Terug naar het Nederlands en een PP update

Het is ruim vier jaar geleden dat ik een berichtje schreef op deze website, in het Engels, en nu weer in het Nederlands. Nederlands is mijn moerstaal en scrijft toch wat vlotter en gemakkelijker. Dus, wat is er al die tijd gebeurd?

Sinds 2013 heb ik bewust een andere koers genomen. In het gebouw van zes appartementen waar ik woonde ging de kwaliteit van de buren hard achteruit. Dankzij de regering werden in 2013 goedverdienende nette buren weggepest naar koopwoningen. Eind 2014 werd ik de “aso” van een nieuwe buurman zat en besloot een appartement te kopen. In 2015 lukte dit tegen goede prijs en een lage rente.

De onzekerheid op de arbeidsmarkt, de huizenmarkt en wat nog meer besloot me om naar andere inkomensstromen te kijken. In 2013 was ik voorzichtig met mijn “bedrijfje” Digital Homestead begonnen, na mijn verhuizing november 2015 gaf ik dit handeltje fors meer aandacht. Mijn Zazzle-shop is flink opgeschoond en ik heb Amazon Merch toegevoegd om royalties te verdienen.

Het kopen van een eigen woning heeft flink huisgehouden in mijn Permanent Portfolio. De laatste keer dat ik deze berekende was ruim vier jaar geleden. Deze maand ziet het plaatje er zo uit:

Permanent Portfolio Nederlands

Ten opzichte van 2013 is het totaal bedrag nauwelijks gestegen, maar als ik mijn appartement meereken dan ziet het er beter uit. Het totaal bedrag komt dan uit rond de 200. Ik heb al flink wat eigen vermogen in mijn woning. De PP houdt geen rekening met vastgoed, dus bovenstaand plaatje is nu voor mij een nieuwe uitgangspunt voor de berekeningen.

Ten opzichte van 2013 is verhouding tussen de klassen een stuk evenwichtiger. Goud (in mijn geval grondstoffen, mijnen e.d.) heeft het al die jaren slecht gedaan. Ik twijfel aan het “goud-verhaal” in de PP. In 2010 ben ik met PP begonnen en goud maar ook grondstoffen hebben niet echt gepresteerd sindsdien. Voorlopig lijkt het erop dat dit zo blijft. Een decennium niet presteren is best wel lang voor 25% van je beleggingen, als je bedenkt dat een mens hooguit 30 jaar met enig risico belegt (van circa 30 tot 60 jarige leeftijd).

In ieder geval is het plan voorlopig cash sparen en gebruiken om extra af te lossen op mijn hypotheek, het aantal EURO’s beperken tot maximaal 25.000, de overschotten daarboven omzetten in betere cash-producten (kortlopende veilige obligaties). En als ik lef heb koop ik opportuun goud EFT’s.

Overdue Permanent Portfolio report

It’s been a while already, I simply didn’t had the time and energy to blog. Sickness from colleagues which combined took well over five months left me with little option then work, eat and sleep. We’re gettinga bit to normal now and I think there is an Overdue Permanent Portfolio report somewhere.

My last report was March 2012, so what happened during that year? Well, obviously last five months little has been done, except last month I ramped up my investments. Growth of my total assets went quite well and I’m well above the benchmark I set myself. Today this is the state of my assets:

Amount Percentage
Stock 24.33 17.54%
Bonds 9.72 7.01%
Cash 100.15 72.2%
Gold 4.50 3.25%
Total 138.71 100.00%

In short, my assets have grown with about 39% in 3 years an 5 month since I started this little experiment. When I put my assets in a graph (I have tax data going back much further) per year, I notice dissappointing fact. The graph is more lineair than exponential, with a bit of fantasy a little bit it curves upwards. For privacy reasons I won’t show you that.

Lineair is not the curve I want, even though the results are above my benchmark. So what happened? Obviously I save as if my life depends on it, that means in the first years my savings will cause most of the growth (that is about 10 years ago). As my assets start to expend quickly, and my income not so, these savings won’t add that much relatively as time goes by. But what about interest on your saving account? Alas, thanks to the ECB interest are at an all-time low.

I need more yield!
Low interest and limited saving mean slow growth. This asks for drastic action. For the last month or so I started buying more investments. I’ve added more since March 2012, but now I’m speeding up buying. For now I keep to bonds (mostly High Yield) and conservative dividend stock funds. Commodities seem to be in a slow but steady decline, so I wait a bit before adding those.

At the moment interest is almost half that of inflation in the Netherlands (unlike the rest of EURO-land). Savers are being fleeced, for at least wo years now. Most of the inflation is caused by increased taxes and it doesn’t look as if these increases will stop. Therefor I want decrease my cash, at least to 25% at the end of the year, preferably 10%. Hopefully I’m able to bump up my income from my assets and start to accelerate the growth of those assets a bit.

Permanent Portfolio check and eShop additions

Well, this is ridiculous. Such a long time not posted a blog. This is no way to increase traffic and try to sell anything. There is a good reason, I work in the financial industry and the last two months of 2011 and January were rather busy. Which left very little energy for other projects. It’s a bit better now, so I want to start writing little posts again. First an update of my permanent portfolio:

Amount Percentage
Stock 10.61 8.33%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 112.55 88.37%
Gold 4.20 3.30%
Total 127.36 100.00%

In December I increased my amount of stock, mostly with conservative funds. Also, as you can see, the total went up. From 100 to 127 in about two years. Savings substantially contributed to that. Yields on saving accounts and funds are obviously pretty low. Still the proportion of cash is way high to and I need to start buying stock funds again for my permanent portfolio. In these uncertain times in the EU that’s the only thing I dare to do, although all that cash in EURO’s isn’t exactly prudent either.

