How I Invest My Money In 2019

How I Invest My Money In 2019

A question I often get from readers is how I invest my money.

Back in 2017, I wrote this post about how I invested my money. Since then, I have changed my strategy slightly, so I guess it’s time for a 2019 update.

If you follow my monthly net worth updates, it should come as no surprise that I have money invested in stocks, bonds, peer-to-peer lending and cryptocurrencies.

My investment principles today

I have invested over many years now and I have had some learnings on the way. I have tried gaining a lot of money and losing a lot of money (hello cryptocurrencies, hello stock market volatility) 🙂

Therefore, I always invest following a set of principles religiously:

  • Simplicity: I always choose easy investments. I have so many things I want to spend my time on, and to be frank, investing is not one of them. Investing is important to me (and I do think it’s fun), but I try to find assets that require a minimum amount of time.
  • Diversification: I spread my investments over different asset classes (e.g. stocks, bonds, crowdlending and cryptocurrencies) and I invest in assets I consider low risk (bonds) and some I consider very high risk (crypto). I like to have a mix of both with a higher weight of high risk assets.
  • Long-term: I only invest in assets I plan to hold for a long time (+10 years), so I never invest in something with the expectation of withdrawing my money any time soon again.
  • Consistency: I religiously invest every single month. I have set up an automatic transfer to my broker account on the first day of the month. I do this to make sure I keep on investing (when the market is at a high and when the market is at a low) to dollar cost average my investments. I keep some cash available for large dips in the market too.
  • Aware: I never invest more than I am willing to lose. It’s extremely important to be aware of the fact that every time you invest in an asset, it comes at a risk.

How is my portfolio made up

So, how is my portfolio made up? I invest all of my money based on the following investment strategy:

  • Stocks (index funds): 80%
  • Bonds (index fund): 10%
  • Peer-to-peer lending: 10%

As you can see, the vast majority of my investments go into stocks.

I have peer-to-peer lending as my very high risk investment (it is my best performing investment the past many years, so I consider it high risk and high reward). I have bonds as my low risk investment.

Since the tax regulation in Denmark favors index funds managed by Danish investment companies, I invest in these rather than international ones (such as Vanguard).

My stocks investments are split across the following funds (80% in total):

  • Global index fund: 40% in Danske Invest Global Indeks, kl DKK d (similar to Vanguard VTSAX)
  • Emerging markets (Asia) index fund: 30% in Danske Invest Fjernøsten Indeks KL DKK d (similar to Vanguard VWO)
  • European index fund: 10% in Danske Invest Europa Indeks BNP,  klasse DKK d (similar to Vanguard VGK)

Why those three? I like an overall exposure to the global stock market. I have high expectations for growth in emerging markets (specifically Asia) in the future, also beyond what is visible today and factored into the prices. Lastly, I like having slightly more exposure to some of the large European companies as I would otherwise for the most part have investments in US and Asian companies.

I invest 10% in Danish bonds through an index fund (Maj Invest Danske Obligationer – similar to Vanguard BLV in the US).

Lastly, I invest 10% in different peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Mintos, Envestio and Grupeer.

I don’t want to complicate things more, but my pension is invested in other stock index funds (one global and one in biotech).

How I practically invest my money

Remember I said I liked to keep things simple? That’s why I don’t invest in all of these index funds and P2P lending platforms every month.

I have a spreadsheet where I enter my target share (as above) and the actual share (share of total investments in the start of a month). The index fund with the biggest relatively difference from my target share to the actual share will be the one I invest all my money in for that specific month. That means I only make one investment per month 🙂

How did my strategy work in 2018?

So, you might be wondering. Does it work? Is the net worth snowball rolling?

The answer is yes and no.

In 2018, my stock investments decreased -2.6% with all my positive returns for the year being wiped out in December. This year, it’s already looking much better at +10%.

My peer-to-peer lending investments were really good yielding a return of 12% for the year, whereas bonds turned out a big fat 0%.

Based on the above, you might conclude my strategy doesn’t work, but in a historical perspective it does work. For me, it’s just important to keep staying on track and not change too many things in my strategy based on emotions and good ideas.

My future investment plans

Now you know how I invest. Wasn’t it simple?

Just as I have changed my strategy slightly from 2017 to today, I am sure my strategy will also change in the future again.

Right now, I’m considering two very real strategic alternatives:

  • Bonds: Given recent developments in the stock market with rising P/E ratios, I might start putting a bit more into bonds as many people talk about a market crash sometime in the future, but then again, I invest for the long-term, so I probably shouldn’t care
  • Real estate: I already own a lot of real estate (it’s 65% of my total net worth), but I currently don’t see it as an investment. In the future, I would like to invest more in real estate either directly or through a real estate investment company and start building up passive income from this

On top of this, I’m also considering changing my investments from broad indexes to indexes screened for ethical companies, but I haven’t found an index fund yet that has strict enough ESG filters at an attractive cost. I guess this will change in the future as more people move money into ethical investments.

I’ll be happy to get your input on my strategy and hear how you invest in the comments 🙂

14 comments

14 comments

Mila July 14, 2019 - 13:12

You guess it right. The content is outsourced. Basically, it’s cheaper to outsource content these days. Plus it saves me a ton of hours which I can put in link building and keyword researching (which are quite expensive if outsourced).

Reply
Carl Jensen July 14, 2019 - 19:03

Sounds interesting 🙂 I have struggled finding good writers in the past for other sites. Which provider do you use?

