Uncategorized

Savings Rate August 2020: drop to 11%

I had two weeks of holiday in August, and I managed to spend them actually fairly cheap:

  • I got to stay at a chalet in the ardennes for free of someone I know. I went their for just 3 days but I loved it there, I spend most of my time out in nature with my mountainbike. I got a flat tire in the middle of the forest, but managed to replace it on the spot! I might use this place more often (if possible), when I have another holiday.
  • The rest I spend at the sea, since its only one hour drive by (company) car, I didn’t feel the need to rent anything there

I would really want to go to Thailand in winter (January / February), which I know is less cheap, but right now there is still a travel ban for Thailand and its impossible to say how things will develop.

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare July and August

[visualizer id=”3178″ lazy=”no” class=””]

[visualizer id=”3032″ lazy=”no” class=””]

The highlights

  • Housing costs have increased to 1384, as I had my quarterly payment this month for the syndic of my apartment. In my yearly overview page you can see I currently have three loans onthere, the first will expire in May, so only three more payments there!
  • Hobbys dropped slightly but remain steady, I had to purchase some extra triathlon gear (about 200 EUR), and I spend 60 EUR on Tennis, and 80 EUR on fitness (will be 60 EUR from next month).
  • Groceries have dropped. I had a whole month of cooked gear last month and this allowed me to drop my grocery expenses. However I noticed that its really hard to cook every day, so I decided to mix Microwave food with cooked food. In order to keep my expenses down I will be shopping only in the Aldi in September. Let’s see how this will affect my expenses!
  • Shopping for clothes remains low, no new gear needed so far (unless you would count the sport gear I bought). I don’t expect anything new needed for September either
  • Restaurant costs are at about 115 EUR, so I am happy I manage to keep it low, although ideally I want to keep it bellow 100 EUR

Expenses overview for 2020

Total Expenses for July= 1909 EUR

Total Expenses for August = 2289 EUR

2020 average = 2152 EUR

Income

Nothing special on the income side, I got my usual monthly wage.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 11% is not terrible. Of course its much lower then last year, but last year I did get a travel bonus as well. What is mainly suffering due to the lower income I have since travels stopped is extra investments in my financial independence. But that’s ok for now we just carry on, I do have some options to change that in the future if need be.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 41.09%

Whats next

  • I will try to shop 1 month at the Aldi and see what affect it has on my monthly expenses, otherwise I actually expect September to be a less expensive month
  • I have a few repairs that need to be done in the home, I have no idea yet how expensive they will be but in the worst case I will need to buy a few new devices
  • I currently pay 300 EUR per year for wordpress, but I am considering to step down a notch to 100 EUR subscription. I will be losing plugins then, but I am not sure its worth it right now to spend so much if I can’t blog as much as I would like to

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Uncategorized

August 2020 Portfolio update: the stock market is waking up

Investment update in August 2020

Most of August was incredibly slow, it was like all traders left for a holiday. The market was just sitting there, not going up or down at all. But for some reason the very last week of August the market woke up and stocks took a steady rise! More about that bellow!

On peer to peer investments progress at Grupeers side all progress has come to a halt, no more blog updates or anything. They do still reply to mails, but where I was still somewhat hopeful 2 months ago, now its looking more and more every day that I will be dependent of the law suit to get my investment back.

The triathlon I subscribed in was canceled due to Corona, however a new one was organised for September and will go trough. I will start with a 1/8 triathlon the 6th of September and do a 1/4th triathlon the 20th of September. For those who are interested, a 1/4th triathlon is 1,5km swimming, 42km cycling and 10km running. I’m nervous as hell, I can do these distances all separate, but can I do them all at once? In total it would be about 4,5 hours of sport.

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 Portfolio has risen slightly to 67438 EUR (+1513) however this was with no additional investments, infact I pulled out 500 EUR of my startups (one of my startups that will be moved to ETFs in September. This is now the fourth month in a row that my investments are going up again. Slowly but certain a recovery is on its way.

So this months rise was only because of a huge increase on the stock market. Its been booming incredibly the last months! I’m not yet back at the rate I was at before the peer to peer market crashed (February) on me 😦 But I am getting pretty damn close.

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

ETFs

It seems the stock market is rising slowly but steadily and gave me a nice profit of 929 EUR this month lowering my loss on my ETFs from -2440 last month to only -626 EUR this month. Keep it up!