As you know I do have an eShop with Zazzle were I show my amateur designs. Now and then I do post some designs and create in Zazzle a series of product classes (one usually adapt a design for f.i. all light coloured t-shirts, or round buttons). This is my latest:

This design is adapted for the product class “light t-shirts”. You can use this pattern for all light t-shirts Zazzle currently has to offer. My goal is to add at least one combination of a design of mine with a product class per day. At the moment I’ve passed the 100 and at the end of the year it should be at minimum 400.

Putting money where your mouth is

Over the last year I did some writing about propping up your finances. Now, I’m not really a finance guru and my idea was only to write about my own experiences. Specifically about how to save money enough to last a lifetime, because if I want to witness that marvellous “space future” I’m in for a long trip. Also, I actually might become a hundred years old. I better have a nest egg, for whatever reason.

Saving and investing won’t get you very far, though. The most obvious advice is to increase your income, for instance by asking for a raise with your boss. In Holland? Fat chance. It is much better to do something on the side. Try to sell something, preferably with a profit. Or create a service and sell your “time”. Make money.

My first step is to try to sell stuff by means of websites like Zazzle and Cafepress. Here I can put my own design on shirt, mugs and the sort. It’s an easy way to make a buck. Since I want to increase my artistic capabilities anyway, a web-shop like Zazzle is a good start. By the way, I want to be a little bit more artistic because I don’t want to depend solely on my IT-skills. Why? That’s a subject for another post. Firstly, my newest addition to the shop. Come on, click on the image.

money making with zazzle

Taking “Stock”

And an important correction. So, how did I go last year. It’s been a strange year, 2010, a year ago I feared for my job and Euroland was heading for a meltdown. I still got my job, at least for 2011, and the Euro didn’t collapsed, yet.

Money wise I saved like crazy and I was capable to make some gains. Unfortunately my spreadsheet contained a mistake by which my gains looked way too positive. I look of course to the real amount so I didn’t noticed. My fictive total amount in assets stood at 130 (I started at 100 December 1st 2009) and that was a little bit too steep. The last two moths witch corrected data look like this:

January 1st 2011

Amount Percentage
Stock 7.09 6.18%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 103.12 89.81%
Gold 4.61 4.02%
Total 114.83 100.00%

December 1st 2010

Amount Percentage
Stock 6.42 5.79%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 100.08 90.36%
Gold 4.26 3.84%
Total 110.76 100.00%

All in all, last year I increased my assets with more than 10% and I’m completely debt free. The amount is nicely going in a direction I’m aiming at. Also, I started buying commodity funds for my “Gold” asset class and in two months it did quite well. Resolutions for 2011, less Cash more funds.

Wrong data in previous will be corrected, by the way.

Going English…

It’s been a while since my last post, so a quick update is in order. First things first, I’m changing from Dutch to English. Hopefully I’ll get a bigger audience, because last years I got very little response. Also there’s another reason. This year I started to blog a bit about financial issues, mainly about keeping alive long enough to witness a wonderful space future.

One way to be part of a space future is, besides a good health, a fat bank account. Now you can save and invest your savings all you like, but it won’t make you exactly rich. Most people just have a salary and even with a frugal life, accumulating enough wealth is difficult. And a pile of wealth is what we’re aiming at. A couple of years ago I bought the book “The Millionaire Next Door”. The authors in this book explain why some people acquire wealth and others only debt.

I’m not going to explain the whole book, you better buy it yourself because it so well suited to an ordinary individual with a job. One thing I’ll mention and that is the rule of thumb the authors use to figure out if you’re accumulating wealth fast enough or if you’ll have a very poor pension. The rule is, multiply your age with your income before taxes and divide by 10. This should be you net worth if you’re an average saver. Also calculate your true worth, that is all your assets (f.i. your house) minus your debt (your mortgage). Divide your true worth by the ideal worth. If this number is lower than 0.5, woe unto you, if it is higher than 2, start dreaming about retiring.

So how did I fare?

2002 0.67
2003 0.73
2004 0.76
2005 0.89
2006 0.89
2007 0.91
2008 0.89
2009 0.94

Not very fast, I’d say. Almost average. What my income is and what I posses, a house f.i., that is not for the world to know, but this way I’ll stay average. By saving alone nobody gets rich, therefore one needs extra revenues. One way is to monetise this website, but I’m still guessing how to do that. That was a very long explanation why switching from Dutch to English. Sorry.

Now, I also need to update my Permanent Portfolio status, so there:

August 1st.

Amount Percentage
Stock 5.60 5.10%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 104.11 94.90%
Gold 0.00 0.00%
Total 109.71 100.00%

September 5th.

Amount Percentage
Stock 5.89 5.37%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 103.95 94.63%
Gold 0.00 0.00%
Total 109.85 100.00%

Still no changes, savings are going well and the Euro is going strong. Last months, whole summer really, it was really busy and I hadn’t the time to give PP the attention it deserves. Nevertheless I need to start to allocate my little bit of cash. It’s getting risky with all my eggs in one basket.