Sunday, 27 November 2011

Portfolio Mix: Stocks/Shares vs. Bonds


Here is a quick overview of the characteristics of stocks/shares and bonds and the benefits of holding both in your portfolio. This is one of a series of great videos from Investopedia that present investing basics in a slick, easily digestible format.

How to Find Good Dividend Shares


Investing 'guru' Jim Trippon gives suggestions on what you should consider before adding a dividend-paying stock/share to your portfolio. Basic, but sensible advice. (Does the interviewer remind you of the Matrix?)

Plan for a Longer Retirement

The ultimate goal for a DIY Income Investor is a comfortable retirement, with your income from savings and investments supplementing any pensions you may have built up.

Well here is an incredible statistic: over the last 4 years in the UK life expectancy has increased by one year. Something similar must be happening in all developed countries.

And this looks like a continuing trend, with the implication that your retirement could be longer than you think.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Bond Prices and Interest Rates



The Khan Academy is a non-profit organisation that provides a range of YouTube videos, typically on mathematical themes. It also provides a number of videos on financial topics, which is of more interest to a DIY Income Investor.

Here is one explaining very clearly the inverse relationship between bond price and interest rate - which can, initially, be a difficult concept to understand.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Portfolio Target: Just REIT!

In a recent post we saw that - in the US - REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) had been a more volatile asset class, but have had a higher return (since the late 90s) than dividend shares, shares in general or government bonds.

So, looking at the UK market, are there any likely REIT targets for the DIY Income Investor portfolio?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yields and Volatility of Different US Asset Classes

The DIY Income Investor approach involves combining different asset classes, including cash, dividend shares, government bonds, commercial bonds and other similar securities (such as preference shares).

It is instructive to look at how these different asset classes have performed in the past - over the peaks and troughs of the economic cycles. How far can the historical record help us navigate the investment 'snakes and ladders' environment?

Monday, 21 November 2011

DIY Financial Planning

This blog strongly encourages a DIY approach to personal finance and we are always looking for useful resources.

Here is an example of a financial advisor setting out the basics of a DIY approach to financial planning in a free eBook - something that is unusual, to say the least.


Friday, 18 November 2011

S&P 500: Historical Downward Trend in Dividend Payout Ratio

Income in the form of dividends is an important feature of the DIY Income Investor approach. The Dividend Payout Ratio is the share of net earnings that is paid out as dividends. This metric is used more in the US than in the UK, where we tend to talk about the 'dividend cover' (the ratio of net earnings to dividend payments). Both are an indication of the company's willingness to pay dividends.

However, there is some bad news for US investors on the trend in Dividend Payout Ratio (although there may be a silver lining to this particular cloud).

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Economic Uncertainty and Dividend Shares (UK)

Russ Mould, Editor of Shares Magazine talks about the prospects for dividend shares in an uncertain market.

Over Half of UK Families Have Unsecured Debt

To even start being DIY Income Investor (i.e. Level 1 on the Income Pyramid) you must first pay off debt, particularly unsecured debt, such as credit and store card debt, bank loans and overdrafts. The reason is simple - it costs more than you are likely to make by savings and investing.

Yet over half of UK families have unsecured debt, owing an average of £10,604, with the average debt increasing with the number of children in the household.

Why DIY? UK Banks Give Bad Advice

The DIY Income Investor approach is to usually spurn financial advisers, to do your own homework and make your own decisions.  The main reason for this is that most sources of financial advice are usually self-interested and will help you to in a way that benefits them, rather than you.

Which? - the UK consumer watchdog - has discoved that High Street banks are providing 'shockingly' poor investing advice to inexperienced older savers - with nine in ten High Street bank advisers failing an undercover investigation.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Charlie Munger on US 'Boom and Bust'


In this BBC interview with the legendary Charlie Munger, learn why long-term investors have to go through periods when they might be showing a loss of 50% of their investment. You can also hear his views on the 'idiot boom', Alan Greenspan and the future of Berkshire Hathaway.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Portfolio Buy: Resolution (LSE:RSL)

 As a DIY Income Investor, I am looking for a good yield. One source of this is a high-yield share (Level 6 on the Income Pyramid), which ideally should have a sustainable market model, based on sound corporate management.

A quick look at the performance of the FTSE 100 constituent companies threw up this opportunity with (as of today) a dividend yield of over 7% and a p/e of under 3!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Portfolio Update: Profit Taking - GSK & VOD

The DIY Income Investor approach is generally 'buy and hold'. However, there are times when it is OK to sell (and there are times when you need to sell).

My mental image of the stock market is similar to one of those fairground carousels with ornately carved horses riding up-and-down as well as round-and-round; each horse follows a cycle of being high then falling, being low then rising. My strategy is to ride the horse to the top and then shift to one that is beginning to rise. What goes around comes around. Pretty simplistic eh!

So what encouraged me to sell this time?

Monday, 7 November 2011

New E-Book Edition: Updated and Expanded

The DIY Income Investor e-Book 'Building Wealth as a DIY Income Investor'  is now available on the e-book page above. It brings together additional material from the last two months of posts and has been restructured to organise the information (hopefully!) into a useful guide.

And it's free (although contributions would be gratefully received)! Do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions about how to improve it.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Carry on Balancing (Government Bonds and Equities)!

The DIY Income Investor approach involves diversification and balancing of asset classes, including cash, bonds (both Government and Corporate) and equities.

The good news (at least in the US) is that two of these asset classes are increasingly uncorrelated. In other words, they don't move in the same direction. This means that together they provide for a more robust portfolio.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Portfolio Review: Legal & General (LSE:LGEN)

High-yield dividend shares form part of Level 6 of the DIY Income Investor Income Pyramid. As the fortunes of these companies change, so does their eligibility for my portfolio.  So it is worth reviewing the portfolio selection, at least annually.

So, given the upheavals in the financial world, how is Legal & General (L&G) doing?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Basic Decision Flowchart for a DIY Income Investor

As a quick introduction to the DIY Income Investor approach I have put together a basic flowchart that (I hope) summarises the key decision points and options. The chart also shows the links to the Income Pyramid 'Levels' - which are in effect different asset classes, in (approximate) increasing order of risk.