Inception DateTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% P/L
SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)31/01/2020355741749-561-1.55%
IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU)28/02/2020238265-65-2.69%
Total ETF Portfolio30/09/2019379561814-626

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!

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made a huge profit this month, lets hope they can keep it up for another 1-2 months so I break even YTD!

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
31/07/2020355741749-561-1.55%

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

With a 113 EUR profit it was a pretty good month for this ETF

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L% gain this month
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%

Peer to Peer

I could not withdraw anything from peer to peer this month, but if everything goes as planned then next month I should be able to withdraw my last principal from TFGCrowd, leaving me with only 4 peer to peer investments: 1 active peer to peer investment (Crowdestor), 1 with 100% of the funds in recovery (Mintos) and 2 where I am trying to recover some funds trough legal action.

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end date
Crowdestor30/09/20192974297907/02/2022
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Mintos30/09/2019998286501/06/2021
TFGCrowd30/09/2019143421017/09/2020
Total30/09/2019269331404905/09/2022

I only show withdrawals here. So far I withdrew about 49% of the funds I had invested in peer to peer.

CrowdEstor

  • From October I will finally start to withdraw principal from Crowdestor, as you can see above it will take me 1,5 years before all principal is returned and re-invested.

Grupeer

While Grupeer is still answering emails, my hope that they will give back any money out of their own free will is getting smaller each day.

My main method to recover funds is legal action. I can say that its moving but very slowly, it will take at least a year before anything is recovered, and probably much longer to recover a bigger amount of funds.

Kuetzal

I am in a legal procedure with Kuetzal and cannot comment on any non-public information, I wanted to share more this month but I still can’t. Perhaps in september.

Mintos

Mintos has created something new namely Funds in recovery. Pretty much all of the remaining 874 EUR is stuck in Capital service.

TFGCrowd

Right now I am waiting for the last 200 EUR of principal to be finished in TFGCrowd. After that I will be fully out of this investment. This will happen in September.

Startups

One of my startups WeGroup got bought out, and this for the amount of 505 EUR (164% of the value I bought it for). As a recall I paid about 315 EUR for this, and I got to withdraw some amount of my taxes because of this.

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 funds7999
First job Pension plan1467
Second job Pension plan592
Third job Pension plan12084

Wins / losses this month

  • My ETF Portfolio made an amazing 1840 EUR profit!
  • Slowly but certainly I am moving out of peer to peer

What is next?

  • I will be doing a 1/8 Triathlon next week so right now Im training a lot to make that!
  • And in three weeks Im doing a 1/4 Triathlon!
  • My secret project is still ongoing. I will probably not be able to share any info about this until January 2021 😦

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

Uncategorized

Savings rate July 2020: slight increase to 33.99%

July was a fairly good month, one the one hand my expenses for “hobby’s” (mainly sports), rose rather high, on the other hand I was able to keep most of my other expenses in check.

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare June and July

[visualizer id=”3132″ lazy=”no” class=””]

[visualizer id=”3031″ lazy=”no” class=””]

The highlights

  • Housing costs have slightly increased to 826 EUR since I had my EPC measured of my apartment. It was almost 10 years old and I am considering to sell my apartment to have a bigger budget to buy a house
  • Hobbys remain high, mainly due to kite lessons, but I expect a drop for this in August
  • Groceries have dropped. I wrote last month that I had an increase because of microwave food. This month I cooked 90% of the meals myself, and it shows on my grocery bill, I spend 100 EUR less, this is a wise lesson for me!
  • Shopping has dropped a lot, I already got my summer outfit now, and I have no need for anything new
  • Restaurant costs are at about 100 EUR, which is quite an accomplishment for me 😉

Expenses overview for 2020

My total expenses for July were 1909, slightly lower then the previous month

Income

Nothing special on the income side, I got my usual monthly wage. I just heard I will be working from home until January, so there will be no chance to earn any additional bonusses.

Saving Rate

Given the circumstances a saving rate of 34.99% is not bad. Of course its much lower then last year, but last year I did get a travel bonus as well.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 45.28%

Whats next

Next month I have my quarterly syndic costs coming up at 670 EUR. I still need to pay this 3 more times after that and then it will finally drop to around 400 EUR with one of the loans on this paid off!

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Financial Independence · investing

Investment update in July 2020

Investment update in July 2020

The stockmarket is rising slowly. Altough its summer, summer has never been a really bull month for the stock market, and with a second wave approaching Europe I am surprised that it is not dropping further. Perhaps its because of the 1600 Biljard EUR the EU will pump in the economy.

