Roadtrip to Financial Independence

Summer 2019 investments -update in turbulent times

Investment changes during the summer

I want to take a minute and do something that I have not done before, and talk about the investments I have and what changes I made to them this summer.

About a month ago I decided to sell my investments I had in stocks in the market as I deemed them to risky. Both the uncertainty about the Brexit and the global trade wars between US/China and who knows Europe/US might still escalate in the coming months. If there would be a hard Brexit in October stocks would most certainly go down, and I did not want to take the risk of falling to hard for stocks that performed well during 2019. So I took my realized profit and closed my positions there.

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The other investments I have are Startups, more general funds and my retirement funds. Additionally I have a retirement fund from work which I have made part of this calculation (although while I write this I probably should do this going forward in the future).

Startups

In Belgium startups (if small enough) come with a tax incentive of 30-45% depending of the size of the startup. I invest mainly in seeds. Seeds are startups with usually less then 5 employees and often making barely any money, let alone a profit. The 45% tax incentive I usually get back after about 2-3 years.

When we look at statistics for startups we see that 30% fails, 40% “survives” and another 30% makes a really nice profit. The dream is of course to invest in what we call a unicorn, although I do consider the chances of this non-existent. My main target startups are those with the 45% tax incentive, although I do invest in other startups as well that really offer a product that would interest me personally.

I have been doing this for about 2-3 years. Mainly using a site called Spreds since there it was possible to start off really small (from about 100 euro, with a 5% fee for them). Spreds is officially approved by the Belgian government to issue these crowd investments. Startups are long term investments 6-8 years, so your money is stuck, even if the tax incentive comes a bit sooner. While none of my startups have failed so far, one did had to refinance. This is on a total of 14 startups I invested in so far.

This is a long term, high risk investment I do, but for me its also a hobby, since I do like to read about the updates the startups bring.

Funds

I invested now for about 3 years a regular amount of money into funds using at a bank called Keytrade with a Keyplan account. It has made me a 2,5% interests per year so far average which is rather low considering the market did really well the last 3 years. I realized the fees they charge for the funds I invest in are roaming off my profit. That’s why around march this year I stopped all new investments into this plan.

Stocks

When I stopped investing in funds, I have moved the money I usually invest there to stocks. While it has been a very successful year, I noticed that emotions and trying to time the market play a big part here. One month ago I sold all investments I had here, with the plan to move them to index trackers once we have more certainty about the Brexit and the China/US trade agreements.

One stock I invested in was Galapagos. I bought it when it was about $115 and sold when it was at $175. It was a stock I really believed in. It skyrocketed not long after I purchased it, and I sold it when it was in a downwards spiral. I still believe in this stock and believe it will do well long term, although in the short term I did not want to take any risks, and closed my position with a 45-50% realized profit (before taxes/fees).

I use lynx to invest in stocks, as the fees were lower then Keytrade bank, which I used for funds as you read above.

The second stock I bought was Adaptive Bio-technologies. I bought this stock at about 40,5$, and sold at 42$. The stock was extremely volatile in the short period I had it reaching lows of 34$ and heights of 46$. I do still have confidence in the stock, but feel it would be a long term investment.

Retirement funds

In total I have 3 retirement funds. The first is the one I invest in personally and for which I get a tax incentive of about 30% from the Belgian government. I try to max this out every year usually in the beginning of the year. The second is from my first company. I worked for this company for 4 years, and the company saved a small funds for me that I got to keep when I left the company. Lastly my current company invests about 3% of my wage in a retirement funds. I won’t have access to these funds until 2049, and for some I only get a yearly update, so they are not the most exciting to talk about, but as they are there, so I felt I should include them.

Plan for the remainder of the year

  • Wait to see what happens with the trade wars China/US/Europe and the Brexit (October 2019)
  • Re -invest the profit in the SP500 that I made with single stocks if this ends up being fine
  • Search for a long term investment (= House)
  • Continue investments in Startups
  • Investigate the option to invest in peer to peer lending

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