Reply
MIla July 13, 2019 - 13:03

Yes, quite low.

My “passive” income is building niche affiliate marketing websites. I love doing that, it’s a hobby, and close to my profession. The best part about this type of income is that it is just a system of steps you need to duplicate. Basically, I can afford to work fewer hours in order to support my other interests and hobbies.

p.s just to note again, by FIRE I refer to my vision of the term – creating businesses, which earn income beyond the ramen, so I don’t have to go to work. Not that I don’t like working when the project is intriguing, I’m just not born for this in the long term:)) I prefer creating my own terms for my life.:)

Reply
Carl Jensen July 14, 2019 - 00:04

Very interesting, Mila! Do you outsource content creation or do everything yourself on those affiliate sites?

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Mila July 12, 2019 - 09:45

Hi Carl, thank you for your answer. Yeah, taxes are something to be very careful with. Fortunately, I live in the tax heaven (as many foreigners call it) – Bulgaria, we pay only 10% taxes for indexes outside Europe.

My approach with the P2P is that they are more liquid than the stocks (including gains), aka I invest primarily in loans in the range of 1-9 months, and a small portion in loans up to 24 months. For me, the only way to be financially independent is to create my own business, this is just my vision.

And the P2P are a great way to support this vision. I am approaching my 30s this year and this will be my last year working for a salary. So, I am pretty close to reaching out my life vision for FIRE, only 5 months left:)))

Cheers,
Mila

Reply
Carl Jensen July 12, 2019 - 22:28

Hi Mila,

That’s a low tax rate in Bulgaria – interesting 🙂

Amazing you are 5 months away from FIRE. Big congratulations! How do you create a passive income aside from P2P investing?

Cheers,
Carl

Reply
Mila July 10, 2019 - 21:18

Hi Carl, I am a huge fan of your blog and the “soft” FIRE movement myself. I am a little bit more risky with my portfolio, probably 30% of my liquid cash has been put into P2P platforms.

Care to share which broker do you use for the stocks? As I have found that since 2018 we – Europeans, cannot buy USA ETFs, so we need to look for a suitable index. So far, iShare offers probably the best portfolio in which, Europeans are allowed to invest.

My current impression is that InteractiveBrokers are probably one of the best brokers for stocks and indexes. Any observation on them (iShare too)?

Cheers from rainy Bulgaria,

Mila

Reply
Carl Jensen July 11, 2019 - 08:48

Hi Mila,

Thanks for the kind words and good question. Interesting to hear you have a larger share in P2P lending. With the nice returns I am considering that myself!

I only buy Danish index funds thorough NordNet. This is because the Danish tax regulation favors these over international funds such as iShares. Hopefully this will change soon!

All the best,
Carl

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Nick @ TotalBalance.blog May 20, 2019 - 14:10

Interesting that you (still) use Danske Bank, since you’ve now moved to a different bank? 😉

I was surprised to learn that their APR is actually below the ones from SparInvest. Have you compared the yield of Danske invest indexes with the ones from SparInvest? SparInvest seems to be the popular choice in the community. Was just wondering 🙂

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Carl Jensen May 20, 2019 - 14:50

Yes. On Nordnet, Danske Invest index funds are by far the cheapest in nearly all categories. People prefer SparInvest because it is part of “Månedsopsparingen” to save the transaction fee, however, most people forget that it is only beneficial if you have a short time horizon and invest low amounts each month. Since I invest more than 30.000 DKK each month and have a long time horizon, it will be much cheaper for me over time. I am a bit hesitant to compare the returns too much as I believe it evens out over time, but for now Danske Invest is also performing better on all of the categories I invest in. The diversification is also bigger (e.g. 1,573 companies in the global Danske Invest index vs. 302 in SparInvest).

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Marcel October 22, 2019 - 10:48

Hi Carl, any specific reason why you buy the Danske Invest fund on Nordnet, not directly via the Danske Bank app? As Danske bank customer who is about to take a dive in Danske Inv Global Indeks, I am really curious.

Also, because I am an expat who might move to another country later (geographical arbitrage both tax- and expense- wise, ideally) I was wondering how the access to both Danske Bank and Nordnet works after I’d move away from works. Any insight into that?

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Carl Jensen October 23, 2019 - 10:20

Good questions, Marcel. I buy through Nordnet as I am not a Danske Bank customer and I would also like to buy other index funds from e.g. Sparinvest or May invest (e.g. for my bond index fund. I also like my investments to be in one place. To be honest, I don’t know if it would be cheaper to have an account with DB and then use it for my DI index funds, but it’s worth investigating.

I don’t know for sure if you can continue having the same accounts when you move abroad. But I do know if danish citizens that moved abroad for good and still have a Danske Bank account, so there must be some kind of solution 🙂

Reply
HonestFIRE May 11, 2019 - 09:47

Hi, thank you for an interesting post 🙂

You mentioned 65% of your portfolio is real estate. Do you prefer owning your own home rather than renting?

What crypto do you own? Have you heard of STOs?

Reply
Carl Jensen May 11, 2019 - 16:56

Hi HonestFIRE,

I prefer owning for now since I’m getting quite good price increases and I can do what I want with the property. Maybe later in life when I FIRE, I’ll prefer renting.

I own Bitcoin, Ethereum and NEO. What about you? No, I have not heard about STOs. What is it?

Reply

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