On peer to peer investments progress at Grupeers side is really slow right now. When I read the blog of Grupeer I have the impression progress will happen at any time now, but its not happening. I feel like they are holding a carrot in front of me. More about that bellow.

In my personal life sports have taken up such a big part of my life right now, since sport is the safest activity. I subscribed for a Triathlon altough its uncertain right now if it will go on. I will do 1/8 so that means 500m swimming, 25km cycling and 5km running. If it goes well I might try 1/4th of a triathlon. But it does mean I need to train a lot, so a lot of my time is going there.

Additionally (and this is why there has not been so many blogs in July), I am working on a secret project on the side that I do not want to talk about yet but will at some point.

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 Portfolio has risen slightly to 65925 EUR (+1427) mainly because of additional investments and a small rise in the market. This is now the third month in a row that my investments are going up again. Slowly but certain a recovery is on its way.

On the bellow graphic there is three movements that are very clear this month:

  • About 1200 EUR transfered from my peer to peer investments to ETFs
  • Invested about 1000 EUR extra in ETFs on top of that
  • The stock market is rising very slowly

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

ETFs

It seems the stock market is rising slowly but steadily and gave me a nice profit of 929 EUR this month lowering my loss on my ETFs from -3369 last month to -2440 EUR this month. Keep it up!

Inception DateTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L
SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)31/01/202033825816-2310
IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU)28/02/20202318113-130
Total ETF Portfolio30/09/201936143929-2440

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!

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made the biggest profit this month, lets hope they can keep it up for another 2-3 months so I break even!

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITSTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% gain this month
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

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

With a 113 EUR profit it was a pretty good month for this ETF

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L% gain this month%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

Peer to Peer

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end date
Crowdestor30/09/20192974297907/02/2022
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Mintos30/09/2019998286501/06/2021
PeerBerry30/09/20192548005/09/2022
TFGCrowd30/09/2019143421017/09/2020
Total30/09/2019269331404905/09/2022

I will no longer keep track of the income I am getting into peer to peer. Instead I am showing the withdrawals here. I sold on the secondary market where possible, but without giving huge discounts. In total I managed to withdraw an additional 2% this month, putting me on 49% withdrawn up to date, which is not bad considering these are long term investments, however when I look at what is left, most will be stuck in Legal battles..

CrowdEstor

  • I withdrew 100 EUR from Crowdestor this month, but this was only interest. For principal I will need to wait until October. Im not really worried that this will go ok, so far payments have restarted normally.

Grupeer

Grupeer has officially defaulted with more then 60 days of delay on my withdrawals. I wrote off Grupeer but there is two points of light at the end of the tunnel that give me hope of recovering some part of my investment.

Legal action

I have grouped together with other investors to prepare a law suit for Grupeer. The main goal of the legal action will still be to ask Grupeer to repay the investments as planned and not to resort to bankrupting Grupeer.

Unfortunately everything is confidential, so I am not at liberty to discuss anything not public here. All I can say its being prepared right now, and it feels good to have legal representation.

Plan from Grupeer

Unfortunately the plan from Grupeer to start paying back the investments is currently more looking like a carrot they are holding in front of us. Any real money has not come out way, even though 75% would be in a recoverable state based on the bellow analysis.

 [visualizer id=”3020″] 

That means that 75% is hopefully in a recoverable state. 3% is probably lost and 22% is unclear but at high risk.

As long as Grupeers bank accounts remain frozen its only virtual money.

Kuetzal

I am in a legal procedure with Kuetzal and cannot comment on any non-public information, I wanted to share more this month but I still can’t. Perhaps in setpember.

Mintos

The last amount in Mintos is fully stuck in pending payments. Right now there is not much I can do to speed up the process except wait for these payments to get paid.

PeerBerry

Rita from Peerberry has offered to rebuy my loans as the Loan Originators have no problems right now, and I have happily accepted. That means I can close my investments in Peerberry and will no longer mention them.

TFGCrowd

Right now I am waiting for the last 200 EUR of principal to be finished in TFGCrowd. After that I will be fully out of this investment. This will happen in September.

