them on the secondary market though!

Grupeer & Kuetzal

Nothing new to report this month, just letting legal action take its course.

Mintos

Good news and bad news. The good news is that Mintos finally agreed with Capital Service on a payment plan. The bad news is that it is spread out over 3 years, and the large majority of the money would come only at the end as a bulk payment, from what I could tell on the payment plan it would be like 80% at the end. I have about 600 EUR in Capital service, so the good news is I won’t need to default this at this point.

TFGCrowd

I still have 88 EUR in TFGCrowd because of a failed project. The buy back did not kick in this month like planned, instead they did “partial payments”, about 6 EUR. At this rate it would be another 2 years to fully repay the investment. I expressed my unhappiness at TFGCrowd but with not much luck. I assume my project will not be the only project that suffers from this. Are the curtains starting to fall?

The only good point? I am already profitable at TFGCrowd!

Startups

I still have now 3200 EUR in startups invested, I have every intention to withdraw this whenever possible. Someone mailed me asking me why I was withdrawing here, the main reason is the lack of liquidity. The money you invest is often stuck for 8 years with no secondary market and I need more liquidity on my money.

Retirement funds

I decided not to update my retirement funds all the time since for most of the funds I get an update just once a year, so I will update it also just once a year. This is from end of 2019. I will update it again in December 2020.

November 2019Current Value
KBC Pension funds7999
First job Pension plan1467
Second job Pension plan592
Third job Pension plan12084

Wins / losses this month

  • My ETF Portfolio made a 3700 EUR profit!
  • I managed to pull out another 900 EUR out of peer to peer!

What is next?

  • I will need to focus on getting my domain rating back up the next few months. I did start to get quite a bit of traffic from google so I am not happy if that drops out. I hope it will just take me a few months to get it back to the same DR it was before, and hopefully even higher!

I will also post a savings rate update soon! Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss any of my monthly portfolio updates!