Thursday, 19 March 2015

Alea Jacta Est! (Portfolio Buy/Sale)

 Alea jacta est.

So said Julius Caesar (reportedly) when he marched his troops across the Rubicon river on to Rome. The die is cast - a decision has been made and it's too late to change.

A couple of times in my life I have taken a fairly large financial gamble. Being naturally cautious, it is usually not a 'bet the farm' type of gamble - but rather one that could gain or lose a substantial amount of money.

So it is today...

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The World ETF Income Portfolio


As regular readers will be aware, the DIY Income Investor portfolio is steadily increasing its share of income-producing Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs provide ready-made, low-cost and diversified funds but are more targeted than simple market tracker funds - and therefore (in my view) more powerful financial tools.

A reader asked whether it might be possible to identify an ETF-only portfolio. This might be attractive for a new investor or someone who does not want to be too involved in the investment process. This seemed like an interesting challenge; so, here goes...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Know Your Strategy! (Portfolio Buy)

Contrarian Investing

My long-term strategy for the DIY Income Investor portfolio is to develop an investing style that doesn't require much skill or input. The objective is to pass on investment nest eggs that more-or-less manage themselves.

So, 'DIY' taken almost to an extreme - Do Very Little Yourself!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Sell Your Winners! (Portfolio Sale)

(Andy Rainford/iStockphoto)
Now, what does this button do..?

I've just sold a holding in my DIY Income Investor portfolio and realised a 29% capital gain over less than one year - enough to pay for a family summer holiday. 'Not bad' you might say - but was I 'right' to sell?

The typical advice given to new investors is 'hold your winners and sell your losers'; but presumably that can't be the whole story (or you would never realise your capital gains). I'm afraid that my own approach does not really follow this advice - although it doesn't ignore it completely.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Me, Britain and Dividends (Portfolio Buy)


Following my long-term strategy of 'automating' the DIY Income Investor portfolio I have been buying some more ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) shares.

As regular readers will be aware, ETFs are collective, diversified investment funds that (usually) follow a specific index more-or-less mechanically; this means that they are diversified and (generally) low-cost. In keeping with the main theme of the portfolio, I specialise in ETFs that produce income - from dividends or from fixed-income securities. In addition, it is possible to invest globally with ETFs that are quoted on my 'home; market (the LSE); by contrast it is a lot more complicated to do that with individual securities on different markets.

The latest purchase takes the ETF share of the portfolio to over 40%.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Housekeeping (Portfolio Sale)


Even the simplest portfolio needs some attention. I have tried to automate the operation of the DIY Income Investor portfolio as much as I can - but the human touch is still needed.

I try to keep up-to-date on a more-or-less monthly cycle (I revise the portfolio totals each month). But with 30-odd different investment securities to keep tabs on, important developments can sometimes pass me by.

And so a bit of remedial action was required...

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Swan Portfolio (Portfolio Sales and Buys)

Dazzling Black Swan Swimming
Hang on, no-one said it could be black!

The DIY Income Investor portfolio continues to recover from the recent market jitters and is currently only about 1% below its all-time peak value. The average yield - as well as I can measure it - is around 6.1%. And the sun is shining (for the time being).

The portfolio is apparently sailing calmly towards its ultimate destination, which is (potentially) a nirvana-like state of automated tax-free cash generation. But, like the proverbial serene swan, the webbed feet are paddling like crazy underneath the water - because I still like a bit of a flutter.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Portfolio Performance Vs The 'White List'

Which is better?

It's not always easy to gauge how well the DIY Income Investor portfolio is doing. Usually I compare my performance against benchmark indices. Occasionally I can find some performance stats from other investors that have similar portfolios - but unfortunately, not too many people have tried my 50/50 shares/bonds income portfolio approach.

The latest comparison I have found seems to be encouraging...

Euro If You Want To! (Portfolio Buy)

You row if you want to!


After a bit of profit-taking, selling a directly-held holding in a dividend share, it was time to get back to main strategy: ramping up the ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

I'm not sure I'm going to get much richer investing in ETFs - but that's not the objective. Most investors who have been reasonably successful - and have accumulated a sizeable nest-egg - are probably more interested in retaining what they have, rather than trying to accumulate a lot more.

It also makes the portfolio easier to manage. The only trouble is that ETFs are a bit boring...

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Breaking the Rules (Portfolio Sale)

As an investor (and if you are reading this, you probably are) - no matter what type of investor you are - you should have developed an investing strategy. This strategy will include three main parts:
  • your basic concept of how the market works (for you particular investment style)
  • your investment 'architecture': the mechanics of buying, holding and selling securities, whilst minimising tax exposure
  • your 'rules' for buying and selling: because, fundamentally, we are all monkey-brains.