Startups

I still have 3500 EUR in startups, but there is some news, one of my startups (WeGroup) made an offer to buy back the shares with quite a bit of interest. The counsel has come together (online) and voted to accept the offer. I had 300 EUR of principal invested there and it will be bought out at 164% the value I bought it for, so I expect a nice buy back soon. Once this has been completed I will re-invest this money into ETFs or a new startup.

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 900 EUR profit
  • Slowly but certainly I am moving out of peer to peer

What is next?

  • I will be doing a 1/8 Triathlon in two weeks so right now Im training a lot to make that!
  • If things go well I plan to do another Triathlon in September (at least if they are not canceled because of Corona).
  • I am working on a secret project that I cannot give any info about right now, however I hope I can soon!

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

Peertopeer

Eight reasons why I moved out of peer to peer investments

I realized I never actually went deeper into my reasons for fully leaving peer to peer. So here are my reasons why I decided to cease investing in peer to peer and only invest in real estate and the stock market.

#1 Its not actually passive

What I realized that with some sites you need to keep a constant eye out for negative news messages about the LO’s you invested in. Sometimes you can read in the news a Loan Originator is going bankrupt, and a few days later it gets suspended from the secondary market. You will want to sell your loans off from that originator before this happens.

#2 It’s hard to distinguish between scams and honest sites

While I do feel some peer to peer sites are easier to spot as scams some are much harder. Sites where the projects don’t match up, or where Loan Originators are kept a secret. I was invested in Kuetzal, Envestio and Monethera. While I got out in time out of Monethera and Envestio I was not able to get out of Kuetzal in time. Looking at it back now of course I should have spotted Kuetzal as a scam.

But other sites were much harder to decide on if they are scams or not. Take Grupeer who went into default for me for example. Are they a scam? Even up to this day after not paying for 90 days they keep up appearances. In any case they were listed on explorep2p which usually only listed credible peer to peer sites.

#3 There is a high liquidity risk on most p2p and p2b sites

Some of these sites have a secondary market but that does not necessarily means it functions correctly. When shit hits the fan and everyone wants to get out, even a secondary market will not help. Some sites don’t have this at all, and they offer investments for 24 months. That’s a very long time to wait when things go wrong.

#4 Investors money might not be separated from the company’s money

When I asked to wire the money on my virtual Grupeer account in March, Grupeer answered me that due to delays in transfers from the Loan Originators they could not transfer it. BUT it was already on my account. That means that the company money and investors money was all together in one big pool. And I am sure that Grupeer was not the only p2p site doing this. It’s not regulated, so they are not required to do it. We need to trust in the goodwill of the p2p site.

The mail I got from Grupeer that made me suspect that investors and company money were not separated

#5 You are also investing in Startups

Most p2p and p2b sites around are actually small companies. So in a way you invest in Startups. Statistically you should know that a startup in the Finance industry has a 42% chance to fail, so this is already a huge risk you are taking just by wiring money. In theory you still have a claim on the loan you invested in directly with the business or loan originator. In practice its quite hard to recover that stake as you have no collateral.

So forget about all these blogs that say you need to diversify! You really shouldn’t, you should be investing in the biggest p2p sites only and stay away of the smaller sites run by a handful of people.

#6 They don’t need to start off as a scam to become one

I’m sure a few of the p2p sites are starting off with the idea that they would set up an honest system. However when the company gets in trouble its quite tempting to start using investors money as your own, or create fake loans or loan originators to get extra funding for your site. Of course that’s not legal, but the temptation is there and there is no regulation to check if they are behaving as they should.

#7 I lose to much sleep over it

When the stock market crashed 30% in February / March 2020 because of Corona I never lost one night of sleep over it. While when Kuetzal stopped functioning, I remember in December 2019 I was awake all night. Even though I had 20 times more in the stock market. The idea that I fell for a scam was just extremely painful.

#8 It feels that even peer to peer loans are P2B loans

On some platforms where you can invest in many different loans, my original thought was that if the LO ever stopped paying I would still have a claim to the loan. After a few Loan Originators got into troubles because of Covid, its very clear that my claim is not on the person that I actually took the loan from but on the Loan Originator itself. So instead of investing in 1000’s of loans I was actually just investing in 30-40 businesses.

Conclussion

In conclusion I no longer feel comfortable to put my money into peer to peer. For me the high risk / high reward has mostly turned out to be high risk. Normally next year there would come some European regulation. This could actually be good for the sector in the long run, but mostly for the investors who will feel more confident simple rules (like keeping investors money seperate), are being followed.

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